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THE HAIBUN GALLERY: 27th October — a Thursday feature

Updated: Oct 27, 2022

Hosts: Shalini Pattabiraman and Reid Hepworth

27th October 2022

This week we bring to you the fourth haibun in the series featuring Keith Polette and a bonus.


Keith Polette

Kintsugi


It seems, these days, my body is made of clay: as common as a department store cup, as crude as an ashtray formed by a child. Each morning, the spider cracks and fault lines of my mind, the missing fragments of my heart, become more pronounced. It's then I recall the times I’ve slid off the shelf, been deliberately dropped, or have unwittingly hurled myself to the ground. I would like to take the damaged pottery of myself to a Kintsugi master, who would use his special mix of resin and gold dust to painstakingly repair all of me that is broken. And after his work is done, and after I have paid what I owe, I would stand in the sun, my scars gleaming, resplendent and beautiful.


lightning strike

a new crack

in the turtle’s shell


Note: Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery using resin mixed with gold dust.




I feel that a writer is drawn to some themes more than others. 'How we see ourselves' repeats in many of Keith's haibun, each distinctly refreshing, so I had to ask him on how he manages to engage with themes that keep coming back.


Keith shares, 'I suppose that one aspect of poetry is a kind of self-reflective move, and since I hold with Jung and Heraclitus that the “self” is not confined to the conscious “ego,” it is always worth investigating repeatedly and from multiple imaginative perspectives. In this way, the overlooked, ignored, misunderstood, and the nascent may come into relief.'


Here's a bonus haibun from Keith's amazing repertoire.


Hope Floats


The last time I saw hope, it was thumbing a ride north to Albuquerque, leaving me with a stack of overdue bills and unanswered letters. Doves and other feathered things have settled in the surrounding trees, preening themselves and stretching their wings in anticipation of a wind-rushed entrance.


end of spring . . .

the river streaming

from the eyes of fish


And on this long dog day of summer, there is only the fist of the sun beating down so hard that time itself has gone belly up like koi fish in rancid water.


doctor's office

each of us waiting

for Godot



Often, I find that a writer's work is not merely the crafting of an idea, but the chiseling of it into its precise shape. I invited Keith to explain how he approaches editing once a piece is written.


'When I have finished a few drafts of a poem, I let it “rest” for a few days before I look at it again.


This rest period allows the poem to ripen and for me to gain a remove from it, so that when I take it up again, I may be able to do so with a more objective eye. After that, I read the poem aloud a few times, so that I can get a sense of the rhythm, the sounds of the words, and the sense of how it operates as a whole. In this way, I am able to revise and edit by following the poem’s urgings and failings.'


For the prompt this week, I invite you to write

1. about how you see yourself using the tangibility of a more concrete idea such as a tattoo, a sheet music, a clock or whatever you identify with. Or,

2. use an abstract noun such as love, anger, hope, joy, and present them as a character in your haibun.


As always, a good haibun will find its way into the next issue of our fabulous journal. Reid and I are eagerly looking forward to reading your haibun.


PLEASE NOTE:

1. Only two haibun per poet per prompt.

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.



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149 Comments


Disha Upadhyay
Disha Upadhyay
Nov 02, 2022

#2 Revised, thank you @Reid Hepworth for guiding me!


Second chance


Filling orders, his fingers dance on the keyboard, adapting an artists persona. His stage is confined to a cubical, dialogues restricted to sales pitch, and audience limited to family. Every night, the spotlight on his inner child flickers to set him free, before dying at each dawn.


rusted wings

this tug of war

with myself


(feedback welcome)

____________________


Original:

Second chance


Filing orders, his fingers dance on the keyboard, adapting an artists persona. His stage now confined to a cubical, dialogues restricted to sales pitch, and audience limited to family. Every night, the spotlight on his inner child flickers to set free, before dying at each dawn.


rusted wings


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Disha Upadhyay
Disha Upadhyay
Nov 03, 2022
Replying to

Thank you so much Reid for the keen observations and suggestions. Indeed it is filling, and I will change the tense to make it flow better. I do like you ku as well, a different style. Thank you so much for the suggestions! :D

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Ron Russell
Ron Russell
Nov 01, 2022

revision --thanks Shalini:


Swept Away


I am born and raised in the country alongside a state highway that we are sternly warned to stay away from. Dad does not believe in sparing us from the realities of life and we often tag along on his errands. One day he takes his rifle and wheelbarrow down the road with me trailing close behind. There alongside the road lies the family’s pet collie. A single shot pierces the solemn silence. He picks her up and carefully lays her in the wheelbarrow. I am five.


swirl of leaves

from a passing car

only the remains


original:


Swept Away


I was born and raised in the country alongside a state highway that we were…


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Ron Russell
Ron Russell
Nov 03, 2022
Replying to

Death is tragic but I don't remember being traumatized by it. Maybe it was the solemn silence of my dad and the matter of fact yet respectful way he dealt with it. I don't remember him talking to me about it either, yet I seem to have understood the impermanence of life at an early age. My grandfather passed when I was three (almost four).

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Kala Ramesh
Kala Ramesh
Oct 31, 2022

You are Me

I am You


autumn nightfall

the oneness of being

in being


I read and reread Hannah Arendt's comments on forgiveness, the only act that is not a re-action, and which therefore frees both the one who forgives and the one who is forgiven. I mull this over. I want to get it right quickly so animosity doesn’t get rooted in my psyche. Even a residue of bitterness lurking somewhere in me shouldn't be taken to the burial grounds.


shunyata

knowing what it means

to hold an empty bowl


I changed my first haiku :)) I've put it in one other haibun!! Feedback most welcome. _()_

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Disha Upadhyay
Disha Upadhyay
Nov 01, 2022
Replying to

Wow, so beautiful and touching, from the title to the last haiku, it sums up life, it's meaning and purpose. And the haiku, especially at the end made me stop, and think twice about my life. 'Sunyata' hits differently when the bowl is seen as our body, an empty carcass at the end.

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Anju Kishore
Anju Kishore
Oct 30, 2022

Writer's Block


The night wraps my wakefulness in its warm velvet. A pearl, luminous in its stillness.


spilt dew

dawn descends

on a scribble


(Critique most welcome. Thanks)

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Anju Kishore
Anju Kishore
Nov 02, 2022
Replying to

Humbled and happy, Disha. Thank you

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Ron Russell
Ron Russell
Oct 30, 2022

Epitaph

The average lifespan of a smartphone has been estimated to be anywhere from 15 months to 2.5 years. My legacy left in a heap. Can you hear me now?

reaching out

her fingers

in the moonmilk*

*A white, creamy substance found inside caves. Moonmilk, being soft, was a frequent medium for a form of prehistoric art known as finger fluting.


Please advise.

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Reid Hepworth
Reid Hepworth
Oct 31, 2022
Replying to

Hi Ron,

Very cool. When I started reading your prose, I wondered where you were going with it, but your ku brought it home in an impactful way. Nicely done! The nice thing about a life well lived, is that hopefully we touch the people around us…a reverberation that spans time. Know that you have done this.

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