Skip to content

Six haibun.

By Sheila E. Murphy. 

Shoofly Pie

Endow the cow toward matrilineal détente. Align, arraign, detain, refrain. Compos mentis, manu-fixtured decibels to drown out priest speak. Diction of addiction, pressure test, the breast. The side effects of context. Blame game face two-ply, like most discarded flings. Shoofly pie spawns attractive crumbs wedged between repeat signs. Self-discipline, the deciding point of spelling desert sprawl versus dessert crawl.

Telltale tantrums leaving doldrums out in the intermittent rain

Blaspheme, Lurlene

Blaspheme, Lurlene. Astride the reticule, an immodest spritz of lively flutes informs your mid-rise dossier as thought comes close. Locate pulp in reading, tread the half-cooked water close to teenaged ducks about to be placated under noonday rain. Hemispheres ply soul casing half the distance toward eucalyptus leaves slimmed to match the void.

Light of soda ash smoothed soft above the baseball park

Which Beast

Myrtle insisted that refraction tames the beast. Which beast, her audience asked to know. Myriad shadows presaged the arrival of costume froth. As if Thanatos might appear unclothed and assume the center stage position usually occupied by Myrtle herself. The ever-aromatic Myrtle claimed her sacredness as common sense, and bloomed where she was planted. She throve on discourse that purred from her own lips. Slips of mirth released in untidy stitches.

Act of thrash unheeded, anticipated penance yet to come

The Laundry List of Spells

You make me peevish in your sleep. I paint in undertones. I lease the space, I splice the names supposed to constitute the constitution. I assured him of his strong constitution; you never let me hear the end of it, mentioning issues of his nose. I countered imprecision, begging please, a siege of honesty. It is the spine, the frame, that sets health. How fresh the wait list; how blue my pens. I write in Palatino Linotype. The laundry list of spells, the entrances to orphan wells. I blush to read my script designed to avert sitting in the distance protected just by cardboard.

Stippled fractions, rogue conversation, pathways to eminence

Silhouettes of Earth

Kismet’s drab as a posse minus map. Rife with supposition framed to match white birch. Lean rods of torque advance the discipline meted out to unsuspecting youth. Mist across unblindfolded eyes. Each pair drawn to an imagined waiver from required reporting back to ministers of health, welfare, or broth. Deep breaths released to woods affixed in mind, the evidence of a viable past tense.

Fenceposts dotting land, standard deviation, a flock, an endless outback

Moderator from Modesto

The moderator from Modesto hovers just above the rattle of pre-keynote chat. The speaker’s face emerges onscreen; the audience gives him leave to gruff his privilege based on rumored provenance. He brushes off some gentle syllables spoken by the moderator. Who nods to mitigate her hurt. Nods hard and fast and long. Once given the floor, he appropriates the design of a soft airplane blanket made from reused plastic. A product for human use, he says. She gently draws him away from most favored tangent status to prompt his tossing a crumb of word wealth to those who’ve come to hear.

Penchant, pension, the illusion of a meal shared all round


SHEILA E. MURPHY. Murphy’s most recent books are Permission to Relax (BlazeVOX Books, 2023), October Sequence: Sections 1–51 (mOnocle-Lash Anti-Press, 2023), and Sostenuto (Luna Bisonte Prods (2023). Murphy is the recipient of the Gertrude Stein Award for her book Letters to Unfinished J. (Green Integer Press, 2003). Murphy’s book titled Reporting Live from You Know Where (2018) won the Hay(na)Ku Poetry Book Prize Competition from Meritage Press (USA) and xPress(ed) (Finland). Murphy earns her living as a management consultant and researcher and holds the PhD degree. She has lived in Phoenix, Arizona, throughout her adult life.

For more on Sheila E. Murphy see her page on Wikipedia.

Image credit: slovegrove.

One Comment

  1. wrote:

    Beautiful presentation on this website of six haibun by Sheila E. Murphy of Phoenix AZ USA. What a wonderful word master and story teller! A poet with much to say & in just the right wording. A balm to the senses..

    Wednesday, 10 January 2024 at 17:18 | Permalink

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *