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Noticing a rush to define “after.” After this is over. After we get our lives back. Makes sense; we all are longing for life to go back to “normal,” but normal is part of what placed us here in the first place. Maybe we should change our focus… Maybe we should cease looking for things to go back to “normal” and take this moment as if our metaphorical vehicle is up on blocks? What parts of the engine can we rebuild to make it work better?

(Also, I’ve done a whole half month of haiku… and now it’s on to tankas for the last half, I guess? Seems fair.)

Netherlands 2018 1039

after.1

what makes things normal?
what does it mean to “go back?”
what would it change, if
the direction we chose next
began with a sharp U-turn?

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Since my autoimmune disorder means I haven’t actually left the general area of My House in weeks (wow, six weeks tomorrow…) I’m fascinated by reports of what’s done in places Not My House. Himself texts me pictures of the grocery store – where they greet each shopping cart with a mist of alcohol spray, and anoint every hand with a blob of hand sanitizer. I love that people don’t have the option to skip that – we’re ALL HAVING SAFETY TODAY, THANKS. The name of the store is Safeway, after all…

two carts apart

face-masked clergy share
antiseptic benisons
shopping sacrament

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My Easter gift was a bright orange bud on one of my new plants. I peeked into the unfurling cluster of leaves and saw another emerging stem, and I’m happy. Also, discovered three nasturtium plants and a morning glory struggling up, so all the rain didn’t wash my seeds away, yay. (It’s gopher one, t, like, nine, so clearly, I’m winning.)

addition

it’s the little things –
fragments that make up a world
pebbles in cement

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Irvington 359

first salvo

stolen victory –
bright leaves, unfurling, vanished
some battles we lose…

(My beautiful plant is gone – thanks, gopher.

“Now, we don’t want to kill him, just discourage him,” the neighbor called over the fence. “We’re pouring Pine Sol down into his hole.” Er, …okay? This certainly will do something, likely to the groundwater, but to the gopher snacking its way through our plants? Not much. However, we have four crows watching the ground closely, and we’ve heard an owl… we figure something will serve justice eventually. Meanwhile, more seeds…)

{published in 2013, when there was H1N1…}

Pandemania

There are fewer introductions
In plague years,
Hands held back, jocularity
No longer bellicose,
Even among men.
Breathing’s generally wary,
Labored, as they say, when
The end is at hand.
But this is the everyday intake
Of   the imperceptible life force,
Willed now, slow —
Well, just cautious
In inhabited air.
As for ongoing dialogue,
No longer an exuberant plosive
To make a point,
But a new squirreling of air space,
A new sense of  boundary.
Genghis Khan said the hand
Is the first thing one man gives
To another. Not in this war.
A gesture of  limited distance
Now suffices, a nod,
A minor smile or a hand
Slightly raised,
Not in search of   its counterpart,
Just a warning within
The acknowledgment to stand back.
Each beautiful stranger a barbarian
Breathing on the other side of the gate.

– By Daniel Halpern

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As a tween I was intensely fascinated by the bit of English history which tells of the mutiny on the trading ship The Bounty. Fletcher Christian, chief mutineer, took over the ship, set the captain and his faithful adrift in a small boat, found an island where he could hide, and burned the ship. He looked at his choices and the choices of the men he led and decided that his were the ONLY choices for everyone, and so cut off any avenue of a changed mind. Historically, there are a lot of ways in which people have tried to make sure that a decision sticks – that no one can change their minds (or mutiny). Ironic, really, when they saved the lifeboats…

Dundee 196 HDR

second chances

the known lies ashore –
but who dares the open seas
dares to discover