A Cobbled Together Friday Afternoon at the Haikulodeon

 

 

 

Here’s this week’s heap of haikus:

 

 
My faded old jeans
easy and comfortable;
worn from the wearing.

 

 

One luxury of
being rich; you can ignore
all your own failings.

 

 

 

 

In the stratosphere,
cumulus accumulate
lofty visions soar.

 

(Photo courtesy Kristina Rebelo)


 

 

Can a seagull stand
on the edge of the ocean
and not think of fish?

 

(Photo courtesy Kristina Rebelo)

 


Faced with decisions
with no positive outcomes,
he resigned himself.

 

 

 

He sits all day and
sketches girls wearing tube-tops …
Charcoal gigolo.

 

 

 
In spite of the cold,
a bird sits in a tree and
sings its song of Spring.

 

 
Icy sidewalks dare
my hip replacement; take a
walk on the wild side.

 

 

Desire often hides
behind the structure of our life
seeking permission.

(Photo courtesy Kristina Rebelo)

 

 

 

 

They were so poor that
his mittens were made out of
used coffee filters.

 

 
In Winter, the trees
are merely shelves for snowflakes,
biding time till Spring.

 

He was confusing
to most people because his
way WAS the highway.  

 

His heart had grown old,
his spirit, weak and flagging,
Love had shut its door.

 

 

 

T’was love at first sight,
First, he tickled her fancy,
And then, so much more.

 

 

 

 
Outside my window,
furious snowflakes mingle,
fearful pigeons roost.

 

 

 

Under marbled skies,
a sunrise so bright, even
the dock seems to cringe.

(Photo courtesy Kristina Rebelo)

 

 

 haiku trio:
He stared at her face,
searching for the smallest sign
that she forgave him.

 

She stared at the floor
wishing he would go away
for she felt ashamed.

 

When their eyes met, they
felt nothing but the sorrow
of a love that’s lost.

 

 


Comfy and cozy
and wrapped in a patchwork quilt,
she sipped some hot soup.


 A tangerine sky,
clouds haunting the horizon,
lures me into dusk.

The world keeps spinning
as I lay in a meadow
watching clouds drift by.


Thoughts would come to him
like bolts of lightning striking
down old maple trees.

 

 

 

In Life, two choices;
remain bewildered, or seek
clarification.

The Persimmon tree,
bends only enough for me
to pluck off some fruit.


In a gondola
is not the place to notice
you’ve lost your wallet.



And then, a rainbow
swept across the darkened sky,
for the storm had ended.


 double haiku:

This physical realm,
lets spiritual beings,
experience pain.

Live and you’ll know pain;
All lessons in Life derive
from this simple fact.

 

 

Quietly they slept,
in a field of bluebonnets;
his head in her lap.

 

 

He whispers her name,
as he lies in bed at night,
so his dreams find her.


 In the swirls of clouds,
where we imagine heaven,
hopes and dreams are formed.


tanka haiku:

All one ever knows,
Is what they’ve experienced …
OR taken on faith.

But, like silt in riverbeds,
both can muddy the water.

 

 

 

 

 

 musical comedy-ku:

With music vamping,
Harold Hill desperately
grasped at rhymes for “T”


A butterfly lands
on a small patch of flowers
and the world’s re-made.

Wearing a sweatshirt,
Nursing a cup of coffee,
Reading the Funnies.

 

 

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

 

(Photo courtesy Kristina Rebelo)

 

 
Sam Spade wannabes
have a thing for frowzy dames
and waterfront bars.

 

 

It’s the Christmas Season.  Time for the return of the Holiday Classics.  First up: 

“Christmas in Spondyville.”

 

Christmas in Spondyville

(Spondyville:  Where the people may be bent, but they’re never broken.)
By Michael Tracy Smith
(c) 2000

T’was the morning of the day before the night before Christmas, and all through the town, Spondys were getting ready for the holidays.  There was so much to be done, (and for most Spondys so much figuring out of alternate ways of getting those things done … to be done.)

