Here’s a response to my “On the Road” prompt. It breaks all the rules and is not so much a haibun as a hyphen – a pause between one state and another.
“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life” ― Jack Kerouac, On the Road
“I set out on a journey of a thousand leagues, packing no provisions. I leaned on the staff of an ancient who, it is said, entered into nothingness under the midnight moon.” -Matsuo Basho, The Record of a Weather-exposed Skeleton – his first travel travel journal.
Jack was standing beside a pile of battered suitcases on the pavement when an old Japanese man wandered up. They got chatting. The older man introduced himself as Mat.
“I had a feeling I’d catch up with you along the road,” Jack said. “It’s that kind of road.”
“Do you know where we are exactly?” Mat asked. “I seem to have lost my bearings.”
“I think we’re on the astral planes,” Jack said. “I’m pretty sure we’re dead,”
“I thought that might be the case,” Mat mumbled. “We must be wandering the bardos. Some call it the 4th dimension – the realm of thought forms, conditioned responses and old cultural ideas.”
“That makes sense,” Jack mused. “I’ve been stuck in an idea for a while now. I’m waiting for Godot but I don’t think he’s going to show up.”
“He always did have his own agenda,” Mat said dismissively. “Do you want to wander on with me for a bit. I could do with some company.”
Jack agreed and they set off together. Around a bend in the road they came across an old Japanese style inn. “I remember that inn,” said Mat. “I wrote a haiku about it after a bad night there on my journey to the Deep North.”
a horse pissing
by my bed
– Matsuo Basho
Jack laughed. “That’s a good one,” he said. “I wrote something similar myself once”.
I went in the woods
to meditate –
It was too cold
– Jack Kerouac
Mat smiled and the pair wandered on reminiscing about their journeys and sharing haiku. As they passed through a particularly scenic valley Jack asked, “Do you ever wish you could go back to the physical? Sometimes I’d really like a drink. The thought form of bourbon ain’t the same as the real thing.”
“I’m always travelling,” Mat reflected as he quoted his last haiku.
My dreams roam
On a withered moor.
– Matsuo Basho
“Sometimes I still feel the pull of the physical,” he said, “but these days I’m striving to get to the next level. The 5th dimension.”
“Yes, it’s calling me too,” said Jack. “I’m just not sure of the way.”
Mat straightened up and the years fell away. “You open your heart and follow your joy,” he said with authority.