Cloud Nine

cloud nine

photo source:

Your long fingers curl over my right hand as I watch islands of cottony white clouds drift below and above me. Forty years ago, you were off to college and I had one more year of high school. “Hey, sign my yearbook and do not scratch over your photo like you did last year,” I say. As we sit for the very last time at our lunch table, I watch your left hand scribble: Well, I have to say goodbye for a while and remember me and all of our good times. God bless, have a great summer and good luck in your senior year. Love, Dave.

As we prepare for our three-month mission trip landing, I squeeze your hand. I feel your quick reflex return the squeeze. Reaching over, I clasp your upper left arm. I laugh aloud. “What?” you grin. “For an old man,” I giggle, “you still have your high school arms of steel!”

Amusing romp on cloud nine
Two friends share one heart

♥ ♥ ♥

Inspiration for Cloud Nine Ligo Haibun. This week’s challenge offered two photographs to choose from and I decided on the aerial shot. Thank you for your support and if you care to join us, please visit this Ligo Haibun link.

The Sign

This week, the Ligo Haibun Challenge provided two different photo prompts to choose from. My offering:

The Sign

I remember the sign: Help wanted. Office work Monday through Friday. Must be flexible. An answer to my prayers. I needed money, the stability and a fresh start. The respected, well-loved charismatic priest, kept a busy office space. I had baptismal and marriage papers to file, endless phone calls to make and a long Mass supplies order list to keep well stocked.

Traditional (or modern, does not seem to matter) Catholic Mass, at times, full of contradictions. A natural human phenomenon, I guess.

full moon rising

photo source: Penny L. Howe

And the mystical moment comes. Holy Communion. Like the full moon rising, the priest lifts the Divine host high for all worshipers to adore. “For this is my Body,” he whispers, “and Divine Will.” I see the real meaning of the moon rising sign: Must be flexible…to mean, without question, perform after work duties. I close my eyes to his priestly hands and lips moving in endless adoration.

under a secret veil
forbidden sin rituals
blood from the heart – stains


photo credit:

The ocean tide is low. Another annual family vacation spent lodging in a beach cabin. The deserted beach awaits the sun worshiping crowd. Dad shades his eyes with his hand. Mom still sleeps like the rest of the party night clubbers. For her, facing sunlight is painful, if not impossible. Vacation or not, she rarely makes it down for breakfast. I wish she would stop drinking. “Hey, little Princess,” bellows daddy, “I heard a family of mermaids lost some treasures last night.”

Awestruck sailor boy
Pocketful of sand dollars
Summer memories shared

Lunchtime mom drinks while we eat. She adjusts her sunglasses and makes a big effort to fix her messy dark hair. Dad gently lifts the Bloody Mary drink from mother‘s hand. “Why not come down to the beach with the kids and me after lunch, honey?” I see tears roll out from under the sunglasses. Mother pushes her chair back, grabs back her drink and shakily whispers, “perhaps later, when I feel a little better I will join you.” The three of us silently watch her slowly shuffle her way back to the beach cabin.

Across broken hearts
Tranquil rolling waves embrace
Bitter addiction

* * *

Inspiration for this photo challenge goes to Oystein & Otto’s Blog recent post about a pretty fifteen year old eastern Ukrainian girl named Luda. This article mentions the Ukrainians as being one of the “heaviest drinkers in the world” and the  problems the Ukrainian children face because of it. My story is fiction but Hangover is a sad reality.

If you like this post, you may want to read more on this photo challenge and create your own haibun with haiku over at the Ligo Haibun Challenge. You will find hostess, Nightlake, ready to help with any questions you may have on this challenge.

Thank you! ♥

Poverty Triumphs

Photo Source: Copyright Nightlake

Ramon uses his worn field rag to wipe sweat from his wife’s forehead. She uncomfortably rests on an old wooden chair. Hot and humid in their rusty metal shack, only a straggly stray black dog finds relief lying prostrate across the dirt floor. Over the small fireplace, Ramon’s mother heats a small pot she manages to barely fill with dirty water from the old rain barrel sitting outside the entryway. She watches a half deflated soccer ball send huge dust clouds into the humid April midday air as the village children noisily run and kick it away from each other. The fine dust floats down and into the cover less rain barrel.

Ramon’s wife rises from the rickety chair, paces back and forth over the dirt floor. She stoops down to pull up a tuft of stray roots sprouting up from the floor. Suddenly she feels a gripping pain. “Ramon,” whispers his young wife, “It is time. Go get Akhushtal.”

Traveling by foot over the mountainous terrain, Ramon returns two hours before evening. “Hola, Eme?” inquires Akhushtal, she finds Eme breathing erratically and her mother-in-law by her side. Without hesitation, Akhushtal cries out, “Please, the hot water, madre and light a candle. The baby’s head is showing. Push, Eme, push!”

Poverty triumphs
Strangles mother and newborn
Fireflies light man’s grief

* * *

Inspiration for this story comes from the weekly, Ligo Haibun Challenge. This week was a photo challenge.

In general, this fictional story is loosely based on rural Guatemala: Huehuetenango Department where in these mountainous areas, the people experience severe lack of clean water, very poor sanitation systems and malnutrition.

If you liked this post, why not visit Ligo Haibun Challenge and join in the fun. Thank you so much!

© 2013 simply charming

Ligo Haibun|~Daniel

Born with androgynous good looks and a dimpled smile, Daniel never had problems getting whatever he wanted. It was easy. With a quick smile, he found mother would simply give in as she watched him lick the homemade frosting from the cake-mixing bowl. Both his sisters delighted when Daniel let them dress him up as they all dreamed of becoming famous runway models one day. At first, Daniel felt ashamed, as he secretly loved the transformation reflected back to him in the playroom mirror. The feminine undergarments, sequined and frilly dresses, high heels and hair up-dos along with fancy eye make-up. This was heaven, thought Daniel. However, time manages to change childish play for mature things as his sisters began to develop interests in boyfriends and social media activities. Daniel? No. Time generously gave him pressure, confusion and alienation.

He stands in front of the mirror, fully dressed. “I am a masterpiece of God, a beautiful woman,” whispered Daniel, a tear dropping down at the crossroad of his life. “I must overcome my shame and face my reality; I was born to be a woman and not a man.”


The phone rings interrupting Daniel’s bitter reflection.

“Hello, this is Daniel. Oh, sweet Jesus, you want to see my modeling portfolio?”

fashion designers

transforms felicitous gift

beautiful mirage

* * *

Inspiration: Write a 220 word Haibun narrative with Haiku to finish. If you like this post and would like to join this weekly challenge, visit  Līgo Haībun Challenge ~ Down At The Crossroads.

Līgo Haībun Challenge ~ Down At The Crossroads