A Shining Moment – A Haibun

I am drinking hot coffee despite the 90 degree weather, the sweet creamy liquid warming my nostrils before I take a sip. I hold it for a moment, savoring it’s decadence before swallowing, while watching my children run through the sprinkler. The sunlight glistens off the water droplets hanging onto their dark hair and tan skin. These diamonds sparkle and glisten before being flung into the air echoing the sound of their laughter. I drink my coffee and commit this happy, shining moment to memory.

Growing up, my sprinkler was the fire hydrant in front of my neighbor’s house. Instead of soft, squishy grass underfoot, we had pavement that left our feet raw from scrapes on the unyielding surface. Our laughter gurgled like the fire hydrant while our screams matched the siren wail of the police – a warning that our water play time would soon come to an end. My mother would drink black coffee and watch us from the stoop, her worries emanating from the lines between her eyes, like the sun’s rays burning our already darkened skin.  

On this summer day, I drink my coffee, leaning against my marble countertop while looking at my children through the panoramic kitchen window and toast myself for not having wrinkles between my eyes.

Sunshine rewarding
Generations of hard work -
Suburban sprinkler
I bought this water toy for my kids to play with since we don’t have a pool. I thought it was cute when I bought it – maybe because, subconsciously, it reminded me of my childhood summers in Brooklyn.

This haibun was written for Lillian’s request on dVerse’s Haibun Monday to write a traditional haibun about One Shining Moment in our lives. Lillian has an excellent description of what entails a “traditional haibun” including resources for the KIGO (a word/phrase that alludes to a season – in mine, sunshine alludes to summer) and examples of KIREJI (a shift that adds insight). I hope that my haibun is meets the bar!

Serendipitously, this haibun also works for Jamie’s Wednesday Writing Prompt to juxtapose our life as an adult against our life as a child. I do marvel at the difference between my childhood as an immigrant to this country versus that of my children. My parents both worked, my mom during the day and dad at night. We lived in a diverse neighborhood in the city where my brothers and I would walk to school around the corner. We took public transportation and made frequent trips into “The City”. I did my share of “babysitting” my brothers and could be classified as a “latch-key kid” growing up.

Eventually, we were able to move out of Brooklyn and out to Long Island where my younger brothers were able to live the “suburban life” – taking a school bus, playing football on Friday nights, getting their driver’s license at 16. By that time, I was already in college so my experience with “suburban life” only came when I was married and about to have kids.

My kids have never had to take public transportation as their sole means of getting around. They marvel at sidewalks and when we do go on the train or bus in the “big city”, it’s a grand adventure! They have always had a back yard and have no clue what a “stoop” is. My husband (who is also an immigrant) and I have taken them back to the places where we grew up and they marvel at the “tiny houses” and wonder how we lived with only one bathroom, without a yard, and having to share bedrooms.

Race/ethnicity, social class, education, profession – these are all inter-related. My “shining moment” would not have come to fruition without the hard work and sacrifice of my parents, without the guidance of teachers, without the encouragement of friends. Yet for some, even with these current supports, the institutionalized discrimination/racism inherent in our systems in the USA keep them from reaching their shining moment, from getting their just reward for their hard work and sacrifice, and that of their ancestors.

We all deserve a shining moment in our lives. I would even venture to say, we deserve more than one. I would even be bold enough to say, that we deserve to shine as bright as we would want in every moment in our lives. Shine on, friends, shine on!

©️ 2020 iido

Give My Regards to Mondrian – A Haibun

Sunshine yellow paths slowly overcome with tomato red worries. If they were splattered, like ketchup on a a plate awaiting a french fry’s toe dip, the red would have seemed angry. But these right angles and straight lines speak to the weight of rules and how things should be. 

Rule follower blue is in each quadrant, of course, keeping watch with that tick-tock military march head swing of disapproval – or maybe it’s disappointment, or maybe it’s both. But it’s really the white – the soul-less white, the brain numbing white – that has taken center stage.  It defines and limits the yellow’s paths so happiness is constrained to this patch of canvas. 

Each parallelogram rigidly defined as if they can’t hear the songs from Broadway calling them to relax, to sway, to be pulled and pushed and twirled, to be tossed in the air and slid through the legs. The primary passion of colors needs to be the breakout star.

Right hand against left

Piano drama gives best shot 

Angle of Life’s Joy

Piet Mondrian, ‘Broadway Boogie Woogie, 1942-43, moma.org

Kim from Writing in Norfolk is hosting dVerse Haibun Monday this week. She challenged us with writing a haibun about the image above, a piece of modern abstract art by Piet Mondrian, a leader in this movement. “Broadway Boogie Woogie” was one of his last pieces of work.

I did a lot of research for this haibun so if finding out about the background work that went into writing a poem isn’t your “thing”, then feel free to skip this part and go straight to the “Like” button below! =) I love doing research and since we’re still sheltering in place, I have time.

I didn’t start off doing research but after the 2nd paragraph, I got a little stuck and that’s when I started doing some exploring particularly about the title of Mondrian’s art piece.

Boogie Woogie is a style of piano playing brought up from the southern part of the USA to the northern part by African Americans during the “Great Migration”. It’s inspired by jazz and gained popularity in the late 1930’s through WWII.

Boogie Woogie is also a style of dance, also known as the East Coast Swing.

Broadway, needs no introduction although I did find this interesting podcast about it’s history from the Bowery Boys. Around the 17 minute mark, they talk about the reason why Broadway is the only road in north of lower Manhattan that doesn’t seem to follow the beautiful grid pattern created by the Commissioners Plan of 1811. I thought it ironic that Mondrian would name his artwork full of right angles after a street that refused to conform to this square plan. Incidentally, Broadway is also called “The Great White Way”.

