jornales

for a moment of joy or moments no one pays for, i give myself a ‘jornal’. this makes me rich. try it.

first smile (haiga8 for Rick Daddario’s challenge at19 Planets Art Blog)

haiga 8 composed on Microsoft Publisher with my sister's first baby picture at 5 mos old

first smile nothing else

I remember that early morning light, which illumines the bedroom. It could have poured in through a window facing east where deep dark leaves of a star apple tree soaked most of it, leaving a young mango sprout pale in its struggle to grow. Or perhaps it was just uncared for. And why do I now blame the more luxuriant star apple? No one could pay much attention to the mango seedling then, since the birth of my sister and only sibling.

It could have been a Saturday morning. My mother could have been home that late and didn’t leave for school across the stream a block away, a post-deduction I’m making from the angle of the light. If it were a weekend, I must have been sleeping late. It couldn’t but be a Saturday or this picture wouldn’t have been taken by an uncle who also taught at the parish school. So why am I making a fuss this late?

Because I wish I could relate a more credible story as to how that first smile was caught. I remember my sister more as fretful. She cried when she felt sleepy or couldn’t sleep. She cried when she woke up and felt hot. When I carried her, I could not hold her facing me for long; I would have to make her face outward with one arm supporting her butt as in a seat, her legs dangling, and my other arm, bracing her close to me so she would not fall forward. She hardly smiled. She seemed to size up people as if already making opinions as they talked though she still couldn’t except to say, ‘Mama’. Which is why this smile for me sparkles as a gem.

I know that hand carved wooden bed. On it, I nuzzled on my mother’s side under a crook of her arm as deep as my memory dips. I watched my sister suckled from my mother’s breast, perhaps like I did, on this bed. I remember bumping my head on the headboard against carvings of huge blooms, hearts of gardenias in a swirl of leaves leaning away as if blown by their redolence. Lying on it felt like easing into silken strands, the hand woven rattan strips, which stretched and retracted with each un-recalled movement in dreams. I know that slightly creased sheet, too, which is actually a native heavy woven cotton blanket I had dived into as a child myself. It must have been really a Saturday morning because I see no pillows, which my grandmother would have gathered to put out under the sun to disinfect and deodorize.

The story I recall of this morning has to do with impulses. An uncle who lived on the other corner of our street, apparently just happened to drop by with his camera. He just suddenly wanted to take a picture of my 5-month old sister. My sister just then was learning to turn on her side. That morning, she happened to do a full turn to lie on her belly. She just happened to smile. Or maybe I was there to clown around when my uncle clicked his Kodak Field camera. But the truth is, I remember nothing else but this first smile.

Fifty four years gape between that morning and me today. I am now an elderly woman hankering for details I missed. But then again because I have none except this moment caught, I can spin webs around it to catch any morning light, and perhaps one like that Saturday morning.

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September 25, 2011 Posted by | haiga, poetry, reflection | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Bootmaker (for One Shoot Sunday)

photo prompt by Rob Hanson

He wraps his broadness
around the air he gathers in quiet
hands poking a wasp caught in a web.
Overhead a patch of sunlight–
he fails to see the breeze
brushing its plum seeds:

his eyes clouded over
for the flights of mourning doves
breathless as once they alit
on her gray hair whiter
than Venus rising before she flew off
leaving him a smile in a cast.

Mornings encase him in this chair
that moulds his spine arched in years
renews his fingers to love the iron last–
he fits today the dancing tips of a shoe
the red-haired woman tears each night
and comes storming in

her breath of fermented cherries
swarms on the leather swatches the jute strings
the hammer and anvil softening them as if
oiling the edges of buried embers
he bends as if cowering in fear as if
a female fox sears him with flaming eyes.

Her eyes waved on tips of ocean weeds
the first time she smiled pulling him
in an undertow of coral reefs
unresisting he yielded to her depths
softer than mollusk flesh
more supple than oyster cheeks.

She braids her red hair this morning
pulls tight her cheeks baring her teeth–
he knows from where she draws water
the well in the woods some elves abandoned
in the spring for an ocean
breeds red dragonflies that turn into wands.

