Thursday, December 20, 2012

city stoplight

city stoplight --
a peregrine falcon perches high
above the crowd

16 December 2012

fine gray rain
a tray of chocolate stars
cools on the table

18 December 2012

hurried steps
my frosty breath rises towards
the half moon

20 December 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

undecided voter

undecided voter
half a moon hangs
in the noon sky

6 November 2012

morning thoughts
a thick haze hangs
over the frosty field

11 December 2012

fine gray rain
a flashmob of santas
in union square

16 December 2012

Sunday, October 14, 2012

the haijin plays on (cdxxxv)

The haiku retrospective is over, but the haijin keeps on writing.

deep shade
the homeless guys invite me
to share their curb

9 October 2012

the sound of rain
i burrow deeper
into bed

10 October 2012

autumn chill
the blind poodle tangled
on the phone cord again

12 October 2012

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

haiku retrospective cdxxxiv

empty bottle
we start singing
another old tune

18 July 2012

dry season
the grass fades
from gold to tan

19 July 2012

...and that's all.
Thus ends the haiku retrospective I began in January 2011 to celebrate my 50th birthday.

Monday, October 8, 2012

haiku retrospective cdxxxiii

single place setting
she lifts her water glass
to her reflection

What is missing in my haiku is my father.

My very sociable mother had to come to terms with being alone after my father's death in 2009. Her dining room is a room of many mirrors. I imagined her, with her table neatly set for herself, lifting her water glass to her reflection before eating her solitary supper. I replaced the wine (her beverage of choice with her evening meal) with water to underscore the aloneness in the haiku.

I am happy to report that my mother has a new boyfriend as of December and is no longer having to come to terms with her loneliness.

Funny that I set this haiku in the dining room. My mother keeps my father's ashes in a fancy soup tureen on the sideboard. She had no other place to keep them in her small apartment, and she didn't want to put my dad in the closet.

Since my father's death, she has been taking film canisters of his ashes to all the places they loved, all around the world, and scattering them. It was a centering activity for her, a way of remembering and letting go.

manhattan park bench
she points out the flower bed
where she put his ashes

Recently, she has been talking about scattering the remainder of his ashes in one place. I guess she is really ready to let him go.

Her new love calls her frequently when she is out and about in her busy life. She talks about him incessantly, stars in her eyes.

cell phone chime
she blushes when i mime
a tiny violin

12 February 2012

Sunday, October 7, 2012

haiku retrospective cdxxxii

tart raspberries
evening comes earlier
and earlier

18 October 2011

chemo drip
i wish i could give you the moon

8 May 2012

waning moon
the cricket behind the fridge
starts singing

16 July 2012

Saturday, October 6, 2012

haiku retrospective cdxxxi

The idea of people from La Belle Epoque sharing their thoughts online made me grin. Gentlemen in top hats and women in leg-o'-mutton sleeves forcefully hitting carriage return manually on steampunk Internet terminals as they send off their flames to the other turn-of-the-century Internet users.

thread drift
she pokes the flames
with the tip of her parasol

10 October 2011

stacked dishes
the clean-up crew switches
to loud techno

10 October 2011

geese in formation
the old man doffs
his cap

18 October 2011

Friday, October 5, 2012

haiku retrospective cdxxx

Leaf Fall

The Santa Cruz mountains, a place of hot, dry summers and long lush rainy seasons. The maple trees soak up the winter rain and store it in their leaves. Even on the hottest days of summer, the maple leaves whisper about last year's rain. They seem to promise that the heat will break, that clouds will once again cover the relentless sun, that life-giving water will return to all the creatures of our coastal rainforest.

summer maples
we walk from one shade oasis
to the next

The maples act as living rain and heat gauges. In hot, dry years, the maples start dropping their leaves in August. In cool, wet years, they hang onto their leaves past the first rains. Many years, the leaves turn gold on the trees, only dropping when the first good wind storm drives them to the ground.

