Assembly line sibyls

A haibun inspired by V.J. Knutson’s poem “Message in a bottle
Via #dailypost and #weekly-haiku-prompt

Repetitive noise,
the Zen of stamped bottle caps,
brings iced tea season.

V.J. Knutson’s poem “Message in a bottle” reminded me of early associations of tea with inspirational messages. When I moved to Boulder Colorado in 1973, I learned that tea came in more flavors than black. Red Zinger had been introduced a year earlier and was delivered to campus in a white Volkswagen van with the company name painted on its sides. The art work on the packages made them collectible, and vintage tins now sell for about $30.
The poem also reminded me of an episode of Monk involving counterfeit fortune cookie messages. This led me to think about the nature of belief. Why do we blow on dice and wish on turkey bones and shooting stars? What makes us trust the “personal” message in a fortune cookie or stamped on a product? Is it the human agency of the writer and the grocery store stocker and of our own hand reaching onto the shelves? Or is it the unbiased intervention of the machines?
Finally, is it a compromise of my principles if I choose to believe contradictory messages?

Photo by Matthew Alan Bennett


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