A Pakistani Feast

A Pakistani Feast

I was an honored guest in a small mountain village for a meal of goat. The recipe was elaborate: decapitated goat head, cranium removed, brains scooped out and sautéed in a rich, mouth-watering curry sauce. The brains were then put back in the head and we all took turns slowly spooning them back out to eat with our rice. Desert: the goat’s eye was reserved for me.

After the evening feast, I walked home alone on the silent, moonless mountain path drowning in moral guilt. I swore then-and-there to never eat animal flesh again. It became one of my many-to-come intense life-changing events. And like those other impressive worldview-altering experiences, the effect did not last. Seven years later I started with fish (a swimming vegetable), then chicken (at least they don’t have lips) and then returned to being an unrepentant full-blown carnivore though I’ve yet to eat out of a skull again.

savory breezes
ripple on a curry pond
a story-frog jumps

— by Sabio Lantz, May 2017

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Prompt: Bjorn, @ d’Verse Poets, requests a Haibun (a true story ending in a Haiku) which involves a recipe. I imagine many will write stories to beautify and accentuate a common recipe, while I may have gone the other direction by writing about a bizarre recipe story which then jumps into blandness.

My Mysterious Woman

Herbals, Witchcraft, Sorcery?
Teasing like trochaic syllables
wooing this reader
deep into romantic trance.

How did you steal my heart?
Sweet foibles
like inconsistent verse
begging for rhyme.

You draw me back for read after read
with bewitching meter
cascading clashing consonants
and vowels bowing before the tao.

Ying and Yang
Rhetoric and Slang
Lord Buddha!
Tell me how your magic works.

— by Sabio Lantz May 2017

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Prompt: Grace hosts Open Link Night at D’Verse Poets Pub.

Tunes filling my Iranian Evening

It was midnight and we’d been on the hot road for ten hours. Conversation-fatigued, we were quiet as the desert wind blowing in the windows filled the silence. I was singing a song to myself that had followed me from America to Iran. Being the late 70s, it was possibly a song by Joni Mitchell or Jim Morrison or Ian Anderson, or a song from the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. The car was one of many that had generously offered me a ride while I was hitching from Europe to India. This driver was a rather reckless South African man who’d been on the road since he crashed his sailing yacht two years earlier killing his wife while he survived.

Both of us were enjoying the silence, in the middle of the Iranian dark country side, when suddenly we were pulled over by uniformed men with machine guns. Not speaking the language, we obeyed their unmistakable gestures to get out of our car, line up against a wall with prisoners from a few other cars that had been stopped at this blockade earlier. Some of those captives were crying and others talking about dying. But inspired by the happy tunes still in my head, I said, “Stop it, we aren’t going to die, silly fools!” And sure enough, the Iranian soldiers let my friend and I go but kept the other men against the wall as we drove away with the sun a long way from rising.

The CIA’s Shah
Khomeini’s chaste desert wind
spitting buzzards soar

— by Sabio Lantz, May 2017

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Prompt: Toni, at d’Verse Poets, asks us to write a Haibun with the constraint that we  “write about singing along with your music and driving.”

Wanta Be Limerick

Wanta Be Limerick

A limerick was begging to be
far more than anapesti
with 1,2,5 rhyme
and 3 and 4 chime:
Shit, I’ve gotta go pee

— Sabio Lantz, April 2017

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Prompt: Frank, at d’Verse Poets, ask us to write a limerick (a poem with anapestic feet, btw). Like several of you, I wrote this on the fly.  Well, and afterwards, made sure the fly was up.  Very much in a hurry.

The Mister Linky Culture

Subvert the greedy rush to fame,
of first in line, most to gain.

Read those listed before your name,
and do not try to play the game.

But if the game were to change,
the clever would still rearrange

But should they be blamed?

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Prompt: Grace, at d’Verse Poets, ask us to write a 42-word poem (a Quadrille) using the word “still”.  I could have been mysterious, letting no reader really know what I am talking about, but I took Billy Collin’s poetry advise to avoid unnecessary mystery and put the hint in the title (see Collin’s interview on the topic here). As always, criticism, controversy, suggests and corrections are coveted.

Unneeded Help

RobinUnneeded Help

A low, deep, continuous rumble,
like my stomach after an indulgent meal,
made me look out the window
to see a freight train
slowly rolling its way out of town.

Weighted down with the burdens of shoppers,
and the coal needed to fume the skies
for my lights and internet connection tonight
so I could ponder possible war with North Korea.

The train was so big, so heavy but so slow;
I felt like running outside and up to the tracks
to help push it faster on its way.

But there was glass, a field and sanity
that held me back and laughed
while the train pulled away
chuckling at my pretense of changing the world.

Then coming home after work,
a tiny chirp drew my attention
and I see a fresh Spring Robin
hop, hop, hop, across my yard.

Her legs were thin, fragile twigs
ready to snap on the next jump.
I wanted to rush over and splint them for her,
just as you may wish to aid this limping poem.

But our help is often unneeded.
Some things move along fine without us.
They don’t need our dreams and impulses.
They move along without hinting that we matter.

— by Sabio Lantz, April 2017

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Prompt: Open Mike Nite at D’Verse Poets

Fear of Flying

Fear of Flying

Flying over China our jet suddenly lost altitude. Passengers  screamed and flight attendants hit the ceiling.  Our altitude kept falling until the pilots regained control so low to the ground that we could see people below.  We flew at that level for a long time then slowly ascended and the flight continued safely to Japan.  The pilots may have explained what happened, but I did not understand the Chinese.  And so with that experience, I began a new life of extreme fear of flying.  Not until years and many flights later, after training in a flight simulator, did I lose most of that fear.  But some fear still haunts me.

To ease my remaining fear, I practice several superstitious activities: I must touch the plane’s outer shell, look into the cockpit and have a vivid image of myself doing things after landing.  And when my loved one flies, to ease my fears for her safety, I have her carry my favorite I-Ching coins and tell her she must bring them back to me.  I don’t believe any of this stuff influences the world, of course. I don’t believe in superstition, but my mind believes nonetheless, and for all the wonderful things she’s done for me, I can’t ignore her.

The wind whispers fears,
as leaves and branches scatter.
A jackal cackles!

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Prompt: hayesspencer @ d’verse Poets, challenges us to write a Haibun about “fear and how we overcame it, how something frightened us, how something still frightens us”.  The story above is true.