There's a pumpkin farm up our road where parents and teachers take children for an autumn afternoon. The children go on hay rides, feed the farm animals, and bring home one perfect pumpkin to carve into a jack-o'-lantern.

pumpkin traffic
the maple canopy still green

As reluctant as the maples might be to let the seasons change this year, the change comes.

autumn street
a small brown maple leaf
worn around the edges

There's a fine drizzle overnight. I turn on my windshield wipers as I drive to town in the morning.

full circle
a small golden leaf caught
in my windshield wiper

This leaf doesn't have the staying power of the famous leaf of 2009, however. I watch it flutter for the mile and a half into town.

bus stop
the leaf dances off
on its next adventure

I can almost hear it whisper, Hey, thanks for the lift!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

haiku retrospective cdxxix

rash decision
red leaves
on the dining room table

When my grandparents moved to California from Texas, my grandmother asked my grandfather to pick a bouquet of the pretty autumn leaves for the dining room table.

Neither of them had ever heard of poison oak.

1 October 2011

autumn trail
the sound of heavy rain
from the raven's beak

9 October 2011

gray morning
a phone call from a friend
i'd almost forgotten

10 October 2011

Sunday, August 19, 2012

haiku retrospective cdxxviii

the cat turns and washes
one paw

19 September 2011

restless night
turning from one shoulder
to the other

25 September 2011

hollow oak:
the echo of
your final words

30 September 2011

Saturday, August 18, 2012

haiku retrospective cdxvii

A friend posted something about the bygone days of haiku email lists, the days when there were hundreds of posts a day and long long haiku chains with dozens of authors contributing. He did not wax eloquent about the harsh criticism that many haiku received, but that was part of the picture as well. And, although the criticism was not as much fun as the play, it did serve to refine our haiku.

Anyway, this calls to mind Tim Russell's haiku exercise, one that many of us found useful.

In the old days on the shiki list, we were trying to write in the style of shiki. So haiku were to be two concrete images, with a break and a seasonal reference. There was much discussion of kireji (which I am translating rather loosely as “break”) and kigo (seasonal reference). Haiku were to be drawn from one moment in time, and sketched from life like a watercolour painting (shasei).

Tim had an exercise, one that could be useful to keep our minds limber for when a haiku moment seized us by the throats. It's a very simple exercise, one that yields 10 shasei a day.

First, pick the month or season and some aspect of it to be the short part of the days' exercise:

september grasses
spring growth
dead trees
hunter's moon
summer river

Next, take a notebook and a pencil and go for a stroll or sit on a bench somewhere.

Notice something. Write it down. Turn your head in a different direction or stroll a little further. Notice something else and write it down.

Continue until you have 10 longer parts of the haiku:

a boy picking scabs on the steps
a calico cat crouched on the car's hood
the spent blossoms of the lily-of-the-nile
a cacophony of birdsong
a heavy tread coming up the steps
oak moths mating in the bathroom
a stack of plates by the dishwasher
dust on the stack of summer reading
i try to take a sip from an empty teacup
wild cucumber tangled in the redwood

Now combine them:

september grasses
a boy picking scabs
on the steps

september grasses
a calico cat crouched
on the car's hood

september grasses
the spent blossoms
of the lily-of-the-nile

september grasses
a cacophony
of birdsong

september grasses
a heavy tread coming
up the steps

september grasses
oak moths mating
in the bathroom

september grasses
a stack of plates
by the dishwasher

september grasses
dust on the stack
of summer reading

september grasses
i try to take a sip
from an empty teacup

september grasses
wild cucumber tangled
in the redwood

In Tim's exercise, you now put these things away.

Do 10 more tomorrow.

14 September 2011

Friday, August 17, 2012

haiku retrospective cdxxvi

turning leaves
the silence so deep it fills
with memories

13 September 2011

summer love
a faded red t-shirt rots
in the gutter

13 September 2011

september grasses
the rumble of a distant
trash cart

14 September 2011

Thursday, August 16, 2012

haiku retrospective cdxxv

neglected garden
the sweet peas
stage a riot

9 August 2011

late-summer laze
the fading sweet peas nod
in the breeze

18 August 2011

hints of autumn
a piece of my soul rushes
out the door

6 September 2011

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

haiku retrospective cdxxiv

farmer's market
checking out the guy
checking me out

21 May 2011

rolling enchiladas --
i want to wrap his smile
around me

14 June 2011

lingering silence --
i burrow into the softness
of his smile

14 June 2011

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

haiku retrospective cdxxiii

to be grown up...
the lines around my eyes

14 April 2011

counting blessings
he includes the beautiful

23 April 2011

no zest
empty lemon husks
on the cutting board

28 April 2011

Monday, August 13, 2012

haiku retrospective cdxxii

first farm share
i dance to “back together”
with broccoli rabe

5 April 2011

spring squall
dividing radicchio
from the farm share

7 April 2011

cold snap --
the dandelion patch open
for business

9 April 2011

Sunday, August 12, 2012

haiku retrospective cdxxi

30 March 2011

Some haiku just won't let you go.

