While I've been writing a lot of haiku again the past couple of years, I hadn't pursued various publications, other haiku poets, or my own submission/publication goals. But I'm back to it!
Along with my rediscovered exploration, I've been writing Haibun. Haibun is a short (anywhere from 20 to 300 words) (more or less) poem, essay, narrative, memory, recollection, prose piece, autobiography, micro-story, poem, and ending with a haiku. The Haibun can have a title.
Several things about this form I love. There is 'Zen zone' between the end of the haibun and the haiku. The haiku is not a linear conclusion. It stands alone, as does the haibun. But they also go together.
The haibun needs to be descriptive, sensory, detailed, succinct, non-repetitive.
I have a Haibun work-in-progress. It's not finished; this is the second draft. It started out as a poem, but I've been re-working it to fit into the Haibun form.
Bronson Caves, Hollywood California 1969
My father -- Big D we called him -- was an amateur photographer. He'd develop his photographs in our living room; trays of smelly solutions transforming paper into black and white images. Big D would develop horrible cracks, peeling skin, on his hands from the chemicals. He gave me his Olympus camera. I felt important, proud, and loved taking photos of the L.A. art museum on Wilshire, billboards, cemeteries. But then he took it back. My dad was also an actor and ex-child performer in the Tom Mix circus. He was killed in an episode of Gunsmoke, the naive and well-meaning young cowboy shot dead by the villain. He rehearsed a role from the Ice Man Cometh in our living room, scaring the shit out of me with his emotional coldness. He directs me telling me to scrams as I run through caves at Bronson Park. "Again!" he yells. My screaming is not sincere enough. I try again, running, shrieking . . . "Stop!" commands Big D. "Do it once more ... really act like you're frightened." Jesus Dad, I'm scared every goddamn day. What the fuck? But I do it again. And again. Still, it doesn't take.
a narrow cave
So that's the work in progress. Another version of the haiku at the end:
a narrowing cave
ochre walls crumble
at the end -- a glow
I've written three Haibun so far. The first two I'm very happy with, but can't post them here since I'll be submitting them to Haibun.com and Modern Haiku.
The one I've published here; I get happier with it as I work with it, but it's not quite there yet. As far as the haiku goes, they give off different feelings. The first one, closer to what I was feeling and the overall emotion of the Haibun. The second, is a little more hopeful. I think I'll stick with the first one.