Writer’s Block: A Brown Study in Haibun

I want to start a poem like this: I am brown, very brown. Then I get writer’s block. Because now it’s out there.

There’s a story to tell, but it’s not poetic. It’s definitional. I have to define wheatish, fair, tan, light-skinned, black, white, and all the colors that separate you and me, and beat us into submission, into bearing the crimes of our color, even though not once have I cried because I was dark brown. But I have cried because you spoke to my skin color and not to me.

And tears are wordless, colorless. Their salt shorts out syllables, keyboards, laptops. Already I taste it on my tongue. So I eat the heart of a dragon and listen to the gossip of birds.

A blackbird flies south
Its shadow falls on Mt. Fuji
Western sun descends

Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) “Tea house at Koishikawa. The morning after a snowfall”
Frank at dVerse asks us to write on Writer's Block for Haibun Monday. 
The haibun form "consists of one to a few paragraphs of prose
—usually written in the present tense—that evoke an experience and are 
often non-fictional/autobiographical. They may be preceded or followed 
by one or more haiku—nature-based, using a seasonal image—that complement without directly repeating what the prose stated. 
Click on Mr. Linky to join in!

45 thoughts on “Writer’s Block: A Brown Study in Haibun

    1. Dwight,
      Thank you. You challenge me as well … There is a dialogue of poetry that blesses and I’m glad we’re engaged in that. There’s too many forces that would rather divide.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ingrid,
      Thank you! Colorism exists even between members of the same ethnicity. And of course there’s socio-economic caste division universally. It’s the human bent to prey upon division and the powerful exploit it.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. You are so right that colorism exists between members of the same ethnicity. I have seen this play out all over the world, not just in the States and it is heartbreaking. I am so thankful there will be a day when Jesus puts an end to all divisions based on race, ethnicity, socio-economic level. I am truly longing for the day when we will glorify God and enjoy Him forever!

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Amen! I love what God said to Samuel when he was surprised that none of David’s brothers had been chosen: “But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.’” (1 Sam. 16:7). Oh to have the eyes of our heavenly Father! But we do in Christ Jesus. 🥰

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Hey, Dora! Lisa and Frank both noted the lines that stuck out to me! You did a masterful job with this and I will try to keep my passion in check! How is it that in life we (universal whole) celebrate color and “feel” bad when we (universal whole) hear that someone is color blind, yet instead of celebrating our different skin colors we (universal whole) weaponize it, trivialize it, hide it, shame it, distort it, etc?! God is a color creating God! God called color good and man very good. It infuriates me how Satan is using skin color to devour the church! Dora, this may sound really cliche or corny but please know that it is true, Jesus and I love you no matter what shade/color you are! And I am thankful for the love that you have for me regardless of my exterior color!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mandy,
      You make my heart sing with praise to God for your beautiful heart which sees with the eyes of your Heavenly Father! We can sense when people don’t see us for who we are, but judge us by surface appearances. Who has not felt this pain? The only “darkness” that shames is the darkness within, as in Matthew 6:23 Christ says, “but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” Thank you, sister, for your affirmations. You ARE loved not least of all for your spiritual sight, a godly illumination. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well done, Dora.
    Your words were powerful. Forgive me for reading it in an unbelieving mindset. I cannot wrap my head around the attention paid to skin color. It never occurred to me to be important on any level.
    But, I’ve known unfair judgement, so I can relate to your insult and disgust.
    That makes me think about those who say that my skin color disqualifies me from commenting, or even recognizing racism. Well, ain’t that racism too?
    It’s a superficial world with the people making all the loudest ‘noise’ being the most ignorant.
    I did have a time when I wore corrective shoes that looked like ‘granny shoes’ approximately in first grade. I learned a lot from the teasing, and early on, I decided to laugh at nonsense. Funny thing is, when I laughed at the taunting, it wasn’t any fun for them anymore. I’ve been laughing at idiots ever since! It’s a marvelous sword. LOL
    Peace dear friend,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Susan,
      Everything you’re saying is right on target, not just about skin color but any kind of “difference” as long as it’s judged on someone else’s terms. Having a sense of humor helps in many situations and you and I have used it to our advantage. But when differences (cultural, ethnic) are used to judge and divide it becomes evil. So you can’t comment and I can’t comment for different pre-determined “reasons” but for one final purpose: somebody else’s advantage, political and economic. I’m hoping people here in the States will wake up to that before it’s too late. God bless you, my friend, and keep wielding that sword. You do it so well. 😄👍


    1. Punam,
      Your thoughts are very much appreciated. Who can understand the deceit of human hearts except God, and when you throw socio-political power plays into the mix, one is left out, another kicked out, and more wounded while a few capitalize. Everyone loses in the long run.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Before pandemic I minister with annual trips to train pastors at country where caste is legally not allowed but there’s still some tension with that; this poem I imagine capture a window into that sad reality

    Liked by 1 person

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