Half a Haibun 3

This bartender doesn’t like me.  I used to enjoy reading great literature and could recite poetry…“what happens to a dream deferred?” – might still help me make enough of an impression that someone sitting at the bar won’t mind making up the coins I lack to pay for my beer.

sweet brown lacquered tones

shoulders elbows, eavesdroppers

ring marks – hops on grains

hops on trains, buses, and brains

fingerprints, the smell of coins.


Tanka inspired by Leslie Reese’s prose,  with my kami-no-ku (first 3 lines or ‘upper phrase’) and Leslie’s shimo-no-ku (last 2 lines or ‘lower phrase’). We both had a lot of fun and were inspired further by Langston Hughes’ cameo. Leslie is a gifted storytellerpublished poet, and social justice advocate. She shares her passion for the written word on folkloreandliteracy.com  as well as through literacy work with children.  Thanks for joining me in this Leslie, it was a true honour and I appreciate the introduction to Harlem.

Half a Haibun is an ongoing (and occasional) feature here at 10000hoursleft. A collaborative project with bloggers I admire- they write the prose that I then use as inspiration for a tanka or haiku. The intention being that together, we’ll create a whole; 2 halves converging to add a richness and complexity to one another, in the form of a haibun. Others in the series:

Half a Haibun 1: The Unhappy Wife (with K E Garland)
Half a Haibun 2: Shack (with Robert Okaji)

35 thoughts on “Half a Haibun 3

  1. Oh gosh, reading this reminds me that I never came up with a title for that poem I sent you. I thought about it briefly but couldn’t come up with anything better and then…well, you know…life. I’ll try to concentrate on it some more or if you come up with anything, let me know.

    The bartender often shows distain for those short on their bar tabs. Lovely words.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Mek! It was great collaborating with you (-thank you for the invitation as well as your patience) on the haibun. I look forward to sharing the genesis of “Naomi” in a future post on my blog. Much love, Leslie❤️

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Nadine! Thanks for visiting! Yes, I love that story! Leslie has a knack for drawing a reader into the world of her characters- I felt like I was propped up on a bar stool watching it all unfold. Glad we inspired you to check out those forms-it is through blogging that I came across haibun originally.


      1. I am inclined to agree Mek. As Kathy said above this was very rich in imagery – I ‘felt’ rather than read the poem as it resonated with all the senses. A poet and an engineer – wow!

        Liked by 2 people

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