Many years ago, I saw a very ominous blackbird hunkered down on a wrought iron fence. It had just been raining hard, but was now sunny, and the fence was covered with dazzling backlit raindrops.

I tried several times to make a go of this haiku, but it just wouldn't do it. Somehow, the image was too full, too intense to be distilled down into the form of haiku. People suggested to me that there was more there than a haiku could hold, and so I reluctantly let it go.

It held on, however, and this version whispered itself to me last night:

hunchbacked crow --
sunlit raindrops hang
from the wrought iron fence

Here, for comparison, are the earlier attempts:

backlit raindrops
on the black iron fence
blackbird fluffs her feathers

13 April 2000

pearly raindrops
on the wrought iron fence
a blackbird fluffs her feathers

14 April 2000

raindrops on the fence
a blackbird hunches
feathers fluffed

18 April 2000

Saturday, August 11, 2012

haiku retrospective cdxx

tsunami shelter
deep pools of beauty
in each pair of eyes

16 March 2011

black lace and moonlight
her underthings draped
over the chair

17 March 2011

a dead bee
in the leaf litter

3 April 2011

Friday, August 10, 2012

haiku retrospective cdxix

lowering sky --
maple syrup soaks
into my oatmeal

28 February 2011

closed window --
the room's reflection hides
the night

3 March 2011

dying fire-
what will they find when they empty
the ashes of my life?

9 March 2011

Thursday, August 9, 2012

haiku retrospective cdxviii

leafless maple
she fingers the wool
of his last chemo cap

8 January 2011

the squeak of gurney wheels
i wish the surgical staff
happy valentine's day

15 February 2011

music for breakfast --
nothing to make me think
of you

23 February 2011

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

haiku retrospectiive cdxvii

cherries on a stem --
the pirate swings her booty
on the parade route

8 July 2010

fading amaryllis
the old woman scratches
a flea bite

20 September 2010

christmas bustle...
the homeless man tells me i win
the best-dressed award

26 December 2010

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

haiku retrospective cdxvi

A friend of mine showed me her newly cleaned car. She'd accomplished the task while her children were at dance class.

My car rarely gets a deep cleaning. Somehow, I never seem to get around to it.

spring sunshine
old parking vouchers litter
the dashboard

My children have piano lessons, a 2-hour window in which I can read or knit or work on my laptop. This week, armed with inspiration (also rags and a spray bottle of cleaning solution), I attacked the windows and washable sections of the interior. I swept the detritus off the dashboard, but couldn't quite reach the dead bee that has been riding with me for the past 4 years.

repeated arpeggios
a single dead bee faded
to sepia

I cleaned the outer windows, the driver's door, the dashboard, the steering wheel and instrument panel. My cleaning cloths were thick with dust. I leaned forward to wipe the windshield.

mozart sonata
the sudden blare
of a car horn

I jumped back. The horn kept blaring, so I tapped it to get it to stop. I leaned forward again, careful not to press against the steering wheel. The horn sounded again.

“Oh great,” I thought, “I'm interrupting their piano lesson.”

I walked around the car to attack the windshield from the passenger seat.

floating melody
the insistent monotone
from the horn

The horn was in its groove now. I'd tap the horn to get it to shut up, and three seconds later, it started singing again.

I was getting more and more agitated, knowing that the sound would be irritating to the pianists. I envisioned driving home with a blaring horn.

light spring clouds
no visible signs
of a fuse box

My son came out to see why I'd flipped out and was leaning on the car horn. I instructed him to stop the horn for me while I hunted for the fusebox. The horn had been blaring off and on for about 15 minutes by this time. With my son hitting the horn every 5 seconds or so to stop its incessant noise, I was able to do a more thorough search for the fuse box.

I knew I knew where the fuse box in this car was; I just didn't remember where it was.

Finally, the horn gave us a breather. I popped the hood and instructed my son to go forward and see if he could see any signs of where the fuse box had to be.

