Modern Haiku 43.1
I didn’t have anything today. I wanted to post but I just was … empty. I was sick of my voice. Didn’t feel like talking anymore.
Then I looked around at my family and suddenly thought, These are the voices I want to hear instead. So we went out for pizza and I took a notebook and I solicited phrases from them. Phrases about what had happened to them this week and about the first signs of spring. We talked about stuff and I kept writing things down. Lots of scribbling and dead ends.
We got home and I looked at the scribbles and I put some things together and read everyone a haiku I had assembled from the pieces they gave me. I made sure they approved of them. And here they are.
My mom (visiting from New England, where are stone walls all over the place, including her back yard):
my stone wall
My husband (spent last weekend cleaning frantically to prepare for my mom’s visit; has terrible teeth):
the last tooth
My son (claims he told me a long time ago that he needs new boots):
in my old boots
So what’s your family up to these days? Anything worth writing home about?
1 hailstones dreaming of semiautomatic weapons
2 blizzard so many ways to fly
3 lunar new year stamps so that’s what persimmons look like
4 stone wall the gaps in what you tell me about yourself
5 honeybee sting the desperation of the search for sweetness
6 environmentally conscious recycling your love letters
7 fiddleheads the family I never see anymore
I wasn’t going to do NaHaiWriMo, because I figured, I already write a haiku (or two, or ten, or thirty) every day, why should I make a special event of it?
But then I got carried away by all the fun everyone else seemed to be having doing it (man, over on Facebook people are partying it up), and then I thought of a theme, or a gimmick, or something, that got me more interested in it. I decided to write only one-liners. So many of my ku already start out as one-liners (and then get rewritten into whatever number of lines seems to work best for them) that I thought this couldn’t be too painful.
I also decided not to put too much pressure on myself to make these brilliant, and I also also decided not to post them on the blog or Facebook every day. I’ve been tweeting them instead (@myyozh, in case you’re interested). For some reason I am more laid-back on Twitter. It’s a pretty laid-back place. Not that this blog is exactly known for its uptight vibe, but, you know. I don’t like to let you guys down.
I don’t completely hate the way all of these are turning out, though. So I decided to put them up one week at a time. That way the effect of the really mediocre ones is mitigated somewhat. Also I kind of like the juxtaposition of the varied subjects I’m coming up with.
A couple notes:
Tune in next week, same time, same place, for seven more of these.
There is always something new to learn about yourself, I’ve found — in particular, there are always things you’ve forgotten about yourself that when you remember them, or are reminded of them, you are astounded by. In my case, I was astounded the other day when, rummaging around in an old filing cabinet, I pulled out a small sheaf of paper torn from a 2003 page-a-day diary and discovered that apparently at least once before in my life — in the first week of 2003 — I attempted to write a haiku every day for a year.
I only made it a week, so I guess it’s not surprising that this venture didn’t leave much of an impression on me. I guess it’s also not surprising that all these haiku are 5-7-5 and that none of them are much good, although a few of them are not completely terrible either. What does surprise me is that when I started writing haiku (again) back in May, I honestly thought it was the first time I’d ever seriously considered taking up the form. I mean I knew I’d written the odd haiku in the past because that’s just the kind of odd thing I’m always doing, but I’d had no idea that I’d once spent an entire cold week fixated on them.
I’m glad I didn’t remember, in a way. If I had, I might have been discouraged — “Oh, haiku. Tried that once. Didn’t work out.” It just goes to show that you never know exactly what’s changed in you and in what way you might catch fire next.
I know you’re dying to read some of these. I’ve reproduced them below exactly as I wrote them, punctuation and capitalization and similes and incredibly embarrassing diction and all.
Christmas trees like bad habits
discarded at curbs
even the seed pods shiver.
Hand me a sweater.
This winter landscape
everything is different
except the stone wall
Down by the duck pond
we trace letters in the snow:
“Please don’t feed the ducks.”
low sun in my eyes
I walk holding my head down
shy until spring comes
a fir tree sideways
beneath the lilac bush —
the corpse of Christmas
(I also must share an entertaining piece of commentary from this notebook: “I really wanted to write a haiku about how the garbage men turn the garbage cans upside down after they collect the garbage, but it turns out that’s a really difficult thing to write a haiku about.”
I’m (pretty) sure that was meant to be deadpan humor …)