When Happiness No Longer Bubbles Over

“The tinker and his tightrope-dancing badger.” Illustration by Sanchi Ogawa, published in Japanese Fairy Tales by Teresa Peirce Williston (1904), Rand McNally & Co. (The date should make it in the public domain.)

As I’ve heard tell, the tinker never lived up to the saintliness of his friend. Tea-kettles crowded his mansion, which he warmed against his body in his bed every night, moonlessly hoping to awaken another friend from the sleeping metals.

Orizuru and Migration


One thousand paper
cranes, shadows against gold dusk,
scatter on the wind.


|    deft claws                               heft                    gold stones
|          honed   wings steady the breeze     cranes
|      in fear                      sink                          release

Written for Ronovan Writes’ Haiku Challenge, which provided the prompts “crane” and “gold.” Orizuru are paper cranes, and legends tell that a crane will grant a wish to someone who makes (and keeps) 1,000 of them. As way of explaining the second effort, it is said that cranes will deliberately carry extra weight to ballast themselves against stronger winds. From what I can tell, that may be a matter of ancient lore.

The Ambivalence of Tengu

Photo prompt, Scary Monsters on the March at the Perchant Pagan Festival in Germany by Philipp Guelland, provided by Grammar Ghoul Press.

Tengu are too hard to identify.
Are they birds or dogs,
humans, gods, or ghosts?

Where did their evolution

Do they beckon war
with the torrent of their warped wings,
or is the torment tucked underneath their feathers?

Minor moment of plugging:

A flash fiction piece of mine entitled “A Murder of One” is currently available for free at freeze frame fiction. If you see this before/on Monday (10/19/15), consider swinging by Micro Bookends for their vote on this past quarter’s winners (I have a horse in that race, but only ask that any votes go toward the pieces that deserve them).

And don’t forget that Grammar Ghoul Press also has its own volume of The Ghouls’ Review out right now.