Magpie Tales: Suspended

image by Martin Stranka

image by Martin Stranka

like a flapjack bought at a highway store
undressed from plastic on a flat top
and ejected at a reststop
I found freedom to cruise

crushed by second hand truckers on table tops
numbed by the candy I had to suck
leftover from someone’s pockets
I had to choose

barefoot on route 66
if I make it to the west coast
before 5 o’clock
you can have my ass

San Fransisco’s Golden Gate
on the back of a Harley Davidson
or maybe it was all a dream
flushed down a toilet at the rest stop

another coffee at the counter
another evening wasted almost masturbated
in this small town that’s just a dot
on a map at an old egg yoke pitstop

 

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for magpie tales

FF 100W FF: A Hand Down Under

“And now ladies and gentlemen, our next item, ‘A vessel,‘ painted by  I. M. Juoekin. Who’ll start at five hundred pounds, anyone?”

copyright_bw_beacham

“That’s a feckin’ shoppin’ cart mate!” the Australian next to me said, his accint almost getting the better of him.

“Are you making a bid, sir?” came the frosty voice back from the podium.

Too feckin right I am, ten pounds, ye pommie baasterd!” the Australian said, loudly.

“If you’d looked carefully, sir,” said Frosty, “you’dve seen a hand with paintbrush sticking up from the sand painting the cart.”

“Hand, whose hand?” sneered Aussie.

“The painter’s, sir.”

“How?”

“Nobody knows. He was never seen again.”

____________________________

For Friday Fictioneers

indomitably run by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields – photo B W  Beacham

 

Carpe Diem 2nd Ghost-Writer Week, Jen’s Tanaga

Jen at Blog It Or Lose It has introduced us to a new form, the Tanaga. Jen says that:

“Some sources call the Tanaga a “Filipino Haiku”, but that isn’t quite accurate.  Like an English haiku, the Tanaga counts syllables.  Unlike the haiku, the pattern is four lines of 7 syllables each (7-7-7-7).

The biggest difference is that the Tanaga rhymes; it has a pattern of AABB.  In addition, ancient Tanagas were handed down through oral history and contain advice.”

In addition to Tanaga, she provided a thought-inspiring tale. I shall have to do the same, and provide you here a retold, by me, tale of the Diving Woman of Oiso Bay, Japan!

A certain knight by the name of Takadai Jiro became ill in the town of Kamakura, where he had been on duty, and was advised to spend the hot month of August at Oiso, to give himself perfect rest, peace, and quietness.

Having obtained permission to do this, Takadai Jiro lost settled himself down in a small inn which faced the sea. As soon as he had secured his room he threw off his clothes and went down to bathe. Takadai was a good swimmer, and plunged into the sea without fear, going out for nearly half-a-mile. There, however, misfortune overtook him. He was seized with a violent cramp and began to sink. A fishing-boat sculled by a man with his diving-girl daughter happened to see him and went to the rescue.

The girl jumped overboard and swam to the spot where he had disappeared, and, having dived deep, brought him to the surface, holding him there until the boat came up, when by the united efforts of herself and her father Takadai was hauled on board.

Before they had reached the shore, Takadai saw that his saviour was a beautiful ama (diving-girl). Such beauty he had never seen. Takadai was in love with his brave saviour before the boat had grounded on the pebbly beach. Determined in some way to repay the kindness he had received, Takadai helped to haul their boat up the steep beach and then to carry their fish and nets to their little thatched cottage, where he thanked the girl for her noble and gallant act in saving him, and congratulated her father on the possession of such a daughter. Having done this, he returned to his inn.

From that time on the soul of Takadai knew no peace. Love of the maddest kind was on him. There was no sleep for him at night, for he saw nothing but the face of the beautiful diving-girl, whose name (he had ascertained) was Kinu. Try as he might, he could not for a moment put her out of his mind. In the daytime it was worse, for O Kinu was not to be seen, being out at sea with her father, diving for the haliotis shell and others; and it was generally the dusk of evening before she returned, and then, in the dim light, he could not see her.

