Friday, April 13, 2018

NaPoWriMo Day 12: Today Is A Good Day For Seeing A Doctor And Demolishing Houses

Prompt: Write a haibun which takes place in the natural landscape of the place you live.

Well. I've never even heard of, much less written, a haibun (which sounds more like some sort of dodgy fusion food than a poetic form, at least to me.) So, after a bit of research and digging, and a wonderful summary of the thing by the intrepid and amazing Jane Dougherty, I did the only thing possible.

I micro-haibun'd. Which is, I'm told, a haibun in less than 55 words, and mine was 53, so I guess it qualified?

My tiny little blorp of inspiration actually came from the Chinese Lunar Calendar of all things. While we do follow the normal Western calendar year, the Malaysian Chinese (and many of the Chinese diasporas worldwide) also observe the Lunar Year. Each day has a prescribed sets of do's and don'ts; the more traditionally superstitious do actually follow these recommendations.

Either way, it was a stretch for the brain cells - I don't normally write even haiku, let alone hybrid forms that sound like seafood buns - but I think the form might bear some experimentation in future. Ironically, what splorted onto my paper was a haibun involving food, of all things. Maybe it's a sign.


Chinese Lunar DateFeb 27, Wu Xu Year (2018)
Chinese Solar Date
Jia Xu Day, Yi Mao Month, Wu Xu Year (the Year of the Dog)
 bathing before religious rites; demolishing a house; demolishing a wall; housecleaning; seeing a doctor; treatment/surgery; worshipping gods or ancestors; avoiding doing anything else
funeral; opening business; praying for blessings; Taoist/Buddhist sacrificial ceremony


Tropical night, fermenting under heavy haze-heat blanket. Stacked shoebox apartments, two by six window squares of artificial light wide. Mosquitoes swell the air: dengue district, ten victims since November. Prrrraaaaaaaaow. Cat, competing with motorbike vrrrrooooooarrrm.  Moon’s a waning lily-bulb petal.

Thck. Knife, raw beef strips.
His letter lies on her desk
Sliced bitter-gourd words.


Jane Dougherty said...

Now I'm going to sleep on this one, (have a few nightmares) and read it again tomorrow. We get frightened by the dengue too.

Shuku said...

It gets pretty bad some parts of the year. My housing area is on dengue alert for most of the year, because we're in a lower-cost bit of the surburbs, and the mosquitoes are EVIL EVIL EVIL EVIL. I hope you don't get nightmares! Thank you for stopping by, and for your lovely explanation about haibun, it made it a lot less frightening!

Maggie C said...

I didn't know there were word count distinctions. So much to learn. And of the ones I read through my search, everyone was either first or third person. So confusing. I usually just call my writings "pieces." Then I don't have to worry if they're poetry, or whatever. Your poem draws really good visuals. And I can feel the heaviness.

Kerfe said...

There's definitely a feeling of place. I think you have the idea. (K)

Shannon Blood said...

Well, for not being familiar or comfortable with this form, I found it remarkable!

Shuku said...

Maggie: Thank you! I didn't know either! The things you learn when frantic 'OMG MUST WRITE' deadlines loom up and you research contradicting information like mad... I hear you on the 'pieces'. I am very very bad with poetic forms, but I would like to try and change that at some point.

Kerfe: Thank you so much! The weather here is so hot, it feels like being smothered under heavy wool blankets all the time. I never thought there'd be anything interesting to write about given I live in the heart of low-cost-surburbia, but...this prompt might be proving me wrong.

Shannon: Thank you! I do intend to do some more experimentation with the form; it's not as intimidating once I've done one, granted!

Eliazbeth said...

Oh that first line -- and all the lines' imagery! WOW! You've done a fantastic job.

Shuku said...

Elizabeth, thank you so much! At the moment, the weather is even worse than the haibun's *sigh* When the inside of the house feels hotter than the outside, and the fan on high doesn't make a dent, it's time to shake fists at the weather and plaintively request for rain. I want to be in cooler climates like yours, where I can see all the FLOWERS!

Merril D. Smith said...

An amazing first haibun. I'm with Jane on the nightmare quality. :)
dVerse does a Haibun Challenge every other Monday.

Shuku said...

Thank you so much Merril! I might give that a look when I pluck up the courage. I'm not so good with poetic forms, they tend to make me spit nails, but the haibun, at least, is a relatively gentle easing in (even so, there was still a goodly amount of spazz before it got written!)