Meditations on Bucuresti: haiku, reflections and observations

When I first visited Romania in 2000, I began writing haiku to capture my reflections and observations of Romania, Romanian life and the Romanian people. I continue to do so. Below is a small, assorted sampler from my growing collection of haiku, tentatively titled Meditations on Bucuresti.

I do not know why I ultimately stayed with the haiku form for this personal project. In fact, I would have preferred the Shakespearean sonnet- it would permit me more words. Perhaps, I believed the haiku would help me develop a sense of pith. If you have read my posts, however, you’ll have the impression that I still need to work on this.

And I would share the same conclusion with you.

Honestly, I don’t believe my haiku are masterful- nothing like a flash of lightning in a summer cloud. I consider myself a shabby apprentice of the art, producing uninspiring mediocrity. However, I aspire to become a master of both haiku and haiga (where haiku and visual art come together). This takes time and practice. And, maybe, many years.

Beyond the formal sound count (not syllablic) structure of 5-7-5, good haiku is forceful. Good Haiku puts you there in the moment – and in the feeling. Perhaps, in the image. Haiku by the Japanese master, Basho, is often considered a forceful and popular example of haiku at its finest. Some of his haiku was joined with visual decoration (Bashon comes to mind) and represent some of the most beautiful haiga out there.

Hopefully, I will improve my art in time and, perhaps, you will join me in this journey, putting up with my mediocre work in progress. If, on the other hand, you can’t stand it, rate it poorly in the Buzzfuse widget and tell me to stop in the Buzzfuse comments. If I can’t take a hint, tell me in a direct and straight-forward manner and, theoretically, I shall relieve you of your suffering. [sheepish smile]

Below, a little Romanian folk Christmas Carol to cleanse the palette.

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inexplicable irony, 2007

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Beauty, truth, goodness

smiling on kissable lips.

Nothing in the kiss.

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Notes: Perhaps, a reflection on disappointed expectations and aspirations regarding love and marriage.

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afraid to grow, meditation eight, 2008

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B twenty concrete

cannot support skyscrappers –

neither oak or pine.

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Notes: A reflection on the cultural foundations of Romanian society and the consequences on personality, business and politics. B-24 grade concrete is an inferior concrete formula. The grade correlates to the weight that it can support.

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Matei Basarab, 2002

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Concrete poverty;

rainbows in some motor oil –

sad faces, sad smiles.

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Notes: Matei Basarab is a street not too far from the center of Bucharest; I started a Romanian company there in 2002 (Communications, Design and Technology) and, later, lived there with my wife and son during my brief marriage.

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Innumerable (aka, Legion), 2000

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Relentless demons –

imaginary numbers,

never there, not now.

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Notes: Legion was the name of demons exorcised by Christ in the Gospel of Mark (5:9).

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Safari, 2002

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Behind the big blocs –

wild grass and broken weeds grow.

Puppies, kittens, too.

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Notes: Blocs are the ugly, plain and ordinary apartment buildings of communist time. The blocs were built cheap and fast to accommodate citizens and peasants in the cities. Since factories were crucial in the rapid effort by the Communist Party to industrialize the Romanian nation, they tore down a lot of interesting neighborhoods to erect five to eight story high big blocs across the city. Typically, these blocs have some small parcels of undeveloped land in the back. My three year old son especially likes it back there, but the wild dogs and cats are not as patient with rough handling toddlers as we might wish them to be.

It is interesting to contemplate how unstoppable is the spirit of life; I don’t imagine that the dirt behind the blocs has anything to feed the grass or weeds. Nor do I understand how the wild dogs and cats continue to multiply when people can’t afford to give them the scraps that used to be given to them. Of course, John Thomas (my son) feeds them daily: leftovers, cheese, crackers, coins, toy cars, mobile phones, silverware, and whatever else fits through the security grill of the kitchen window.

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The public funeral of an unknown hero, 2001

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Dog dead in the street

taking a quick, little nap.

A drunk old man.

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Notes: To have lived 60 years with no dreams may be a heroic testament to the fortitude of the human spirit. But it might not have been possible without a constant supply of wood grain alcohol and tuica (a potent form of plum brandy)

And, one must wonder why the dogs walk out into the moving traffic. They do it often enough. I have actually seen dogs at night saunter into the street to a good killing position and lay down there- waiting. Are they so fed up with their miserable lives too?

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National Romanian Department of Anti-Corruption (DNA), 2006

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Glorious Maybach,

enviable and pompous,

waits outside the court.

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Notes: The amazing cars of the oligarchs are often parked on the street of my office building as their owners stop in for a few minutes at the anti-corruption court to be released from criminal indictments by their honorable, robed buddies sitting on the bench.

Of course, one wonders what crimes one must commit and how often… in order to afford million dollar cars and the kindness of all those buddies in the Justice Department and Judiciary.

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Cismigiu Park, 2008

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Across the pathways-

hundreds of years of first kisses

and, too, unbid tears

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Notes: Cismigiu is a small park in downtown Bucharest. There you can find singing birds bathing in natural springs. And the promises of lovers across a hundred years or more sparkling across the surface of Cismigiu’s ponds.

Cismigiu is said to be the park for lovers and some wild things used to go on there at night – behind the bushes and trees. In the summer afternoon, lovers will rent a small rowboat and row about the main pond and steal a public kiss, now and then.

Walking along the edges of the main pond and under the shade of trees that line the pathways… or strolling between the busts of great Romanian poets, writers and artists, I enjoyed several first kisses there. And I repaid my debts to Cismigiu with unbid tears as well.

Also interesting about Cismigiu, there is a mysterious World War II memorial to American Air Force servicemen who died in Romania.

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Below, Five for Fighting, Superman (it’s not easy)

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Stan Faryna
March 15, 2008
Bucharest, Romania

About Stan Faryna

He is the founder and co-founder of several technology, design and communication companies in the United States and Europe including Faryna & Associates, Inc., Halo Interactive, and others.

His political, scholarly, social and technical opinions have appeared in The Chicago Defender, Jurnalul National, The Washington Times, Sagar, Saptamana Financiara, Social Justice Review, and other publications.

Mr. Faryna is editor-in-chief of Black and Right (Praeger Press, 1996), a landmark collection of socio-political essays by important American thinkers including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Copyright

Copyright 1996 to 2008 by Stan Faryna.

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