Haiku #648

648.

Bulbous white mushroom;
Don’t pull it up, it’s poison
For mortals like us.

How A Black Cat Came To Symbolise Bad Luck

We found a stray, sympathetic beings
Come what may, to universal plights
Known by neglected domesticated
Mammalia these days, for extinction
Is less a mass event, it’s a slow unwinding overnight,
Finding craters and sink holes appeared.
Neighbours said ‘this stray, it will bring you luck’,
But it’s getting a little late for that.

Mangy hair, a silver bell made proclamations
Like an Emperor of Sounds, and we didn’t complain.
Blue collar, no name engraved on a non-existent disc,
A slightly wild-eyed glare as the stray
Ate all the tuna we placed in a bowl
On the patio. He ate like an empty-stomached wolf
Whose belly rumbled in time to forest rainstorms
And whose timber ribs ached through every bone.

No care for recrimination, nor reprisal;
Naturally, he returned each day to his gorging place
With increasing confidence and weight
Bordering on insouciance and later
Encasing lipids, sat beside the back door,
His claws clicked along the porch,
No doubt walking over graves;
For one day we drove to work, unaware

That constant betrayals bled berried thoughts throughout.
Arriving home, three blackbirds mauled,
Three less songs. Those empty nests.
Avian throats provoked a furore of Sophoclean choruses within willow-fleeces
For sons eviscerated indiscriminately
By a stray that was not hungry, had no need;
A tiger never forgets its claws, and neither did he.

Chanting, yes, the aggressor’s name,
Empathies of sparrows wore masks
Regardless. So they stripped the cat
Of his title, its talismanic black
Entitlement and charms, and we received
In dreams instructions from the flock
To trap and stop his fortune, eternally,
In a waving form, in porcelain.

They said this last one will bring you luck,
Handing the charm to a boy at the front,
Just like the maneki-neko in future versions Of Kobe, or Tokyo; on a sea-front,
Kimono-wrapped, now found in restaurants,
In plastic, or ceramic, and fabric-wrapped,
Guarding fish shops and arcades
Which, in time, replaced pagodas and temples.

Labous An Ankou

Little owl, Athena’s companion,
Protector of a Parthenon;
Tidings glad or firmly foul
Depend on where you’re from.

You took my parts collapsed
With Brittonic tradition, yes;
Nailed me to a cottage door,
My feather fetlocks pinioned.

To shepherd the dieing dearly
Through their letterboxes,
Protector of transitions are
The starry bear and foxes.

Barn owls frequently are found
In farming cattle troughs;
We sacrificed the way to float
For silence while aloft.

Ode To Penelope

I have a fan beside my desk,
Utilitarian blessing of relief
(For I am a Leader
Of First World Anxieties
I mainly caused myself),
Presented its purpose
Conceptually just yesterday,
Unboxed and assembled
In the candleless caverns
Of my inner critic, brand new,
But you also bought it for me
From the supermarket
During the languorous lost days
Mid-heatwave, and I knew
This happened because you
Woke me from my sleep
With a dream of the receipt.
You had the oscillations set
To relieve me from my self,
The cool assurances
Like nautical miles
Measured one knot after another,
Like a necklace for a Goddess
Flown over an oceanic shelf
Returns me to a slender skiff
On the Mediterranean’s
Peerless blue hues, as blue
As the ineffable workings of the soul,
As blue as sacrifices to
That Goddess of Nets
With sea-sick sheep and goats while
Fishing for golden orata;
The great sea, infinite blue
Like poetry, glistens
And dances in a reverie,
Just as the same soporific
Waves subjugated Odysseus as
He traversed its gentle crests
In search of a cure
For hysteria.
O Penelope,
How a man craves his opposite
And the irresistible forces
Of his afflictions,
As conditioned as a dolphin
To click and swim
With supple fins
And graces, nattering like
Old acquaintances about
Their Italian diet and
Their penchant
For eviscerated fish.
No rainfall here
For another year,
But I have my fan and that feels
In the moment more vital, for
I outlasted Diocletian of Split,
And though it may only be good
For fanning heated air,
Perhaps that’s all I need
To survive another year.

The Dragon And The Descent

A dormant volcano
Just above my knee,
A crater dry and the size
Of Galapagos
Or a similar island
Where turtles nest,
And where a bullet
Entered my carapace
And burrowed like
A monstrous frenzied
Labour of Moles
Without being shot;
I parachuted through
The ellipse and
Time played cards
With the Moles
For my life;
I recall while falling
One Mole turned to Time
And said ‘I have a Full House
And you have a Flush,
In Tudor verse
We were called
Moldwarps, but it didn’t stick,
And we’re not as dramatically bad
For gardens as people think’,
But Time is always
So difficult to impress,
Often grumpy if disrupted
And churlish,
So he played his hand,
While tumbling over
And over I finally
Hit the crystalline floor
Of that Bottomless Pit,
For though the townsfolk
Had often talked of that
Particular myth,
An eponym its coronet,
No one had really questioned it
By jumping in.

Down here, I can no longer tell
The difference between
What I’d choose to believe
And to what I am compelled.

Thinking back to the crater’s base
Reminds me in my writing age
Of a celebrated event
From several Lords later
When a Dragon of the Waterways
Swallowed all the town’s
Gold dubloons of innocence;
The Shugo solemnly
Summoned me to eviscerate
The lumbering gaited terror
As it burped its way
Through the northern gates.
Surrounding the scaly form
We were singed by its hiccuping fire;
Inside the demon’s belly I landed,
Lay within the lake of his thoughts;
My sword unhanded, the dragon bayed,
The gold poured out like heated milk
And days in silk were born.

I woke up propped against a wall
Strafed with all the bullet holes
From out of which I somehow crawled
And squinted at the guilt of sun.
Seven men, themselves a descendant
Of someone then who’d be appalled,
A father too perhaps, who knew
Discoloured uniforms and bruising
Flags, buttons mismatched
And with moustaches
Bushy and rampant over their upper lips
Like thick sebaceous creeping plants,
The stitches in their nostrils
Flared like a pregnant dragon’s
In minaiture, although
All talk of myths by then were banned,
And although I spoke and to Pablo
Pleaded ‘we used to be friends,
Remember, you worked on the post
And I made amends’,
With rifles they aimed,
Ready to send me swiftly
With unread letters
Back in to myself again.

Would I be one day shot
For heresy?
For poetry?

Of such a world
I’ll scratch, as
I’d rather fall down
A deep crater like that
Since flattened,
Than suffer my meek current land
Of bland platitudes
And preventable obsequies.