Haiku: Snake Eyes

I’ve been to Las Vegas once when I was a young man. I played Texas Hold’em my first night there, and finally walked away from the poker table with an extra $200 in my pocket.

Right before I left the casino, I decided it would be a good idea to bolster my profits at the craps table. After about fifteen minutes, my hard-won earnings had dwindled down considerably. Finally, it was my turn to roll, and I wagered the last of my chips. I rolled a two – an outcome that is also known as snake eyes because the two dots just kind of stare upward from the table like beady little eyes. The odds of that outcome are 1/36, and it results in a loss for the shooter.

Oh well. Easy come, easy go. I went outside onto the main drag, and a guy I didn’t know walked right up to me and said, “See that?”

“See what?” I had to ask.

He pointed in an upward direction and said, “You can tell how your luck’s gonna go if you watch the sky at night. It’s my night tonight.” He took a $100 chip from the Bellagio out of his pocket and held it up. “That’s all the money I got left in the world.”

“Maybe you should just cash it in and buy some groceries,” I suggested.

“It’s too late for that. I’m gonna let it all ride tonight,” he said as he walked away.

“Huh,” I said, looking up into the night sky. All I could see was a neon haze.

I made it a point to look for that guy whenever I was out on the Strip, but I never saw him again. Sometimes I still wonder how his luck turned out that night. I imagine it didn’t turn out well, but you never know. Anyway, I wrote a haiku about the experience. Enjoy.

abstract_2008012618-1113int.eps

 

fortunes coalesce

in the gaudy neon haze

snake eyes pierce my soul

Haibun: On Being Still.

This is a haibun I wrote that was first published in December of 2017 in a quarterly journal called, Haibun Today. Just a quick refresher – a haibun consists of a prose segment accompanied by a haiku. The editor, Ray Rasmussen, really helped me through the revision process so that I could get the haiku portion up to par. He suggested I abandon the 5-7-5 syllable count in favor of a more streamlined form. The only criteria was that the haiku had to be three lines, and the total syllable count could not exceed seventeen. This style is becoming the preferred method in English haiku.

Ray Rasmussen is a master of the English haibun form, as are many of the authors who appear in the journal. I was just happy to be along for the ride. Haibun Today is one of my favorite journals, and it is absolutely free to read. Just go to haibuntoday.com and you’re in.

So, here’s my work. Questions, comments, criticisms are always welcome.

pexels-photo-68629

Hawkelson Rainier
On Being Still

The old timer pays me for the work I did on his roof and offers me a cold beer. I tell him, “Thanks, but I better get going.” At the end of his lot there’s a wooded area – towering oaks and maples. Just beyond the trees I hear it – the drone of the interstate. It sounds angry, like a huge hornet nest that was pelted with rocks.

I say, “A cold beer does sound pretty good, after all.” He brings out a couple, and we sit on lawn chairs and are quiet for a minute. Semper Fi is tattooed on his right arm, and I wonder if it was Korea or Vietnam where he got that faraway look in his eyes.

“My daughter thinks I should put the house up for sale,” he says after awhile. “Wants me to move to a retirement community in Tampa.”

“What do you think?” I say.

“I think I’ll just hunker down here and live out my days.”

We click our beer bottles together, and we each take a good draw. The talk turns to baseball, and the frenzied world pulses by.

long shadows –
water droplets condense
on beer bottles

A Quick Thanks

Thank you

I started this blog about four months ago on a lark.  I don’t have a social media presence, but every week I seem to gain a new follower or two.  It means a lot to me to have this audience.  It helps keep me focused and enthusiastic, and it is starting to pay dividends.  I’ve become more prolific as a writer, and I feel like I’m finally beginning to understand the craft on a deeper level.

Maybe some of you recall my Haibun posts from a few months ago.  Well, the positive feedback I got from the Word Press community inspired me to submit another piece of my own to a journal called, Haibun Today.  It was accepted, and it is currently up in the December 2017 online issue.  If you’re at all interested in a literary form that combines prose with haiku, I encourage you to check out the publication.  It’s free, and the selections are outstanding. You can find it at: http://www.haibuntoday.com/

So, thank you to everyone who tunes in to my humble blog. This is a great community, and I’m lucky to be part of it.

-Hawkelson

Introduction to Haibun

I just got into reading haibun.  Like, really into it – the way people got into The Sopranos, and Breaking Bad.  A couple of months ago I didn’t even know what it was. To me, the word sounded like something you would call an exotic fish, e.g. I’m going haibun fishing this weekend.

It turns out it’s actually a literary form that originated in Japan hundreds of years ago.  It’s difficult to sum it up in a few words, but I’ll try.  The form combines prose and haiku.    Typically, the haiku follows a prose narrative, but that’s not always the case.  I’ve seen the haiku sandwiched between two paragraphs, and I’ve seen it appear at the very beginning.  I’ve also seen multiple haikus in a single piece. Of course, my experience is limited to English language haibun because I never got around to learning Japanese (slacker).

The thing that is really interesting about this literary form is the relationship between the two distinct components.  The haiku isn’t simply appended to the narrative as a festive little garnish – it illuminates some aspect of the prose that wasn’t apparent at first.  Sometimes the haiku offers a resolution to the narrative, sometimes it presents an alternative interpretation, or even a refutation.  It can add a dose of irony, or humor, or sorrow – anything at all.  And if the haibun is extremely well written, the prose and the poetry will unite in a literary symbiosis that will explode your mind.

Haibun is such a fascinating form, and I’ve only begun to scratch the surface.  If you’d like to see what it’s all about, Contemporary Haibun Online, and Haibun Today are two excellent publications.  Their archives are free to view, and they offer some great selections.

Of course, I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring and try it out.  I’ll tell you what – writing haibun is not like taking candy from a baby.  It’s more like taking a freshly killed wildebeest from a hungry pride of lions.  If you’d like to read one of my early attempts you can find it below. I titled it, Ones and Zeroes.  This one has a decidedly Sci Fi feel to it.

Also, if anyone has a haibun they’d like to share with me, let me know.  I’d love to read it.  And if you like this blog, feel free to let others interested in creative writing know about it.

Take care, and keep writing.

-Hawk

sorry3

   Ones and Zeroes

It’s not just the usual conspiracy theorists wearing tinfoil hats who are talking about this.  There are professors from elite universities – people with I.Q.s as big as busses – who believe our entire universe is a simulation being run inside some kind of alien super computer.

They say it’s all numbers – binary code whirring beneath the surface.  They say they’ve seen the equations woven into the fabric of our reality.  More precisely, the equations are the fabric of our reality, and the rest is only a clever veneer.  Your memories, hopes, dreams, fears, regrets, all of it . . . ones and zeroes.

there were some cutbacks

simulation 86ed

sorry and goodbye