Thursday, December 31, 2015

a year of haiku

so, this year, i resolved to write one haiku for each day of the year.

though i wouldn't expect anyone to read them, i wanted to put them someplace. and as i hadn't updated this blog in a long time... here they are:


Rolls again behind the trees
Same night, different year

Too wet for a fire
Worms leave their flooded homes to
Freeze above the soil

We step off the plane
The North bares its frigid grin
Why do you live here?

Winter funeral
You knew how to be gentle
And how to stay warm

Wood breathes against steel
Pale sun dances on the blade
As it tears the sky

Tiny icicles
Form, enveloping your hair
On your walk to school

Another wet day
Only the leaves are moving
(Shivering) outside

Her eyes, clear and gray
Reflect the enormity
Of the winter sky

Wolf spider running
Evading desperately
The gaze of our cat

Keys in my pocket
Tintinabulating like
Leaves on icy trees

This rare warmth draws out the moths
(Which draw out the birds)

Too dry and cold now
To plunge a spade into the earth
Spring waits to unlock

Low on milk and bread
Our van’s tires bald and smooth
(Snow is imminent)

The sky laughs deeply
Serving us a balmy day
When we expect sleet

I consume your pain
Soaking it in like cloth, yet
Somehow yours remains

Frozen arms reaching
Groping an impassive sky
Black oaks in winter

Climbing on (and on) 
Only air too thin to breathe
Worth breathing today

The intersection
Of opposing icy winds
My bus stop corner

Solitary ant
Tracing irresistibly
Across the sidewalk

Unexpected as
Lightning in January
Your complement

Old photo depicts
An alien world in which
We laughed, unconcerned

Illusion of warmth
A pale sun invites (or dares)
Me to step outside

No cypher helps decode your
Inscrutable eyes

Cold cemetery
Crunch of gravel beneath tires
Reminds me of home

Twigs snap underfoot
Brittle and somehow louder
In mid-winter air

Great forces at work
In crafting the breeze ridden
By the dragonfly

Everything spinning
It seems as though stillness is
The rare exception

All gray outside, but
Ten thousand miles away
Waves roll, warm and blue

Must write a haiku
I reach into my pocket
Only emptiness

Even in winter
Only joy may issue from
This ukulele

Road beneath my feet
The cold air makes all paths seem
Quiet and lonesome


On my ten-foot board
I am insignificant
To the behemoth

Winter afternoon
Encircling the low, pale sun
A frozen halo

Saying “thank you” is
The only prayer I have
Ever believed in

Staying beside us
As we wend through wooded roads
The fat yellow moon

Bathed in a weak light
With sun ahead, moon behind
Morning greets us

An ill-advised choice
This trip to the skatepark on
Such a wet, chill day

Stalwart maple buds
Daring February’s wrath
Propel spring forward

Always returning
Primitive and outmoded
This wooden yo-yo

Easy afternoon
These are they: the simple times
Forgetful delight

Stuck to my finger
Disgusting - must scrape off this
Mishandled toothpaste

Exhausted by it
Assailed and overwhelmed by
Names screamed by bright screens

How did it happen?
You read, wonder, and skateboard...
How are you seven?

February storm
Sticks and leaves bombard the house
The wind screams for me

The bright moon could not
Encapsulate your smile
Nor the sea your eyes

Bird-songs and blue sky
This moment, all life and death
This sword cleaves them all

The creak of branches
Whispering the wide story
Of everything

The bare trees flash by
You peek (and smile) at me
Outshining the sun

Adorable but…
You eat up all of our stuff
Damn idiot dog

I thought we moved here
To avoid this kind of thing
Nine fucking degrees?

With a filthy belch
My shoe is relinquished by
The damp icy mud

That feeling: as though
I have forgotten something 
Forgotten myself

Knees, legs, and toes numb
After a chilly hour
On this stiff cushion

Dodging fat snowflakes
Surprised finch seeks the cover 
Of our porch alcove

Now blue, now steel-gray
Defying all prediction
Mercurial sky

After sleeping through
Your babbling in your crib
Sounds so much cuter

The whole yard flooded
Drenched by the persistence of 
Late winter snowmelt

Green and rust-orange
Late-February contrast
Of beech and pine trees


We found our way through
Another February
Let’s go for a walk!

