Haiku Today 2015.04.01 — Not Just the Tip

Puente del Incas - Los Penitentes - Mendoza - Argentina
(Image credit: Cícero R. C. Omena)

imprisoned
chili verde, cheese —
delicious tomb

 


 

It is a little-known fact that during the the height of the Inca Empire in Mesoamerica, a stranger appeared in a boat on the shores of a vast lake nestled between Peru and Bolivia, at the foot of the Andes mountains. The civilized peoples who found this half-starved, angelic barbarian took a liking to him immediately, thinking that he was a wayward emissary from a powerful god.

Who wouldn’t find themselves enamored with a salty crust of blue-eyed, blonde-haired outlander?

So the citizens of the local village took this stranger in, and tried to communicate with him to find out how he came to be on the shore of an inland body of water — perhaps he had come in by way of a tributary, and could thereby be shown the way back? The idea was solid — that way they could follow him back to his heavenly domain, and perhaps meet the deity who had sent him and present them with a nice gift of beads and live chickens — possibly even an effigy of the sun made of pure gold, if they didn’t have one already.

Unfortunately, all attempts at communication were futile, since they were hard-pressed to make heads or tails of the savage speech of the stranger. They had only just agreed to call him “Wutwut,” which was something he said so often that it certainly had to be his name, when one of the town elders asked the stranger in quite plain and very slow language how he had come to find himself beached at this particular lake, called Titicaca.

The affair that followed may well be one of the least-known meet-cute mega-blunders of all time; upon being asked the aforementioned question, the stranger was beset by bouts of laughter, following which he engaged in a series of hand- and body- gestures which suggested physical acts considered both sacred and unholy by the gentle, civilized Inca. Their initial amusement became outrage; they seized the stranger and transported him over many miles to face justice for his insults.

Time was not kind to the stranger’s crime, and so when he stood before an arbiter the charges that were leveled at him by his accusers were magnified by the time they had spent brooding over the possible meaning of his depredations; unable to defend himself due to language barriers and the inability to catch his breath between bouts of laughter (strangely, they had not subsided in the least,) the arbiter sentenced the stranger to be imprisoned, and to have a road built over that prison so that the Inca may walk over the stranger at all hours, thus having the last laugh.

It is said, then, that as the door to his newly-constructed prison was sealed behind the prisoner, the Inca made one last prayer to their gods that their prisoner be subjected to temptation for all eternity as retribution for his crimes. As they watched, several giant enchiladas fell from the sky and landed around the stranger’s prison, preventing both entry and escape . . . some of the Inca in attendance went mad with uncontrollable desire for the saucy-cheesy, mouth-watery goodness that lay before them like a free birthday meal. Those poor unfortunates rushed toward the mammoth enchiladas, but never made it; their skin turned to ash and fell away from their bones as they approached as a result of the cosmic radiation emitted by the enchiladas.

Those who survived fled, and like civilized people they blogged about it the next day, encoding it into quipu — their only writing system, which consisted of knotted cords. Most of this was lost to antiquity, since it doesn’t hold up as well as engraved stone or even well-preserved parchment; however, one quipu survives of this story, with this moral at the end in all capital knots:

NOTE TO SELF: NEXT TIME, ASK FOR THE RED SAUCE.

(Daily Post Prompt: Fool Me Once | Header image by Alan Levine)

Haiku Today 2015.03.31 –

ready to flower by Johnson Cameraface
(Image credit: Johnson Cameraface)

 

the Earth’s rays
emerge like dawn,
refluent

 


I’ll be the first to admit that my favorite aspect of Spring is watching the trees bud out before the leaves return, the grass return to green, the people in my neighborhood coming out of their hidey-holes to putter around in the garden or the garage . . . it’s about watching the world come back to life, and looking forward to all the outdoor adventures that are made available thanks to warm weather.

This does, however, fly in the face of the trepidation I felt when I realized that the lilac growing right by our lamppost was already budding. I’m conflicted with the darn thing for so many reasons. Lilacs seem to grow like weeds over the course of a year, and they need to be kept in check — this one in particular because it stands right next to where the power transmission lines attach to the house form the pole, and every time the wind blows hard this Goliath-bush whacks the lines constantly. This does not make me comfortable.

I know I have to cut it back. Honestly, I’d rather cut it down but nobody will let me; between the angry squawks of the nesting robins and the near-universal protests that lilacs “are so pleasant” I have little room to reason. Still, I have to cut it back, and nothing gets done more slowly around here than something bordering on urgent.

