DRY ARGUMENT - A Haibun

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Maureen K Clifford
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DRY ARGUMENT - A Haibun

Post by Maureen K Clifford » Mon Nov 10, 2014 1:07 pm

DRY ARGUMENT .
by Maureen Clifford © 24/09/10

It was his welcome to town. A ragged putrefying bloated mound of road kill and a couple of black crows stalking arrogantly across the road towards their road kill lunch.

natures undertakers
taking care of business –
putrefaction


One of those towns that if you blinked you missed it. Spanning both sides of the highway – miles from anywhere but close to somewhere. A town out on the mulga plains baking to a crisp in the hot midday heat - where the heat haze shimmering off the bitumen created mirages of lakes in the distance.

Telegraph poles marched relentlessly onwards as far as the eye could see – each connected to his neighbour by wire shackles – their only means of communication. Termite mounds stood on their North South axis like decaying monoliths of a forgotten age, casting barely a shadow at this time of day.

tall shackled shadows
like images from the past -
indigenous slaves


It was like a ghost town. Empty spaces waiting for the end – which was nearly here from the look of the place. One service station – closed now – with its pump rusted and dry and its windows boarded up. Red sand thick across its forecourt and the sign dangling askew at rakish angle advertising petrol, cold beer, meat pies- last for 300 kilometres.

A red phone box stood empty, minus phone - with all its glass panes shattered. On the other side of the highway stood the pub – a run down, paint starved, lackluster building. Iron roof red with rust, dust covered trees and shrubs limp and listless around its perimeter. Weatherboards sagging, verandah posts listing as if it too had given up all hope.

disconnected –
in so many ways
for so many reasons


A dog – thin, brown, nondescript lay on the verandah in the shade – flat out like a lizard drinking and too lazy to stir his stumps. The old fellow sitting on the bench behind him said a few mumbled words that he didn't catch. “G'day Mate – is the beer good and cold?' Jim asked, bending to fondle the old dogs ear. Obviously the old codger didn’t hear the question as he offered no answer as he slowly hoisted his scrawny frame from the bench and shambled down the three steps to the beer garden. Oh well – maybe he was a solitary type.

no warm welcome -
unresponsive locals
and ice cold beer


The stranger entered the bar – the shade offering welcome relief to the 40 degrees outside. It was clean enough – shabby and run down. Brown carpet, brown walls, brown upholstery – kind of colour coordinated with the dog, Serviceable like – didn't show the dirt and god knows there was plenty of that – acres and acres in every direction.

“What can I get you Mate?” asked the bloke behind the bar. A rhetorical question – doubt they did champagne cocktails here. “Just a beer and a couple of pies will do thanks. Bloody hot today.” The beer duly arrived. Cold, wet, light golden with a froth of foam on top. Nectar of the Gods. Condensation beaded the glass and left a ring of moisture on the wooden slabbed bar top. A fly crawled up to it and started to drink – never let a chance go by.

The pies looked good. Homemade, big, meaty puff pastry encased cholesterol raisers. Gravy rich and brown oozed from their sides and they smelt divine. His first bite was big. God he was hungry. Flaky crumbs of pastry drifted onto his chin. He closed his eyes and embraced the moment, washed it down with the beer. It doesn't get any better than this he thought.

light and flaky
pastry encased richness
of departed souls

Tucker finished, thirst quenched and it was back to business – didn't really look forward to this but it had to be done. No sentiment in business so they say and no doubt the old bloke had known it was coming. Bit of a shame though but ever since the new highway had bypassed the old town things had been heading on a downward spiral. Custom had fallen off – hardly any one used this road any more – beer sales were down. You know how it goes.

He introduced himself to the Licensee Reg Jamieson, the bloke behind the bar, offered his hand and his credentials.

“Sorry Mate” he said handing him the envelope “but this here is the message from the Brewery. They won’t renew your liquor license – not enough beer being sold here now.” Reg knew it was the end – no way can you keep a pub with no beer going.

He took it rather well Jim thought, took it like a man - on the chin. He was relieved by that scenario. He hated the hopeless arguments that sometimes eventuated in these situations or even worse the threats of physical violence to his person. This one was almost a textbook case.

verbosity nil
recriminations avoided
as the axe falls


Two tallies of amber fluid slid across the bar, the glasses wet with condensation, the head thick and foamy. Nectar of the Gods. “Have another Beer Mate" Reg said "No good letting what's left go to waste"
Last edited by Maureen K Clifford on Tue Nov 11, 2014 12:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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I may not always succeed in making a difference, but I will go to my grave knowing I at least tried.

