Ligo Haibun Challenge – Image Week

I’ve been out of the loop with the wonderful Ligo Haibun Challenge community, who first taught me what a haibun even was (it’s the combination of prose with a haiku, in case you were wondering) and, in that, made me realize how much I love this communicating art form. This week, we’ve been given the challenge to complete our haibun task as close to 123 words as p0ssible, using one of the visuals provided. According to Microsoft, I met the challenge exactly (but, admittedly, even computer programs miscount on occasion). This time, I hope it used all its digits. Get it?! Okay, moving along…

I chose the photo that our Pirate (Managua Gunn) describes as such: “The first picture is by Marina, my first penpal, from Kazan, in Tatarstan, who took the view from her flat.”  As beautiful as it is, my heart and mind immediately thought of the hardship this scene might create for some.

Picture

I slinked outside the window of the only shop that still appeared open, listening to its television hum, scrutinizing the perfect smile of the news anchor. She only laughed at me, her teeth as white as the snow she proclaimed to be beautiful, Botox causing her brow to be as peaceful as she declared our city amidst this unanticipated winter storm. Wasn’t it wonderful for everyone to be home, snug in their beds, she insisted.

I shuffled down the alley behind the store, unaware if my limbs ached. I could feel them no more. If city folks were boarded up in their houses, from where would I beg my next meal?

 

Snow: no warm blanket

my trembling form – unfeeling

as those warm inside

***

Please don’t forget the homeless this time of year. Even if they can find a meal and a night’s rest at a shelter, many have to leave – often before daylight – in the mornings (including children), when the temperatures are bitter cold. Many others aren’t even that fortunate. Consider a Christmas gift to your local shelter or church who ministers to the homeless. Even if you’re short on cash, perhaps you have some coats, gloves, insulated underwear or blankets that you aren’t using and that could be put to good use by others. Food banks run short during this time of year as well, as people who can sustain during warmer weather seek indoor shelter with warm meals to keep from becoming deathly ill. A small donation of cash or food can go a long way at your area food bank.

May your heart be warmed & blessed,

-jody

***

PictureJoin the Ligo Haibun Challenge by following this image URL.

Ligo-Haibun Challenge: Mud-luscious & puddle-wonderful


The PROMPT:- The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful  – E.E. Cummings

I’m not sure when it happened. Somewhere, somehow, I forgot I had the gift. Early on, I was certain I was a gourmet chef when my father allowed me to graduate from heating hot tamales in a can for dinner to making scrambled eggs for the first time. At 7, these became my specialty, oozing with cheese.

So gone were the days of lesser dishes now, such as the reheating of frozen sausage and biscuits for breakfast, or the stirring of my father’s favorite delicacy – crunched saltine crackers in ice-cold milk, a side of salty sardines with the lid already peeled back.

One day, in a lightening’s flash, it all came back to me though. I walked outside, beckoned by bass drummers playing my song. My skin felt tingly to the invitation to join in, to dance and sing, to play to this tune. Within minutes, my feet stomped and splashed and squished to the rhythm, laughter erupting as my best friend joined me there.

In that moment, my memory was fully restored. My hands dug into soft dough, confidently mixing selected ingredients around. Within mere seconds, my masterpiece was completed for the offering.

taste buds never lie /
I present you my earth pie /
chocolate, I’d say

***

The First Kiss

I am so happy to rejoin The Ligo Haibun Challenge this week, as not only have I missed being a part of this community as of late, but I’ve come to adore the expression of the haibun.

Both of the prompts were fantasy-worthy this week, but as I understand it, the true style of a haibun more often (more correctly?) relates to one’s life experiences, telling the narrative or journaling the event using the prose/haiku combination. With that being said, one of the two prompts brought with it the gift of a recollection of prior days, known to many (with grinning memories) as “The First Kiss.”

The prompt was:

A kiss is a lovely trick by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.

Ingrid Bergman

And here is my haibun response:

At the back of the room, squatted low, just beneath the level of the half bookshelf, our young, smooth fingers slid down the spines of the books, both of us searching, longing for a taste of something neither had before experienced through our youthful senses. We dared not exchange ideas or glances, for fear of being called out by our teacher. My strident eyes darted from title to title, frustration building as nothing seemed to fit the bill. A little crease of frustration formed between my eyes, convincing me that I was focusing solely on my assignment; yet I couldn’t quiet the butterflies coming to life in my stomach as his arm brushed across mine to pluck his selection from the shelf. I turned to scrutinize his choice, feeling a mixture of jealousy that he’d made one so easily, along with anxiety that he’d now be returning to his seat. As I glanced up from the cover, I was taken aback by the quick kiss that brushed against my cheek. I can’t tell you what my choice in reading material was after that moment; but I can surely tell you that he was my choice for that school year.

spent rest of that day /

hand clasped over cheek to hide /

burning sensation

Ligo Haibun: How to Contend with She Who Holds the Reign

“Gracious,” the Ivory King sighed. “We’re being forced into battle against the Ebony Kingdom once more. Senseless…so senseless.”

