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Ufa City

The squeaky train plunges into a fishbowl station. No way forward: the rail is buried in sand. Next to the station, another fishbowl, a market, but there is an outdoor bazaar as well, where smells compete with colours and sounds for your attention. Grilling shashlik sizzles over a live charcoal fire sending droplets of burning oil in all directions. The honey man sucks his golden fingers. These tradesmen sitting on empty polystyrene boxes, what new kind of Silk Road brought them here?
          rice dealers...
          white Styrofoam grains
          tumble in the wind

(First published in "Shamrock" No 9, 2009)

The Museum of the Revolution, Moscow

Old revolutions smell of dust. Behind the red plush curtains, a mahogany table with a gramophone that plays songs of forgotten solidarity, the songs now devoid of rage. Nearby, a sculpture of a worker tearing up a cobblestone street. "Cobblestone, a weapon of the Proletariat." Other weapons of street fighting, or are these torture instruments? Flags, plenty of those. Even more portraits. Models of battleships... When you leave, the machine-gun of the armoured car takes aim at the back of your head.

  Turkmen carpet:
          an Asian-looking face
          of Karl Marx

(First published in "Contemporary Haibun Online" Vol. 8, No 3, October 2013)

Marlboro Town

"People are excellent advertisements of ideas," a cigarette cowboy lets out a small chuckle mixed with a puff of smoke. "We use them as signboards. Welcome to Marlboro town."
     The afternoon darkens into evening. The crimson sun droops down in the West highlighting the façades of buildings and some country folk hanging low overhead outside saloons and shops. The way they smile is supposed to help the visitors to tell the ones from the others. 
     There are no visitors around, though. Good old boys are quietly rocking on their lassos and exchanging words, rather melancholically.
     "Cig cowboys won't go on forever," a man named Winston sweats. "They have all kinds of diseases."
     "And too many private jokes, which is also sickness," his pal Kent ruminates.
     The nearby hills are obscured by smoke. The winds have dropped, and the bushes stand stock-still while a Camel crosses the painted poster with the Montana desert.

          crows gather
          in the sycamore tree
          blood moon

(First published in "Haibun Today" Vol. 7, No 2, June 2013)

Representing His Species

Odd man out, on his own out there, an ash-coloured koala, with fluffy ears and dark blots on his muzzle that resemble open eyes. The black slots of his eyes, however, are almost always closed.
     In his dream, he returns to the lost paradise of his ancestors' secrecy. He grumbles contentedly. Or does he groan? Do other creatures of his kind make the same sound?   
     His motionless figure is sharply defined against the pale sky. A bitter and cutting northerly wind throws shrunken leaves into his enclosure.

          his memory
          playing backwards
          the slow air of time

(First published in "Contemporary Haibun Online" Vol. 9, No 1, April 2013)

A Suspension of Time

            Little strip of eternity...
                   Robert Lowell

Soon after leaving the station the train pauses on a bridge. The night is devoid of sound. The nearby posts have numbers and yellow markings. A falling star stops and reinvents itself as a signal light. A brighter light highlights the entrance to a café. Across the street, a huge screen shows through the haze. A "Coca-Cola" ad has been swallowed, an ad for a film disgorged.

          after dusk it shines,
          the hotel called 'The End
          of the Millennium'

(First published in "Haibun Today" Vol. 7, No 1, March 2013)

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