Missing … – Flash Fiction – June 30, 2016

Missing ….

Boots, bibs and straw hats, among other things, were what she was searching for in the antique shop.    She’d found a baseball bat, a ball, hippy beads and a guitar from the sixties – records, a mug … bits and pieces of things that could have been part of his life.

Ah perfect!” she exalted to herself as she snapped a few more photos ” There’s his shoes. So where is his metal lunchbox?” 

Months later in the Jason gallery hung her collage in commemoration of his life.  She’d created and dedicated it to war and it was the centre of the collection.  A collage of things she’d found and wove together in a five foot square black and white photo of boots, bibs and straw hats, among the other things, she’d collected, things he might have used. She’d called it the missing soldier and it was surrounded by photographs of explosions and dead bodies.   That’s all she had of him, he’d never came home from the war to his wife and daughter.

Missing ….

© Gsk ‘16



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Haibun – June 22, 2016

Carterville, Illinois

Carterville, Illinois


When we drove off from my sister’s house, the sun was shining and it was blisteringly hot, as it often is in Southern Illinois from late June to early September.  We were off on our daily visit to Mother.   My sister had decided that she’d mow the lawn since it’d been a few days without rain.  Then, like all best laid plans, in less than 10 minutes the whole situation turned around.  How quickly our lives can change.

darkening skies
a squirrel chitters
into the silence

© Gsk ‘16

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Spring Break-Up – Haibun – May 3, 2016

a game of chess
while a skylark sings it’s song –
I lost the game

© Chèvrefeuille

The Chess Game (Knut Ekwall - )

The Chess Game (Knut Ekwall – )

A lovely poem.  These words bring to mind my first love.  I was completely smitten by him.  He was all I could have wished in a boyfriend; intelligent, romantic, handsome and a student of karate.

He taught me to how play chess.  We’d play for hours, even when we were apart we’d continue our game over the telephone.  He invariably won but over time I began to get better.

The winter was rigid as the winters in Alaska usually are but we never felt the cold that year.  However, as with all things, even our romance changed.  It was in the spring with the first ice break-up.  I remember the song birds had begun to return from the south. However we began to drift apart.  Probably because of all the hours of study we had to buckled under for spring exams, or so I told myself.

One evening I went to the park with one of my friends and saw him sitting at a table with the chess board set-up, a game half over.  I hadn’t seen him in almost two weeks and I was just about to call out, to say hello, when he picked up his adversary’s hand and kissed it, staring into her eyes.  He had a new chess partner.

Ah … how sweetly the birds sing their songs in spring.

 over a chess board
the winter passed warmly
until spring break-up

© G.s.k. ‘16

(249 words)

Heeding Haiku With Chèvrefeuille April 27th 2016 – a game of chess

The prompt is to write a haibun following these instructions:

1: You have to place the haibun in spring
2. The given haiku has to be used (as an inspiration or as the concluding haiku of the haibun)
3. A maximum of 250 words (including the haiku)

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Monday Power Short – May 2, 2016


Monochrome Dawn


The Romantic Mini-Holiday

Bobbing in the boat at dawn Mary yawned.  She remembered all his talk about a romantic mini holiday to Lake Garda.  She’d looked at the brochures he’d brought home and absorbed countless on-line videos.  She’d imagined walks along tree-shaded beached, hand in hand or sipping wine in side-walk cafes.  She hadn’t imagined fishing in the cold dawn.

They weren’t alone on the lake.  All around them floated ducks and coots, they too fishing.

Mary heard a hearty “Bwahahahaha!” of ducky laughter nearby. All went black and then she contemplated Steven bobbing in the water, spluttering.  She’d given him a mighty push.

© G.s.k. ‘16


A Power Short –  try to write a complete short story as short as possible. They should have a beginning, middle, and end, showing some change in a character due to an apparent or implied conflict.



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Passing Time With Cicadas – Haibun – April 6, 2016

(Inspired by:

the stillness –
seeping into the rocks
cicadas’ screech

© Matsuo Basho)

Summer evenings back in Illinois in the early 1960s were full of voices of children screeching as they played tag,  basketball or maybe croquet.  Back then it seemed that the cicadas screeched louder and longer trying to make their voices heard over the kids.

When I went back to visit my home state in the summer of 2013, the first thing I noticed was the silence in the streets.  What was missing was the sound of children playing.  The park equipped with swings, see-saws and other equipment,  in the small town where my sister lived, was far better than we had ever had when we were growing up but these were deserted.  Where were the children?