Currently, Broadway is closed due to the pandemic yet, I can still remember my first Broadway show, Cats, that I watched with my Dad for my 13th birthday. Since then, I’ve seen the Lion King, Hamilton, Chicago and Wicked there. The 2nd line of the haiku references a song from Hamilton called “My Shot”, which is mostly about taking advantage of opportunity.

I don’t know if Mondrian made all these connections when he painted this artwork and then named it. The BBC podcast that inspired Kim also had an interesting take on the relationship between Mondrian and Boogie Woogie (I didn’t listen to that podcast until AFTER I wrote my haibun so any similarity is purely coincidental. I swear on my favorite pen.)

For me, the artwork raised these questions: What are the rigid lines that seem to define our limits? Are they self-imposed? Or do we see them as being imposed by an “other”? How can we push, pull and twirl our edges to allow for flexibility and growth? To angle our abstract mind to find those higher meanings? To allow our vibrant, colorful, exuberantly moving joy to take center stage?

My haibun is, at it’s essence, about finding joy amidst the constraints of life – whether it’s the constraints of having to shelter in place and wear a mask, or the constraints of worries and “shoulda, woulda, coulda” rules in our lives. Can we turn our current limitations into something meaningful? This article says “Yes, if you have faith.” But what about the rest of us? What’s the angle of our life’s joy or are we content to live in the grid?

©️ 2020 iido

Flushed – A Quadrille and April Runfession #9

My face flushed from this furious run 

My eyes reddened by saline streaming south 

My tongue tastes salt from sweaty tears or tearful sweat 

My shoulders alternate between tensely touching my ears and depressingly drooping

Hamster wheel running provides the only approved escape route

img_4889

April is coming to an end. It’s been a month since the shelter in place order has been in effect in our area. That’s a month of not being able to physically be in school, get together with friends, go on a group run. That’s a month of virtual learning or cyber learning or distancing learning or not learning. That’s a month of missed birthdays, missed trips to the play ground, missed races.  April is coming to an end when it seems like it never even got started. 

Forgive me, Nike, for I have sinned….

Ma Irma

 

I runfess…I have not been “just doing it”. If you look at my mileage for March and April, it is quite pitiful compared to the strong start I had in January and February. I think I’ve been in “shock” even though everyone else in the family seems to have adjusted to the shelter in place order.  I was trying really hard to get the kids to do their school work, make home made healthy meals every day, stay on top of laundry and cleaning  – basically, being all “Little House on the Prairie” . I never saw Ma needing a run because she needed a break from Pa and Laura and Mary and Baby Carrie and the cooking and cleaning on the farmstead.

I runfess…I’m no Ma Ingalls! I need to workout to keep my sanity while doing all those other things. So, I’ve slowly been getting back into a regular running schedule. Since I’m not morning person, this has meant going to bed really, really, really late. By the time the kids are in bed, the dishes done, the house cleaned up and things prepped for the next day (plus logging onto WordPress and getting some writing in), I’m not heading down to the treadmill until around 11 PM.  I don’t think I’ve been able to get to bed before 1 AM the past few days!

(This picture on the right is from when I visited the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove, MN.  I loved watching Little House on the Prairie growing up so this was a highlight on our cross-country trip. But as you can see, frontier life is not for me! If the bonnet doesn’t fit….)

 

On the positive side though – I’ve reached 200 miles this year for the Run The Year Challenge! Realistically, I probably won’t be able to finish 2020 miles this year, but I’m going to see how many miles I can get in. Not having my SRTT/MRTT group to run with has been so hard…but seeing their posts about their sola runs have continued to be inspiring and motivating! IMG_5821

I runfess…I’ve been crying after my runs (the inspiration for my poem which was written for Mish at dVerse Quadrille #102 – Flush). I’ve been keeping it together during the day with the kids but these nightly runs and crying sessions have been very cathartic. It’s like the feeling I get after I’ve finished a particularly grueling race or run. This shelter in place has felt like running a marathon very day for the last 35 days…except my butt seems to be growing instead of shrinking….

Not a very upbeat or inspirational runfession for this month but an honest one – isn’t that what runfessions are for? Thanks for this forum, Marcia at Marcia’s Healthy Slice!

Until next time….I’m still writing and running and raising these kids the best I can…plus, my jeans do still fit….

 

© 2020 iido

January – A Haibun

January sighs with dreary days covered with wet grey skies. It’s an in between time – the rush of people, things and holiday tradition has passed but the sweet smell and green tints of spring are still a long way away. January helps us practice the hopeful anticipation that seeds have mastered.

January whispers so you can for hide and sleep without guilt, hibernating like wise bears not scampering about like silly squirrels. The search should be for food for your mind and soul, and can be found through sleepy reflections and cozy inquiries.

January skies

Waiting to uncover spring

Reflect sleepy thoughts

This Haibun was written for dVerse 1st Haibun Monday of 2019 – theme: January.

Yes, I know it’s Wednesday but I’ve realized I am not fast poetry thinker or writer. It takes me a while to formulate my thoughts and craft my words. But once that’s done, the poem springs from my head triumphantly like Athena from Zeus’.

January always seems like a hard month. There is the let down (whether is release or relief) from the holiday hype of December and New Year’s Day but it’s still too far away from March and the warm of spring. It also doesn’t have a claim to fame like February which is a short month full of hearts and candy love. Hopefully, reading all these haibuns about January will give new perspective on this month.

©️ iido 2019