Hosts: Firdaus Parvez and Kala Ramesh
poet of the month: Bob Lucky
23rd March, 2023
There's more than one way to skin a cat, my father would say. Sometimes he would say skunk. I never understood why anyone would ever want to skin a cat or a skunk, but that was how his mind worked. If he saw some skinny kid dripping wet out of the pond or river, he would say, he's as wet as a lizard. Everyone told him lizards weren't wet and slimy, but reality is a slippery thing, isn't it? In the summer, when I was running around half-naked and as bronzed as a god in some mythology, he would say, you're as brown as a berry. I remember pointing out once that if a berry were brown, that wasn't a good thing. He didn't care. He told me I wouldn't make a pimple on a real man's ass. He also told me to throw him in a ditch when he died. I don't think he meant it, but now I think I know what he meant.
first light chicken feathers in the grass
[KYSOFlash #10, fall 2018; Accidents of Light: KYSO Flash Anthology 5, 2019]
We had the pleasure of asking Bob a few questions and he graciously took the time to answer them. Here's the next. Great advice!
Kala: I came to know you first as an editor of contemporary haibun online, many years back.
What are the typical pitfalls with haibun submissions?
Bob: Let me count the ways. And there are many, but I’ll be brief. First, a lack of proofreading and revision is annoying. I often got the impression that some poets just (mis)typed their feelings about a squirrel that had eaten the bird feed straight into the email, and then slapped a haiku about their grandmother having to sip soup through a straw at the end. Second, there’s a tendency to believe that the truth and nothing but the truth is the way to great writing. Maybe it’s just me, but I think not. If a writer tells the reader everything, what reason does she have to keep reading? Give the reader something to do. Imagination is not the reserve of writers.
More about Bob:
Bob Lucky’s work has appeared in Rattle,MacQueen’s Quinterly, Otoliths, SurVision, Flash, Modern Haiku, The Other Bunny, Drifting Sands Haibun, Contemporary Haibun Online, Die Leere Mitte, and other journals.
His chapbook of haibun, tanka prose, and prose poems, Ethiopian Time (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2014), was an honorable mention in the Touchstone Book Awards. His chapbook Conversation Starters in a Language No One Speaks (SurVision Books, 2018) was a winner of the James Tate Poetry Prize in 2018. He is also the author most recently of a collection of prose poems, haibun, and senryu, My Thology: Not Always True But Always Truth (Cyberwit, 2019); and an e-chapbook, What I Say to You (proletaria.org, 2020).
He lives in Portugal.
I found this haibun really interesting (and funny). There are so many weird sayings in each culture that make absolutely no sense yet they're used and we 'get' the meaning. Your challenge is to include one such saying in your haibun. Let's have a little fun. Kala and I look forward to reading them. (You may also write outside of this challenge)
As always, a good haibun will find its way into the next issue of our fabulous journal. Kala and I are eagerly looking forward to reading your haibun.
1. Only two haibun per poet per prompt. Please put your name and country of residence under your poem, it makes the editors' work easier. Thanks.
2. Share your best-polished pieces.
3. Please do not post something in a hurry or something you have just written.
Let it simmer for a while.
4. When poets give suggestions and if you agree to them - post your final edited version on top of your original version.
5. Don't forget to give feedback on others' poems.
We are delighted to open the comment thread for you to share your unpublished haibun (within 300 words) to be considered for inclusion in the haikuKATHA monthly journal.