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A Haiku a day for a Month

A little more than a month ago, one of my work mates proposed that she, a math teacher, and myself write a haiku a day for a month. After 37 haikus (I wrote more than one some days), I am going to stop the exercise. I think that my fellow English teacher proposed the undertaking in order to make her write everyday. I do this already, so it did not motivate me to write. I did find it a calming activity most days: a time to stop and think about what was in front of me either physically, mentally, or spiritually. However, it also deflected my attention away from other poems I had been working on. Usually I post about 15 or so poems a month (sometimes even pushing to 20). In October, because of the haiku event, I posted 38 new poems. I like haiku, and like writing them. Usually I make up parameters for my writing in an arbitrary and random manner. During the exercise, I used the traditional 5-7-5 syllable count, although I have in the past ignored that stricture focusing more on the brief flash of attention than on a numbers game. Figuring the syllable count is more of a guideline than a law. I don’t plan on giving haiku up; I’m just not going to sit down each day to write one. I have always written in small snatches of time, never having the leisure to write for extended lengths during the day. So, haiku, and imagism, lend themselves well to going from start to finish in the brief time I have to write. However, I also like spending time in my head as I go through the day, thinking about a longer piece. Therefore, as I stated at the beginning of this ramble, I am going to end my participation in the project. Thanks to all of you who read and liked the work I have posted over the last month.

(October 31, 2019)

Just Another Name for the Devil



Perhaps the thousand-thousand

unpronounceable names for god

wait to burn your tongue,

if, by chance, your babbling

could bring you to the brink

of intelligibility. The thousand

monkey’s theory of Macbeth

could prove true given enough

time. Yet, we’ve been at this

for so long now, one would

assume our relationship

would be stronger somehow,

that I would know your name;

since, I know you know mine.

I’m unsure where you are, or if

you are, or, perhaps, I’m speaking

to myself—all those years gone,

as I puttered randomly about the house,

pulling books off the shelf, reading

a passage, thinking someone nearby

was speaking directly to me, but

only within the context of that moment;

never a sustained conversation,

as between long-time friends.

What can be said, when there’s no one

to hear? If you are not here, then 

what consequence can I be, beyond

these words I speak only to myself?

Unless perhaps, what I speak, and to whom,

are enough of a signature, a singularity, 

to pronounce, with clarity, if only

for this moment, my name into the dark.

(April 12, 2019)

unpronounceable names for god

wait to burn your tongue,

if by chance your babbling

brings you to the brink

of intelligibility. The thousand

monkey’s theory of Macbeth

could prove true given enough

time. Yet we’ve been at it

for so long now, one would

assume our relationship

would be stronger somehow,

that I would know your name;

since, I know you know me.

I’m unsure where you are, or if

you are, or, perhaps, I’m speaking

to myself—all those years gone,

as I puttered randomly about the house,

pulling books off the shelf, reading

a passage, thinking someone nearby

was speaking directly to me, but

only within the context of that moment.

What can be said, when there’s no one

to hear? If you are not here,

then what consequence can I be, beyond

the words I speak only to myself?

Unless perhaps, what I speak, and to whom,

are enough of a signature, a singularity, 

to pronounce, with clarity, if only

for this moment, my name into the dark.

(April 12, 2019)

Chromosome Damage

(in progress)

DNA string against black with clipping path

(23)

Lights break auras

As night deepens

The rain. The solstice

Grows closer through the dark;

Grim days shorten.

(28)

Half-way back

To summer’s long heat—

In afternoon hours,

It hurts to step

Outside as if someone

Near waits with knives.

(14)

Patient enough now

To watch all this unfold

Into spring.

(40)

Outside, another cold day:

Most of the leaves have fallen

From the sycamore outback;

Its white bark stands in contrast

To the stark grey sky. Beauty

Lives with our view.

(43)

Nietzsche said, among other things,

We experience only ourselves—

Even when I shift toward you,

It remains me who must see

The shadow which falls starkly

Between us on the floor.

(36)

If no one hears the Eliot allusion,

Does it make a sound?

Or should one pretend

A studied nonchalance

To carry one through the late afternoon?

(39)

Thus, an old ritual snickers

To a close, the porch lights

Turned on, the curtains

Drawn. I feel safe,

Less exposed, contained

With the pattern—

A spider moves toward motion.

(34)

We’ve woven our disparate dreams,

And become subsumed beneath the totality

Like ocean waves rolling upon themselves

Far from shore.

(28)

My anger sits at a distance,

It does not go away—

It whispers discontent

Like whip’s end striking wet flesh.

(41)

Ubiquitous as fear,

The air tightens

Without provocation.

Yet, still we sing,

Sing our song,

As if redemption

Can be gathered

Like bags of wet cotton

Blotched with blood.

A Present Absence


As if braille,

I cannot be traced

Without a quick

Flutter of fingers

Across the page.

Even as I hide

Within words,

My handwriting,

Like kudzu, disguises

My intent.

I don metaphor

And stand still

To cloak certainty

In comfortable 

Deniability.

My whispers are

My camouflage—

Hints and misdirection

Like bells nearby 

In the dark.

(December 3, 2018)

How Poetry Works

An image like a flower,

something simple, a cliche

even, to distract away

from the slight of hand performed

beneath the mark’s open gaze.

Like now, for instance, you turn

your attention from the poem,

secure in your own slow thoughts;

what you trust to know trembles

as if a leaf in autumn.

Here exists my truth and yours.

I can explain myself true,

in a way that you cannot.

Thus, seeds grow into flowers.

(November 25, 2018)