As soon as he went, I remembered. I popped the lid on the dash and regarded the fuse box, with one particular fuse helpfully labeled HORN.

hand on the fuse
the notes of stargazing clear
in the sunshine

I left the fuse in place and closed the fuse box. I finished cleaning out the interior of the car, no longer so enchanted with the idea of cleaning out the car during piano lessons.

deep sigh
at least the windows
are sparkling

25 March 2010

Monday, August 6, 2012

haiku retrospective cdxv

jazz club --
“i expect more than a kiss
on the second date”

20 March 2010

rain-swept mountain
he looks smaller and smaller
as he walks away

7 April 2010

the maples don
their summer vestments

10 May 2010

Sunday, August 5, 2012

haiku retrospective cdxiv

Weeks ago, I dreamed of a towering reef of black rock in the ocean, with waterfalls running down the sheer cliff facing the land.

When I woke up, I thought, “Waterfalls in the sea... what an odd notion.”

Yesterday, we went for a walk on West Cliff in Santa Cruz. It was raining lightly, and the surf and tide were both high. Waves were breaking against and over tall black rocks with sheer cliffs facing the land.

Waterfalls flowed over the faces of the rocks and back into the ocean.

storm watch
waterfalls return the waves
to the sea

26 January 2010

Saturday, August 4, 2012

haiku retrospective cdxiii

autumn light -
the empty swing moves
a little slower

autumn light -
the finch shakes water
off its tail

autumn light -
the sound of his dish cloth
on the mixing bowl

autumn light -
the septic tank truck trundles
up the road

autumn light -
fresh stain
on the front steps

autumn light -
she practices her dance moves
in the parking lot

autumn light -
weathered plastic skeletons
in the new dojo

autumn light -
the old poodle sighs
in his sleep

autumn light -
redwood duff
on the woodpile

autumn light -
dead jasmine branches
on the brush pile

3 October 2009

Friday, August 3, 2012

haiku retrospective cdxii

autumn chill
her long fingernails drum
with the rain

29 September 2009

gust front --
wet wool clothes huddle
on the drying racks

22 November 2009

crisp morning --
turning leaves in the depths
of the cow's eyes

25 September 2009

Thursday, August 2, 2012

haiku retrospective cdxi

The daily haiku exercise, with a twist:

arms akimbo --
a row of dumb bells
under the couch

arms akimbo --
the pan of tomato soup steaming
on the stove

arms akimbo --
a new jazz tune
on the radio

arms akimbo --
cracked glass
in the terrarium

arms akimbo --
booty moves
across the dance floor

arms akimbo --
a glass of water
on the sideboard

arms akimbo --
wet maple leaves
on the driveway

arms akimbo --
the steady ticking
of the bird clock

arms akimbo --
stars wink into view
in the evening sky

arms akimbo --
her newest baby looks at me
like I'm from mars

14 September 2009

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

haiku retrospective cdx

fall check-up --
she searches for ducks' feet
among the knotholes

14 September 2009

blue skies --
a raspberry seed caught
in my molar

16 September 2009

autumn chill
a faint rainbow
in the shower

21 September 2009

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

haiku retrospective cdix

harvest party
remnants of a tropical storm
for dessert

harvest party
cold ratatouille
on pita

harvest party
the steady drone
of the bees

harvest party
a mixed bouquet of friends
on the deck

harvest party
she hides a yawn
behind her hand

harvest party
she dances seductively
with her shadow

harvest party
the leaves whisper
as they fall

harvest party
the dahlias a bit
past their prime

harvest party
thin clouds move across
the sun

harvest party
a shriek of laughter
from the pool

12 September 2009

Monday, July 30, 2012

haiku retrospective cdviii

september heat
the boy swings slowly,
one hand on the chain

11 September 2009

indian summer
the plodding notes
of the piano student

11 September 2009

autumn sunset
his widow pushes
the empty wheelchair

12 September 2009

Sunday, July 29, 2012

haiku retrospective cdvii

Another daily haiku exercise

heat wave --
ice cream piled high
in her cart

heat wave --
the knife pierces the skin
of the cucumber

heat wave --
the soft slow chatter
of the scrub birds

heat wave --
the woodcutter sings
a beach boys tune

heat wave --
a little pinkish water all that's left
of the raspberries

heat wave --
staccato whispers as they wrap
birthday presents

heat wave --
firewood stacked neatly
in the drive

heat wave --
the swings in the playground
so still

heat wave --
the sudden thump of his fist
against the desk

heat wave --
another day on a rock sailing
through space

10 September 2009

Saturday, July 28, 2012

haiku retrospective cdvi

tongues of flame --
his steady gaze draws me

8 September 2009

morning light
his lips wake slowly
against mine

8 September 2009

morning routine
her hips move wildly
on the dance floor

11 September 2009

Friday, July 27, 2012

haiku retrospective cdv

Can I make this one right?

