The Warmth of Another Friday Afternoon at the Haikulodeon



Here’s this week’s heap of haikus:




Tell me your secrets
and my heart will be yours.  True
love will last forever.



‘I can not endure
the pain of losing again’,
sighed his broken heart.



As the tide rolled in,
the discussion turned to men …
(‘I’ll tell you later.’)


Unleashing your joy
will lift you off your feet and
point you to the stars.

(Photo courtesy Kristina Rebelo)



He sits all day and
sketches girls wearing tubetops …
Charcoal gigolo.




In Life, two choices;
remain bewildered, or seek

The dark before dawn;
lonely hearts beat quicker in


(Photo courtesy Kristina Rebelo)




 The role of youth is
to snatch the hands of time from
their elders … and run!




The one thing we do
that’s as powerful as Love
is … that we Forgive.


Ah, consistency …
It’s not just over-rated,
it’s the same old sh*t.



To illuminate
is better than to merely shine.
Teach thinking, not thoughts.

(from St. Thomas Aquinas … more or less.)




Like sails on schooners,
the bed sheets billowed, while pinned
to my mom’s clothesline.




A freshly waxed floor,
an over-eager puppy …
hilarity ensues.



Driftwood in the sand,
long removed from livelihood
this soul-less tree branch.

Coming down the steps,
I held onto the handrail
with a fierce-some grip.

There, on the sidewalk,
I spied a crumpled dollar
which looked a bit spent.



double haiku:

It’s three fifteen, and
wakened from a sad dream, I
try to clear my head.

Thoughts of you linger
and entwine with my day’s chores.
You still haunt my heart.



Torches throw shadows
on dreary castle walls … The
mob wants Frankenstein.


Fog floats on the fields,
dew forms on the split rail fence
cows stare at salt licks.




When she walked away,
I brought my hands to my face
to hold in my dreams.




a bitter orange
sunset dissolves into the
calm blue horizon.


Settin’ on my porch;
‘Why did that ol’ gal leave me?’
Singin’ ‘Whiskey Blues.’ 

 double haiku:

Sitting in the park,
he looks at all the birds and,
wishes he could fly.
Seeing kids at play,
he feels the great sadness of
not having children.


 1, 2, 3 AND-ku:  

Waltzing through life is
not as easy as it sounds …
There’s all that counting!



Grabbing his drumsticks,
he played a paradiddle
that could beat the band.


tanka haiku:

 Who have you steadied?
Whose heart have you opened?  Whose
dreams have you unleashed?

Ask yourself this, for these are
the questions that matter most.

A careful dipping
of the brush, will ensure a
steady flow of ink.

Not ev’ry almond
will taste of perfection, but
all hold the promise.



He opens the door,
throws his keys on the table,
And heads for the couch.



Weary troubadour,
guitar slung across his back,
thumb out to hitch-hike.




Bonus material:  This week, a shaggy-dog story, that I wrote down many years ago.  I couldn’t find it, so I had to reconstruct it from memory.  It’s called:

Holding it Together  –  by Michael Tracy Smith c 2015

The story I am about to tell you is true.  All of it.  I have not made anything up or enhanced any of the major details for entertainment value.

The story takes place in the 1990’s,  probably between 1995 and 1997.  The characters are, my mom, who was in her mid-Seventies at the time, my sister, who was in her early 50’s and my sister’s dog, Dudley, a springer spaniel of eager affection but limited intelligence.  At the time, both my mother and sister (and Dudley) lived in Pennsylvania;  my sister in Philadelphia, where she worked, (and continues to work), as a paralegal, and my mom in a retirement village run by nuns in a suburb of Philadelphia called Flourtown, which sounds lovely when you hear it, but somewhat disappointing when you see it spelled out.   One late afternoon, on their way back from visiting my niece and her family on Long Island, they were riding in my mom’s car and the electronic dashboard suddenly went out.  Kaput.  The car was a Mercury Cougar and when the dashboard went out, the car simply turned off.   Completely.  They pulled off to the side of the highway, uncertain of what to do.  They were approaching the Verranzaro Narrows bridge at the time, but neither of them had cell phones. (It was 1995 and neither of them was on the cutting edge of technology.)  