Focused on the ground
Lingering a moment here
Hawk on the lamppost

Stepping off the path
Cold mud up to my ankles
Watch where you’re walking!

Running for missed balls
Grinning through an icy breeze
First baseball practice

You don’t even know
What is making you angry
First tooth breaking through

Behind on shopping
Behind on kids’ paperwork
Ahead on yo-yo tricks!

Fearless pioneer
Exploring the cherry buds
First bee of the year

Issued from high lands
River waters, cold and deep
Overcome their banks

Working overnight
I wish you didn’t have to
On your own birthday

Despite vacuuming
Cat and dog hair everywhere
Season of shedding

Just last week it seemed
You would stay where you were laid
Now you own the place!

In a week’s time, they
Will be opaque with scratches
Brand new sunglasses

Frigid mist descends
Tiny droplets saturate
Our sweaters and hair

Your hair, your skirt, your
Constellation of freckles
Bring me back to Earth

Birds fold their bright wings
To dive toward Earth, rejoicing
In the longer days

Sweet tea lemonade
No poor day can withstand its
Power, resplendent!

Dazzled, overwhelmed
One who knew darkness is glad
Of the need to squint

Flannel in the fall
Linen in the summertime
Turning with the world

Your babble has the
Ring of authenticity
Chipmunk in the oak

You look up, smiling
Crust of toast falls to the floor
Baby at breakfast

The easiest thing
And at the same time, the hardest - 
Watching a door close

Having all you have
Yet stalking life hungrily
Plagued always by want

Nearly 38
And what have you ever done
But watch the stars roll?

You flash a weak grin
Between wheezes and sniffles
Let this fever break

Our bee-loud cherry
And the smell of warm roads cry
“Time to mow again”

Ephemeral as
Shallow footprints on dry sand
Vague and indistinct

A conversation
Of beautiful dissonance
Our two porch wind-chimes

Overcome with love
Annually I wonder
“Am I worth loving?”

Clandestine breakfast
Kids shouldn’t see me eat this
Day-old chocolate cake

Curious beetle
Enters through the broken screen
Summer harbinger

Riding the March breeze
The calls of finches declare
“We’re here, We’re alive!”


Little League tonight
I don’t care if you strike out
Just play and be glad

Kids are all asleep
And so we keep on driving
Driving forever

At this latitude
Bird songs remain tentative
Trees are still asleep

A lovely couple
And a lovely wedding (though
I would have liked cake)

Incredible world
Recorded in claws, footprints
And petrified skulls

Crumbling facade
A scaffolded metaphor
The great capitol

The first humid day
Heavy air descends and the 
Stinkbugs awaken

Backyard overgrown
But can’t abandon this tea -
Too delicious

Three straight days of rain
Saturated new beech leaves
Hang limp from their stems

Far across the room
The resonant treble of
Your squeal draws my smile

Motes of dust settle
Even the bees are lazy
Haze of mid-April

Leaving the house like
Extracting a stubborn tooth
Come on kids, let’s go!

Ten miles away
The unused skatepark glistens
Under driving rain

Seven month-old guy
Trying to drink the wrong way
From the sippy-cup

A roll of five dice
Unexpectedly, we all
Wake up happily

Pit of my stomach
Unbidden anxiety
Pinches it awake

Alone together
The prospect of a long drive
Through the deep dark night

They look like mine did
Torn up, eroded by joy
Your size-two high-tops

Trying to mow, but
Overwhelmed by their assault
Killer canker worms!

