Seeing Roc City

Big Tent Poetry wants a haibun with a mythological character

I am sure many of you will have produced beautifully crafted haibun.  You will have included the requisite flying horses or fairies gracefully while describing some place in such a way my mouth will water while I read.

I could not write a haiku if my life depended on it, and not a good one even if it would save me AND make me wealthy.   As to the narrative, well, I am not bad at beginning, but there is a reason I do not call myself Novelist Wysfool.

If you can’t recognize it in all the verbiage, this is an apology for what follows.  My only excuse is that it’s a rough draft.  a very puny excuse.


One who has an irrational fear of heights, or a rational fear of extraordinarily large birds, would be advised to avoid the Outrider Mountain Peak Experience.  I am one of the later, but no one warned me beforehand that the only access to the workshop, the only transportation to the peak, would have to be just such avians.  Rocs.

Outrider Mountain is impressive, as old, eroded mountains may still be.  It is the first appreciable elevation one encounters traveling east across the plateau from the central basin.  Miles of rolling eastern prairie run up against the ridge of Outrider like carpet at a wall.  One turns off the highway a few miles before the road turns upward to cross the barrier by way of a low shoulder.

At this junction there is a gas station with attached restaurant and shop.
The Roc’s Roaster sells a great variety of unfortunate useless things in addition to the usual sodas and sandwiches, and also–as attested to by large peeling signs for miles in advance–fifteen flavors of roasted RocNuts.  These are, in fact, small brown bags of peanuts.  The place is depressing to say the most complimentary thing that comes to mind, and I wish to god that I had stayed there.

[here would follow description of the winding dirt and gravel road that skirts the mountain for miles, the boulders that fall with frequency, occasionally landing on some farmer’s tractor or cow.
[then we would discuss the landing site and the process of strapping into the harness by which the birds carry you, and the deeply unsettling sensation of rising one thousand feet into the air under with nothing between you and oblivion but the wings and badly maintained feet of two foul tempered birds.]

The Rocs and their handler spoke to one another in a rough and unhuman language, but it was obvious to me that they were discussing my weight at some length, and it seemed for a while that the birds would refuse me passage, though I am only guessing:  at no time did the birds or their attendant speak to me.


When I at last staggered to my feet after landing, the larger of the birds muttered something and the woman who was assisting me out of my strapping laughed heartily.  When she pointed me in the direction of my cabin, she handed me a wooden disk.  It was red with the number 2000 in yellow.
“Baldy says you’re heavier than you look, ” she said, as if it were an explanation.   “Seems to think
you must have some triceratops in your family. That’s your diet.

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Posted on 2010/09/24, in Big Tent Poetry, writing. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. What a delightful journey to secure a ride with the mythical birds with quills said to be 12 (?) paces in length. Enjoyed the surprise ending where the ruhks, of extraordinary size, had to debate ability to carry the weight. Delightful ending.

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