wildfire --
forehead against the dashboard
she weeps

Or should it be?

she weeps
forehead against the dashboard --

forehead against the dashboard --
fire season

another wildfire --
she weeps, her forehead pressed
against the dashboard

against the dashboard
she weeps

I can't seem to get rid of the inversion and keep "forehead against the dashboard," which is the image on which the haiku is based.

wildfire --
she presses her forehead hard
against the dashboard

And no, she's not weeping because of the wildfire.

3 September 2009

Thursday, July 26, 2012

haiku retrospective cdiv

sawdust in the sun
three staccato barks
from the black poodle

24 June 2009

cottonwood shade
she pulls the stinger out
of a dirty foot

12 August 2009

ripsaws cooling --
the vintage logger chugs
a long-necked beer

4 September 2009

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

haiku retrospective cdiii

haloed moon--
the stiff beach plants huddle
against the dunes

6 January 2009

january laundry--
the dainty bess rose spreads
its pink petals

8 January 2009

river dance
the willows kick up
their petticoats

24 June 2009

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

haiku retrospective cdii

gift wrap counter--
a woman dressed up
for a funeral

24 December 2007

december clouds--
unspoken words fill
his eyes

28 December 2007

autumn leaves--
ravens feed
on a dead skunk

8 October 2008

Monday, July 23, 2012

haiku retrospective cdi

windblown clouds
the late movie crowd drifts
past the darkened shops

15 April 2007

humid morning
another piece of the pirate ship
snaps into place

5 June 2007

yellowing grass
a line of new fence posts
beside the old fence

5 June 2007

Sunday, July 22, 2012

haiku retrospective cd

Hello anyone who has followed this blog this far.

Today is the 400th post in the haiku retrospective series that I started in January 2011 and expected to last for a few months.

Obviously, I have written a lot more haiku than I believed I had.

It seems fitting to mark this occasion with a time when I did Tim Russell's haiku exercise. You put a short seasonal reference in line 1, and then jot down a series of observations to serve as line 2. Repeat until you have 10 haiku.

Put the haiku in a drawer and do the exercise again tomorrow.

march flies
the knot hole
in the stair rail

march flies
an empty circle of chairs
on the porch

march flies
a cello sonata drifts
through the dusk

march flies
the repeated thud
of an axe

march flies
a trail of golden sap
on the tree trunk

march flies
the rustle of a Stellar's jay
in the live oak

march flies
spanish moss hangs
from the tree limbs

march flies
the young tanoak
so still

march flies
the scolding of the jays
across the canyon

march flies
the soft heads
of last year's velvet grass

march flies
jesse comes up the trail
with a sledgehammer

17 March 2007

Saturday, July 21, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxcix

march sunshine
drops of sap
on the old stump

march sunshine
the drone of horse flies
in the trees

march sunshine
the distant call
of a robin

march sunshine
the tap-tap-tapping
of an acorn woodpecker

march sunshine
spiderwebs all the way up
the redwood's trunk

march sunshine
tender red shoots
on the scrub oak

march sunshine
the fiddle tune climbs
the mountain

march sunshine
spanish moss
on the fallen oak branch

march sunshine
the treetops so still
against the blue sky

march sunshine
crushed petals
under the tulip tree

17 March 2007

Friday, July 20, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxcviii

windblown poppies
a black poodle prances
into the party

14 April 2007

spring rain
a potted calla lily
in the garden bed

14 April 2007

seabird cries --
the small boy scratches
his sunburnt nose

15 May 2007

Thursday, July 19, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxcvii

black ice --
the oncology report
in dad's hands

black ice --
dad's lymphocyte count
in stark blue ink

black ice --
dad's blood test results
on the passenger seat

black ice --
mom takes dad's test results
with trembling hands

black ice --
dad's voice wavers as he tells me
he's dying

“Black ice” is a good strong image that resonates deeply for me right now.

