Haibun Today

A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Editor
Volume 5, Number 1, March 2011

Bob Lucky
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


The Long-term Effects of Watching Too Many Johnny Weissmuller Films as a Child

The air is filled with smoke from burning crosses. A crowd surges up from the village down the road, or the traffic roundabout down the other side of the hill, or both. It's hard to tell from where we peer out from behind the garden walls. They're singing and chanting, doing call and response; ululations ring high above it all. The chanting has the rhythm of a jog as they come up hill, and I can picture spears tapping the ground in unison. It's like being in one of those old black-and-white Tarzan films. If the Apeman doesn't start yodeling soon, you'll be dressed for dinner. I doubt there are spears, but I can picture them, and semi-clad bodies glistening in the glow of the towering fires. Of course, it's a cool evening and everyone is dressed for it, some of them wearing their Sunday best. We freeze when the night watchman, a yellow blossom tucked into his hair, walks toward us smiling and swinging his baton to wish us a happy Meskel.

overcast skies
drifting over the rooftop
a shower of sparks







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