Looking out the window, my mom noticed what appeared to be army 0barracks on some property behind a fence, and suggested my sister go yell and see if some soldiers might hear her and come to their rescue.  My sister, who has always been good at rolling her eyes at mom’s sillier suggestions, did so once again, and told mom to just sit tight and someone would come to rescue them eventually … and sure enough, about 20 minutes later, a tow truck pulled up and offered to help them.  They quickly checked their cash and agreed to pay the tow truck operator’s somewhat exorbitant fee.  But they were stuck, what could they do?  They were towed to a service station in Brooklyn. Unfortunately, when they spoke to the man in charge, he told them that while he could easily fix the problem, his mechanic had just left for the day and wouldn’t be back until early the next morning.  He offered to let them park their car in his lot overnight and promised his man would get to it first thing the following day.  And then he left … leaving my mother and sister in his parking lot in the middle of residential Brooklyn, a borough of which, neither my mother or sister was even remotely familiar.   The owner’s departure also meant that they had no access to the station’s restroom, which was probably just as well, given the filthy nature of the rest of the place.  My mother was always a stickler for a clean restroom.   Since they now found themselves virtually in the middle of nowhere, my mom and sister decided that they were having an adventure and would, simply put some beach towels that were in the trunk, on the car windows and sleep in the car, with Dudley acting as guard dog.   At this point, let me bring up the fact that I was living in Long Island City at the time, which is right next door to Brooklyn, and although I did not drive or have a car, I did know people who did and do … and yet somehow the thought to call me and ask for help, never occurred to either one of them.  But, as the sun set, they realized they had nothing to eat in the car and they were hungry.   Fortunately,  right across the street was a  Domino’s.   Unfortunately, ‘Across the street’, meant crossing a six lane highway with a divider and traffic island in the middle.  Since neither of them wanted to be left alone in a strange Brooklyn neighborhood at night, they both, (with Dudley in tow), tried to dodge the oncoming traffic and get across the highway … My mom first taking the precaution of stuffing all of her valuables into her socks, thus creatinga rather conspicuous lump near her right ankle.  They managed to get to the traffic island unscathed, only to have to climb over the divider, and then cross the other three lanes of the highway.  Now the sight of an overweight middle-aged women with a dog and an elderly woman with a lump in her sock the size of Mount Shasta, trying to climb over a metal road divider must have been something to behold.  But somehow, they managed to do it and get to the Domino’s … Which is when they discovered that there was no place to sit down and eat.  It seems the Dominos’ was
strictly for take out and delivery.  
Rather than attempt to carry the pizza back across the highway and over the divider, my sister asked if she could place an order to be delivered.  When the young girl asked for the address, my sister pointed to my mother’s car … Well. evidently Dominos has a strict policy about needing a legitimate address to deliver their pizzas, so my sister ordered the pizza to go … Which was when she realized that they had given the tow truck operator most of their cash and she didn’t have enough to pay for the pizza. So she had to ask mom to reach into her sock and get some money to pay for the pizza.  While waiting for the pizza, my sister asked if they could use the restroom.   She was told that the restroom was for employees only.  The rest of the time between ordering the pizza and the pizza being put in a box and handed to them was spend arguing about whether or not my mother and sister could use the Domino’s employee’s restroom… there was also a lot of pleading and begging involved.  Mostly by my mother and sister.  Finally, the manager came over and agreed, this one time only, to let them use the facilities.  They took turns, one holding onto Dudley while the other went to the bathroom.  When the pizza was ready, the girl at the counter asked if they wanted something to drink.  My sister asked for some water … not for her, for Dudley.   Dudley doesn’t drink Pepsi.  Trouble was,  Dominos doesn’t sell water.  Another negotiated pleading and begging took place.  The manager, obviously an animal lover, again took pity and let them have a large cup of ice water.   

