How Haiku Saved My Soul

Haiku instructions:

  1. Stop
  2. Look around
  3. Listen
  4. Smell
  5. Feel your skin
  6. Take a breath

Optional: write a few phrases.

Suggestions for opportunities to write haiku:

  1. In a forest
  2. On a mountain
  3. On Main Street Northampton
  4. In front of a fire
  5. Standing in line at WalMart
  6. On a march for justice
  7. Holding a sign at a protest (carry a pencil, back of sign is useful for haiku)
  8. Changing a diaper
  9. Etc.

How to judge haiku:

  1. Did I complete instructions #1 through #6? Note if you missed one.
  2. Did too many thoughts get crammed in? i.e. Did I try to make a point? Was I trying to be clever?  Or spiritual? Note if you did.
  3. Did I try to use 5-7-5 syllable form? Did it help or hinder?
  4. Did a pebble of my world view shift a bit? Note if it did.

Thus did haiku save my soul.

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Lessons 2

Basho

A burning sun

slowly going down to drown –

Mogami River

 

Me

One feather of sunlight

settles on the icy lake

gently gently

 

.

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Lessons from a master 1

Basho

Spring passes

and the birds cry out – tears

in the eyes of fishes

 

Me

Where summer walked

oaks stand naked over

crusted rivulets

 

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Theft

Theft

The United States is a misnomer

The Destroyed States of the Americas has an honest, forthright, sound.

Countries steal other countries all the time.

England stole my ancestors’ country.

But I don’t live in other countries, I live here,

On the rubble of a civilization so advanced 

That Europeans could not even see it.

Here where I live:

Their names: Nipmuc, Mohawk, Nonotuck, Norwottuck, and

Deadly battles with English names: Turners Falls, Springfield, Deerfield, Hatfield.

Out west today, the meager leavings of their land have money-making dirt.

So out they go.

Theft.

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Clench the Fence

I lied.

I said she said okay,

But I hadn’t even asked.

.

Lying to Grandma,

that’s how much I wanted to,

I’d even lie to Grandma.

.

The project courtyard had fenced in grass,

no larger than a tiny garden or

a tiny prison cell,

.

And that day it was covered in snow,

smooth, unbroken, clean snow,

like in Alaska or some mountain somewhere.

.

I clenched the bars of the fence

and stared in

and wanted to so badly,

.

just a step,

just to enter into this tiny wilderness,

right in the middle of Queens.

.

“Mom said I could,” I said

That was my lie to Grandma:

“Mom said I could go in there,”

.

but then

I realized

I wouldn’t fit.

.

The bars were too close together

I was a skinny six year old but

I was too big a human to fit.

.

I wasted a whole lie,

and Grandma told,

and I got punished.

.

But I already was punished,

and the fence kept the wilderness safe

from humans like me.

 

 

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Pawn Shop Mirror

This mirror has spots melted into the glass,

Age spots like rust in the upper right hand corner.

The glue holding in the glass is leaking from the frame.

It seemed a good idea at the time,

Buying a mirror at a pawnshop.

.

The mirror is curved; we hadn’t noticed.

So our chins droop down a bit

And our foreheads are long.

We do not use a mirror to see ourselves anyway.

A mirror is a toy for making faces.

.

It is a little too low on the wall and the sink drips.

The overhead light throws unflattering shadows.

Grandma lives there, and a bit of Grandpa;

Sigourny Weaver makes occasional appearances,

As, on bad days, does Mussolini. 

.

Can Dorian Gray be somewhere near?

 

.

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The Car Runs Fine: A Tribute to Ernie’s Garage

….and then the handle fell off

the passenger side,

the car runs fine though.

The blower doesn’t work

except on high,

the car runs fine though.

.

Needs new wipers,

the tires may just last another winter,

it runs just fine.

The window doesn’t quite close

on the driver’s side,

but that’s okay and

A little Bondo will take care of those holes.

.

When it won’t start in Park,

it’s sure to start in Neutral,

If not, it might need a jump start.

Once it gets going,

the car runs fine.

.

Just change the oil,

keep the gas tank full,

use a hanger to prop up the muffler,

and you’ll be fine.

 

.

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