THE HAPPY GUY
Shopping for orange dreamsicles at Dollar Tree, I found myself in the checkout aisle behind two young men, dressed like handymen. The one closest to me suddenly declared, “I love you!” to the cashier, a large, middle-aged woman with mousy hair.
“He always embarrasses me,” the other guy laughed.
“Why shouldn’t I say something positive?” the man defended himself before turning to me. “I love you!” he said, a sincere smile on his face.
“I love you too,” I replied with a grin.
I left the store with my dreamsicles, thinking how it isn’t every day that two complete strangers look each other in the eye and say, “I love you!”
yellow joy . . .
© Anna Cates (USA)
It seems the idea of this haibun is to make readers think about themselves and about today’s people. What does it take today to be human? It is very complicated. You smile and a guy thinks, “she is hitting on me.” A man gives you compliments and you begin having wrong ideas.
The prose part in the haibun is very clever and good. In my opinion, this haibun could have two more haiku: one after the description of the cashier, and one more after the guy said I love you to the other guy.
– Laughing Waters (USA)
This haibun is versatile in many ways, as I can see various elements of our daily thoughts, the shopping spree, chitchat with people where we exchange smiles, and helping out strangers—the strangers we are connected to strongly for our needs, for our daily requirements.
I liked the way the poet composed the prose in a delightful way, which basically tells us about the dilemma of human beings. We usually bring our conscious filters when someone chats with us unexpectedly in a friendly way. In this era, if people try to connect with each other publicly, it is almost always taken in a suspicious way.
The haiku part of this haibun is well embedded with the emotions of a person who really wants to feel a deep connection with strangers, who are none other than human beings. The soft trilling of a warbler depicts the sincere and lovely feelings of a person that she/he shares through words like ‘I love you!’. But, we perceive it according to our mindsets and in a specific way. Unfortunately, we want to connect with each other as human beings but, we cannot, as we start defining every single gesture, feelings, and words and categorize them according to our set perceptions and experiences. But, deep down, we want the opposite—we want to be heard by others, we want to be accepted unconditionally by others, we want to be connected without any barriers, and we want to be appreciated by others. All this is just a simple wish we want, like a daisy’s yellow joy—the center of it—and in our case, the heart that is the center of joy, that usually fades away due to our thoughts and perceptions.
– Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)
I like the realness of this story, and also its uncommon situation. When I read the prose, I could tell right away it was from reality. I have also been in similar circumstances when people in public are goofing off or acting in a unique way that is positive. It gives a certain vibrancy to life.
Besides being able to easily identify with the story, I like the slightly surrealistic haiku accompanying it. It connects nicely with the unusual, but very ordinary occurrence in the story.
Touching upon the technical stuff, the ellipsis works well to illustrate the warbler’s trill. I also enjoy the economy of the language, with the haiku being only six words. The rolling of “l” sounds and “y” sounds make the poem musical as well.
In terms of the prose, I enjoy the descriptions of the people and the naturalness of the dialogue.
A haibun that explores the extraordinary in the ordinary in a delightful way.
– Nicholas Klacsanzky (Ukraine)
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John James Audubon (1785–1851)