So … with a box of pizza, two sodas, a cup of water and a dog, my mother and sister began the trek back to the car.  This time, getting back over the divider proved a challenge.  My sister,carrying the pizza and holding onto the dog’s leash, had to hand the leash to my mother, who was carrying the drinks, and then balance the box on the top of the divider as she lifted one leg at a time over the divider.  Piece of cake.  My mother, on the other hand,  didn’t have such an easy time.   The lump on her ankle weighed just enough to throw off her balance as she tried to climb one-handed over the divider. (The other hand carrying the bag with the drinks) … My sister was able to take the bag with the drinks and balance atop the pizza box while, with her other hand,  help my mom over the divider.  A few minutes later, they were back in the car and eating dinner.  Dudley even enjoyed a couple of slices of pizza with pepperoni.     Finishing up her soda, my mother noted that she missed the nightly news.  My sister told her to turn on the radio.  My mother patiently reminded her the electrical system was not working.  My sister told her to just turn the knob and say, “click” … Mom did as instructed, and my sister began to do a recap of the day’s headlines as she remembered them … or at least she attempted to … after about a minute and a half, my mother, with a complete deadpan expression,  reached up and turned the knob and said, “click”, which ended my sister’s broadcast.  After debating whether or not to take Dudley for a walk now or wait till later, they decided to wait and with the beach towels all in place, decided to shut their eyes and try to catch some sleep.   Which is when they discovered two things; the parking lot of the gas station doubled as a parking lot for an adjacent night club and Dudley’s eager enjoyment of the cheese in the pizza made him, at the moment, the most flatulent canine in the Metropolitan area.  Scared to get out of the car to get some fresh air, my mother tried opening the vents.  This allowed for the station’s extraordinarily strong gasoline fumes to waft their way into the vehicle.   So, despite thinking she heard voices outside the car from mafioso patrons of the night club, my sister bravely cracked the passenger door open and peered out, saw that the coast was clear, and bravely took Dudley for a short walk.  My mother quickly locked the car doors and uttered a few ‘Hail Marys’ until my sister and Dudley returned.   

Once back and settled in, even Dudley began to feel a bit sleepy.  It had been a long day.  My mom and slster, their seats in full recline position and with Dudley spread out on the back seat, the trio slipped into a fitful sleep, interrupted every so often by an argument in the parking lot between noisy John Travolta wannabes or a drunken woman who needed to lean on the car in order to help her retch her vodka gimlets back to the pavement.

The dawn couldn’t come soon enough,  but eventually, it did.  Thank God.  They had survived their adventure in the wilds of Brooklyn, but now they faced another dilemma.  Where was the mechanic and when did that Dominos open so they could use the restroom?  Finding a flyer amongst the trash from the previous night’s pizza, they learned the Dominos didn’t open until 11 AM.  It was now 5:30 AM.  (Sigh.)

At 6:15 AM, the mechanic arrived, and was more than surprised to find my mother and sister sitting in the car.  In fact, he thought they might be homeless people, or worse, thieves, trying to steal one of the cars on their lot. It seems the owner had forgotten to tell him about my mother and sister and the job he had waiting for him.  So, he was about to call the cops when Dudley began to bark furiously at him.  Sensing that it was highly unusual for car thieves to bring their pets with them on a job, he went over to my mother’s car and asked my sister to explain what was going on.   My sister, who is usually incoherent before her first cup of coffee, was able to tell him the whole story.  Or most of it.  He was shocked that they had spent the night in the car, but kindly agreed to drop the other projects he had scheduled and get right to fixing their dashboard problem. He then gave my mother and sister an opportunity to use the gas station’s restroom. They took one look ,,, and declined the offer.  They decided to hold it.  All the way home.  No New Jersey Rest Stops.  They didn’t have time for that.  They held it.  All the way to Philadelphia.  And what makes this all the more remarkable was the fact that the reason they were rushing back was because they had signed up for a walking tour of some of the historic homes in the area around Chestnut Hill, a suburb of Philly right next to Flourtown.  They arrived just in time for the walk, but were too intimidated to ask to go to the bathroom in any of the fancy mansions they were walking through, so  … they held it together … again, until they got back to my mom’s apartment.  And as I mentioned,  I knew nothing about any of this and only learned about it when my mom and sister called me independently of each other to tell me of their great adventure in the wilds of Brooklyn.
The End

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