At last his love grew so great that he could endure it no longer. He felt that at all events it would be a relief to declare it. So he took his most confidential servant into the secret, and despatched him with a letter to the fisherman’s cottage. O Kinu San did not even write an answer, but told the old servant to thank his master in her behalf for his letter and his proposal of marriage. ‘Tell him also,’ said she, ‘that no good could come of a union between one of so high a birth as he and one so lowly as I.

 ‘I will wait a day or two,’ thought Takadai. ‘Now that Kinu knows of my love, she may think of me, and so become anxious to see me. I will keep out of the way. Perhaps then she will be as anxious to see me as I am to see her.’

Takadai kept to his own room for the next three days, believing in his heart that O Kinu must be pining for him. On the evening of the fourth day he wrote another letter to O Kinu, more full of love than the first, despatched his old servant, and waited patiently for the answer.

When O Kinu was handed the letter she laughed and said: ‘Truly, old man, you appear to me very funny, bringing me letters. This is the second in four days, and never until four days ago have I had a letter addressed to me in my life. It is difficult for me to understand. If you gave my message to your master correctly he could not fail to know that I could not marry him. His position in life is far too high. Is your master quite right in his head?’

‘Yes: except for the love of you, my young master is quite right in his head; but since he has seen you he talks and thinks of nothing but you, until even I have got quite tired of it, and earnestly pray to Kwannon daily that the weather may get cool, so that we may return to our duties at Kamakura. For three full days have I had to sit in the inn listening to my young master’s poems about your beauty and his love. Oh, do marry him, so that we shall all be happy and go out fishing every day and waste no more of this unusual holiday.’

‘You are a selfish old man,’ answered O Kinu. ‘Would you that I married to satisfy your master’s love and your desire for fishing? I have told you to tell your master that I will not marry him, because we could not, in our different ranks of life, become happy. Go and repeat that answer.’

Poor Takadai! This time he was distressed, for the girl had even refused to meet him. What was he to do? He wrote one more imploring letter, and also spoke to O Kinu’s father; but the father said, ‘Sir, my daughter is all I have to love in the world: I cannot influence her in such a thing as her love. Moreover, all our diving-girls are strong in mind as well as in body, for constant danger strengthens their nerves: they are not like the weak farmers’ girls.

Takadai’s heart was broken. There was nothing more that he could say and nothing more that he could do. Bowing low, he left the fisherman and retired forthwith to his room in the inn, much to the consternation of his servant. Takadai that evening wrote a last note to Kinu, and as soon as the villagers of Oiso were asleep he arose and went to the cottage, slipping the note under the door. Then he went to the beach, and, after tying a large stone to a rope and to his neck, he got into a boat and rowed himself about a hundred yards from shore, where he took the stone in his arms and jumped overboard.

Next morning O Kinu was shocked to read in the note that Jiro Takadai was to kill himself for love of her. She rushed down to the beach, but could see only an empty fishing-boat some three or four hundred yards from shore, to which she swam. There she found Takadai’s tobacco box and his juro (medicine box).  She began to dive, and was not long before she found the body, which she brought to the surface, after some trouble on account of the weight of the stone which the arms rigidly grasped. O Kinu took the body back to shore, where she found Takadai’s old servant wringing his hands in grief.

The body was taken back to Kamakura, where it was buried. O Kinu was sufficiently touched to vow that she would never marry any one. True, she had not loved Takadai; but he had loved, and had died for her. If she married, his spirit would not rest in peace.

No sooner had O Kinu mentally undertaken this generous course than a strange thing came to pass.

Sea-gulls, which were especially uncommon in Oiso Bay, began to swarm into it; they settled over the exact spot where Takadai had drowned himself. Fishermen thought it extraordinary; but Kinu knew well enough that the spirit of Takadai must have passed into the gulls, and for it she prayed regularly at the temple, and out of her small savings built a little tomb sacred to the memory of Takadai Jiro.

Kinu died by drowning in a severe typhoon some nine years later than Takadai; and from that day the sea-gulls disappeared.

the way to a woman’s heart
is not the flight of a dart
but more of a labyrinth
of completely unknown length

FF 100 Word Stories – The Way We Were…

 

He died in Afghanistan.

I was always the wild one, but you know what they say about opposites attract. He used to read me beautiful poetry. I used to shout slogans for our cause. He bailed me out of jail. I’d told him we deserved a bailing out party.

