Haibun Today

A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Editor
Volume 5, Number 2, June 2011

Charles D. Tarlton
Oakland, California, USA


Flight Patterns

Supposing that someone has often flown in his dreams, and that at last, as soon as he dreams, he is conscious of the power and art of flying as his privilege and his peculiarly enviable happiness; such a person, who believes that on the slightest impulse, he can actualize all sorts of curves and angles, who knows the sensation of a certain divine levity, an "upwards" without effort or constraint, a "downwards" without descending or lowering—without trouble. . . .

Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, §193


a Brown Pelican
rising from the bay
slow to start
his great rowing of the air
sails away

In love enough with himself to fit in anywhere; after a long day sweating in the cornfield, he settles comfortably on the pickup tailgate and talks bushel price with the workers over a couple of beers. Later on, he signs the final papers on his new Porsche, grinning like a kid. He is flying as he turns onto the freeway.

the sun's last
brightness, light's angle
flattening the sea, blue
on the cusp of red
and the wind settles

The great Leader's drama—forced to abdicate and flee, finish his days in a foreigner's house, in someone else's shoes. He cannot imagine it. He who has lived at such heights, how the mundane weighs down his wings, the air too thick to breathe.

Hokusai's famous woodcut
of a wave
beside the window
where I watch
and listen to the surf

In youth we cannot wait and that's a good thing when you consider just how long we are going to have to wait. If the young could truly imagine how distant their future, how late it will likely be, how wrinkled and frail their dreams will appear. . . .

on their sides
for more than a mile
along Interstate 5
uprooted almond trees
still in neat rows


Note: The epigraph is from Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil, The Project Gutenberg EBook, Helen Zimmern translator.


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