As the sun slowly rose above the horizon, (if you listened very closely), you could hear the sound of hundreds of sock devices being used to assist the townsfolk in putting on their hosiery, and hundreds of extra long shoe horns being used to wedge slightly swollen spondy feet into their pre-tied Spondy shoes.

And so, in house after house, the residents of Spondyville completed their morning routines, taking their medicines, using their buttonhooks to help put on their coats, grabbing their canes or their eye-drops, or their grocery grabber devices, and then venturing out into the cold December sunshine. They left the comfort of their homes in order to either get to work, or to finish their last minute Christmas shopping, all the while trying to ignore the pain and stiffness that had, of late, become an integral part of their lives.

Meanwhile, in the middle of Ankylosinger Square, we discover the town’s mascot, Stiffy the SnowSpondy.  Stiffy is standing in front of the Pharaoh’s Obelisk, (dedicated to fellow Spondy, Ramses II), watching the slow motion hustle and bustle of the crowd across the street, as they hobble in and out of the town’s only skyscraper, the fabulous Art Deco Marie Strumpell building.   Stiffy is also standing just to the left of this year’s glorious Spondyville Christmas tree, a giant 50-foot tall blue spruce, it’s lights ablaze in festive colors.  Stiffy’s glistening white body reflected the various colors, as every so often he paced up and down in front of the tree, to keep loose.  Stiffy, had just recently arrived back in town, after spending his summer, as always, at his cozy bungalow located in a remote part of Very Northern Canada.  Stiffy’s Summer domicile is in an isolated area, just a few miles outside Tundra-ville, where his only neighbors are a couple of Eskimos whose families had been living there for generations, and a couple of wizened old fur-trappers, who occasionally wander out of the nearby timberland in search of pelts.

Now, at this point, some of you first time visitors to Spondyville may be asking yourself,  “What the heck is a SnowSpondy?”   Well, let me explain…

Stiffy, and his twin brother, Spiffy, (who were separated at birth and only found each other a few years ago via the internet), are second cousins once removed of the famous Frosty the Snow-person. (Snowman, not being a politically correct term these days … )  Stiffy and Spiffy were once promising young snowmen … err… snow-people in their own rights. That is, until sometime in the early 1980’s, when, despite being separated by an entire continent, and being totally unaware of each other’s existence, they were both diagnosed with AS, (which in spite of what most Snowpeople assumed, did NOT stand for Alaskan Snowstorm, but rather Ankylosing Spondylitis, a type of Arthritis.)  Naturally, both of them had this diagnosis confirmed by their Snow-Rheumys, who administered snow tests, which showed that each of them was made up of snowflakes of the HLA-B27 variety. (With Snowspondys, this condition is more commonly known as Frostylitis.)  Spiffy, until recently, resided in Alaska, where he lived quietly and worked as a school-crossing guard.  He and Stiffy were re-united quite by chance, when, in February of 1997, they met each other in a chat room called The SnowSpondy Cafe.  Last month, Spiffy accepted a position as mascot for the Spondyville baseball team, the Fusers, so he will be moving to Spondyville on a permanent basis.  Other members of their family are rumored to include: an extremely shy younger sister named Stiffanie who lives with an aunt in Lake Placid, and distant cousins such as Wetty, a WaterSpondy, who lives in Florida and works as a part-time mermaid at the Wikki-Wachee resort, and Skye, an AirSpondy, who is seldom seen (except in Los Angeles), and who’s present whereabouts are unknown.  Oddly enough, Spiffy’s AS does not seem to be as severe as Stiffy’s.   Spiffy can still bend over to pick up a penny on the sidewalk or help little kids build a snow-fort.  Stiffy, however, can not.  With his AS, it became apparent early on, that Stiffy’s Snowspine and Snowneck were freezing up. In fact, in a few short years, they were completely frozen … literally.   Yup, he’s as solid as the Siberian Tundra. Hence, he was no longer able to turn his head to see the countryside go by when he rode on a train, or to look up to see the stars twinkling in the night sky.

