BY JAN HAAG

POETRY + MUSIC + TEXTILE ART + TRAVEL + ESSAYS + FICTION

INTRODUCTION + HAAG'S BIO






CYBER BYTES
33 in 66

Short Short Forms





#1 THE SEDUCTION OF JESSICA

1-1-99

Jessica was a small, omnivorous, black-pawed, black-tailed cat who truly liked only the taste of clams. But she was too small to have nibbled many exotic, gourmet treats.

So when Jusinpur, asked, "Why eat chicken caccitore when you can try satay?"

"Satay?"

Presto! Jessica was seduced, Shanghaied to Siam, and sated with a little satay and a lot of fish stew -- which contained no clams whatsoever.





#2 CAMOUFLAGE

1-2-99

Junipur, Jusinpur's sister, was fog-white and longhaired. Exceedingly fond of the juniper's small translucent berries, she smelled of gin. Consequently, she was dismissed by short-hairs as a lush.

"Lusiously furred," she purred, sober as a cloud, sharpening her claws on Jake's bar's yew struts.

Though Jusinpur meowed warnings in the foggy alleys, more than one gossipy cat, suddenly shrouded in white nothingness, was raked by lightening.





#3 THE TALL TREES OF WEIR

1-3-99

A blue-white drift descended touching the human heart and the tall trees of Weir.

"Weir, vortex or eddy, in the dark, wild whirl above lotus stems my wings scoop mist-pearls from the spiders' webs.

"Treat me gently. I am an angel. Hurricanes guard the earth: bug, bird, tree, human. Welcome me, lest I disappear forever."

Beneath her foot tall trees bowed, vaulted her, dancing, toward heaven.





#4 THE TRAINING

1-4-99

On a brilliant January day, unusual in Seattle, walking along lake Washington under the ghost of Mount Rainier, Justinian heard:

"...complicated, altrustic energy toward your training..."

Later, the tall young man who had said it to the fair young man, shoved him over a cliff. The cliff was only four feet high; the water, a foot deep, was undoubtedly icy.

"God!" Justinian gasped -- training toward death.





#5 GRACE

1-5-99

Silk black and green-eyed, she wanted love and petting. But, tossed out in kittenhood at the edge of town, she'd have starved, except that, in the land of cow-eaters, people threw lots of steak bits away.

Grateful they didn't eat cats, she, none-the-less, prayed to god for company. Rain fell, a dog barked. An untrained mouser, she knew cows were too big to tackle first hand.





#6 THE BETTER HALF

1-6-99

"He never loved me, probably never loved anyone. It took sixteen years and his death to emblazon it on my heart. He was capable of drama, but not love."

"And you, my dear?"

"I was pretty good at drama, too. But I grew tired of it."

"Will you go to his funeral?"

"A chance to throw dirt on his coffin? Perhaps."

"And love?

"Probably not."





#7 CHANGE OF HEART

1-7-99

Hoping the cows wouldn't stampeded her from picking her little, red, fragrant, heart's desire, gentle-hearted Angela skirted the ancient barn remembering strawberry fields under the desolation of winter's white and no one around for fifteen miles. But, big, black, moon-eyed, the cows menaced simply by the bulk of their being. Praising winter, when the cows were taken to other barns in other places, empty-handed Angela retreated.




#8 GHOST STORY

1-8-99

Just Lampeggia, the white-pawed, gray cat, and I were in the house. Suddenly, an awful buzzing! I lept up in my bed.

Silence.

I snuggled again into the warmth. Buzz! -- Buzz! -- at intervals -- Buzz!

Getting up, I padded about. Silence.

Buzz! I lunged for the kitchen light.

Lampeggia, head throughtfully cocked, raised her paw. With slow precision she depressed the switch on the electric can opener.





#9 HIGH WIRE ACT

1-8-99

The squirrel lept up the pole, grasped the wire and carefully undulated toward the trees. Almost at jumping distance -- a small-headed squirrel sprinted toward her.

The big squirrel turned. The smaller, nose to tail, pursued her past wire's end, up, down, round and round the pole.

Flying, the she-squirrel caught the wire, bounded again over the wild brush, down a wire, and vanished into the underbrush.





#10 DORIS

1-10-99

Chin up and pure white, with china-blue eyes in the face of an angel, she sat on the highest rail of the cast iron fence. Neighborhood cats called her Dorito, meaning she had a chip on her shoulder. Her real name was Doris. Feeling the height of the fence brought her closer to God, and the cats' calling, a heavenly choir, Doris, though deaf, purred peacefully.




#11 BALANCE SHEET

1-11-99

When the last great love of her life died she carefully noted the movement in her heart from surprise (no word from him in years), to wonder, relief, anger. Finally, she shrugged: "He deserved it."

