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Jacob Salzer Personal Haibun Thread

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  • Jacob Salzer Personal Haibun Thread


    Buried in darkness, streams of electricity stretch for miles forming an invisible grid. Innumerable power lines connect at a single street post and expand in all directions.

    distant shadows reaching into earth

    There was a man who always wore a black coat in the concrete lecture hall. Under bright fluorescent lights he talked about coal power plants. As he spoke I imagined dark clouds rising into sunlight.

    deep ocean sounds we never will hear

    My friend lights a cigarette in the dark; her visible breath merges with smoke under bare moonlight.

    night train rolls on a steady beam of light

    Publication credits:

    Modern Haiku 47:2
    Origins: Haibun by Jacob Salzer

    Night Route

    Riding the bus, I see the faces of generations, and young souls speaking foreign languages, but I remain quiet in the midst of their conversations.

    There is the bus driver yelling in his interrogation, demanding to know why I was on the bus again, and his face boils in his anger as I get off the bus without a sound.

    There is the sound of the bus engine, and the sound of an accordion door closing with a sense of urgency.

    On the long, dark road, there is nothing left but the sound of rain. Between each step, even the “I” thought comes and goes. At night, all the trees disappear into each other, under the star-filled sky.

    moonlit alley
    a large shadow engulfs
    my own

    Publication credits:

    Published in Prune Juice 19
    Origins: Haibun by Jacob Salzer

    © 2019 Jacob Salzer
    Last edited by Jacob Salzer; 07-31-2019, 08:27 PM.

  • #2


    • #3
      I'm glad you enjoy them! I just sent 3 new haibun off to Contemporary Haibun Online. Fingers crossed. : )


      • haikutec
        haikutec commented
        Editing a comment
        I'd be very interested in how you got on. You can always message me.


    • #4
      The Legend of Zelda

      I grew up in the suburbs, and remember long hours were spent playing The Legend of Zelda for both Super Nintendo and N64. As a child, video games were an escape into another world. In this world, I was a hero. I explored new terrain, solved puzzles, fought monsters, and defeated villains. Within seconds, I would forget about my homework.

      long pause . . .
      mother unfolds
      my report card

      © Jacob Salzer, from Origins: Haibun by Jacob Salzer with a foreword by Alan Summers, now available on, amazon, and other online bookstores
      Last edited by Jacob Salzer; 08-10-2019, 10:47 PM.


      • #5

        Driving away from the familiar city into farming fields I had never seen—patches of land separated by narrow roads—the wheels stirring the dirt behind us.

        There were many houses at the end of the road but no sign of people living there, as we parked the silver car across from a large lot. I remember my father telling us to be careful, as we walked across the wooden bridge that was built before I was born.

        A weathered school house stood at the edge of the lot. Its white walls were bright compared to the dark rooms behind them. Empty desks and empty chairs faced the blank chalkboard.

        I could hear the sound of children talking on the first day of school while one teacher tried to speak over them. Sunlight filtered through cold windows as I glanced at the curious faces of my mother and father, peering into the large panes of glass without speaking.

        rising above
        an empty school house
        oak tree in the wind

        Not long after pictures were taken, we walked back to the silver car in the middle of the afternoon, and drove down the gravel road to the small town.

        And just outside of it, we arrived at a cemetery bordered by a chain-linked fence; the patch of land was covered by large trees (I thought they must be the guardians of this place) and sensed that many words were hidden in their branches.

        The cameras were taken out once again; flashes of light against the tombs of my ancestors.

        As my father cleared the moss and debris from the graves, my sister found an opening half-way beneath a large piece of concrete, and asked if a creature might live down there. I turned to her saying it could be the place where the soul of a person had escaped, though I didn’t know what happens after death and she didn’t know either. After a moment of listening, she quietly told me her friend believes in apparitions.

        As we walked back to the car without a word, my parents said it was time to go home.

        unkept graveyard
        wheels stirring the dirt
        behind us

        © Jacob Salzer, from Origins: Haibun by Jacob Salzer with a foreword by Alan Summers, now available on, amazon, and other online bookstores


        • #6

          During my first year of college, I lost some credit due to late nights reading poetry and playing tabla with Nick, but it was worth it. He taught the basic tabla rhythms using Sanskrit syllables. Then, I started making compositions of my own. My favorite rhythmic cycle or taal was a 12-beat cycle called Ektaal:

          Dhin Dhin DhaGe Teriketa Tun Na Kut Dha DhaGe Teriketa Dhi Na

          light rain…
          the rhythmic sound
          of the washing machine

          © Jacob Salzer, from Origins: Haibun by Jacob Salzer with a foreword by Alan Summers, now available on, amazon, and other online bookstores


          • Clayton Beach
            Clayton Beach commented
            Editing a comment
            Love this one nice work Jacob.

