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.

…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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In the Thicket of Things

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Frantically bouncing from one tree trunk to the next, her mind whirred through the forest, her body following like a discharged pinball. She caressed her left cheek, finding the blood oozing from the bark scrape to be the only soothing warmth her fingers could find. At what point had her glove let loose from her hand? Did it fall off in the crash? Did she remove it while caring for him? She was too stunned to recall and didn’t care. Her focus had to be on the task of making it back to the lodge. Why, oh why, had they gone out on that stupid snowmobile in the dark? He’d assured her they had an ample headlamp. It had seemed so too – until the upward casting beam missed that snow laden stump. She’d been thrown away from the chaos. He hadn’t. He’d taken the brunt of the collision, and she hadn’t been able to stir him from unconsciousness. As she stumbled onto the road, oncoming headlights cast hope onto this dismal situation. By the time the sun was peeking through the forest thicket, a rescue crew had him safely in tow.

Arctic bitterness

Wraps around the soul’s confines

Thawed frenzy – Composed.

______________________________________________________________________

This week’s Līgo Editions challenge was the picture prompt posted above. I hope my story made the point that I’ve had enough of the cold weather for this year and am ready for the sunrise of Spring to lift off the dismal “arctic bitterness.” 😉

Here’s the link to this week’s challenge, if you’d like to read other submissions:

The Līgo Haībun Challenge ~ Picture Prompt

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

PLEASE REMEMBER THE LIGO HAIBUN NORMALLY SHOULD BE 220 WORDS OR LESS.

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Sunrise to Sunset

They honeymooned in South America, near the equator (though that’s probably not from where the heat arose). Never once did either complain about the humidity that caused their thoughts to slip, then fuse, as each explorer skimmed across other-worldly landmarks. They dreamt of trekking on continental adventures together – their experiences akin to the heights of the Andes, the mysteries of the Amazon, all unknown adventures of a great, diverse world.

Over time, they settled into their own comfortable culture until, one day, it too felt ancient, void of settlement, abundant with artifacts, confusing to interpret. No longer so equatorial.

Everything between them has gone south again – distantly so this time. Life together resides on the cold, desolate ice fields of Argentina. Both now seek to become their own Libertadores in this continental divide.

Gone the intense dawn

Once heated eyes turn humid

Sunsets cool to frost

Sunrise over Glorious Appalachian Foothills

(Oh, yes – I saw that glorious sunrise for myself – and was fortunate enough to capture a shot of it!)

This will be my third submission to the Līgo Editions community. I’ve only personally ever gotten to explore South America through the WWW, so at first, I didn’t think I truly had anything to contribute for this week’s prompt on that particular subject. But the thing about creative writing (and truly life, in general) is, regardless of location, you can always discover common experiential ground.

With that in mind, I submit to you my response to:

The Līgo Haībun Challenge ~ Prompt “South America”

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

PLEASE REMEMBER THE LIGO HAIBUN NORMALLY SHOULD BE 220 WORDS OR LESS.

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