welcome to the haikutimes

Haikutimes issue #86, Mendocino, California, April 17-19, 2004; haiku and photos by Jonathan Machen

'bite me' says decal
on tattooed drivers' white truck
en route to airport

a slot and a hole
for pop bottles, newspaper
travellers' decor

moral turpitude
from one C.U. professor
who made bad choices

amidst the clutter
hidden ceramic treasures
strewn about the house

quiet house in danville
cricket in calla lily
meal worms in cabin

vallejo, concord
finding old walnut creek house
under new highway

bay area clouds
nuzzling mt. diablo
dew on red roses

wine box in garage
next to cobwebs and bandsaw
did he cut and drink?

calypso orchid
hidden in redwood forest
banana slugs mate

tan oak
poison oak
Sisyrinchium bellum - california blue-eyed grass

turkey vultures swoop
for processed hamburger meat
wooden platform shakes

man in his castle
cabin in mendocino
a lifetime project

standing on one leg
seagull surveys misty beach
picks at broken shells

artists' colony
overlooking peaceful bay
good place to retire

in classy restaurant
gay waiter takes our order
obsequious lisp

floppy red seaweed
pearly blue abalone
strewn across dark sand

mendocino rain
trees covered in light green moss
soaking up moisture

amidst other preparations
while still in boulder,
moistened recently by
several april snowstorms
and seasonal weather patterns
that, despite global warming,
still contribute with alarming frequency
to leaks on flat roofs,

i realize we are due
to make an appearance
at a small cabin in mendocino
so i pack my bag
trying to imagine rain,
deciduous forests,
tall redwood trees in cathedral bunches

at any rate
oakland still exists
despite my memories
of a small apartment,
54th and martin luther king,

and memories earlier still
of two years old, whisked away
to walnut creek,
learning to crawl,

so i approach old memories
by standing at that same old house
thirty-eight years later
en route to danville
home to my new family
who transformed a barren
dirt-brown plot of land
into a bird refuge,
champion rose-and-redwood grove,
sprinkled with quirky
ceramic art;

a franciscan friar
pulling an alligator on a chain,
a family of eggs
shrieking at deviled slices of kin,
an armadillo shocked by
his tire-flattened back,
nubians in black-and-white rugby outfits,
wine goblets discarded in redwood duff,
octopi in various stages
of entanglement,

a little-used living room,
dried devil's-claw weeds
decorating a glass table,
handcrafted violins,
paintings of vietnamese scenes,
easter baskets with leftover treats,
nicks and knacks
stuffed in this and that cranny,
bills clothespinned to lamps,
meal worms in a shed
orininally meant for ceramics,
now used to feed creatures
revived and released.

the path we take
from wild parents' house
to wild parents' cabin
the same route
she used to escape to college
from the generous sweeping lawns of Danville
to more calming coastal forests
near Philo

the multi-lane highway sprawl
of bay-area commuters drifting
past winding two-lane byways,
vineyards, marshes,
miniature horses,
estuaries under siege,
tollways and flying buttress bridges,
the refineries of martinez
hidden behind concord,
snowy egrets hemmed in
by the concrete concatenation
of the vallejo tollway,

Charles Schultz's house somewhere beyond
the in 'n' out and the
arco gas station
which refuses my credit card

finally we turn off
on to well-groomed dirt roads
leading into privately owned acreage
once fiercely forested

for all the tall and noble redwoods
now reduced to stumps
the gator takes us to
an old orchard
ancient apple trees
wild iris

the rare white cherry
burbank once roamed here
generators, solar panels,
wired and framed from scratch

the red barn greets me
as an old friend
along with family members
i have never met:
brothers with daughters,
cousins with husbands,
a web of relationships
long established, patterns
deeply remembered -

walking in i am new to it all;
the repartee,
the style of banter,
the subtle jokes

i am not sure what to say
so i watch the bald-headed
turkey vultures circle slowly,
broad wings navigating the
forest canopy
blinking down below at that
leftover fish and moldy chicken
left for grabs on the
wooden platform

ravens skitter and pluck
the vultures swoop and hop
bald red heads matching
the color of raw hamburger
a family tradition
feeding winged carnivores

we eat ham for dinner
i notice we all resemble
those hungry vultures

solo/group kukai
jonathan machen