“Your pompous patriach and his anti feminist flunky are gone for two days!” I told him.

Probably my idea to put toothpaste in the  ice cream too, and then to have the ice cream fight.”That’s the last straw!” his mother had shouted, arriving home. “The military for you, son!” said his father. Wrong war, you bastard. 

melting-wax-renee-heath femenFor FF 100W stories – run admirably by Rochelle  picture by the incomparable  Renee – extra picture of ”narrator” taken of a FEMEN  activist for women’s rights, on location, the only ‘Feminista’ group I wholeheartedly support.

Carpe Diem Haiku, Photographing

Ye gods, what a difficult prompt, that others will as usual take in their stride! I saw some beautiful haiku in yesterday’s prompt, here (Maniparna), here (Gillena) and here (Celestine). But also here (Ese) and many more…

‘Photographing’ seems tough. What clever imagery could we evoke? Striking the right balance in a haiku is difficult, and I think I’m going to find a vintage Japanese photograph to sprinkle with words.

geisha+hairstyle+portrait+2

photographing
a dream makes me
dream

Carpe Diem Haiku Special, Soen Nakagawa’s “boundless autumn”

All the haiku by Soen Nakagawa have a strong, deeper, Zen layer and in this one Zen is also clearly in there. The goal of this CD Special is to write a haiku in the same sense, tone and spirit as the one by the featured haiku-poet, seen just below.


endless is my vow
under the azure sky
boundless autumn

Here is my effort.

under a great blue sky
Mongolian grasslands promise freedom
the wolf howls

Latest from Līgo Haībun!

Fly Indie bookshop, in conjunction with 

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Williamson Books

a small publishing company, is collecting haibun for an upcoming haibun anthology.to be published in early summer.  Please visit here, where more details will be published shortly, as well as this blog site.

We are currently open for submissions. Please click on details on ‘About Haibun‘ in the link if you are not sure about requirements.

DRAWINGS/PHOTOGRAPHS  We are in need of artwork and photographs too. Be aware that in many ebook versions and possibly on the paperback version this will be rendered in black and white!

If your work is accepted, payment will be equal distribution of profits if this sum exceeds GBP500.00, and an automatic free copy of ebook. All paperbacks purchased by haibun contributors will be sold to them at cost, which is at about a 70% reduction on the listing price. Haibun authors are then free to resell these with no restrictions. Should minimum profits cover paperback costs then 1 free paperback will be allocated to each contributor.

Un-published material only please. Haibun previously published on a blog will be happily considered pending the publishing date, and upon agreement that the haibun be deleted from the blog upon acceptance All rights revert back to the artist after publication. All writing should be in Times New Roman, 12 point font, 1.5 line spaced, by pdf file.  Please include a five-line bio.

All submissions should be sent to williamson@flyindie.today

or by skype to fly.indie

Thanks!

Carpe Diem Haibun – Raindrop

Everyone remembers rain. I think rugby players have a special affinity for rain, when it is pouring down, and you are losing by 2, or 3 points, with as many minutes left to play. Chests are heaving after a break in play, trying, fighting to get oxygen and energy in, and vapour is rising in steam.

The rain pours, the drops skirting eyelids, sliding on the vaseline smeared there if you are a forward, part of the pack, but not noticed anyway. The captain making a secret signal, ball in hand, ready to take the free kick, the referee about to blow his whistle for the kick to be taken, but checking his watch anyway.

The ball about to be tapped, then thrown like a bullet into my chest, where I must grab it and hold, and be pushed over the line to get those 5 points. Must not fumble that slippery ball, or tumble when my team hit from behind to shove me over the line, as the other team line up, ready.

Then my team mate sees the butterfly in our path. Breaks away, scoops it up carefully, runs to a woman with an umbrella, watching, puts the butterfly on her arm. The referee looks on, bemused, then blows the whistle. The ball slaps into my sodden chest in the pouring rain. We charge, hit, hard.

But the butterfly is safe.

in the monsoon
one raindrop lands
on a butterfly

I learnt something that day. And life goes on.

