Simply Haiku: An E-Journal of Haiku and Related Forms
September-October 2004, vol. 2, no. 5

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CW Hawes: Haibun


An August Afternoon on Portland Avenue

A very hot day. No clouds block the sun. The high dew point sticks the heat to my skin. I have an eight block walk along Portland to where I parked my car for free. Heat radiates from the sidewalk and street. Sweat soaks my hatband.

The inhabitants of the neighborhood are poor and the area has a high incidence of crime. A few old houses remain, but most have been torn down and replaced by apartment buildings. Everywhere I look there is peeling paint, and open windows gape, screenless. Sliding screen doors sit at odd angles. Droves of dirty kids laugh and cry, while their old-young mothers wear stony looks of defiant defeat.

Everything has a patina of dinginess and a certain careless shabbiness. Litter and broken toys cover the small yards. Even the air is fouled with the smell of long uncleaned living spaces, mingled with greasy cooking odors. A few bushes and trees vainly attempt to break up the monotony of the landscape. The lawns have simply given up. Yet one brave soul, living in this depressing environment, has chosen to plant roses in his front yard.

Chicago Peace!
up and down the block
brown grass

C W Hawes, a bureaucrat by day and a poet by night, views poetry to be primarily a record of one's emotions. Fond of short forms, he has developed an interest in haibun as a result of a recent study of Basho.

His work has recently appeared in Poetic Voices (Featured Poet for November 2003 and May 2004), Makata, Autumn Leaves, Write-Away Poetry, Ancient Heart, Falling Star, The Valley Voice, in addition to Simply Haiku.

He resides in rural northeastern Iowa with his wife, daughter, dog, and cat.