A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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September 2005, vol 1 no 2

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Hortensia Anderson

Haibun with Zip

i have a splitting headache. i can't hear well. i can't see well. since it's always serious with me, i only need worry about how serious. i put a message on my phone machine: "you've reached helen keller". friends laugh. i wonder if helen keller felt like she was walking through thick weeds like i do.

in the tall grass
knee-deep in shade

the only part that doesn't hurt is breathing. i have a phrase in my head: "the songbird's oval egg". i love the sound. in fact, i love it a bit too much. i wonder if i have taken my dose of paxil. then i wonder which is worse—if i have or if i haven't. another phrase: "waxy green mallard egg" god, how did this get into my head? fever? migraine? infection? all of the aforementioned? i can't decide if i feel too cold or too hot.

beneath the snow—
fallen flowers

my mother cringed as i told her i thought about dying just about every minute. for the last year. i thought very slowly "how did i ever live in you?" mother contains moth. flower contains flow.

a strong gust—
just as it blossoms
the flower flies off the tree

well, not really. i am breaking several rules of haibun here. i might break another by jumping back to death. my god i just had the feeling of leaping from a bridge and then magically the reel rewinds and i arc in a fish-body-rainbow back to the bridge landing on my feet.

painted koi
on a celadon bowl—
fish out of water!

let me try again. my friend mary eve is an embalmer. she likes me to "talk shop" with her. she wants to run her own funeral parlour complete with crematorium. i think we should call it "home on the range". i've asked her if she will do the honours and embalm me. once she called and said "you know. nobody knows what i want. i might die first" and she might because mary eve is a very heavy drinker. in fact, she drinks like a fish.

a vase of tiger lilies

(take it out! put it back! it's how you feel! so what it sucks! keep it in - it's not like it will kill you. alright, but only because i'm so scared and i want to distract myself by putting such a dreadful haiku in a haibun and keeping it there. is it working? a little bit actually! done now let's shift gears. should we put another haiku in? i'm too wiped out. OK.) i don't know if it is really spring yet. i can't tell because i can't decide if i feel too cold or too hot. i know i'm repeating myself. if i break all the rules, maybe i can leave a little shimmer of myself like Santoka. i feel so fucking lousy, i think i'll make it snow again even though the pear trees have just begun to blossom.

the whiteness of snowdrifts
against my window the room darkens


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