Punctuating the quiet
First horsefly of spring

Many times I’ve passed
This busy intersection
Well, not me… someone

Folding up his wings
Splitting this gathering dusk
A bright cardinal

June-bug seeking food
Finds my exposed toe instead
And meanders on

This gate is lovely
But my favorite place will
Remain your smile

Unexpected breeze
I react with a shiver
Like my infant son

Defying the wind
Lake as still as molten glass
Reflections of trees

Perforated leaves
Eaten by caterpillars
Sunlight leaking through

Three more storms this week
Overflowing gutters spill
Drowning the garden

Drizzle turns to rain
Turns to torrents, turns to hail
Turns to open sky

Black oak in April
No breeze in the morning sky
Still it bends and sways


Buzzing highway noise
Disrupts the quiescent woods
From three miles away

Rising and falling
Now a spear, now a mournful sigh
Your flute, my delight

Ancient spiders slide
Underneath my paddle-board
Tree stumps long submerged

A chocolate bar
And rice crackers, both of us
Delight in our treats!

Remembering you -
Your cry, your weight - like catching
Light in my fingers

The air and trees sweat
The sinking, brutal haze of
Summer threatening

Eliciting smiles
As it whips your hair and face
White spray off the lake

Beheaded rabbit
Deposited by the door
Thanks for the gift, cat

Hands in the soil
Gardening, but distracted
Copperhead season

Blue fountain-water
Reflecting all creation
In every drop

Sound of temple bells
Mellow resonance calling
Us back to ourselves

Glistening, the caps
Of tiny waves wink at me
Playing with the sun

The universe in
A mote of dust suspended
By a spider’s web

Growing together
Intertwining as lovers
Our beech and black oak

Clinking in the rain
Left on the picnic table
Empty beer bottles

Opening windows
Blasted by warm fragrances
Early summer draft

I don’t need to be
Eighteen again, but I’d like
To look at my hands

No you don’t trust me
And why would you - I hate you
(Except for right now)

Moths to a bright flame
What child could ever endure
The cancer of screens

Poking out of my
Haiku book - $5 - like
Being paid to write!

Spring bends toward summer
Downstairs A/C has crapped out
But there is a breeze

I am always loved
But I am an imposter
I go back inside

Impromptu ball-game
Children waving chicken bones
Memorial day

Blue cloisonné bowl
Full of keys and old receipts
Our lives’ detritus

You might have called them -
Your grandparents - just to say
“Hello, I miss you”

Each in our own room
Tonight we are all worn down
I love you all so

Grandmother’s kitchen
Magical, ephemeral
Just the same as ours

I still cry for you
And since you left (when it’s time)
I know I can too

The leaves ripple and chatter 
On this windless day


Thunder clouds roll in
The poplar’s leaves flip over
In preparation

You could set your watch
By the school bus dropping off
(Thirteen minutes late)

Everything is
What everything is when
I am what I am

Drinking in the wind
Head poking out the window
Elated beagle

Coffee for breakfast
Should have made eggs too, but glad
For burgers tonight!

Standing on my porch
Gripping my wooden sword, I
Watch the seasons change

Soft boreal breeze
Nestled between skyscrapers
Overrun by birds

Green leaves, gold sunset
Reflected in your wide eyes
Promise of summer

The smell of pizza
And crackle of neon lights
Summertime dinner

Beneath cracking paint
And draping streams of kudzu
Decrepit woodshed

Going far away
Inasmuch as one can go
Anywhere, I mean

Joy of solitude
Whilst surrounded by the throngs
Of humanity

Why are we even
On vacation if we just
Plan to fight all day?

Florida in June
Like swimming through the dense air

A welcome respite
Walking past an open door
Air conditioning!

Napkins depleted
No way to keep my hands clean
Melting ice cream cone

I would not trade it
Not for all the sky and stars
This life together

Among the masses
We make our home in magic
Forever breathing in

Kissing the dry ground
But missing already our
Immaculate dream

From eternity
To eternity, bending
Ever returning

Too hot for moving
Too hot for remaining still
Too hot for breathing

Carried on the breeze
Skeletons of fireworks
Vanish before us

Bouncing up and down
A fat drop of pineapple
Soft-serv on your nose

When I love each one
Of you, it is with all of
An infinite heart

Melting together
Colors of trees, homes, people
Passed at such great speed

At last, home again
My everyday routines
Feel like treasured gifts

By the laughing stream
Piling stones to make a cairn
For no real reason

Through sweat, work, and pain
I will carve myself out from
That which I’ve become

Splash of azure sea
Reflecting on easy days
I exhale and smile

A deep sustained note
Occasionally, it seems
One is quite enough


Your closed eyes, serene
Unrestrained by language
Of what do you dream?