If Jesus Was a Woman (For Magpie Tales)

el greco feast-in-the-house-of-simon 1610 (1)


Feast in the House of Simon, 1610, El Greco

If Jesus was a woman
and not a lesbian
Would there still be feminism?
Would religion start to make sense to me?
And would she have worn a bra?

Could she possibly have had
better hair?
Along with line in fine lingerie
for those seeking salvation
in the arms of a woman

Would her twelve disciples have been women too?
Would they have cross-dressed
or simply just had more style?
And would she have hung from the cross?

And would Peterina
Upon arrival in Rome
have been hung upside down?

If the Buddha had been all-woman
would she have sat under tree so long?

If Stalin had been a little girl
from somewhere deep in the Urals
would the gulags have functioned so well?

Its only Mick Jagger
that would remain the same
if history could be changed
To be herstory
And of course me
Though then
I would be une Lesbienne
-as I secretly am

magpie tales statue stamp 185

Somewhere (for wedrinkbecausewerepoets.com)

there’s a place
in my past
that I passed by
with a smile
when I should have stopped
and taken that turning

perhaps then I would not
have dropped
swatted like a fly
and instead I would have hovered above
like an eagle dressed as dove
pretended to care
for the welfare
of those with too much love

I would have worn fur coats
paid politicians to sit in my pockets
employed slaves
for my factories
and from my big fat car
I would always gaze afar
and learn to ignore
those polluted streets

but as I look back on that place
somewhere in the past
at a crossroads in my life
I’m still glad I chose me
even if they stole my dream, in those years in-between

For I still feel the taste of victory
despite it all
they never destroyed my home
never droned
me, never bombed in shock and awe
and instead just took my health
slowly
bit by bit
those criminal corporatist rich
and their itch
for more of what I do not have

And I’m still
alive

crossroads

wedrinkbecausewe’repoets

Ligo Haibun Challenge – Image Week

Thanks to everyone participating in the Ligo Haibun Challenge – if you would like you can post your haibun at Medium here, and label it under the “Beautiful Haibun” collection. This gives you further readership and gives you a step out of the ‘WordPress world.’

My apologies for the lateness of the post this week. I was a bit exhausted after travel and duties, and have a lot of catching up to do. There are a lot of fine people out there and I don’t want to lose them…so I will be catchng up, especially as I want the Ligo anthology out soon – so send your haibun!

I will be contacting folks very shortly about their haibun – that probably means you reading this!

This week is picture week. As usual choose one to write your Beautiful Haibun. I certainly encourage all glancing here to have a read of the haibun, which are of very high quality in an art form that in itself encourages beautiful writing.

If you are new to the form ask here for details..

H167F40-Product-Productfront-1000X1000Cropped

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Please give us some beautiful haibun! Link up with the blue critter below..

http://goo.gl/KAbZf4

Ligo Haibun Challenge – Word Prompt

…Here’s 3 haibun we particularly liked from last week  and are mentioning here:

After two hours yesterday and nearly an hour today, I still cannot and will not nominate one over the other. The haibun are all so good for both very similar and different reasons.

See what I mean….

The prompts for this week are continued

 

The Heat Is On!

Well here we go, my first foray into marketing. I’m laying down the tools, the brass hammer and stamp used to tap peoples’ names and messages into copper amulets and bangles I design, and the pen for the notes I take in-between.

My rifle is hanging up where my coat should be and I set no traps. It is going to be tough moving from sustenance-living to using invisible money (a card issued by the bank) to buy meat wrapped in plastic from the shop.

Its hard to sell though, when one is used to giving things away. But marketing takes time, and the time spent finding food and preparing fishing nets is now to be spent creating awareness about my book, which might lead to selling a copy or two, which means I’ll be able to queue up in the supermarket. Its a strange world.

I keep thinking of that coffee chain, you know that one, and that a good read is as satisfying as a good coffee, which taste so much better from my kettle over an open fire, the beans ground Ethiopian style than it does in that chain.

A good read lasts longer, much longer though, for the same price. My book might not be a good read for all, but it will change my readers, that is for sure.

Its coming out on Amazon and Kobo soon, and surely on ibooks as well, then the paperback will follow shortly. I’ll be giving some copies away of course, thus this post: so here goes with the marketing!