"It?" questioned her psyche.

"He was charming, but a bastard to me -- everyone. Death is the solitude he always wanted -- deserved."

"You're the one that pursued him."

"The more fool, I."





#12 MAYBELLE'S MURDER

1-12-99

In the small mansion's garden, designed for a river to flow through them, there were -- perhaps too many -- fountains. Wanting to enjoy her new luxury, Maybelle, with difficulty, turned the cock. It had not been turned in a century. Creaking, grinding, the sluice-gates opened. The dam cracked. The river flooded mansion and fountains, and Maybelle, having purchased her own death, drowned in the largest fountain's pool.




#13 CONVICTIONS

1-12/13-99

Imagine acres of new blacktop at a flower farm. Imagine sunflowers as big as the harvest moon growing from squares of earth, car noses sniffing their stalks.

A hungry horse nibbles the sunflowers. The farmer shoots him. Hungry hippies pilfer some of the giant heads. The farmer shoots them.

Media circus. Imprisonment.

Developers buy the farm. More horses and hippies eat the last sunflowers' parched seeds.





#14 THE COIN'S OTHER SIDE

1-13-99

Penury, assumed or real, enhances life in the oddest ways. With her husband, cheaper than she was -- he bought her one nine dollar coat in ten years of marriage -- Samantha visited Washington, the nation's capitol -- once, forty years ago. She craved a book -- actually its title -- but, for one dollar, she didn't buy it:

"Suicide And Other One-Act Plays."

Ah, the indelible memories of didn't do!





#15 THE DAUGHTER

1-14-99

Some Asian women are so beautiful -- living jewels -- that one can understand the male's urge to lock her in a golden cage. But the hummingbird, equally delicate, exquiste, will batter itself against the clearest window to be free to bath in the silt-carrying waterfall, to suck honey from an untamed flower. Thus SuChong, rather than be an ornament, spent her youth studying to become a physicist.




#16 DESTINY

1-15-99

Olivia ran up the wall, across its sharded top and jumped into the sea. To escape from her homeland she would put out to sea in a ship or a raft -- even a tree. She wouldn't be walled in by ancestral taboos. There were other things in the world; she would find them. She found restlessness, wandering, solitude, pilgrimage -- a pilgrim's life. Which satisfied her entirely.




#17 KHAROSTHI DAGGER

1-16-99

SJ: On my morning path I found this Kharosthi dagger glittering like corroded gold.

PS: Kharosthi's a script, not a people.

SJ: This is a twig, not a dagger. When did writing begin in India?

PS: About 600 B.C. -- a hundred years before Buddha.

SJ: And using daggers?

PS: Gold doesn't corrode.

SJ: I once found an assassin's bronze dagger from Luristan, 700 B.C..





#18 THE CHOOSING

1-17-99

Honor loved solitude. When younger she had had a lover (he was homosexual) who said he loved her, but didn't want to BE with her. It broke her heart. Other loves follow this pattern: an alcoholic, a married man, passionate friends. At sixty-five she understood perfectly -- she loved many people; many people loved her. But with her whole heart, she loved her peace of mind more.




#19 DISPOSSESSED

1-18-99

In Tibet the huge, full moon shown. The world extended in a gentle curve and fell away from the smooth, white sides like an egg -- into nothingness. A knife slicing dawn, the sun came up. Ani saw Guru Dorje. She knew what "Dorje" meant, but, now, couldn't remember. Guru, young, strong, muscular, was from Tibet -- where she had never been. He died in '59. She fled.




#20 ESSENCE

1-18/19-99

"Did you ever feel the essence of your self," Sue asked, "your life?"

"Dumb questions."

"What did you feel?"

"At the Clinic for Deaf Children I remember stepping into the tiny restroom. In its mirror -- over a toilet? it seems unlikely -- I was suddenly touched by my image. 'You are you!' I whispered. 'So beautiful!'

"I wanted to stay to worship but went back to work."





#21 DRUG CULTURE

1-20-99

Late in life I discovered I had been enchanted. Like others, I was a subject on which the medical profession practiced its bungling, "feel-good" drug culture. In unendurable pain, I took the prescriptions the doctors gave me -- until I could accept that life was pain. Maybe the drugs did save my young, suicidal life. They adjusted me to the speed trap that today's humanity calls living.




#22 GOING

1-21-99

For weeks Juniper shipped papers to the archives and discarded books, clothes, objects. Suddenly, the hidden junk in her life was gone -- the remaining boxes were half empty. Maps. Envelopes. Computer disks. Paper.

She kept her poems, but the stories, projects, outlines, "some-days" were gone. Empty, she thought. I have space around me and the cool air -- empty. Cyberspace and me.

Not quite yet, but soon.





