Writing at Rohs Street

September 23, 2014 / Haiku exercise

Haiku #1

River curves away
Blue sky sweeps above, cloudless
iphone memory

I am trying not to feel like I have to pin beauty down, like a butterfly to a board. But I can’t seem to stop.

Another haiku?

Haiku #2

Captured river, caught
Pinned down, like a butterfly
iphone memory

I’m thinking so much lately about what is precious, and how scraps of precious things live in my phone, collected there like when Hermione Granger charmed her beaded bottomless bag in the last Harry Potter book, so it could hold everything that was essential to battle Lord Voldemort: a tent the size of a house, books, food, clothes to take the chill off, life-saving medical supplies, anything she needed to move the story ahead—what magic, that story.

Magic like iphones are magic, in their way. My iphone: I resisted getting one for so long, after reading in horror about the Chinese workers who made them—probably still make them, who am I and Apple’s PR machine kidding? The workers housed in gray dormitories in smoggy cities where poison air stings throats and eyes, workers—flesh and blood people—harnessed like plow horses to relentless time clocks.

Down another time-ladder, I slip to another century, another magical book, Little Women—the March sisters and Marmee refusing to wear silk dresses because of the child labor that went into making them. No, the March women wore plain Poplin, unfashionable, virtuous. Except for Amy. Selfish, vain Amy — and guess what? I’ve become Amy, haven’t I?

To assuage my guilt, I use my iphone to collect tiny bits of the world, to fashion a beautiful mosaic of songs I love, of my two daughter’s text messages, of hundreds of photos snapped when the light! THE LIGHT! Stuns me, as if maybe I might someday be trapped in a windowless dormitory, a joyless world where my pictures of nature and cryptic messages from the past will be the only things that sustain me?

Maybe that’s the fear. That if I don’t somehow bottle it, it will all vanish? Is that why I’ve recorded the songs of crickets and cicadas? So in some deep cold winter moment, I can hear summer again? All those notes I make, poem fragments and angry rants and ideas and books I should read, want to read, all the flotsam and jetsam of life flowing past like the mighty Ohio did this morning, when I captured it in my iphone. Snap!

Pinning it all down, like a butterfly, pinned. A picture Lydia texted me, of her, smiling, hugging that pretty Border Collie in her college apartment, if I save it there, and look at her smile, will that keep her smiling, always?

I pour over my collection sometimes, find beauty, pain, insights and treasure: those notes I when I wake and can’t find my journal, tip-tip-typing instead of scrawling, frantically recording those recurring dreams of ice and glaciers and endless winters, mixed in with sunshiny sunflowers in a vacant lot.

It’s all in there.

Ohio River photo

Ohio River, September 23, 2014

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  1. #1 by CMSmith on September 24, 2014 - 7:22 am

    Wonderful post Elaine. So true for many of us,

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