Like Africa-hot
Remind me why we decided
On a damn bike ride?

The smell of apple pie-crust
Forgotten (and burnt!)

Like starting over
No french fries in the floor boards
Full-service car wash

A brief, faint tickle
Black ant climbs down from my foot
Just another stone

Scorched, the grass has turned
In the unrelenting heat
From lush green to ash

Fire truck blasts by
Offering its screamed prayer
“Get out of the way!”

My package arrives
But all I have acquired
Is another want

Clambering freely
Untethered on the church’s frame
Workmen laugh and shout

Two more good men shot
While we still fear “the other”
None of us are free

Falling numb as the
Mechanical yawn drones on
Dulling the world’s song

Minding my affairs
I bend, unconsciously
An old bottle cap

Not for my haiku
But for my child’s art shall I 
Treasure this notebook

The world turns greener
As leaves reach out to drink in
Dawn’s descending mist

Fragile, ephemeral
Inchworm clings to silken thread
Adrift in the breeze

Garden, hot and still
Weeds overtake flowers to
Perish in the drought

Blissful memory
Remembering stillness does
Not make one feel still

I jog, exhausted
While my dog trots on beside
Exploring each flower

A bright maple leaf
Translucent in the noon sun
Reveals an inchworm

Capricious storm cloud
Leaves the garden suddenly

My grin widens as
Happily exhausted, I 
Stand in twilit rain

Last light burns away
Leaving me to question what
Life is in the dark

Cicadas’ voices
Simultaneously pure
And irritating

Decaying insects
Desiccated eyes and wings
Screen porch in summer

In a wide circle
My shining sword flashes down
Cutting emptiness

Always difficult
To see you as anything
But our baby girl

Clear cold mountain stream
I step into your current
To polish my soul

Azalea branch
Quaking underneath the weight
Of a fat june-bug

Living out its days
In-between the window screens
Patient wolf spider

Even the jays are 
Reluctant to stir today
Sinking summer heat


Dripping from the car
Beads of water hit the road
And evaporate

Pale and burning sun
Rises above the poplars to
Grin down at us

On the dark highway
Biting my fingers and wrists
To keep from nodding

A wisp of gray cloud
Punctuates the otherwise
Unbroken star-field

Unnerved as a mantis husk
Lands on my shoulder

Fulfilling old debts
And closing all accounts
I just want to be

Overwhelmed by
The brutality of choice
On such a calm day

Either way, regret
Creaking of a swinging door
Either way, redeemed

Taking time to hear
You laugh and watch you smile
My occupation

Wishing I had just 
Refused out of hand instead
Of giving you hope

The damp trees, alive
Spirited cicadas claim
August for their own

This faded, weathered
Cotton cap has taken in
Another summer

Undulating folds
Steel sword drinks in the pale light
A frozen tempest

Embrace, in the midst
Of uncertainty, the vast
World beneath your toes

Smooth and waxy
Teardrop of volcanic glass
Wept by a giant

Series of questions
Unasked and unanswered, yet
Incessantly lived

A grinding struggle
A dream willing itself real
Taking its first breath

Revolted as I
Lift the wet tarp to reveal
A fat leopard slug

Summer copperhead
My walk through the woods reveals
Another hiker

Resting by the fence
Disemboweled hummingbird
Caught by our old cat

With no great options
Again I find myself here
In the drive-thru lane

Living room altar
TV, tell me what to love
Impersonal hell

Kids go back to school
Silence sits upon the house
Like a great black bird

Laughs and Loud voices
Crackling through the coolness
Of late summer air

Forgotten, the sound
And feeling of your whisper
Returns - I am grateful

Here, children laughing
Chasing each other around
There, they wash ashore

Against the chain link
Suddenly, it burns my back
As the shade dissolves

One nuthatch, then two
Then the forest comes alive
Decrying a hawk

Late-afternoon sun
Split by a million leaves
Golden universe

Motes of wafting dust
Illuminated by shafts
Of pale, empty light


Strands of cirrus clouds
Slouch over the autumn pond
Within, a few fish play

