Hybrid haibun & new perspectives
A Creative Study: Robin Anna Smith
I write both poetry and prose, often hybrids, such as haibun*. My compositions are written plainly, the way I speak, because I want my stories to feel the way I do when I'm telling them verbally. As a person who has lived with a dissociative disorder since early childhood, I'm able to maintain a distance from my stories, while still being in the midst of them. When writing, I try to leave enough white space to allow a reader to come into my world and interpret things from their own vantage point and possibly come away with a new perspective. Sometimes, I'm told people are unsettled or disturbed by my work. While I don't purposely write to shock, I do attempt to reflect on subjects that people would often prefer to ignore, as well as highlight contradictions in everyday life.
*haibun is is a prosimetric literary form originating in Japan, combining prose and haiku. The range of haibun is broad and frequently includes autobiography, diary, essay, prose poem, short story and travel journal.
he convinces me to comply
It’s been a year since my long-time friend-turned-boyfriend-turned-ex began stalking and threatening me. He would show up at my school and work regularly to intimidate. Eventually, he graduated to breaking into my home at night. My parents, friends, and teachers probed me for information about my change in mood. I was evasive.
people full of assumptions
One of the best and worst days of my life was the day I gave birth. It signaled the beginning of the end of his obsession with me, but also of an indescribable emptiness. Though finally able to reclaim my body, it’s not the same as before him.
I wonder what her name is
* * *
borrowing a car we take Amtrak to the suburbs
Windows down on the highway in your mom’s Impala. We’re making our way down I-90, toward Indiana. It’s offensively hot, but we don’t mind. Happy to be getting out of the city for a few days. "Don’t Stop Believin’" blares from the radio and we're belting it out.
I’m riding shotgun and from the corner of my eye, I notice a motorcycle. Absorbed in song, I don’t pay much attention. It creeps back up again and then falls back. Still singing, I make note of the biker's face. A few moments later, the same guy is coming up on the driver’s side.
Suddenly you shout “Oh my God!” and swerve. He’s flicking his tongue at us like Gene Simmons. His pants are unzipped and he’s beating off, balls flapping in the wind. We scream, roll up the windows, and try to pull away. He speeds up next to us, never slowing down the activity of his hand.
Miles pass, as we try to think of other deterrents, none of which would work. We are panicking. Should we get off at the next exit? What if he follows us? We should throw something at him. But what if he crashes and dies? Will we go to jail?
He abruptly veers away onto an exit ramp, smiling and nodding at us with satisfaction. Dick in hand—still going...
Chicago ‘L’ train stars follow me home from the platform
* * *