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A Journal of Haibun & Tanka Prose
Bob Lucky, General Editor & Ray Rasmussen, Technical Editor
January 2020 Vol. 15 No. 4

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John Budan

Desolation Outhouse

It was still dark when we started the climb up to the tower where John’s friend Jack Kerouac spent a season as a lookout. Before we started, John presented me with a copy of The Dharma Bums signed by the author. The book was special because we had mutual friends who were portrayed in the book while John himself appeared as the character Morley. I slipped the precious book into my daypack along with a few granola bars.

By noon, we reached an alpine meadow sprinkled with bistort, lupine, and aster. There were abundant white-tailed ptarmigan and a cougar from twenty feet as the structure finally loomed into view.

After trying to comprehend the misty views of Mt. Spickard, Hozomeen, and Skagit Peak, I dashed to the tiny outhouse.

I glanced down into the dark pit. One of the most influential books of my generation lay half buried in foul smell…toilet tissue clinging to its soaked surface. I closed my backpack quickly and left.

The clear blue dot of Ross Lake far below was a four-hour hike and the thought of cold beer was inviting.

even wildflowers
on misty slopes
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