His words played out yet again, as he regally stood his ground amidst an army trying their best to defend him. He knew he’d grown old and weary. He knew that, even before that, he’d never truly been of much use. He’d never led his army into battle, after all – repeatedly willing to sacrifice his peasantry of pawns early to the cause. His knights weren’t always that valiant either, pulling their steeds sharply to the right or left to barely escape being in harm’s way. And what good was his pair of rookies, who teetered from their flanked tunnel vision only when they’d had too much to consume? His bishops were just as devious, pretending to protect his interests while politically circumventing any line of attack.

There was only one who was faithful to the cause. But she frightened the beejesus out of him. She was ruthless in all her dealings, less interested in prisoners than wiping the slate clean – of all standing in her way. But as frightened as he, himself, was of her, he acknowledged that her worth was greater than all the ivory in the kingdom.

Reckon with his queen?

Battle or no, do not cross

she who holds the reign

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ligo-challenge2The Ligo Haibun Challenge is one of my favorite writing challenges – first because of my fascination with the form of the haiku as part of the story (that I find myself interjecting now even when I’m not in this challenge) and, secondly, because of my wonderful blogging friend, Managua Gunn (a.k.a. “Pirate”, a seaworthy mate to any & all), who introduced me to this particular writing style.

Try to join us for the challenge – as there exists a lovely group of expressionists here – and surely stop in to browse Pirate’s wonderful designs – both in writing & copper.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Nostalgia

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge asked us to describe something personally nostalgic.

For me, there’s nothing more nostalgic (whether it was from 7 years of age to a couple of years ago) than rushing onto the field on opening season night to the sound of “Play Ball!” It doesn’t matter how many years I’ve thrown that ball around, swung that bat, jumped out of the way of an oncoming runner while turning a double, or hearing the swooshing sound of dirt rubbing the pants leg beneath my thigh as my cleats rested against the bag and my torso rested beneath a ball-filled glove – I’ve never tired of it. I’ve anticipated that wonderful moment every year I’ve played as much as the moments I’ve lain beneath that glove in anticipation of the umpire’s call (which would determine if I got to hang out for at least another play or not).

I’ve lost track of the number of years that I’ve popped fat bubbles while sliding into bases, been dragged by teammates victoriously through the mud, acted like a tee-baller rushing to beat a teammate to a fly ball during practices, or lost my voice yelling encouragement from the dug-out. For the in-between years that I had to miss due to work or family/life commitments, I know I lost a small part of myself.

ballteam

A team photo taken years ago on the night we won our league championship that year. Do you think you can find me in it?

butterflies aflight

bat meets ball on the sweet spot

young lovers’ first kiss

Under the Sun

the village rises with her

The village of Ligitolo, rising with the sun

I was once engaged in debate in which my interjections must have been brilliant because I was a teenager at the time – thus, I knew everything there was to know. My debate opponent was my grandmother who had lived out many years of her experience, so I had to give her that one. I really respected her opinion more, though, because I was flesh of her flesh and bone of her bones. Surely that meant we shared some genetic material with genius potential. Nevertheless, I still had trouble trusting what she was saying. Our conversation went something like this:

“Granny, you just don’t understand. Things are different. Times have changed.”

“Yes, dear, times have changed. But people haven’t. Ecclesiastes points out, ‘There is nothing new under the sun.’”

She had pulled out the big guns on me. I admired her quick response on the subject matter, so much so that I decided I’d give her that one – for that day. I didn’t realize at the time what an impact our conversation would make on me for the remaining years of my life. As I’ve lived, I’ve almost developed it as a mantra. I’ve watched many changes in techniques, policies, interactions and technology. Yet, her remark is standing its own test of time.

though times, they may change;
people, they never differ –
always wanting more

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This week’s 2 Līgo Haībun prompts are:

The sun      [or]      Childhood memory of summer camps

I decided to combine the Ecclesiastes verse about the sun, along with a memory from early teenage-hood.

