a linked haibun communication between
David H.Rosen and Joel Weishaus, USA
While away for Thanksgiving, I read & loved Running in the Family by
Michael Ondaatje. I went to visit Barbara (my 90 year-old mother)
and Martha (her 84 year-old sister). Martha met me at the Kansas City
airport and promptly asked if I was hungry. We ended up at Winsteadt’s
and Martha had their hamburger special and a chocolate frosty to drink.
I had a BLT and a frosty, too. At lunch she told me that Ruth (her best
friend) had died two weeks ago. Martha asked me to help her go through
Ruth’s things at her apartment in an Assisted Living Residence.
It took hours of necessary sorting to get 2 black trash bags for Martha
to take home, 3 for a Homeless Center, 5 bags for the Junior League Thrift
Shop, and 8 bags for the Disabled Veterans of America Thrift Shop. She
talked about how important it was to do this for closure.
The morning after Thanksgiving, I dreamt of a whole string of women
in my life from my mother (who was sleeping in the next room), my first
ex-wife Lynn, my second ex-wife Debbie and our three daughters (Sarah,
Laura, and Rachel), and all my lovers. It seemed like it would never
end, but it did. I awoke and thought, “It has ended.” I
felt like a Monk. At a recent Clinical Psychology Faculty Party, one
female graduate students asked me, “Dr. Rosen, where’s
your date?” I said, “I’m with my anima (she had taken
my classes and been supervised by me so she knew I was with the feminine
part of my psyche or soul). She laughed, but in many ways it is not
easier, but more meaningful. The relationship with one’s anima
(or muse) is the basis of all creativity. I thought back to the last
relationship I was in, which proclaimed in bright neon lights, “Relationships
Weeks after the end
I saw her on TV—
Half moon lights up a dark sky
I recall a line from
Michael Ondaatje’s Running in the Family, “All
of us are in our solitude”—and I think it’s true. But,
also true is the way we heal through dreams, prose, and haiku.
Relationships are difficult indeed, as understanding usually comes
in hindsight, if not therapy. Passion is easy: it’s there or it isn’t. Compassion,
especially when you’ve been wounded, is the challenge. Compassion demands
that you open yourself all the way and see that we are all growing together.
Recently, when a relationship ended, if only temporarily, I returned to my
life as it was before we met. But around this re-centering, misreadings and
soiled my mind. While beneath these horizons, the instincts and feelings that
originally blossomed into the relationship were still alive.
In the middle of winter,
A flower opens
Not checking the date
trudging through a harsh early mid-life crisis and a winter of much
darkness and despair, in the Spring if 1978 I wrote my first haiku
as an adult. I was alone on a rock and overlooking Georgian Bay
in Ontario, Canada. I'd been on a personal retreat in a remote place
following an academic conference in Toronto. I'd awakened too soon,
when the birds started to sing. I threw on some clothes and ventured
out on a path I knew well. I arrived at the stone precipice thirty
minutes before the sun came up above the distant line separating
blue-black water from the peach-rose sky. I sat down and meditated,
then got out a small tablet to make a sketch. To my surprise, I
wrote a haiku, creating another kind of image. I'm not sure why
this happened. It may have been, in part, the fertile soil of my
depression and the sense of emptiness I felt. Regardless as to why
a haiku emerged
at that moment, I'm grateful that this creative process has never
ceased. For a moment the emptiness became enlightenment; like drawing
and painting, haiku is an activity that heals my soul.
Joel Weishaus was born in Brooklyn, New York. He is currently
serving as a visiting faculty member in the Department of English at Portland
State University in Portland, Oregon.
to being a teacher and scholar, he is a poet, essayist, and sculptor.
include On the Mesa: An Anthology of Bolinas Writing (1971); Ox-Herding:
A Reworking of the Zen Text (1971); Bits and Snatches:
The Selected Word of Sam Thomas (1974); and poetry in TRACE, Monk's
Pond, Rolling Stone, PANJANDUM, Plumber's
Ink, and in various local
Joel's Online Archive: http://www.cddc.vt.edu/host/weishaus/index.htm
2005: Simply Haiku