“At home playing video-games or surfing the web I suppose.” My sister answered me.

The one thing that hadn’t changed though were the cicadas.  In the silence of the playground and lanes their screeching filled the air, and their screeching hadn’t diminished at all.

summer evenings
into the growing silence
the cicadas’ song

© G.s.k. ’16

Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie – Heeding Haiku with Chèvrefeuille.


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A is for Awakening – AToZ Blogging Challenge – April 1, 2016

The Sky

The pain had been terrible … the disorientation worse.  As the maelstrom of the birth-pangs racked her body, her mind drifted into some warm fuzzy greenish place created by the drugs they’d given her.  She’d become almost completely unaware of what was going on around her.  Almost –

What was going on was pure controlled panic.  The baby, had been brought to term, but somehow no one had realized that he was far to big to pass through his mother’s birth canal.  (We’re in 1950, it won’t be until the 1960s when medical science will discover how to stop labour at least temporarily.)  The baby’s head was engaged and there was no way to stop the labour and no way to do a cesarean section.  The doctor knew that a choice had to be made and quickly.  The mother’s life or the baby’s life.  A decision he couldn’t make.

He left the labour room and went to the nearby waiting room where the father was pacing back and forth.  He looked a little grey around the gills.  He’d been waiting now for about four hours.

“I’m sorry Sam, I’ve got some bad news for you.” he began, then explained the problem to Sam Berksmeier, concluding with: “We may not be able to save either of them, but if there’s a chance, who do we choose.”

“Oh my God … ” Sam moaned “She’s only eighteen, she can’t die now! She’s only eighteen.”  For him there was no other decision to be made.  “Save my wife.” he whispered.

They fought to save her life, which means they had to end the baby’s life.  His shoulders had to be crushed to remove him from his mother’s body. Meanwhile she drifted in and out of consciousness, aware and yet unaware.

She was rolled into intensive care, still under drugs.    Since she’d came very close to dying and things were still touch and go, some kind nurse had sent for a Catholic priest since on her records it had been written that she was Catholic.  He came into the intensive care unit fully robed, and began to give her the last rites.  She was alone except for the priest,  the drugs had begun to wear off, she opened her eyes.  The green tinted room drifted in and out of focus, she saw the priest hover over her he wanted her confession so that she could leave the world pure.  She logically thought that she was dying and went into hysterics as her husband with the doctor walked into the room.  Sam bustled the priest out of the room none too gently.

“Marsha, everything’s going to be all right.” he told her as he took her into his arms.

A month later though, Marsha was in a full-blown depression.  She felt guilty for the death of their baby.

“Listen Sam,” the doctor said “the best thing would be for Marsha to get pregnant again and give birth to a baby.  That way she’ll know that there is no reason for her to feel guilty.”  A month later Marsha was pregnant again.

Sam,  got his orders for Alaska a few weeks before the baby was due. Being considered a remote post, this meant that he’d have to go off without them for a year, on the other hand it meant more money and a possible promotion.

As Martha’s due date grew near Sam was always with her as he’d gotten a three-week leave from work.  This time all went well. He left a couple of weeks after his baby daughter had been born.  Marsha moved in with her family and they were nearer to her than they’d ever been before.

During Oriana’s first year of life she was surrounded by her grandparent’s, aunt’s and mother’s love.  She was rather precocious, she talked at nine months, never passing through the baby talk stage her proud relatives assured her. She began walking at a year. So that she’d know who her father was, her mother showed her a photograph of him every day and told her stories about him and about her brother who died before she was born.  As her memory awakened she already knew about death and tragedy and that she and her father were her mother’s saviours.

© G.s.k. ‘16



A is for Awakening

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The Hudsucker Proxy – Friday Fictioneers – March 31, 2016

The world below looked like a toy world.  Toy cars, miniature people, even the sounds that drifted up to me seemed somehow make-believe.  Hard to believe that just twenty-four hours before I’d been walking through the country-side of Indiana … a scene from a film came to my mind – The Hudsucker Proxy – a man,  falling to his death from a huge skyscraper when time suddenly stops.

It’s one of the worst films ever made by the Coen brothers – so say the critics.  I wonder why I like it so much.

© G.s.k. ‘16

Friday Fictioneers – April 1, 2016


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A walk in snow – haibun – March 30, 2016

northagain 073

Down and down into the snow … or was it snow?  Could it be cotton-wool, maybe something else. I really couldn’t be sure, the stuff wasn’t viscus … nor particularly sticky.  On the other hand, it wasn’t really cold either.