The Līgo haībun format is as follows:

A paragraph (more than one paragraph is fine, or just a few sentences) in prose form

and

  • the haiku/collection of haiku related to the text to close. The haiku should be as authentic as possible, with therefore no syllable count, no capitals or full stop, all ideally making 220 word max, all inclusive
  • each week there is a choice of two prompt words or phrases, or two visuals. Please choose one for your theme
  • wear the Līgo badge to the right with pride on your blog! And pin the Circle of Appreciation to your blog too if it is in the haibun Honourably Mentioned in Despatches each week!

Warming One’s Feet in a State of Ecstasy

She glanced in the mirror to comb through her wet hair, serenading into the toothbrush as she reached to grab it up. The words she had been singing with her iPod transitioned into muffled hums as she scrubbed away at her teeth. She spit, rinsed a few times, squirted some moisturizer on her face, and let the towel drop as she reached for lotion to rub on her arms and legs. One more minute to braid her wet, brown hair for bed; then came the ritual of iPod off, bathroom lights out, bedside lamp on, covers back, and pillow plumped. She reached onto her night stand for one of her academic reads. Looked like it would be some Aristotle and Socrates tonight. That familiar companion she had named Loneliness tried to creep into bed beside her. She pulled the covers up over her cooling body to ward off his chill before propping reading glasses over dark brown eyes that refused to look his way. Soon, she was convinced she had ignored him sufficiently. He could go find a more suitable bed partner. She understood the only state of ecstasy she could hope to enter into in this domain would come from the trance-like state of reading for the sake of nothing better to do. If only this type of ecstasy came equipped with foot-warmers, she mused.

who would have entranced
a warm bed to lie upon
gifts cold ecstasy

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Yeah, yeah. I duped you with the title. Or…unlikely if you know me, since when have I ever written erotica?! (But I’m thinking Trifecta is trying to get me some of those types of followers, once I put in my tags…) 😉  Moving along…

Many thanks to my favorite pirate for introducing me to haibun, which has saved me (more than once) during NaPoWriMo when I wanted to submit prose. (Presto! Throw in a haiku at the end & you’ve got yourself a poem! I’m ecstatic!)

Ecstatic! Get it?! (moan & grumble, okay) That wasn’t exactly the definition Trifecta was after this week anyway. (And I’m apparently not ecstatic, based on my melancholy submissions as of late. What’s up with that anyway? Knowing me, they’re all just intros to those needing some better life stories – and those of you who know me know my mantra: Everyone needs a good story.)

On to the weekly prompt. This week’s word is:

1a: a state of being beyond reason and self-control

b archaic : swoon
2: a state of overwhelming emotion; especially : rapturous delight

Please remember:

  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.
  • Only one entry per writer.
  • If your post doesn’t meet our requirements, please leave your link in the comments section, not in the linkz.
  • Trifecta is open to everyone. Please join us.

Let Peace Wash Over Me

Peace. I earnestly searched for it, but it wholly could not be found. I located tattered shreds of it lying all around. I went out to the street pass and begged for any left. I found that I was merely wasting my fragmented breath. No one seems to have any extra bits to spare. Either that’s the case, or they simply will not share.

Piece. I gleaned one today and brushed it off clean. Held onto it tightly to protect its bright sheen. But the more tightly I grasped it, the more deeply it pained – as it dug in my flimsy flesh, my palm left blood-stained. Letting loose of that piece of peace, I let it pass me by. No more need to ponder it; no time left to cry.

Peace, why just one piece of you could not I bear to bare? Why? Oh why?

my peace has all dried
should peace flow like a river
might I bathe before I die

Con19

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The Ligo Haibun Challenge topic this week is PEACE.

Trust me when I say I nearly passed this one by, as I wasn’t finding mine this week. Then, this morning, I had an epiphany. Wait! That’s it! I can write about not finding peace. (It was actually like one of those V8 commercials, so maybe it was more like a ridiculous moment than an epiphany.) Okay, forgive my silliness – it’s a side effect. Seriously, I’m guessing most of us can relate to those moments in life when we feel we’ve lost our peace and perhaps that it’s not coming back. For some poor, unfortunate souls, it may never be found. I hope my haiku sums up the desperation the narrator is feeling for you.

A couple of form notes: I wrote the prose section in a rhythmic structure, not only because I’m participating in NaPoWriMo this month (writing poetry every day during April), but because that’s how it began to flow when I awoke this morning. (Writing poetry every day for nearly a month apparently has that side effect too.) The haiku I’m offering is in a less traditional format (not being in the more traditional 5-7-5, 17 syllabic form that the English language has more often adopted); rather taking on a hybrid-haiku-tanka structure that lands in 5-7-7 rhythm.