I’ll pose 2 questions every day or so at this first attempt, and the 3 people with the highest amount of correct answers each get a free copy. That’s questions over 21 days, though not every day. I’ll give the answers to the very hard kickoff questions in about 5 days, meaning next Wednesday.

Some questions will be factual, as below, and some won’t, meaning they’ll be guesswork, as below.

  • So here’s the first question. Which republic inside the Russian Federation is the biggest? (Russia is a mix of republics and oblasts.
  • Here’s the second question. If I wasn’t here in Lappland, beyond the Arctic Circle, which region of the world would I like to be? Countries and physical descriptions accepted.

I’ll check your answers before displaying them, so others cannot copy you.

Best of luck!

Now, where is that can opener, and how do you open cans anyway?

northern-light-31

Friday Fictioneers 100 Word Fiction – The Invisible Man

adamickes-childsbootsThe invisible man is known to us all though precious few admit it. He’s the one we ask for advice when we need it the most, the one we say goodnight to, though there are some who keep him up all night by their pillow in vain. He’s sometimes behind you and not gone when you spin around, but then why would he care?

Some call him their absent friend and others mistake him for a lover, and ignore his childish nature. You’d think, though, that he’d get bored hiding the car keys, and remote, and reading glasses after all these years, wouldn’t you…?

………………..

For Friday Fictioneers, run by the admirable Rochelle - photo this week by Adam Ickes

A Writer’s Lair ~ Lappland

When I used to teach Creative Writing I sometimes would have the students troop of out of classroom or lecture hall into a nearby forest or field, just after the first snow had fallen, or at least a good frost, or when a coating of thin ice had covered grasses and branches. They were not allowed to wear coats or gloves, and I’d have them plunge their hand into the snow for a minute, or breakthrough the ice over puddles.

Then I’d tell them to write their last letter to the world. Some would be shivering. But all would write – and fast – creativity used to come crystal clear. On most occasions these student would be using English not as their mother tongue, but as a second, or third language. Most could knock off a few pages in minutes. I would walk around the group that I would scatter far and wide throughout the forest, motivating them by telling them how cold they felt, how their fingers were getting numb (they were) and how they had to get their ideas out on page before it became more and more difficult to write.

I prefaced these sessions by looking at Scott of the Antarctic’s last letter, or a meditation exercise, or other features, before going outside.

When the students read their ‘letters’ at a later date, some of the material was quite emotional.

For those who want to write, have the will to write, need to, have to, breathe to, but still get blocked, there is sometimes no other way than to put one’s self into a position where only by concentrating on the given story and getting it out onto paper brings warmth. Forcing the story that you know is there out of you.

This winter I am heading north again to Lappland, to live as the Sámi did, in a tipi for as long as I think will be beneficial. There its write or..well, there is no ‘or’ in these conditions. Writing is the only way to escape the cold. And the book must come, or defeat stares back, numbing defeat, mixed with the plunging cold. My method is not madness, as you instinctively know – those who know that the novel is not merely scribbled out onto paper, or tapped onto screen over a pre-planned duration of something commonly known as time. You already know the toll. The difference here is to keep the turmoil physical as much as possible, so that mentally, it flows – instead of the normal opposite when writing.

So buy a thick sleeping bag, the kind that can see you to a mountain top in the Himalayas. You will need dried foods, a small burner, a mattress, animal skin or straw, tea bags, coffee, pens and paper, gloves with fingers, a spade – the spade is to ensure the ‘floor’ of your tipi has two levels, so that the cold air settles down at a lower level than where you are. Lastly you will need candles or torches. Candles are extremely dangerous for obvious reasons. There is no daylight for the winter months in northern Lappland. This works to your advantage, but it is often more motivating to write in the beginning of the year, when daylight slowly creeps back for a few more minutes every day; somehow that fits well with the progress of your work.

arcticphoto.co.uk

Try it. Or try it with me. The productivity and creativity reaches record-breaking levels. And yep, it hurts. But is there one writer among you who can say it doesn’t; whatever approach we use to get the best, the very best work out?

jokkmokkguiderna.com

Sámi in summertime (source local)

Sámi tipi in summer