In the batting cage
Some misses, some hits, and
A lot of laughter

Hermit crab crawls
Interrupting my practice
To ask for dinner

Fat autumn house-fly
Less often flying than still
Just like me these days

Sparkling in the dawn
Particles of dew lie still
Each a universe

This power you wield
People care greatly for you
(So, you can wound them)

A rising wind laughs
As I dare to step outside
Without my sweater

Back in the routine
Packing bags and lunch-boxes
And hugging goodbye

Barometer drops
Maple leaves flip upside-down
Cat whines to come in

Within one square yard
Independent, dependent
Oak and poplar thrive

Exploding madly
Into its chaotic flight
Evasive cricket

Single daffodil
Blooms beside the busy path
How long can it last?

Diligent banging
My heart beats audibly on
Against the silence

Punctuated by
Three straight days of driving rain
The drought breaks at last

For finding your laugh
Despite the fear, we are so
Very proud of you

New book’s pages yet to be
Inked in with regret

The grocery store
In chaos as folks prepare
For a hurricane

Yawning through the trees
Whispering of far-off storms
Wind shares its rumors

The most fragile things on Earth
Reach out from the soil

Powder then oil
Wiping the grime from the blade
And from this crude soil

A single droplet
Slides the length of the glass pane
To join its fellows

Glad of cold feet and
My delivery to yet
Another autumn

Not picky, you grasp
The unpeeled banana and
Bite into the bruise

Our outdoor brazier
Filling ironically
With unending rain

Mingling with the dark gravel
Old cigarette butt

Making its strange home
Just above our garage door
Rust-colored sparrow

Glad of the neglect
Our snake-plant doesn’t much mind
Being forgotten

Gray cloud slouches past
Revealing in its wake yet
Another like it

September sunrise
More than light radiates from
These columnar rays


These old photographs
Cannot encapsulate them
Your thirteen summers

Like a drunken ant
Wandering in wide circles
Toddler at the park

Ever a regret
Ever a disappointment
A constant battle

The ball hits your shin
You pause to rub it before
Bounding after it

Its shadow shrinking
As it approaches the ground
Monarch butterfly

I guess I intend
To be somebody who writes
A lot of haiku…

Still tethered to life
Every breath a sword stroke
Cutting at the bonds

A carrion crow
Drags a dead skunk from the road

A frantic sparrow
Seeks any means of escape
Trapped on our screen porch

My lips, dry and cracked
Draw my attention away
From the clear, cold sky

First to turn and fall
Wide poplar leaves littering
The ground with bright fire

Fifteen years of joy
(And tears) have reflected off
This table’s white tiles

You ask for a sip
From my evening decaf
I am so in love

Cackling as you run 
Away from it down the hall
The roaring vacuum

With every smile
Wink, and held hand, you remind
Me of forever

Barometer falls
Droplets of condensation
Befog my glasses

Drawing the eye from
The otherwise green maple
One blazing red leaf

Carried on the wind
Cutting through a restless night
The call of an owl

Not yet Halloween
And already, stores’ Christmas
Decorations out

Cup of black coffee
And a spot by the window
To watch the leaves turn

Very dignified
Cat never so thirsty as
To slurp her water

As soon as we clear
The autumn leaves from our yard
Reinforcements fall

Deep-fried candy bars
Livestock-smells and steel-frame rides
Day at the state fair!

Bodies flying past
Lethal choreography
On the mat again

Unrelenting sound
Rain always falling somewhere
Again, it’s our turn

Left by a brief rain
An unexpected puddle
Traps a struggling ant

Afforded a moment
Thankful for the quietude
Of a fall Tuesday

Working on a mask
Made from an old cardboard box
Doubtful you’ll wear it

Mud caked on her paws
Old cat curls into a ball
Snoring quietly

Autumn chill descends from an
Unfeeling gray sky

Shadows flickering
As costumed children wander
Past burning porch lights


Lying in a heap
Dead snake on the road

Random Monday night
Unwilling to try too hard
Breakfast for dinner!