But getting back to our story, Stiffy, with a tree branch for a reacher, a lump of coal for a knee replacement, and a carrot for a nose, (a nod to tradition), stood transfixed next to the Spondyville Christmas tree, watching his fellow citizens go about their daily routines.  Stiffy’s daily routine included many things, like helping older Spondys across the street, and giving shorter Spondys a boost up so they could reach things on high store shelves, but his main job as mascot was simply to bring joy and laughter to all the citizens of Spondyville.  This, Stiffy decided included giving a daily lunch-time street performance in Ankylosinger Square.  Stiffy enjoyed “Busking”, (as the English call it), for it allowed him to have an outlet for his creative abilities, while also fulfilling his daily exercise requirements, to say nothing of all the fresh air he got to breathe.  Stiffy usually opened with a little soft shoe dancing, then sang a few songs.  And sometimes, when he was in the mood, he’d throw in a little clowning and stand-up comedy for good measure. Stiffy loved his job.  “Nothing could be more satisfying”, he thought to himself, “than making my Spondy friends smile and forget their troubles.”

Suddenly, the big clock in Ankylosinger Square began to chime, announcing high noon.  Stiffy, did a few quick stretches and then began to dance.  Immediately after Stiffy began his routine, a crowd began to form.  An elderly Spondy with a harmonica, emerged from the crowd and began to play a lively tune for Stiffy to dance to.  The crowd began to clap rhythmically as Stiffy executed some very impressive dance moves for someone so frozen.   During the hearty applause generated by his big finish, Stiffy took a modified bow.  It was then that he noticed a little girl in a blue coat at the edge of the crowd.  She wore a matching blue knit cap on her head, which was pushed slightly forward.  Her shoulders were hunched ever so slightly, as she watched with a very big frown on her face.  The sadness in her eyes is what had caught Stiffy’s attention.  He began to focus all his energies into trying to make her smile. But she had no smile for him or for anyone.  Stiffy tried to make eye contact with her, but her gaze was decidedly downcast, and nothing Stiffy did seemed to make any difference.

After nearly 45 minutes of non-stop dancing and clowning, Stiffy was nearly exhausted.  He finished his act, and took another modified bow to enthusiastic applause.  But Stiffy was only concerned about the reaction from one person.  While taking his mini-bow, Stiffy searched the crowd for the sad little girl, but she was nowhere to be found.  As the crowd dispersed, Stiffy walked toward where the girl had been standing.  There on the ground was her blue knit cap.  Using his tree branch reacher, Stiffy scooped it up. He then turned his whole body, first one way and then the other, to see if he could find her. He was about to give up when his peripheral vision caught a glimpse of something blue that had just disappeared around the corner.

He walked as fast as he could, (which admittedly wasn’t very fast), turned the corner, and there she was, walking slowly, about 10 yards ahead of him.  It took a determined effort, but eventually Stiffy caught up to the little girl.  “Excuse me, little girl,” he said,  “but you dropped your hat.”  “Oh.” She replied, quietly. “Thank you.” She took the hat from Stiffy and turned to leave.  “So, did you enjoy the show?” Stiffy asked. in an effort to start a conversation. “It was … nice,” she said simply, her eyes still gazing at the sidewalk.  Stiffy pressed on. “My name is Stiffy the SnowSpondy, what’s yours?”  The little girl paused for a moment. “My name is Iris”.  “What a pretty name” said Stiffy, “Do you know that the name Iris means Rainbow?”  The little girl looked up at him for the first time. “Really?”  “Yes, it’s a fact. I read it in the encyclopedia.”  (Stiffy often read the encyclopedia at breakfast when he was a snow-child.)   “And you know what rainbows are  for?”, Stiffy asked.  Iris shook her head.  “They bring beauty back to the sky and chase away the dark storm clouds of gloom.”  Iris  looked Stiffy right in the eye. “Oh, how I wish that were true.” the sadness in her voice, and on her small little face almost brought a tear to Stiffy’s eyes.  Stiffy put his arm around  her.  “Oh, my little friend, what is making you so sad?” Iris hesitated for a moment, and then began to cry.  “Oh Mr. SnowSpondy, no one believes me… my friends make fun of me …  my teacher said that I was lazy, and even my parents … they think I’m faking when I say I am hurting and can’t do things like the other kids…” Iris then dissolved into a sobbing mess, as it was obvious she had been holding on to this sadness and hurt for a very long time. Stiffy placed his arms around the young girl and gave her a very big hug.  After a long while, the young girl gave a big sniff, wiped the tears from her eyes, and slowly regained her composure, helped along by Stiffy treating her to an ice cream soda at the Spondyville Malt Shop.   While there, she told Stiffy that she did not actually live in Spondyville, even though she had been diagnosed with Juvenile AS a few months ago, but rather, that she had run away from home.  She said her parents had insisted on her staying with them in HealthyTown, which was a large metropolis a few miles north of Spondyville.   Stiffy convinced her that she should call home to let her parents know she was okay, and to tell them that she was on her way home.  As they got up to leave, Stiffy noticed that it was getting dark, so he decided to accompany Iris to make sure she arrived home safely.