#23 SIREN'S SONG

1-22-99

The darkness, pettiness, bodily irriatibility is closing in around me, cried Juniper in her hypnogogic state: "I never think of the grandeur of life anymore. It seems too full of gas stations and greed, investigations, corruption. It seems nothing is left but pettiness and darkness.

"Yet the crows fly at dusk, the seagulls fly all day."

"Are you hoping to get your wings, Juniper?"

"Soon, soon."





#24 ORBITS

1-23-99

The curious marriage laws of the universe made them live together in the same house. Miriam, like a dot, was very focused, disciplined. She turned round and round and in on herself. Johnathan, like a wide-ranging bird, circled farther out and round. They touched only in rare collisions. Yet the strength of their terrifying marriage, viewed by the GUTS , defied analysis. Such speed! -- Was it love?




#25 SHAKTIPAT

1-24-99

Honor had a lively sense of what she couldn't do: morally, physically, intellectually. She had trouble remembering -- anything. She wanted desparately to explain this to her teacher. But even she realized it was a somewhat dubious use of his time. "Just do it" -- she recalled Buddha's, circa 500 B.C., injunction. The need to talk subsided. Silence sent her to solitude. She began to write.




#26 ORIENTAL RUG

1-25-99

I was sitting in a friend's garden full of levels and trellises and pools on top of a New York building. A helicopter flew over. Something dangled outside its door. Directly over the garden, someone opened the door, kicked the dangling thing, waved, and this rug flew down like a magic carpet. It fell into one of the pools, of course, but it dried out beautifully.




#27 SPRINT

1-26-99

A weeping and wailing of cats, a moon brighter than full -- Juniper slid through the country like an eel -- her ocean the flat-out, wide, dusty roads, her companion, the sleek finned car. If she drove like a bat out of hell for another four hours, she'd get beyond the howl, the slime, the fright. Nothing was coming, nothing going. She knew she'd never out-swim the cats.




#28 COMPANIONS

1-27-99

Delphi shocked us: a cliff with steps ascending through rocks, temples, bits of temples. Tracy saw the stadium, Beth the hole where the Pythian smoke blew. I stopped to buy a brown and black scarf. At the Volkswagen, blond Beth, hair blowing, announced she'd take the bus. Tracy drove. I heard again the man on the washed-out road saying: "It gets worse, but you will survive."




#29 CAT QUESTIONS

1-28-99

The panther lay on the tree limb asleep, breathing deeply. The silky sheen of its black fur glowed in the filtered light. What did it dream of? A wildebeest, the gnu? Hunger? Breathing and Eating and Running, following its instincts toward Sex? Which did it enjoy most? Was it the shade of the leafy tree or the cry of its body in lust? It slept -- breathing.




#30 FICTION

1-29-99

I'm frightened to enter the body of another: to think their thoughts, to know their motives, to want their wants. It's bad enough being in this body: not understanding its urges, not agreeing to its necessities, wondering when I get to do what I want to do, be where I want to be -- in the blue sky like a zephyr, in the mind like a dream.




#31 NO POINTS FOR TRYING

1-30-99

The failed genius, the second-rater, the ne'er-do-well who scraps his family(s) along the way, who tries to exercise his talent and fails in everything, the adventurer who sails off on his wish-to-experience -- all these may be forgivable, but to bring forth, beat up nine children along the way? They, too, think of him as better off dead. What if he'd died young, been Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart?




#32 BLUE MOON

1-31/2-1-99

The blue moon, obscured by grey rain in the day, grey storms in the night -- crossed the turbulent sky without being seen. Full, brilliant, its rays flared toward the ends of the universe, but could not penetrate the earth's atmosphere. So passed the last of forty-one twentieth century chances for Seattle to be illuminated by the regularity of lunar phenomena juxtaposed to man's odd counting system.




#33 FINALE

2-1-99

The last story told on earth will be:

"We're sorry for not understanding all the laws of your complexity before we destroyed your progeny."

"My complexity?" the earth will answer with a full moon-wink at the stars. "Has the son ever tried to understand the mother who gives him birth?"

Men will howl: "One more chance!" as earth moves happily into her new era sans man.










CYBER BYTES, 33 IN 66

CHARACTER BYTES, 33 IN 99

Introduction to The Short Forms

COMING SOON

INDRA'S NET, BLOOD RELATIONS, 33 IN 133

LAND BYTES, 33 IN 166

FRIENDLY BYTES, 33 IN 199






Copyright © 2000 through 2015 Jan Haag
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Jan Haag may be reached via e-mail: jjhaag@gmail.com






BY JAN HAAG


POETRY + MUSIC + ESSAYS + TRAVEL + FICTION + TEXTILE ART

INTRODUCTION + HAAG'S BIO



21st CENTURY ART, C.E. - B.C., A Context