Light caught in the smoke
Rendered into golden mist
Smell of barbecue

Staring up at me
From the pan - not quite cooked through
Translucent egg yolk

The only light on
In the house - you’re still awake
Reading (and yawning)

Cool humid evening
My denim jacket feels glad
To be worn again

The days grow shorter
Rising in darkness to dress
Feels more difficult

Such a nice surprise
To step out on the porch and 
Hear soft rain falling

Sitting together
A pizza in the oven
Thank you for this life

My face all scratchy
Why did I decide to try
Growing a damn beard?

Progressing toward a goal
Which still seems distant

Extending my hand
To snatch it out of the air
A floating oak leaf

Constantly moving
To find a new place to wait
Waiting for nothing

Lying on its back
Bright on the linoleum
A fat brown cockroach

Bumps in the highway
The car bounces and shudders
Along the road home

Lush green pine branches
Hanging ten feet above a 
Barren forest floor

Despite its many faults, this
Gas station coffee

Circling above
Their quarry hiding, undeclared
Black turkey vultures

Repetitive tune
A harmonica wielded
By our one year-old

Japanese maple
Yields its last five-pointed leaf
To the autumn wind

As we make the trip
To hell in a handbasket
I write a poem

Beads of rainwater
Collecting on the windshield
Suddenly effaced

Frigid Saturday
The corner funeral home
Parking lot is full

My one year-old wails
Dutifully objecting
As I park the car

Old layers of paint
Crumbling gradually
From the brick chapel

Slamming on the brakes
To avoid a clueless kid
In a blue Mustang

Sitting together
Before you go up to bed
Happy simple times

My favorite place
Bedecked in warm lights and smiles
Exhausted laughter

Knees and ankles sore
My muscles unsure whether
They flex or extend

 Waning like the moon
As November breathes its last
Finish the year strong


What will I do when
I no longer need to write
A daily haiku

Our hearts break again
We bow in sorrow (and shame)
Every damned week

Before rising from
My last bow, I resolve to
Bow still more deeply

Practicing kata
As I start to cut, a leaf
Blows dancing by me

Dried on the table
A finger of candlvwax
Clinging to the wood

Somewhere, buffalo
Warm themselves near thermal vents
Here I check my phone

Drawing a circle
Obliterating regret
(And pride) in one stroke

Hanging fro  the sky
An unseasonable mist
Saturates my hair

Feeling slow today
No choice but to continue
(Still three miles from home)

Cars everywhere
Even the secret backroads
Cluttered with traffic

Hidden caches of presents
All throughout the house

This warm December
Has me feeling placidly

Pleasant new-car smell
One McDonald’s drive-thru
And it’s gone for good

The whole universe
Experiencing itself
As a moist, brown slug

A refreshing breeze
(Carrying distant thunder)
Awakens our cat

December morning 
Squirrel complains about the
Scarcity of nuts

Shopping done early
(Doesn’t mean we won’t pick up
Twenty more presents)

This torrential storm -
A holdover from autumn -
Saturates the trees

Just a few surfers
She this cold sunrise with me
Beach in December

1,000 sword cuts
Alone in my dark backyard
The night - my dojo

A sparrow’s clear song
(With no leaves left on the trees)
Reaches me intact

Through the morning fog
An approaching storm declares
Its loud intentions

Knowing I’m behind
I battle traffic in search
Of a few more gifts

Our house infused with
The smells of pie and turkey
Gift-wrap everywhere

Flat, smooth river stone
Makes me remember summer

Strange and beautiful
The voices of two barred owls
Keep me up all night

Poplars bend and sway
Under the might of the world’s 
Determined whisper

Taking a moment
To disconnect and listen
To the emptiness

Perched by the window
Our cat fixes the vacuum
With a guileful glare

Upon stepping out
Instantaneously drenched
By the misty sky