Stiffy and Iris walked down Main St. to the outskirts of town, where they waited patiently at the bus stop for the north-bound H-17, which arrived moments later.  The bus was nearly empty, so they grabbed a couple of seats way in the back, and Stiffy did his best to keep Iris laughing and giggling all the way home.

When they got off the bus in HealthyTown, Iris began having second thoughts about going home, but Stiffy promised her he would accompany her and, if she thought it would help, speak with her parents. Iris and Stiffy walked hand in hand up the walk in front of Iris’ house.  As they approached the steps, the front door opened and Iris’s parents rushed to greet them. Iris’ mother and father were very glad to see her,  but were naturally upset to learn she had run away.  Stiffy tried to make them understand that Iris had a chronic degenerative disease, and while medicines and exercise could help ease things, sometimes Iris’s body might make doing normal things difficult.  She was not lazy, but suffering.  Iris’s parent’s listened patiently, but frankly, they had never known anyone in either of their families to have any health problems whatsoever, and therefore had difficulty grasping the concept of being sick and never getting better.   Besides, they were not going to let some stranger made out of snow tell them about their daughter.

Stiffy, of course,  took the opportunity to invite them all to the Spondyville Christmas Pageant at the Town Hall, which was scheduled for that very night at eight o’clock, but he didn’t get the feeling that Iris’ parents were very interested.

Iris’ parents thanked him again for bringing their daughter home, and Iris gave Stiffy a big hug, then Iris’ parents took her back inside the house. Stiffy watched them go, and then turned around and headed back to Spondyville.  From an upstairs window, a tiny face watched sadly as Stiffy disappeared around the corner.

That night, at the Spondyville Christmas party,  the town dramatic society put on their annual Christmas play, and after it was over, everyone joined in to sing Christmas Carols.  Stiffy scanned the audience, but Iris and her parents were nowhere to be seen.  Stiffy felt very sad that he could not be of more help to Iris.  He managed to sing along, but his heart really wasn’t it.  Then, as per tradition, Santa Claus made his appearance, handing out presents to Spondyville’s boys and girls.  This time, however, he was not alone.  “HO, HO, HO” Santa laughed, “Look who I found on my way here!”  It was Iris, who was beaming with a smile that lit up the room, accompanied by her parents.  “These folks got a little lost on their way here, so I decided to give them a ride in my sleigh”.

Stiffy broke into a big grin, and made his way through the crowd.  He welcomed Iris’ parents, who explained that they wanted to know more about Iris’ condition and after thinking it over, decided that meeting others with the same condition would be a good thing.  Stiffy then proceeded to introduce them to the entire Spondyville Community, who spent the next couple of hours generously explaining and answering all of Iris’ parents’ questions over egg nog and Christmas cookies.   A couple of them even volunteered to go to Iris’ school and talk to the children and teachers.

