Bil Gottlieb

Garbage Piece

Writer’s commentary: As many do, I start the day devouring the news—and these days it’s often a dyspeptic meal. How to counter that daily dose of powerlessness, of political poison? This haibun was the answering chant, art’s startling incantation, a sudden paean to the person, and the redemptive power of one voice—any voice—riled and raised.

The Rag Picker by Thomas W. Wood

The news is insane, bad as can be, a barrage of anger, puerile power, disasters like mad actors in dark wings, waiting to howl their bannering lines; crisis is instant, just add today. What to do? Write, I opine, witnessing mean ends, wit with it. Play with words buoyant as bath toys. Claim a small space in the crazy of size. And don’t worry about your readers, the future’s eyeful. Assume like a bloom the attentive sun. A troop eager as ever to enlist the imaginings of spring—tulips lifting their cups like pure toasts to perception; and across the leading lane a local rooster, crowing his plain agreement with pride, the need to be—to speak, repeatedly—amidst the rout of throes.

rolling the trash can
back to the house
the week begins


About the writer:
Bill Gottlieb is the former editor-in-chief of Rodale Books and Prevention Magazine Health Books, the author of 16 health books that have sold 3 million copies and been translated into 11 languages, and a health journalist whose articles on health and healing have appeared in Men’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Cosmo, and many other publications. Since 2014, he has been concentrating his lyric attention on haibun and haiku, with work appearing in Modern Haiku, Frogpond, bottle rockets, is/let, tinywords, Mariposa, cattails, Contemporary Haibun Online, Haibun Today, KYSO Flash, and other venues for English-language haiku and haibun. He lives in northern California with his wild wife J., tame dog M., and cool cats L. and C., near The Mountain of Attention Sanctuary, a retreat center empowered by Adi Da Samraj, his spiritual guide of more than 40 years.

Image: The Rag Picker by Thomas W. Wood (1823-1903). Oil on canvas. 31.7 x 22 inches. Between 1859 and 1872. Public domain.