That being said, the budding lilac is a sign that our world is emerging from the cold. If you’ve had it rough this year then rejoice, because if it’s not there it will soon be. Like the Sun breaking over the horizon, a wave is traveling over the surface of the planet, albeit in grand scale — and in its wake the planet will reach out once again to its hero: the bright, elusive star that keeps it warm at night. In unconscious imitation, we too will reach out to the world around us, and the Sun, to find the ends of those connections we have borne in our spirits through the long Winter: connections with Nature, and with each other.

Life has a tendency to run wild with its owner in its clutches. Don’t be that person.

Hopefully you have somewhere you can go that pulls your eye away from the trappings of civilized life. When you get a chance, go there and forget that you have other stuff; take time to reconnect. Put your skin on the ground. Take pictures. Pick up sticks and stones.

Explore some.

(Header image by Alan Levine)

Haiku Today 2015.03.30 –

Tropical forest in the morning by Roberto Verzo
Image credit: Roberto Verzo

morning cup
steams primal promise:
wake me up

 


The Pacific Northwest — I think I left a part of myself there last Summer. I remember the long drives through Montana, the winding mountain roads going through Utah, and the towering landscape that greeted us when we entered what may be the most fertile and untouched area of this country. As we forged our way to the coast, the unbelievable greenery kept getting more unbelievable; and then it reached a point where I realized that this place was special to me before I had ever set foot in it . . .

As though it had been calling to me all along.

The lush, coastal regions of the world were the cradles of human civilization — where the Earth afforded mild climes, easy access to water, and thus easy access to fish and wild game. They are the places where we learned to make fire; to distill fresh water from the ocean; the places where we first made laws so that disparate families could interact amicably; the places where we built our first monuments — acts of gratuity to the unknowable forces that bring us our good fortune.

This is the source, and I felt it when we stepped out into the forests of Washington state.

When I left Detroit to move to North Dakota, it was on a whim; I just had to get out of there. It turned out that leaving the city behind — the never-ending cascade of cities that melded one into another, the sprawling grey goo of the 20th Century — had never felt so good. Waking up under the wide-open sky, I felt like I had hit the reset button; so my life began anew with hit points at max. It was a clean feeling, like I had been cleansed of much dirt that had built up over the course of my life.

The closer we got to the coast last Summer, the more this feeling evolved . . . escalated into one that felt like a vast connection to the whole world itself. When I stood in the Oregon surf watching the waves roll in, it was like I was looking off the edge of life itself into the void, and the rhythmic, non-stop pounding of the ocean was an echo of something deep within.

Somehow by comparison everything else seems drab, and often the hype would have us believe that this world — the true first world of civilization — is fading with each passing day; yet it’s there, and it’s vital. It’s home to what may be the world’s largest and oldest organism. It’s possible that it will continue to fade . . . but what if we left it alone, or even found a way to let the forests return? As in all of them?

For the moment I dream, a dream bordering upon scheme, that one day I will wake up to find a steaming cup of that oasis at the edge of the world waiting right outside of my window, and that it had been waiting there the whole time.

(Header image by Alan Levine)

Haiku Today 2015.03.28 –

(Image credit: Kevin Dinkel)

obscure peak:
where secrets defy
the common eye

 


 

Question: when is a writer not a writer?

Answer: Never.

I think the worst part about identifying as a writer is the internalization of that constant feeling that one should be at work in some way — writing, brainstorming, storyboarding, drawing or somehow visualizing aspects of their stories, et cetera, et cetera . . . and of course, blogging alone doesn’t do the trick, but it takes the edge off of the guilt and the feelings of inadequacy that go with the territory of not writing full time. It can be a springboard, but it can’t be used as a way to put off the inevitable, or it’s hard for one to define themselves as a writer rather than a blogger.

What’s even worse is when a writer begins to dry out after a spell of being unable to write for a while; life or time gets away from them, and then they begin to feel like they’ve lost the spark — as though the human brain in its enthusiasm to prune away the unused bits is predisposed to begin its cultivation by checking, then double- and triple-checking, that any cold circuits related to creativity are removed from service –

Culled from the herd, as it were. Leaving one to start over again.

(Header image by Alan Levine)

Haiku Today 2015.03.27 — The Absurdity of the Religious Right

(Image credit: Neil Williamson)

the long view
between these two worlds:
quiescent

 


Today is a wonderful Friday, because I’m not at work and I have time to write and read and do things!

