camera shy: a haibun

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Three photos have immortalised the birthday my mind cannot remember but will always be dear to me. The first photo was of me and my Tatay (father) who looks like a young TV actor with his Colgate-commercial-smile and polished moustache. My chubby, teenie tiny fingers were clinging tightly to his shirt, perhaps its instinct to know that someone who will keep me safe will be him. My eyes wide with fear, perhaps I’ve always hated the camera ever since.

The second photo was with my Nanay (mother) whose free-of-wrinkle face clearly wore her youth. She was wearing a loose shirt, her eyes mirroring my uncertainty, a feeling understandable for a woman who birthed a baby at her twenty.

The last one was me and the gifts I’ve received, I stood with the help of a walker as my knees are too weak to support my weight. I cannot remember the toys, the balloons, the cake, the guests, the clothes of that day. But with these photos I know one constant thing, I was loved and I am loved since the beginning.

Mem’ry of the first
birthday fades like rays of May—
only love remains.

08.04.2020
©2020 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
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For dVerse Haibun Monday: Birthday

 

our shining moment: a haibun

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A few days before this moment, online weather forecast reported not just rainfall but a thunderstorm. More than half of June was eaten by the summer sun, it should not be surprising if the Philippines’ monsoon is here to take its part of the pie. Still, palm to palm, my love and I send whispers every night before this day, asking for some sunshine.

I was not able to sleep that night, not because of nerves but because the camera crew and the makeup team have started to arrive as early as 2 o’clock in the morning. With surprise sighs, I watched the queen burning ball leaving its slumber, at 6 o’clock it has reached its full glory.

As my feet walk on the sand-aisle lined with baby’s breaths and asters, there were summer birds singing, some gentle waves crashing, but my favourite thing was his eyes, his Indian eyes, wet but smiling while waiting for me to reach him. I thank God for him, for this moment free of thunder and lightning.

Two lips utter vows
with glittered sea as witness—
tall, palm trees giggle.

06.23.2020
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For dVerse Traditional writing – on a shining topic! 

 

on aliens and cream borders: a haibun

Piet Mondrian. Broadway Boogie Woogie. 1942-43 | MoMA

Piet Mondrian, ‘Broadway Boogie Woogie, 1942-43, moma.org

More than a year I have been living inside this box with no divisions. Cream borders keep me company without judging my daily dancing alone and my full-hearted concerts on my own.

Identical squared-rooms from my right and left stood the same size as mine.  The closest left one is usually abandoned, an Airbnb available online. The room directly on my right has been occupied by another breath just a couple of weeks ago. We share the same rightful owner, but we remain nameless faces, after coming across each other once.

Wide glass window panes
taste the same April sky’s rage,
walls cage alien guests.

05.26.2020
©2020 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
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For dVerse Haibun Monday: Meet Piet .
For some reasons, the image above reminds me of my apartment. The many identical doors housing strangers side by side.

the garden of 17 syllables: a haibun for Basho

Five decades of wandering, in every step perhaps your heels planted seedlings of words, of love,  of wisdom, of life. So much of your history remains a hidden story. We’re you a slave, a samurai, a cook, a poet, or everything and more? We can read scrolls after scrolls but never can we know.

A beautiful name you gifted yourself, Basho, after your beloved word-artist Li Po which carries the tart taste of a white plum. But no, plum did not win over your favourite plant — banana. In 17 syllables you have transformed a pair of cotyledons to a blooming spring’s cherry blossom of poetry. Until Autumn came to dry your ink in a field of golden, lifeless weeds.

short fifty years of
singing cuckoos, sorrowed snows,
timeless lines remain.

04.28.2020
©2020 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
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For dVerse Haibun Monday 4/27/20: A Portrait of Two Masters
Basho’s last words:
旅に病んで夢は枯野をかけ廻る tabi ni yande / yume wa kareno wo / kake meguru
falling sick on a journey / my dream goes wandering / over a field of dried grass

so we think we’re smarter than God: a haibun

Once I have read the stars are becoming less visible more than ever. With human knowledge soaring higher and higher (I hope we will not find our specie crashing soon), our mortal hands (tainted with scarlet juice of many wars) have made our earth-based stars, letting our eyes and minds awake round the clock.

Last month I went to a remote village tucked inside the snow-covered arms of the Indian Himalayas, almost 10,000 feet above the sea. There, oh there, the hidden stars stripped bare in front of me. I am again reminded of how significant and insignificant my breath is, our breaths are. One day, warm oxygen. Another, floating with frozen air.

Blushed Mars giggles with
blinking February stars,
nothing beats His hands.

03.03.2020
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For dVerse Haibun Monday 3/2/2020: Mars
Whether it’s the God of War or the Red Planet, write your haibun that alludes to Mars.
Remember, a haibun is combination of prose and haiku. For the purposes of this prompt, the prose may be non-fiction or speculative. The haiku, while not needing to be in the 5-7-5 syllabic format, must include a kigo (season word) and present a complement of seemingly divergent images, such that there is a moment of insight. For more on haibun writing, click here.

thank you winter, for letting the spring in: a haibun

When I was young there was this Koreanovela titled Winter Sonata, a part of a series titled Endless Love. I was nine or maybe 10, innocent and clueless, but that was my first encounter with you— season of snowflakes and magic.

