the most wonderful time of the year

The d’Verse prompt is to write about a city at night and I’ve chosen to post a haibun about something that happened to my wife and I 31 years ago in December.

The apartment is mostly barren still. No lights or tree. Too poor and my girlfriend Diane too sick. It’s only been two weeks since the Addison’s diagnosis and immediate hospitalization from the endocrinologist’s office. Death was close then. I ask her what’s wrong. She feels light-headed. Drive me to the ER. She sits up and passes out. I call 911. The EMT’s arrive. She lays in bed talking. I hover and watch. I notice them exchange puzzled glances then panicked ones. Diane notices too. She asks them what is wrong. One blurts out, “Ma’am, I don’t how to say this, but you have no pulse and no blood pressure but you are talking to us!” Diane answers with typical snark that she’s obviously not dead. I ride in back of the ambulance. I have no way back home now. If she dies I want to be there. They find a pulse, it’s been nearly thirty minutes. She falls unconscious. Siren wailing, over the Q-Bridge, New Haven night skyline lit up for Christmas.

black harbor water
stars pivot magnetic north
snow still days away


walking in Paris

This Monday for the haibun prompt, there are two choices. Memorable birthday and/or a full or super moon.

After dinner, the sun sets, clear night sucks the radiant city heat skywards. Cold north wind seeks exposed skin. I walk with Diane back to the Palais de Chaillot at the Trocadéro. In Montmatre, Sacré-Cœur gleams in resplendent white, full moon balanced delicately on the spire. The golden Tour sweeps darkening air with majestic dignity. Japanese tourists click non-stop, African migrants hawk souvenirs. Aggressive arguments, police merely watch. As I walk down Rue Benjamin Franklin, Diane at my side, Eiffel’s monument to progress teases with glimpses shrouded by buildings.

stark limbs denuded
nests clustered on slim branches
autumn yields slowly

Esplanade of the Palais de Chaillot.

Esplanade of the Palais de Chaillot.

over the Thames to link millenniums

The flat cool light of October when desperate shadows feared of winter’s grip waver pallidly and slink into corners. I lag behind as she strides ahead over the Millennium Bridge towards the Tate Modern Museum to meet friends. Crouched at the foot of the tawny brick tower of the former power station is Louise Bourgeois’ 30-foot tall spider called “Maman”: a riveting ribbed bronze sculpture with marble eggs in stainless steel meshed sac. The sluggish tidal river below teems with traffic, pleasure craft, tourists agog – camera shutter constant winking – barges laden with stone and coal, from upstream a whoop-whoop of River Police seeking violators. Southwark sprawls ahead, the borough of red-light sin, the haunt of the Bard, his ever present ghost seeks next hit play. Desperate poverty starved of attention. The City wealth glitters in spun webs of commerce on the near shore. It draws back fastidiously from the stink of unwashed masses.

exposed noisome muck
wormed pilings herring gulls perch
discarded lunch feast

Millennium Bridge, London Oct. 2007

Millennium Bridge, London Oct. 2007

For d’Verse this Halloween the prompt bridge is to write about a bridge as a first person.

I also wrote a free verse poem about a bridge for the Daily Post prompt called “I strain daily to reach You” two days ago.

a cold day in Paris

The poetry prompt is contemporary cityscape for Haibun Monday at d’Verse poetry pub, but shaken not stirred with non-traditional form. I chose the fib.

A Line 6 train of the Paris Métro pulling into Passy station from the east off the Pont de Bir-Hakeim in Oct. 2007.

A Line 6 train of the Paris Métro pulling into Passy station from the east off the Pont de Bir-Hakeim in Oct. 2007.

My wife and I check out. Hurry downstairs across the street to the café. He is waiting outside, a black man, we are white, we embrace. A poet friend met through my blog. An interview through coffee: he leaves for work, we have a train to catch. Around the circle to Rue de l’Alboni, past the swirling traffic and the blinking green cross. I hold her hand. I always thought New York was a fast city, but Paris… ah… the Gallic shrug, just this once, being an Ugly American would be justified. Instead, I smile and pull my leather jacket closer. I love trains. I walk east down the platform. The light is crisp, the iron work and glass, all sharp angles: I pause where the overhang meets the stone lattice on the building across the tracks. All the vertical and horizontal lines: I wait for the carriages. Rubber wheels silent.

reveals Tour Eiffel
wrought iron dominates bright sky

why is everything so high up?

Another Sunday morning: time for the weekly ritual. I arrive early, early enough to beat the crowds. I enter the doors, list in hand, select a shopping cart and cut my way through the aisles as if lives were at stake. I nod to employees – I’m an alumnus in good standing – never slowing down until I arrive at the olive oil. She’s dressed for church, coming or going is unknown and can’t reach the top shelf. In my mind we chat about the differentiation of extra and plain old virgin. In actuality she thanks me and calls me young man. I guess over eighty-years old, everyone is young. I pack the bags in the back seat.

talons seek breakfast
also called the fish eagle
sun reaches zenith

This Haibun Monday the prompt is extraordinary days at d’Verse poets pub.



winds of change: Nov. 10, 2015

Partly cloudy gave way to clear air at sunset. The last of the doors locked, alarm set, temperature slowly slid from the high of 84 degrees, 29 Celsius. The black vehicle interior hot, AC blasted, joined the parade homeward bound, headlights on, only a forty-five minute commute. Planned in my head Wednesday’s schedule, the customers to contact, the vendors to order, the staff to manage: did not know I would never return there to work. The driveway was dark. The house was dark. The change I had dreaded for 30 years was at hand. She was on the couch, alive, but in severe pain from a shattered left ankle seven hours prior. Her phone was out of reach. The change from full-time employee to full-time caretaker had begun.

red overtakes blue
sky rotates into black void
two days to new moon

Haibun Monday at d’Verse Poets prompts to write about changes and how they affect life.

My wife has had Type I diabetes for 45-years, on an insulin pump for 15-years and on nightly peritoneal dialysis for nearly two years. She spent three weeks in the hospital during the first ankle surgery, was released, fell at home the next week and broke the same ankle again. Another three weeks for surgery and complications followed by daily home nursing visits and medications over the next six months. She started walking in July and I started writing again. As changes go, it’s turned out to be a plus.

Puck runs amuck

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” unfolded before my overloaded teenage senses. The open air amphitheater at the American Players Theater in Spring Green, Wisconsin was transformed into a magical fairyland. The woods pressed close to the multi-tiered stage, the actors were strewn across a 180-degree arc as they bounced and pranced through an enchanted evening among chiffon and colored lanterns. Above the audience, in the still and humid night, clouds scudded by, stars occluded then released in a sudden shower of ancient light swung low to graze the treetops. A distant storm over the horizon roiled with unheard flashes. Applause and laughter drew a tight perimeter and closed out the shy things that roamed the dark wild.

nighthawk answered call
Luna moth helpless flutter
shooting star flared bright

Click here for the Night sky haibun prompt at dVerse Poets Pub.