While all that was going on, Stiffy took his old pal, Santa aside for a moment.  He wanted to thank him. and ask a very special favor of him.  He whispered something to Santa, who shook his head in agreement and laughed heartily.

The next morning, Christmas arrived quietly in Spondyville, and Spondyvilleans were treated to a fresh blanket of snow on the ground.  Stiffy went down to the bus station to meet his twin brother Spiffy, who arrived, loaded down with gifts.  When they got back home, Stiffy found there was a message on his answering machine.  It was Iris.   Santa had brought her something very special: a year’s supply of a new Biologic Drug, the exact one that Iris’ parents were worried they couldn’t afford, and Iris said she knew this was going to help her to feel better.  In fact, she was feeling better already. 

Stiffy smiled.  It was another wonderful Christmas in Spondyville.
 

THE END

****

 

Bonus feature:  My Thanksgiving story:

Approximately a million people share being a descendant of my maternal 11th Great-Grandfather, Stephen Hopkins, whose voyage on the Mayflower was his 2nd trip to America, having first arrived in Jamestown around 1607, where he led a failed mutiny. But never mind that. He was going to be executed for that mutiny, but pleaded for his life on the grounds that he had a wife and kids to support back in England. So, he was pardoned and sent back to England, where, as the story goes, Shakespeare heard about the failed mutiny and thought it would make a great event to spark the plot of a play, which became The Tempest. By the time the Pilgrims were getting ready to make their voyage, Mr. Hopkins was considered an asset as he was one of the few people with previous experience in dealing with the Indigenous people. So, he came to America a 2nd time, and acted as the go-to man when it came to dealing with the Native Americans. It was considered noteworthy that he was the first European to let a Native American stay overnight in his home. Kind of a meaningless gesture considering what happened later, but never mind that. Anyway, then there was that first Thanksgiving … Stephen Hopkins was there and was instrumental in coordinating things and is said to have enjoyed the sweet potatoes … but, just for the record, I hate sweet potatoes. I am descended, from, as I recall, one of Stephen Hopkins’ daughters. Sarah Palin is descended from one of his sons. America, where all of us are immigrants and should be grateful the Indigenous people didn’t build a wall to keep us out. (Of course, it might have gone better for them if they did, but … ) Anyway, that’s my Thanksgiving story. Happy Thanksgiving to All.

 

 

FYI – Thanksgiving message from the Mayor of Spondyville:

 

To all the residents of Spondyville, let me take a moment to wish all of you and your loved ones a most Happy Thanksgiving.

With any chronic disease, we tend to think a lot about what ails us, and how to alleviate the pain we feel, and not enough on what brings us joy and sustains us through the hardship.

This Thanksgiving, let’s all remember, that in spite of our suffering, we do still have much to be thankful for.

Let us celebrate that which sustains us and all the good things for which we are thankful.

Now, as most of the long time Spondyville residents know, Thanksgiving is the day each year that our mascot. Stiffy the Snowspondy makes his annual return to Spondyville. Like the swallows returning to Capistrano, this event is celebrated each year without fail. In the same way that Santa’s arrival at the end of the Macys parade marks the beginning of the holiday season, Stiffy’s arrival from his Summer home in very Northern Canada, marks the beginning of the four day Spondy-Fest here in Spondyville. As per tradition, I. as mayor, have the honor of leading the Codgers parade on Friday afternoon, which each year pays tribute to Spondyville’s senior citizens. Beloved Town handyman “Pops” DeMaupassant will once again march in the parade wearing his “fashionable” purple plaid beret, town council president, Marie Strumpell will ride in a horse-drawn carriage originally owned by her grandfather, town co-founder, Uriah Stoop and Spondyville’s oldest citizen, 108 year-old Bartholomew “Skippy” Baudelaire, Sports Reporter Emeritus for the Spondyville Times-Picayune, will ride atop the old Fire truck, sitting next to the current Ms. Spondyville, Emily Winklesnot. The marching band from Elias Fuselot High School will provide musical accompaniment.  Enjoy the day.

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