Driving Toward Town at 7:30 AM on Sunday Morning–dVerse Haibun Monday

Driving Toward Town at 7:30 AM on Sunday Morning
a Haibun

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.


sunshine with partial cloudiness on the day before christmas


Photo: theguardian.com

sunshine with partial cloudiness
on the day before christmas

you stop me cold,
lost in a fog
of steam, thoughts
and ruminations.
you peek through
the shower glass,
enlighten a droplet
of water, burst colors—
prisms to interrupt
my distractions.

in a bubble forming
on my forearm, you capture
my attention again,
force me
to the present moment.
i notice play
of spray on my bare skin,
hear the colors of music.

through almost-closed blinds,
your light slows
in song
to praise,
to dissipate dark clouds,
naked tree branches.

is this how it was
for shepherds grazing
their flocks that night?
for kings searching
to grasp mysteries?
for us common folk
who muddle through life,
grapple with violence?

the feather of a cedar
waxwing, snags on the
tree outside my window
flutters in the breeze.
i can’t see wind,
only discern its presence
by its effect on something
children die,
but love shines through
if you look for it.

yesterday in k-mart,
at the layaway counter
an older couple paid
down the debt of shoppers
who were delinquent,
scanning accounts that had
children’s toys. a younger
man, bearing no resemblance
whatsoever to Santa,
dropped $300 in cash
on the counter. “add this
to whatever they do.”

so, where is the Sun?
So, where is the Son?

Photo: thedailyreview.com

Photo: thedailyreview.com

This poem was originally published in my first poetry collection,Jacaranda Rain, Collected Poems, 2012. Many wishes for a Merry Christmas to all my poet friends. Whether you see Christmas as a sacred truth or myth, the message of light, peace, giving and joy is for all. Celebrate!

Photo: D. Slotto

Photo: D. Slotto–Zoe and Sparky study their present!


Weekly Rentals

Detail of rusty 1960s Chevy Impala parked in t...

Detail of rusty 1960s Chevy Impala parked in the French Quarter of New Orleans. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Still there.
Two bikes lean against
brick walls confining poverty.
One, a child’s—
–rusty like the 70’s
Chevy out in front
(rusty, too,
and dented).

At Christmas,
tattered garland hung
on bent Venetian blinds.
The windows,
(overseers of an empty
parking lot)

smudged with finger prints.

Back then I thought
about the child. Thought
about the presents I could
buy, if only…
if only I knew a little more.

If only I’d take the time.

On Cemetery Road,
across the way,
clients fare far better.
Manicured lawns.
Marble facades.
No fear of cold.
Perhaps next time I’ll stop.
Perhaps next time.

Before it gets too cold.

Process note: Sadly, Reno is a city of extremes: extreme beauty and far-reaching poverty.  Unemployment in Nevada is highest in the nation, (over 13%) as is the foreclosure rating. Because of the economic times, people can’t afford to visit the casinos, thus many workers have lost their jobs. Nevada is turning its efforts to promoting its outdoors attractions (Tahoe, skiing, Kayaking etc… The family that lives in this weekly rental has been there way too long. I’ve never seen anyone–only the telltale signs of habitation.

For dVerse Open Link Night, hosted this week by the wonderful, though jet-lagged, Joe Hesch. Chances are, if you stop by the Pub, he’ll be so tired he’ll pour a little extra into that poetry shot glass.

Although I’m back from my blogging break (withdrawal was too hard) I am needing to cut back a bit. But I’ll be around, enjoying your company and your work, as often as I can.

Jingle’s Poetry Rally–Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Blessings to All Photo: David Slotto


Submitted to Jingle’s Poetry Rally: http://jingleyanqiu.wordpress.com/



Sharp winter chill
(not autumn)

Brilliant sun,
cloudless sky,
crisp grass.

Warm air
escaping lungs
like body-cloud.

Toasty thoughts

Counting blessings,
assuaging guilt:
so many

circling hot coffee cup,
fogs inside.

intense fall color:
dance with me,
with life–
celebrate gifts.

Spirit calls:
give back.