Haibun Today

A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Editor
Volume 4, Number 4, December 2010

Phuoc-Tan Diep
King's Lynn, Norfolk, England


Prelude, Fugue and Variation: The long, slow path

Prelude: haiku

And flashes
Of a red carpet slipper

Fugue: cleave

He walks bent over   His centre of gravity is always
Forcing him faster   Forward as when he used to run
But his festinant feet are unsteady   On gravestones. But now
When he reaches the gate   the way is blocked by rubble
His hands are hesitant   What lies beyond?
Turning from the path, he takes   The serpent's kiss
A wide arc   With fangs that penetrate
His red carpet slippers   Beneath the yellowing surface
Buried under the daisies   Bloodless eyes guide him
Without a path back   to a home of Stone

Variation: prose

I mumble the names of drugs. They tumble out of my mouth, magic words written on magic pills. What colours? White, green, yellow, red? Can they heal?

I am petrified.

How long can they keep it from me?

One day, when I wake, the pills will be a finger length too far and my hands will not reach them. I will stay stone and watch the days fall from the trees. 

Who will come and rescue me?

I’ll feel flies testing if I am dead. The sun, as it watches me lie here, won’t tell anyone because it can’t speak. But if it could speak, what would it say? By Jove, there lies a petrified man?







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