your opinion about love
hippo goddess—teeth everywhere
Mostly I don’t enter poetry contests because I think that contests encourage you to waste your creative energy thinking about what judges might want to read instead of what you actually want and need to write [she said in a lofty, insufferable tone]. Or maybe it’s just me they encourage to do that and everyone else is way too well-balanced and sensible to be influenced by the opinions of imaginary judges that way. Anyway. I do make exceptions for contests that have exceptionally cool prizes. And by “exceptionally cool prizes” I don’t mean “a pile of cash” or “a trip to Hawaii” or “a new convertible” though there aren’t any haiku contests that have prizes like that anyway. I mean prizes like getting your haiku plastered on the back of a bus in your home town.
And then having your son find himself one afternoon riding his bike behind the bus down the main drag of your home town, and having him quickly haul out his phone so he can take a picture of it for you. (I’m pretty sure that’s his photo-taking shadow in the bottom left corner.)
That’s what I mean by a good prize.
A lot of people on Facebook (thanks, Facebook people!) pointed out that the other things that are written on the bus can be read as links from my poem, or the next verses in a sequence after mine. Also, there are many other graphic features in this photo that are fascinating to me, especially the many circles, from the ones in the awesome graphic design that students at a local college created to go with the poem, to the brake lights on the bus, to the roundish patches of late-afternoon light that’s probably sifting through the branches of trees planted along the street. The whole thing is amazingly organic. As poems and life should be.
P.S.: This poem, in a slightly different form, originally sprang from an extremely organic lengthy email conversation between me, Aubrie Cox, and Lucas Stensland that took place back in 2012. The condensed version of the conversation that’s linked above is fun to read, but not as much fun as it was to write.
P.P.S. I have another cool contest prize to tell you about but I think I’ll wait until I have pictures of it to show you, which will be another few weeks.
A nice lady from the U.S. military phones my son and asks him if he’d like a whole lot of money to help pay for his college education. He inquires about the result when the sum she offers is divided by the number of people one could be expected, on average, to kill during one’s tenure with the organization she represents. It’s a philosophical question, he explains to her. How much is a human life worth? Of course, he’s already answered this question to his own satisfaction, and of course, she never will.
I burn the draft card
I never had
Things do sometimes last; look at the half-life of uranium. There’s a cave somewhere in Utah where they’ve decided they’re not going to put radioactive waste, although they were thinking about it for a while because it’s such a stable place and so far away from everywhere else. If I decide to go, do you want to come?
our scarification ritual
conducted by robots
The current issue of Haigaonline has a theme of found haiku and contains all sorts of interesting and innovative work. I’m a featured artist, with a series drawn from Orwell’s 1984 (there are four pieces besides the one above). This was one of the more interesting projects I worked on at the end of last year. Must remember to do more haiga. Sigh. So much poetry to write, so little time.
I can’t remember whether I mentioned that I am now, along with Johannes S.H. Bjerg and Aditya Bahl, one of the co-editors of Bones, which is one of the most exciting, innovative haiku journals around. I’m thrilled to have this chance to work with Johannes and Aditya, two of my favorite poets, and to read so much great poetry.
Our submission period for the next issue starts tomorrow (May 15) and goes through June 15, so please do take a look at some of the previous issues if you haven’t already, check out the submission guidelines, and send us some poetry if what you see looks congenial to you.