Five shorties by Johannes Beilharz


No More Masks
Secular Haiku
How Very Befitting
It Didn't Rain
I Admit


No More Masks

All is abolished
The Red (is Indian)
behind the Brown (is Black)
The Brown behind the Black
(is White)

(1979, from Rural Ditties)


Secular Haiku

My mother in law broke two of our Guten Morgen mugs
during the three weeks of her last visit.

(1995, based on real experience)


How Very Befitting!

How very befitting! Reaching for tools (like the book this bookmark is on) has become so much of the process the process hardly ever happens. By the time the switch has been snapped and the thing has "booted", your poetic boot is out of steam. "Tuberoses are too much," James Schuyler wrote, and that made me refrain from going to sleep, made me reach for this obsolete tool the pencil, find a 10-year old bookmark from Boulder, start scribbling, reach for the book to write on better, and here I am at the end.

(1994, originally hand-written on a bookmark in pencil)


It didn't rain

It didn't rain in the movie, not a single time
And the steaming morning mist was most picturesque
through the TV camera lens

So what am I doing here this coldest, greyest
rainiest April ever

Going through the same old motions
to earn money so I can perpetuate the state
of affairs

(1994, revised 2003)


I admit

I admit it, I did that with the pies, I mean, take 'em with me on Christmas day and lose one next to the car (where I still found it the next day, face down, the aluminum pan sticking up), and I did put all the logs into the fireplace, but it was never my intention to burn up the place as she suggests. And yes, I came back the next day to apologize and talk, but man, she never gave me a chance. Whenever I was about to say something she vanished in the bathroom or kitchen or got on the phone. Eventually I got to boiling so hard I went ahead and snipped the phone wire in two while she was having her private conversation with this Charlie in the bedroom. I admit to all of that, but to no more and no less. Charlie had no right to visit me that night at the dump I moved into after we separated, telling me to keep my hands off my wife and children. And there was no reason for him to get mad when I told him to take his fucking self off my doorstep and get the hell lost. And as far a I'm concerned I had all the right in the world to throw those remaining pies at him. And the fact that the sleazoid comes back with the police just goes to show you what kind of a stinking coward he is. So now you heard my version of the story, and that's all I have to say, Mr. Carver.

(May 31, 1994, after reading a story by Raymond Carver)


All copyright at their various times by Johannes Beilharz
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