It has been more or less three decades and you remain a dream to me. To watch how your fairy flakes fall ever so slowly, from heaven to the waiting parched earth. How your tiny drops can eventually cover a city’s entire map. How you serve as natural soundproofing, silencing the murmurs of the earth for a few months.

While some links your beauty with gloom and doom (let’s face it, you can also be cruel), but as was written, “What’s essential is invisible to the eye”, we, we mere mortals were not able to witness the kingdom you protect behind your thick coating. We do not know that inside you sleep pregnant seeds and there you nurture them away from any predators. And how unselfishly you melt, little by little, vacating the streets and roads you conquered, knowing it’s time for births, and it’s time for you to go.

Under white blanket,
hide so patient, tender twigs.
Hello, spring sunshine.

02.04.2020
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For dVerse Haibun Monday 2/3/2020: Spring
Let’s put a little spring into our step today, shall we? Let’s spring into action. Or let’s just enjoy that first taste of spring. After all, Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early Spring on Ground Hog’s Day. Yesterday’s temperatures, at least in New York’s backyard, warmed to spring low temperatures.

find me inside this hodgepodge: a haibun

For some reasons, a year ending has never made me reflective. I always feel like my heart is sprinkled with pastel joy from December until the first few days of January. It is the time of rest, no, not really. It is the time of doing and travelling a lot, but not for salary, but for dear friends and family.

When the calendar leaf shifts from the last month of a finished year to the first one of a fresh new one, this is when I drown in nostalgia and melancholy. This is when I pause and ponder. This is when I sink into this familiar abyss of the unknown drowning me with questions like what have I done, what will I do next, why did I do this, how should I do this, how can I do this, and more.

As steady as the ebb and flow of the sea, my overthinking overpowers me every January. Perhaps because it is my birth month. Perhaps because it is another clean slate. And how carefully we carry things that are new and shiny, right? But perhaps, this feeling of being lost will be sweeter when the answers are found. This soft petal of fear will bear fruit as my roots sink deeper into this life’s fleeting ground. Perhaps.

Endings breathe restart,
these feet hang high yet again.
A new tough seed cracks.

01.07.2019
©2019 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
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For dVerse Beginning (again) – Haibun .

g o l d s m i t h ( a haibun )

Whenever I look back, I see the zigzag road of twists and turns, of ups and downs, my once proud heart has been through. I was a decorated student. My dad won’t walk with me in graduation ceremonies without a medal. His standard has been my fire. To excel. To be the best. To aim higher.

Whenever I look back, I realize those golden necklaces did nothing but bloat my ego and tire my soul. After college, they became more like a baggage than an honour. I was a Cum Laude (with honors) who can’t land a job for almost a year. A bright student who can’t pass her (many) final interviews.

Whenever I look back, I remember how His hands so holy carefully crack my pride and douse my smoke of arrogance. I remember the pain as my narcissistic temple crumble. I remember how with bowed neck, medals removed, feet blistered, heart surrendered, I learned His goodness and grace as I waited for Him to transform me into a humble, pure gem.

Calloused rock battered,
crushed, melted with brutal flame.
Gold birthed in waiting.

11.27.2018
©2018 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
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For dVerse Haibun Monday: Waiting

calendar leaves

One year ago I dived into another job, left the comfort of the four corners of a white room filled with the smell of fresh news and sweet scent of deadline sweats. With closed fists and shut eyes, I took a leap away from comfort to embrace the unknown new.

Now here we go again.

My soul sifts the autumn’s apple fume slowly succumbing to the mint breeze of winter. My bare feet moving inch per inch towards another cliff too stiff for me to see the bottom cloaked in dead black pitch. My ears can hear the soft crackles of January crackers and a faint love song of June’s giggling sea.

Dry calendar leaves
falling with each dusk and dawn.
Brave breaths ebb and flow.

10.30.2018
©2018 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
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For dVerse Haibun Monday – Transitions.

m y c a r r i e r

Elevated eyes can see the throngs of the wheeled machines this morning. Like row of soldiers, though not marching nor moving under the 9 a.m. sun burning.

Feet need not to tiptoe to see the jeepneys, cars, and buses, wearing the colors of the vibrant Philippines, yet tainted with the grey blanket of Manila’s dust and dirt. Honking to complain of the many minutes wasted, as if noise can widen the paved yet narrow road.

After a few steps from the rusted footbridge to the equally rugged jeep destined to be my carrier today, I embarked on my own journey to start the day’s routine. Perhaps, vehicles are armies with different passengers and captains.

Tired rubber wheels screech
against sunbathed, asphalt road,
destination reached.

10.02.2018
©2018 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
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For dVerse Haibun Monday: Murmuration.