  1. I got up,
  2. put on legitimate pants (I’m thinking about making that a habit,)
  3. ate a piece of leftover pizza,
  4. downed my seasonal-change cocktail of vitamins, Tylenol® Sinus, and allergy pill;
  5. put on coffee,
  6. shaved my whiskers,
  7. paid some bills,
  8. and did a little of the Facebook thing.

Now on to some real blogging.

How do you feel when someone tries to push their values on you? Does that stick in your craw, or what? I know it does mine. Speaking of the Facebook thing, I was answering comments (that’s often all I do — only occasionally do I share relevant posts or update my status) when I happened to notice this little tidbit in my news feed:

Read the full story at the Phoenix New Times:

There’s this Senator in Arizona who suggested that the law should mandate weekly church attendance!

Yay! (blows a raspberry)

U.S Postage Stamp, 1957
(Image: Wikipedia)

Now, I hope you are all aware that I almost never talk religion or drop the “G-word”, but let’s discuss this. Put aside for a moment the absolute certainty that no such law would ever see the light of day due to the fact that this is a flagrant violation of the American ideals of religious freedom and the separation of church and state; in fact, I think every politician in their right mind knows that this is a non-starter.

Forget that the whole idea would be unworkable due to matters of logistics: how do you account for attendance? How do you enforce it? How do you define a religion? Wouldn’t you have to make room for atheists who would rather meet at the library, the bar, or the bowling alley to get their church cards signed? At that point, the whole thing falls apart. It becomes a waste of time and money — yet another drain on the intrepid taxpayer.

A Clockwork Orange
(Image: Wikipedia)

Putting all that aside, this idea that we should be obliged by law to attend church is like a series of slaps to the face, because coupled with her idea that this would lead to a moral rebirth it suggests that without religion we are amoral. It equates all of us — every citizen of the United States of America — with violent, antisocial criminals. It suggests that all of us need to be rehabilitated in some way, as though religion can program us to be something the government considers acceptable (here’s a crazy idea – let’s make a food pyramid . . . but for religiosity! That sounds awesome!) What’s not ironic here is that this idea comes up alongside nostalgic commentary about times when people kept their guns out in plain sight in unlocked cars, thus linking the imagery of guns to religion, and the compulsion thereto.

–> Let’s not forget that religion was more than just window-dressing for a vast majority of wars worldwide prior to the 20th century; it was a pretext for empire-building, meaning that religion has always been the standard tool for conquest on every scale.

– > Let’s not forget that religion often limits freedom on a much larger scale than laws do, to a point where most people find it impossible to take it seriously in modern society — not that they don’t try. Were that possible, we would likely have more clergy than soldiers.

–> Let’s not forget that the most zealous advocates of major faiths tend to be the most hypocritical. Killing in the name of love? That’s not a song, folks; that’s a historically world-shaping paradigm.

–> Let’s not forget that reason and science have founded an age where people can think for themselves, can sort out right and wrong without the threat of eternal damnation hanging over their heads — who wants that kind of stress anyway?

Don’t get me wrong — I’m not trying to slam religion or church attendance. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to find community with like-minded individuals who share faith with you. What really rankles me is when someone talks about shoving that down everyone’s throat with legislation. I live by a code, and one principle I live by is that I don’t oppress people with my own ideas. Like anyone, I am glad to put my ideas and opinions out there — but to try and force agreement? That’s a poor way to treat others, especially in such an open society. It’s never worked for me and I hate to see it in action because it is oppression.

Somewhere in the middle ground between pure anarchy and the iron fist of a totalitarian state there exists a spot of perfect balance, where the clockwork of society ticks in perfect synchrony; I think if power-players on the extremes would stop arguing about where that point should be, those of us who would like to live our own lives in peace would be much better off!

To those people who like to step on others in order to reach higher, be forewarned: if I see that happening, I will take that as a sign from above to come over and knock you down.

Take that and stick it in your law books.


Now this is something I can get behind –> 10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Universal Unitarianism by Galen Guengerich

(Daily Post Prompt: I Walk the Line | Header image by Alan Levine)

Tanka Today 2015.03.26 –

ALT-TEXT
(Image credit: Martin Fisch)

 

jungle’s germ
defies desert soil —
oasis;

the chain reaction
is unstoppable.

 


Throwback Thursday: Writing About Something

Where does the time go, that time I once had in dribs and drabs — that time I once stole, that once was slated for production with ideas in mind? Did the river run dry?

