Hosts: Firdaus Parvez and Kala Ramesh
poet of the month: Bob Lucky
30th March, 2023
The Dance Plague
For the last 24 years there’s been a block party on my street, the first Saturday of October to catch the fall spirit without being overwhelmed by Halloween goblins and their wanna-be costume-designer parents. I don’t want to sound like a grumpy old man, but over the years the quality of the music has been in a precipitous decline while the prices in the beer garden have steadily climbed. But the real news is the dance plague.
the burnt-sugar smell
from the cotton candy stand
a swarm of children
It began when Grandma Moses limped out of her basement apartment to shake a leg three years ago. She was soon joined by women her age and older who wobbled and jiggled into the evening. The following year a vocal and drunken contingent of revelers clamored for the old women to perform again although the dance was already in full swing a half block away. But now, some men had joined in, and several generations were represented. Who doesn’t enjoy watching a four-year old cop a few of Granny’s moves?
the twirl and shimmy
of leaves in sunlight
This year the dancing began before the MC could thank the sponsors of the block party and the crappy music had been cranked up. There hadn’t been anything like it since 1518 in Strasbourg. Even I fell into the rhythm of what many believed to be the last waltz, the end of the world. We were hoping, happy too.
the drip drip drip
of the faucet
(The Haibun Journal, April 2022)
We had the pleasure of asking Bob a few questions and he graciously took the time to answer them. Here's the final one. We thank him for his time and thoughts.
THG: Last but the most crucial to one's growth and understanding - how does one take rejections?
Bob: On the chin, I would like to say glibly, but there are times it does hurt. Long ago in the days of snail mail and IRCs, I received a rejection in my SASE. However, I had folded and crimped the manuscript in a way to tell if it had ever been unfolded and read. It had not, and I fired off a nasty letter to the editors, who rightly never responded. I now know from experience that editors are generally overwhelmed (and underpaid if paid at all). Who knows why they didn’t read my submission? But to obsess over a rejection is a waste of time better spent writing or revising.
To bring things into the digital age, there’s a haiku journal that used to regularly accept my work. I’m lucky to place a haiku there once a year now. Why? The stable of editors changed, and continually changes. My haiku don’t resonate with them, I suppose. I still submit on occasion, but it’s my responsibility as a writer to learn what journals and editors want or need (or don’t ever want to see). My point: Don’t take rejection personally.
There’s also the flip side of rejection: the acceptance of mediocre work. If you do this long enough, there are days when you read an old piece of yours and curse the editor who accepted it.
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.
Bob's haibun brought on a smile; haven't we been in such situations: sometimes fun, sometimes not. This week let's talk about music. Interpret it as you like. Relive some moments; take us down memory lane. Kala and I look forward to them. (You may also write outside of this challenge) Have fun!
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.