Down and down I walked into the odd pinkish light with its eerie accents of green.  The wind moaned just at the end of the stairs.   I could see footprints … both of  human and of strange animals.  I heard a crunching and the sound of the trees whooshing … in the distance, a harp and violin played and a voice hummed.  Much to my surprise, the voice was my own.

The world seemed to shake and shimmer and yet, there was no other sign of life outside of the trees.

A bell began to ring sharply, penetrating my mind like a sharp spike so I closed my eyes tightly but couldn’t close my ears.

Birds sang and I felt a cosy warmth all around me.

I opened my eyes to the sunshine pouring through my window.  Spring had returned.

a winter landscape
hidden is the call of spring
my eyes open

© G.s.k. ‘16

Photo prompt – The stairway (Daily Eco)

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Paradox (Writing Technique) – Haibun – March 14, 2016

Walking in a dangerous forest is probably not the best place to find inner peace.  Think of the man who found himself chased through the forest by a tiger, his only salvation was to climb down a cliff.  He  climbed down the cliff, but found that in the valley below there was another tiger waiting to eat him so he thought to bide his time hanging from a sturdy root.  Alas, at that point two mice began to gnaw at the root.

It was at this moment the man discovered inner peace, he saw a ripe strawberry and eating it exclaimed he’d never eaten a more delicious food in his life.  I think this is a splendid paradox.  We plan, we worry, we do everything we can do to find safety and with it happiness and inner peace only to be discover that inner peace  when we are shaken out of our quest by something so startling to change our perspective of life.

tween uncertainties
unexpected solutions

© G.s.k. ‘16


[…] “Paradox is the life of haiku, for in each verse some particular thing is seen, and at the same time, without loss of its individuality and separateness, its distinctive difference from all other things, it is seen as a no-thing, as all things, as an all-thing.” […] (Chèvrefeuille)

[…] “…that one must not think ill of the paradox, for the paradox is the passion of thought, and the thinker without the paradox is like the lover without passion: a mediocre fellow. But the ultimate potentiation of every passion is always to will its own downfall, and so it is also the ultimate passion of the understanding to will the collision, although in one way or another the collision must become its downfall. This, then, is the ultimate paradox of thought: to want to discover something that thought itself cannot think.” […] Søren Kierkegaard

black forest
whatever you may say
a morning of snow

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

waiting room
a patch of sunlight
wears out the chairs

© Jane Reichhold

reaching for the sun
tulips bursting through the earth –
colorful rainbow

© Chèvrefeuille

Carpe Diem #936 Forest

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Life in Italy (Humidity) – Haibun – March 10, 2016

Padua Sunset

Padua Sunset

Italy, often called “sunny Italy” because the 19th century rich English aristocrats who came from their wet “gloomy” island felt Italy was a land of marvellous eternal sunshine (as well as quite impossible to visit in full summer due to its extreme heat).  One must admit that for them it seemed true; with exception of the Alps in the north of the peninsula and other mountain areas, “real cold” has never been a frequent visitor in winter.  If it should happen to snow, for example in Rome, the event lasts for a day or two and is cause for a National crisis.

Winter in Italy means rain and in the Po Valley fog.  Long grey wet cold days of rain, that seeps into one’s bones after a while and certainly into the walls of those quaint century old buildings.  Old castle walls, made of stone may often literally weep with water.  In the 1950s, during reconstruction, unfortunately, builders to make more money cut corners with their material and so, a whole new generation of weeping walls were erected up and down Italy as you may find when visiting your student son or daughter (as I did) in one of these places where you’re welcomed with the stench of mildew.

Italy can be lovely in the spring and glorious in autumn but one must be careful about choosing one’s home, or get used to “eau de *muffa”.

winter rain and damp seeps
into the hallway

© G.s.k. ‘16

Heeding Haiku with Chèvrefeuille

To make this challenge a bit more challenging I have a few “rules” for your haibun:

+ A maximum of 250 words (including the haiku)
+ Try to use a “kigo” (or season word) in the haiku of your haibun
+ Your haiku doesn’t need to follow the classical 5-7-5 syllables count, I even would challenge you to create a haiku with 3-5-3 or even lesser syllables

(*muffa – mildew or mould)

Note:  I actually wrote a first draft of this haibun yesterday when I was writing for CDHK ‘s prompt on rain … here is a link to that POST

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