Did the dunes come from nowhere, like the waves of an Ocean’s   -1   — rising, cresting, falling like water as the Sun grew hotter with ire for inspiration’s slaughter burning in my eyes?

It was a sandstorm, and it came as it went.

Then:

peeking through . . .

the hint of something

hidden for a bit, but not gone forever.

“Go ahead; take it and run.”

I am a Time Thief,

incorrugible.

(Header image by Alan Levine)

Haiku Today 2015.03.25 –

ALT-TEXT
(Image credit: Martin Fisch)

 

light echoes —
the space of my lens
mirrors yours

 


This haiku was inspired by This Haiku: Sure, Singular Ease by Lisa Rosier for today’s Daily Post Prompt: Third From the Top:

“Mirror that in yours”


It’s so hard to steal time away from life for writing, especially when writing is sidelined in favor of working a “real job”. To that end I dedicate ten hours a day, and up until recently that was six days a week most of the time. The recent past, however, has brought some interesting changes: a supervisor who actually knows how to get something done. The Sarge has cleaned house, and so now beginning this week I start getting some Fridays off . . .

Lucky me . . . maybe I’ll write something.

Maybe I’ll get a chance to explore.

:)

(Header image by Alan Levine)

Haiku Today 2015.03.24 –

(Image credit: Vinoth Chandar)

 

a wish tied
’round Nature’s finger —
don’t forget

 


 
addendum 2015.03.25 — check out this companion piece written by Awl and Scribe for the Daily Post Prompt.

(Header image by Alan Levine)

Haiku Today 2015.03.23 –

ALT-TEXT
(Image credit: James Whitesmith)

 

tails afire,
streaking hues chasing
a dying day

 


Have you ever felt like you forgot how to do something that you thought you could do well on your worst days? Somehow after returning from hiatus, you find the liquor of inspiration has run bone-dry and the raft of expectations you set up for yourself begins to sink as you realize that you have no way to bail yourself out. Now all you have is an empty bottle and no message to put inside . . .

Like those fiery colors that chase the setting sun, you can follow the traces of your inspiration round and round the world and never touch it — unless you come to the conclusion that all you have to do is go back to where you started from: that place where you found your calling, before you began chasing the white whale of what you thought you had been trying to accomplish: creations magnified through the lens of your reflexive aggression.

As Sons and Daughters of Creation, this should be so much easier. Pure and simple. We leave food for inspiration everywhere we go, contrails of existence that glow with a color all our own. We streak the world with it, and then we complain that we have nothing to write about.

We spend our existence chasing ends, only to find ourselves at beginnings. Why should that be a surprise?

(Header image by Alan Levine)

Haiku Today 2015.03.22 –

(Image credit: Roberto Verzo)

seaside crabs
bear all their effects —
mobile homes

 


 

There’s this cliché about what separates man from beast.

I’m sure you’ve heard it before — references to the thinking brain, opposable thumbs, et cetera. There’s all kinds of things we point to in order to support this belief that we are superior to denizens of the natural world. But this is only a red herring, a way to help us forget that there is one thing that animals have over most of us: they have little to tie them to any one particular place.

Don’t get me wrong — there are a few mitigating factors to that freedom, such as one’s preferred habitat and food sources. Ignoring those, however, animals are able to migrate from one place to another without worrying about how their furniture is going to get from point A to point B.

How deft is the artifice of the human world, to saddle us to a wealth of possessions large and small? What is it that tricks the oppressed majority — the relatively wealthy poor of the Western World — into thinking they are trapped where they are, forced to work the same minimum wage job, drive the same old clunkers, bandage their pain with the same old vices until such time as they are called to rejoin the spiritual pool?

Maybe the massive gulf between needs and desires ought to be thoroughly examined, because the things we desire — our possessions — are robots that automate our feelings of contentment; without them, we are forced to make a conscious choice to be happy with less than what everyone else has. The majority of us could cut out 98% of the things we call ours, and still be happy by choice. Why should we cheat ourselves out of making such a choice?

Some day, I want to sell everything big. The house, the furniture . . . everything that can’t be packed into a small moving truck, and then some.

Hit the soft reset button.

Clear out the RAM.

Take the family and find a home near the ocean.

Which ocean? I don’t care — I’m willing to explore my options.

(Header image by Alan Levine)

Where the closest ocean is all in my mind . . .

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