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April 2017, vol 13 no 1

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CHO is pleased to present the winners of 14th Annual Jerry Kilbride Memorial English-Language Haibun Contest, 2016.

The Kilbride contest is open to the public. All entries must be in English. Details about the Central Valley Haiku Club and it's activities can be found on its Blog.

Renée Owen (First Place)

Wild Kingdom

Mutual of Omaha blares from the TV. We hear Dad cussing in the kitchen, smell smoke and burnt pizza. Chef Boyardee from scratch, out of the box. Besides the hot dog slices on top, it's pretty awful. Mom, the real cook in the family, is nowhere to be found. She never lounges around with magazines or chocolates. She clips coupons, scrounges to give us pocket money, and still wears her old clothes from the 50's. With shoes I wouldn't be caught dead in. A near saint. But on Sunday nights, she abandons us. Unless Dad refuses to cook. Occasions highlighted by loud fighting and booze. Once she bashed his whole stereo on the concrete floor of the garage, then screamed bloody murder when he hit her. After Wild Kingdom, we always had Walt Disney to look forward to.

the eerie sound
of silence

Comments: Renée Owen is no stranger to the Jerry Kilbride Memorial English-Language Haibun Contests. Over a number of years, she has placed in one category or another offered by the Central Valley Haiku Club. Her haibun continue to evolve and meet the criteria we feel is important to haibun: the juxtaposition between the story being told and the haiku. It's like looking at a present. The box contains the story and the ribbon is the haiku that binds it all together. "Wild Kingdom" does just that.  


Lynn Edge (Second Place)

Main Street

parallel parking
in old downtown
I circle the block

This building was once Cole's Clothing, then a senior citizen center, now a restaurant. The waitress seats my husband and me by a window. Looking across the street, I study the vacant buildings. During the last fifty years, the business district moved to the by-pass, but I recall the names of the abandoned stores. The Specialty Shop. Wyatt's Jewelry. Sterling Drug Store.

boarded-up bank
the display clock
still at three

I can see the old movie theater on the next corner. My husband notices it also and reminisces, "When I was Scout Master, we walked twenty miles to earn a merit badge and see a movie. I had two black boys in the troop. They started going to the balcony, so the rest of us followed them up the stairs and sat in the balcony too."

wind shift
an old marquee
without any letters

Comments: Lynn's "Main Street" brought to all of us the main streets of our lives both past and present. For some of us, the main streets we're familiar with consist of the current cities or towns in which we live. If we're not native to it, we come to it by way of transfer due to a promotion or for relocation in search of a job or just a need for change. Some main streets go through structural and financial changes for the better; others, as in Lynn's "Main Street," are frozen in time, slowly eroding from the elements and neglect. While our main streets go through changes, their similarity lives our memories. Lynn's "Main Street" is reflective of that.

Anita Curran Guenin (Honorable Mention)


Lobster, at the end of the dock. That was the goal for my old friend and me. We drove down the narrow lanes of coastal Maine to a dockside restaurant, picked our crustaceans from a tank and waited. Soon we were seated at planked tables on a sheltered deck overlooking the bay. The lobster in a sweet bath of butter made our aging gall bladders twinge, but the day was beautiful and clear, sadness on hold for a brief moment. Her son had died.

shad still run
the river in spring
wild asparagus

Comments: How many of us have that one best friend we can rely on for forever? Anita's "Solace" reminds us of that special person we each know and on whom we can depend, crisis or not. A good meal and good company eases the sting of sadness. Her haiku reminds us life continues.