        • #7
          Gramps in His Elements

          He stands on the hill looking over his property, filled with shadows and innumerable trees. With a pick axe he makes a new footpath on the slope, asking himself how long he will be able to do this. Even with two knee replacements and a wife with memory loss, nothing slows him down. With his hands he built a house using fallen trees and things that many people threw away. The garbage site is a treasure hunt in his eyes.

          Every summer we cut logs into smaller pieces and stack them beneath a shelter, so he and Grandma can stay warm year round.

          a wood house
          becomes a home
          Grandpa’s hands

          Publication credits:

          Chrysanthemum 19

          Origins, a collection of haibun by Jacob Salzer with a foreword by Alan Summers

          © Jacob Salzer
          Last edited by Jacob Salzer; 08-10-2019, 11:07 PM.


          • #8

            Gramps lives on over 20 acres of forest. He has created a vast network of trails, but as I climb the hill, the trails have disappeared, and I am alone. I steadily climb the steep hill through the thick brush. With each step, I’m reaching closer and closer to the sunlight. At the top, I encounter an old logging road that makes a sharp turn out of sight. A chill goes up my spine, to see this abandoned logging road through a lingering silence…

            into unseen heights
            sea fog

            Publication credit:

            Origins: Haibun by Jacob Salzer with a foreword by Alan Summers, now available on, amazon, and other online bookstores

            © Jacob Salzer


            • #9
              THE INTRUDER

              You stole her computer, her jewelry, and her credit cards, and bought things from companies around the world.

              Yes, they cleaned up the shattered glass you left behind. And they have a new alarm system now, with a fence that nobody can climb.

              You too are bound by the laws of karma. I just hope the seeds of karma will soon be destroyed before they grow into a vast, criminal tree.

              morning mist . . .
              the prisoner’s breath lingers
              above barbed-wire

              Publication credits: Contemporary Haibun Online, January 2020 issue

              © Jacob Salzer
              Last edited by Jacob Salzer; 11-30-2019, 07:38 PM. Reason: I'm grateful to say this haibun will be published in CHO (Contemporary Haibun Online) in January 2020


              • #10
                Nice work, thank you for posting these. I especially like Origins. You have composed some eloquent prose - too often it's clunky prose that disappoints in haibun, speaking personally.


                • Jacob Salzer
                  Jacob Salzer commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Thanks! I appreciate you taking the time to read my work. I'm grateful to say I got one haibun accepted by Contemporary Haibun online. It was inspired by a visit to a bookstore in Portland, Oregon. Will post it here as soon as Oct. rolls around. : )
                  Last edited by Jacob Salzer; 08-21-2019, 07:35 PM.

                • Richard Gilbert
                  Richard Gilbert commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Sure thing! Looking forward to seeing more your work.

              • #11

                Dirt stirs up behind us, as my father parks the truck at the Native American reservation. There is no one in sight. Sunlight filters through the dusty windows of a closed gift shop. Tall grass grows along the sides of weathered houses. Peering inside a house, it appears dark and empty, as if no one has lived there for years. I wonder where the people are… Distant waves crash against the shore as a totem pole disappears in the fog. Outside the elementary school, an American flag rustles quietly in the faint breeze…

                abandoned cemetery…
                the wounded warrior’s
                untold stories

                (to be sent to a journal soon - many thanks to Rich at Haibun Today for the feedback to strengthen this haibun)

                (c) Jacob D. Salzer


                • #12
                  Past Lives

                  In the bookstore, the wood floor creaks in certain areas where several generations walked across it. Some books are organized alphabetically by last name on steep shelves, while others are stacked on tables and desks like Leaning Towers of Pisa or rest in random places on the floor.

                  Many lifetimes sleep here, distilled in closed books, waiting to come to life again. Sometimes the dark ink bleeds through the pages, while other pages whisper or scream.

                  Opening the first page of The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway, I hear the ocean crash against me, and feel the cold wind skimming across my face, as if the words have somehow touched hidden scars.

                  darkness . . .
                  a gold light bends
                  into its past

                  Publication credit: Contemporary Haibun Online, October 2019 Vol. 15 No. 3