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David Campbell
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Re: DRY ARGUMENT - A Haibun

Post by David Campbell » Tue Nov 11, 2014 9:18 am

An interesting structure, Maureen, and beautifully written. The haikus provide very effective contrasting images to the prose. Have you thought of trying it out in a competition, or getting it published in a magazine, assuming it hasn't been already? It's a classic depiction of a decaying town.

(NB: in that context, a couple of small points. In the first haiku, should it be "putrefaction"? Or did you mean "purification"? Very different! And "dog's ear"...only one dog.)

Cheers
David

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Maureen K Clifford
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Re: DRY ARGUMENT - A Haibun

Post by Maureen K Clifford » Tue Nov 11, 2014 12:34 pm

Thanks Matt :D

Good on you David for picking up on those two errors :D - I've missed them both time and again - just proves two eyes are better than one.

I haven't entered it in this format in anything as it is the first Haibun I've done - but I am pleased & encouraged David that you think it might be good enough. Thank you. I rather like this type of writing so I'm experimenting with a few different ones I've done as short stories over the years.

Hey - I can publish it in the TAT magazine :lol: The editor won't give me an ounce of trouble ;)
Check out The Scribbly Bark Poets blog site here -
http://scribblybarkpoetry.blogspot.com.au/


I may not always succeed in making a difference, but I will go to my grave knowing I at least tried.

william williams

Re: DRY ARGUMENT - A Haibun

Post by william williams » Tue Nov 11, 2014 1:34 pm

Hey - I can publish it in the TAT magazine :lol: The editor won't give me an ounce of trouble ;)

I wouldn't bet on that Maureen they recon she's a b*@#&^**

bill w

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Maureen K Clifford
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Re: DRY ARGUMENT - A Haibun

Post by Maureen K Clifford » Tue Nov 11, 2014 7:07 pm

Well that's true Bill and she also has attitude but we're kindred spirits.
Check out The Scribbly Bark Poets blog site here -
http://scribblybarkpoetry.blogspot.com.au/


I may not always succeed in making a difference, but I will go to my grave knowing I at least tried.

warooa

Re: DRY ARGUMENT - A Haibun

Post by warooa » Wed Nov 12, 2014 7:49 am

Enjoyed that, Maureen. Shades of one of my favourites Kenneth Cook there ;)

Marty

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Maureen K Clifford
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Re: DRY ARGUMENT - A Haibun

Post by Maureen K Clifford » Wed Nov 12, 2014 9:19 am

thanks Marty
Check out The Scribbly Bark Poets blog site here -
http://scribblybarkpoetry.blogspot.com.au/


I may not always succeed in making a difference, but I will go to my grave knowing I at least tried.

Neville Briggs
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Re: DRY ARGUMENT - A Haibun

Post by Neville Briggs » Wed Nov 12, 2014 11:41 am

Love it Maureen , Great work. :)

I suppose it doesn't have to be Haiku, you could do more standard form of verse if you wished as a sort of bush poetry flavour. What do you think.... pinch from the Japanese to make our own version? :) .
Neville
Singleton Bush Poets.

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Maureen K Clifford
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Re: DRY ARGUMENT - A Haibun

Post by Maureen K Clifford » Wed Nov 12, 2014 2:21 pm

Happy you like it Neville - I have another one I am going to 'share' as well . I reckon we could certainly do some with a bit of bush poetry thrown in- rules are there to be broken :) What would we call it? A bushbun - or BuKu? You up for it??? :D

I am experimenting with Gloss/Glase poetry at the moment - are you familiar with that?
Check out The Scribbly Bark Poets blog site here -
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Neville Briggs
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Re: DRY ARGUMENT - A Haibun

Post by Neville Briggs » Wed Nov 12, 2014 3:25 pm

I wasn't familiar with gloss poetry until you mentioned it and I looked it up. hhhhhm. :roll:

I hadn't heard of Haibun until you presented this piece.

There's a precedent for using Japanese forms and adopting them to Western art. The French artist Edgar Degas took compositions and figures from the art of Hokusai and made sumo wrestlers and Japanese farmers into Parisian ladies and ballet dancers. Vincent Van Gogh also copied directly from Hokusai's prints. Van Gogh even did a self portrait in which he gave himself oriental looking eyes as a tribute to Japanese art. And of course, Gilbert & Sullivan used (some) authentic Japanese tunes when they made the operetta The Mikado, transforming geishas into Victorian London girls.
Neville
Singleton Bush Poets.

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