Peace to you & yours, -jody

Dabbling in – I mean, babbling on – (Topographic) Headiness

Have you ever stood back and looked – I mean, really looked – at the topography surrounding you? I don’t mean giving it a cursory glance, noticing some insignificant differential detail that’s undergone temporal metamorphosis due to a seasonal change. And I don’t mean commenting absent-mindedly to someone about the effects of the weather, whatever on earth those may be. And please don’t refer to that time you gave me those gawdawful directions based on a series of landmarks that were consequential to no one – I mean, absolutely no one – other than yourself.

metamorphosis –
not what I’m after with you
so don’t direct me

What I mean to say is this. Have you ever looked upon that sagging, aging body of ridge in its decline? Notice how it’s going bald on top, with only a sparse gathering of ornamentation poking up from its roots? And look at all the veins traveling about, rising to its surface, all varicosities of distraction. Do you suppose it gathers any relief from being surveyed like this? I would think not. After all, its contour has degraded by several degrees from its younger years. I don’t mean to cast any dispersion, but it surely no longer resides in its prime.

yet reach from heaven
and feel the bumps of hist’ry
earth’s phrenology

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© 2013 jody love

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The Līgo Haībun Challenge ~ Picture Prompt

Haībun is Prosimetric writing. The haībun format here for the Līgo Haībun Challenge is as follows ~

paragraph (more than one paragraph is fine, or just a few sentences) in prose form of either

  • a descriptive passage , or excerpt from a story/or previously published post
  • an explanation 
  • a tale
  • a travelogue
  • a news item
  • a recipe

and

  • the haiku to close

Remember the word limit is normally if not formally 220 words, including the haiku, and more than 1 haiku is fine.

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Received the lovely Līgo Circle of Appreciation logo for Special Mentions on this piece.

More than anything, I’d like to direct you here to the awards dispatches to point the other mentioned work by Sunshine. Here’s what was said about it: Sunshine: Plight of a poor family in a beautiful mountainous region. Poverty defeats budding life.

Those of us who do not live in such struggling conditions still often face life’s defeats, but we don’t wake up each day battling against all odds for the lives of those we love. I thank those of you who search for ways to make a difference. And if you’re looking for a simple one today, follow the malaria link in my right navigational column. There, you’ll find a photo of some children from a small village in South Sudan outside of Yei. One of the little girls already battles with malaria. A gift as small as $10 can truly serve to save a life such as hers, her siblings’, her friends, her neighbors…Peace, -j

…And We Danced

I was meeting a group of friends after the class reunion because, even as an adult, I felt too awkward to attend. It had all started with that same group at a middle school dance (my only one, I might add). They had pushed me – I mean, literally – to ask this guy to dance.

His friends had snickered, while he looked around in discomfort. Then, in one long grimace (or was it one swift cut?), he shook his head and backed away. I spent the remainder of the night buried under my covers in tears, and the remainder of my school years buried behind my books in humiliation.

Here I am, years later, fearless international spokesperson for NASA’s space program; yet, too scared to attend my own local high school reunion. I negotiated, instead, to meet a handful of friends afterward.

I stumbled, coming through the door, upon catching his eye – one of two boring a hole into me. He stood and approached with his hand out, cuing me there was music playing in the background.

“I wanted to say yes back then,” he shrugged, “but I knew I’d look stupid because you were such a good dancer, and I…wasn’t.”

“Are you saying you’re better now?” My mouth engaged before my brain.

“At a lot of things, yes,” he grinned. “Care to find out?”

Steps from the dance floor,

Stages from a former dream.

Time stopped. And we danced.

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I have to say that I greatly missed participating last week at Līgo Editions and hope for the opportunity to go back and read what I know were fantastic contributions there.

Just last week I also missed a high school reunion planning meeting due an already overbooked schedule, but this missed appointment did serve to give me the idea for this week’s haibun. The challenge prompt line was already so spectacular, I couldn’t have outdone it for my title either.

The Līgo Haībun Challenge ~ Prompt “And We Danced”

ligo-challenge2Haībun is Prosimetric writing. The haībun format here for the Līgo Haībun Challenge is as follows ~

paragraph (more than one paragraph is fine, or just a few sentences) in prose form of either

  • a descriptive passage , or excerpt from a story/or previously published post
  • an explanation 
  • a tale
  • a travelogue
  • a news item
  • a recipe

and

  • the haiku to close

The expression does not have to be used exactly as it is. Remember the word limit is normally if not formally 220 words, including the haiku, and more than 1 haiku is fine.

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