Driving Toward Town at 7:30 AM on Sunday Morning
I ease through my neighborhood—streets soaked after a night of rain, awash in a blur of watercolor pastels. Turning east onto a main thoroughfare, the streets are deserted and sunshine backlights black clouds with bursts of silver. Trees bow beneath the weight of rains but shed tears, not the glory of their autumn wardrobe.
Further on, I turn onto West Fourth Street where trailers, weekly motels and liter replace beauty. The photographer has switched from color to a monochromatic vista of black, white and varying shades of gray. Here on the outskirts of Reno, images of drugs deals and prostitution are easy to imagine. I see a black jacket, soaked with rain, hanging over the guard rail that protects me from the gully and train tracks below. I consider pulling over, half-expecting to see its owner splayed in the ravine below. Fear restrains me.
autumn rains can’t cleanse
remnants of despair, poverty
song birds disappear
where trees can no longer thrive
where hope is bathed in darkness
This is a true story that happened yesterday morning. Bjorn invites us to write a contemporary haibun, focused on a cityscape, for dVerse Haibun Monday. Today we are given the option of tweaking the haiku portion of the poem. The pub opens soon, at 3:00 PM EDT. I hope you will join us.
This old photo is the actual portion of West Fourth Street I was driving. It used to be the main thoroughfare between Sacramento and Reno, through the Sierra Nevada, over Donner Pass. I was driving the opposite direction of the car in the photo, toward the city. You can see the ravine, the train tracks. On the opposite side of the street, it is as described in the haibun.
You have painted an intense and evocative visualization of duality (both sides of the tracks, as the saying goes) and captured the essence of both in striking juxtaposition. The shift hits hard and deep, especially for me, having experienced the hopelessness and despair of homelessness. ❤️
The beauty and the despair of a city are often separated by only a few streets.
You paint such a vivid image with your movement from pastels to monochrome, the trees shedding tears and the empty jacket hanging there like a ghost.
Ah, Victoria! This is a slice of life that we can’t eject. The shift from the rain soaked trees to the seedy side of the tracks is very well done. The tanka at the end superb. That jacket is a great symbol of mystery and perhaps violence. A truly evocative, capturing write.
I am with you in this writing. Love these words especially
“Trees bow beneath the weight of rains but shed tears, not the glory of their autumn wardrobe.”
and am filled with the fear and the questioning about that black jacket. It’s a haunting image.
I like the switch to monochrome and the tension between the seeing and the action plus the recoil of the helping hand
song birds disappear
where trees can no longer thrive
where hope is bathed in darkness……. exactly what I feel for big cities. But, then again I am a coward at heart
The layers of history like the discarded jacket.
[…] If it’s Haibun Monday you want, that poem is here. […]
The melancholy is vividly tangible because of how you creatively weaved your words. This is indeed a masterpiece. ❤
I like the human element that you include with the urge to look… (or not) over the guard rail. The big city has so much darkness that cannot be ignored and you bring it to the forefront here. Your poem is like a pool of tears, maintaining this reality.
Your thoughts merge into the scene. We see it all through your eyes.
Haiku is lovely and sad.
I like how the scene moves from color to monochromatic, very distinctly letting us know the change in tone of the surroundings. That jacket hanging there reminded me of a time when my boyfriend and I were driving through a neighborhood that abutted a more urban area and I saw a man passed out on the sidewalk…a bicycle was near. We stopped and he was pretty unresponsive to us. We called 911 to come help. There’s no telling what you’ll find out there.
Your tanka is superb, and the prose journey, once again, highlights your skills as storyteller. Your transitions are brutal, honest, and painful, as you put us right there alongside ou n the journey; sweet & sour.
I like the journey you took us in this piece. The descriptions of broken down neighborhoods and contrasts as you travel one road. Well done.
I admire the transition from rain-soaked trees to the monochromatic vista of black, white and gray. Yes, the darker side of city life- drugs and prostitution abounds sadly. Specially dark is the disappearance of the song birds ~
This is absolutely exquisite, Victoria. I love how the mood shifts from “streets soaked after a night of rain, awash in a blur of watercolor pastels” to “Here on the outskirts of Reno, images of drugs deals and prostitution are easy to imagine” sigh the world is draped in various shades of both light and dark. Beautifully penned.
Lots of love,
Wow, Victoria. I love the way the prose moves from the gentle rainy ‘blur of watercolour pastels’, the deserted streets, ‘black clouds with bursts of silver’ and the glory of the trees’ ‘autumn wardrobe’ to trailers, motel rooms and litter – the way you describe it in photographic terms really brings it into focus. And the poem is superb.
Hmm.. this makes me ponder
travel and cities greater
and my thOught
here is if tHeRe
were no cars
were made as
pods of self-sufficient
villages how sea-side
apartments could thrive
like they do in Panhandle
way.. but sure.. that’s a Piper
Seagull dREam real on the Beach..
in Emerald Gulf way and sure that’s
where the Truman show was filmed in
The poem at the end of this – superb. Where darkness is hope. The visions of drug deals, prostitution. all the things I do not miss about the city. the jacket though hanging on the guard rail is the most splendid image of fear and hopelessness. One does wonder…
This is splendid… you are so clear, when you switch from what you imagine can be hidden behind the facade of poverty and despair… that detail about your jacket and your fear of checking it out is easy to relate to. Your poem at the end bringing in the songbird is more a shadow than a presence, contrasts so well with the prose.