In the pool under the elms
he waits at dusk long after the sun
has turned away long before the moon creeps up
as if shy for its stained cheek and curved chin.
In the wan light she rises over the reeds
afloat, a smile framed by her white hair.

Her red hair catches sparks
from skids of the hammer he blinks
she nudges him—words turn into grunts
from joints of his chair the weight
bearing down on his contracting heart—
“Come tonight I’ll dance for you.”

Her white hair catches foam
from far off billows, she swirls around him—
a braid of tenderness suffuses his darkness:
“Leave the welts on your table to melt in the night,
the lasts will walk away, your chair
will fold onto itself,” she intones lulling him.

She loosens her red hair
baring her neck down to the screaming lights
tearing her apart, her shoes bursting
at the tips, the soles flying
lost in the woods where the elves
now ghosts in the well catch and keep.

She knocks on her bare feet–
the mourning doves unfurl their despair.
She pushes the door open. The half light exhales
stale air from his chair. Up close his head bent
as if intent on her shoes–a spider web
wraps his beard, tighten his lips unsmiling.

(c) Alegria Imperial
Composed from a photo prompt by Rob Hanson and posted for One Shoot Sunday at One Stop Poetry, THE gathering place for poets and artists who share their passion for their art while nurturing each other. Come join us!

June 5, 2011 Posted by | free verse, narrative verse, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

simple truths (for One Shot Wednesday)

simple truths rest
on stamens those succulent fibers
engorged by tears
the taste of sea spray

the sense of touch
defines homo sapiens on cheeks
the sweetness anthers hold the pollens
grow filaments on nose tips

smell to beasts like men feeds power
sniffing a cluster of lilacs
the mind sees indigo
the dye of death reeks of weakness

only a distanced eye
sharpens the heels of Lady’s Slippers
only fingertips fit the godhead’s
vacant smile

blistered palms could crack the lightning
break a thunder into a storm
but tongues roll clouds into balls
pelt the lips of magnolias

distend the petals
hold
let shatter into a mesh
of distracted grace

our reasoning
corroded

Posted for One Shot Wednesday at One Stop Poetry, winner of the 2011 Shorty Award for the Arts, a gathering of poets and artists sharing their art, nurturing each other. Check us out.

May 10, 2011 Posted by | free verse, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

dawn/lost (zero votes in Shiki kukai)-dawn/lost on bare trees (belated but could be better)

Shiki Jan 2011
kigo (dawn)


dawn–
in same sky but a memory
at winter twilight

free format

him I lost once
comes back a new smile
a changed country

Both haiku got zero votes in the kukai for obvious reasons–these are not haiku at all! I wrote them in a wrong state of mind, of this I’m certain. It was a blind space. But having sent them, which qualified me to vote, I got to read exquisite haiku like those of friends Melissa Allen and Margaret Dornaus both of whom got votes in both categories, and those of many other members of haikuworld most of whom are well published and multi-awarded. Congratulations, again!

And mine, belatedly written and could be better

kigo

dawn—
ripples on the water
as we speak

free format

lost on bare trees–
his promises

January 29, 2011 Posted by | critique/self-critique, haiku, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Need to know why editor passed on these haiku

These haiku belong to a batch of 20 I recently submitted with temerity to what I call a ‘cutting-edge’ haiku journal. None was accepted, of course, although two interested the editor. Why? I can’t figure out on my own. Could you help me think this through? I reworked on three of them (1, 2 & 5) and did not include what got the editor’s eye.

1.
seagulls scanning tide marks
as if tasked

2.
competing with shadows
the winter wind

3.
salmon–
on winter clouds
a hue

4.
stepping into a fog
knowing
white also fades

5.
origami–
in her hands a crane
a smile

Origami crane folded from one uncut square of paper by Andreas Bauer courtesy of wikicommons

January 8, 2011 Posted by | haiku, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

his smile–(tribute to JH)

his smile—
too foggy to find
among well-wishers

One of five (and one of two not included) I submitted to Margaret for her call to send haiku posted today as “All Souls Tributes”, a small collection to treasure. Click on haikudoodle in the blogroll.

October 31, 2010 Posted by | haiku, poetry | , , , , , | 6 Comments