I've struggled at times with wanting to get medical terminology into haiku but finding the words too long to fit. Sometimes it feels appropriate to stretch the form a bit to get the exact word in. Words like “oncology report” or “carcinoma” have a lot of emotional resonance, and lesser words sometimes won't carry that freight.

winter sea --
my dad tells me he feels great peace
during radiation

23 January 2007

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxcvi

frosty morning --
another child starts in
with whooping cough

22 January 2007

hunger moon
another entry
in her diet journal

5 February 2007

easter photos
the freshly brushed poodle
rolls in the grass

13 April 2007

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxcv

winter twilight--
a crumpled pile of handkerchiefs
by his chair

21 January 2007

black ice--
dad's last radiation

21 January 2007

wind-rattled leaves--
the dog wags his tail
at the door

21 January 2007

Monday, July 16, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxciv

november calm
he casts his fishing lure deep
in the outfield grass

first frost
the reflection of my nose
in my tea cup

lingering leaves
the man with einstein hair
zips his jacket

starting over
a pan of burnt rice
in the sink

4 December 2006

Sunday, July 15, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxciii

mountain cabin --
the voices of people hidden
by the night

8 September 2006

amaryllis in bloom --
he plays the same two measures
over and over

13 September 2006

indian summer --
an unsealed letter
on the table

13 September 2006

Saturday, July 14, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxcii

dry heat --
a faint scent of jasmine
from the balcony

17 August 2006

august twilight --
their moving van crosses
the bridge

17 August 2006

distant thunder --
a volley of green walnuts
from the tree fort

23 August 2006

Friday, July 13, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxci

fog glare --
the sweep of the string mop
on the wood floor

16 August 2006

august heat --
the boy holds a wine glass
full of cherry cider

16 August 2006

fossil hunt --
a crawdad scuttles
along the river bottom

16 August 2006

Thursday, July 12, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxc

104 in the shade --
the dog twists round to face
the other direction

24 July 2006

august dusk --
a mountain lion rests
in the playground

16 August 2006

summer fog --
two boys swing sticks
through the ivy

16 August 2006

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

haiku retrospective ccclxxxix

still june night --
a truck rumbles slowly
up the road

30 June 2006

first light --
baby stellers jays screech
for their breakfast

30 June 2006

night on the town --
the scent of mackerel
on the fog

12 July 2006

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

haiku retrospective ccclxxxviii

hot afternoon --
the baby's head lolls
against your breast

19 June 2006

heat wave --
poison hemlock among the prize dahlias

20 June 2006

morning sun --
a call from the hospital
where he's dying

30 June 2006

Sunday, July 1, 2012

hiku retrospective ccclxxxvii

summer haze --
he sprawls in the chair with his socks
in his lap

31 May 2006

june --
april and may march
with julia's august father

h(reluctant to sign this one)mm

5 June 2006

rose's june --
april and julia may march forth
with august september strides

h(why be hung for a lamb?)mm

fresh peaches --
the wet print of his body
on the pool deck

Or, since some people get so much mileage out of the second person:

fresh peaches --
the wet print of your body
on the pool deck

5 June 2006

Saturday, June 30, 2012

haiku retrospective ccclxxxvi

wuthering wind
the smooth young bark
of the eucalyptus

cold frame
calla lilies bow
in the wind

bent grass
the dark maroon petals
of the bearded iris

cut flowers
evening sunshine flickers
on the damask chair

evening wind
a cone of light surrounds
the old gas stove

flaking paint
bunches of herbs hang
upside down

disconnected telephone
the wavy glass in the farmhouse

cast iron pans
a chrysanthemum petal
on kwan yin's nose

26 May 2006

Thursday, June 28, 2012

haiku retrospective ccclxxxiv

may roses
a spider scoots along
its silken thread

10 May 2006

lunch break --
the scent of apple blossoms
in the sunshine

13 May 2006

weekly planner --
a hint of coolness
in the evening air

14 May 2006

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

haiku retrospective ccclxxxiii

april stars --
two brass buttons
on the nightstand

21 April 2006

potted marigolds --
a thin layer of algae
on the chaise longue

21 April 2006

wind chimes --
maple catkins heavy
on slender twigs

21 April 2006

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

haiku retrospective ccclxxxii

flood --
a pregnant doe browses
the huckleberry

19 April 2006

morning sunshine --
the cracked bell chimes
its note

20 April 2006

flute song --
the faint scent
of the easter lily

20 April 2006

Monday, June 25, 2012

haiku retrospective ccclxxxi

drenching rain
a stellers jay adds another twig
to its nest

5 April 2006

hearty amen --
the congregation makes a beeline
for the hot cross buns

14 April 2006

Easter Sunday --
a chocolate banana slug
in the cineraria

16 April 2006

Sunday, June 24, 2012

haiku retrospective ccclxxx

blades of grass
the would-be haiku warriors tilt
at windmills

spring drizzle
another robin sings
the same old song

3 April 2006

deserted highway --
wind-driven rain pummels
the new maple leaves

4 April 2006

Saturday, June 23, 2012

haiku retrospective ccclxxix

spring fever
the sun sets on the mountain
where he lives

30 March 2006

night rain --
a raccoon slurps water
from the wading pool

30 March 2006

ribbed saguaro
a line of fluff balls follows
the quail

30 March 2006

haiku retrospective ccclxxxv

evening break --
the late spring roses
faded white

18 May 2006

broken bottle --
the empty swing sways
in the breeze

25 May 2006

last call --
the first sip of his fourth
harvey wallbanger

27 May 2006

Sunday, June 10, 2012

haiku retrospective ccclxxviii

fine rain --
a faded plastic flower
on the window

dusty crystal --
rains keeps falling
on the flattened grass

new growth --
rodent droppings
on the window sill

28 March 2006

Saturday, June 9, 2012

haiku retrospective ccclxxvii

silent worship
my heart gets up and dances
across the room

25 March 2006

spring rain
the new woman seems too small
for your chair

28 March 2006

spring breeze --
small fingers trace the shape
of the moon hare

28 March 2006

Friday, June 8, 2012

haiku retrospective ccclxxvi

lowering sky
a dark-eyed junco pauses
on the woodpile

16 March 2006

break in the clouds --
i try to write a haiku with

16 March 2006

morning rain
the tea kettle
boils over

20 March 2006

Thursday, June 7, 2012

haiku retrospective ccclxxv

mixed rain and sleet
the hothouse rose drops
another petal

22 February 2006

distant siren
the hurricane lantern swings
on its hook

27 February 2006

blue sky
a patch of snow in the shade
of the cedars

11 March 2006

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

haiku retrospective ccclxxiv

cold basement --
just put the christmas tree stand
next to the crutches

falling wood smoke --
a crooked stack of boxes
on the shop shelf

january sunshine --
a little fir tree leans
against the fir stump

sunlit raindrop --
scattered redwood fronds
on the brown tarp

paper snowflakes --
a little redwood wreathed
in wood smoke

grass sprouts --
the weathered slats
of the compost bin

january sunshine --
the little boy puts on
a pair of shorts

8 January 2006

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

haiku retrospective ccclxxiii

nightfall --
shooting stars
on the power lines

6 January 2006

winter night --
the linemen's floodlights glow
in the fog

6 January 2006

watercolor sky --
the leafless sycamore trembles
in the breeze

12 January 2006

Monday, June 4, 2012

haiku retrospective ccclxxii

the health club crowded
with resolutions

2 January 2006

late december --
my son's new year's resolution is
1680 X 1050

2 January 2006

gray dusk --
new speed bumps in the road
to my old school

3 January 2006

Sunday, June 3, 2012

haiku retrospective ccclxxi

christmas break --
sniffly kids wrapped in quilts
by the fire

23 December 2005

presents --
the calico cat settles herself
on the hood of the car

25 December 2005

new year --
the slow march of raindrops
on the roof

2 January 2006

Saturday, June 2, 2012

haiku retrospective ccclxx

drawn shades --
the suncatcher swings
on its chain

14 December 2005

solstice ::
the candle in the putt-putt boat
goes out

20 December 2005

early winter --
a fixed smile
on her new face

21 December 2005

Friday, June 1, 2012

haiku retrospective ccclxix

This started with an online discussion with my friend Jennie over an attempt to write a haiku to express a particular moment in her life. The discussion evolved to a playful series of haiku about haiku failures.

winter wind --
she uses her failed haiku
to start the fire

(And that's not, either)

christmas muzac --
pale sunshine skims the tops
of the trees

This started as something like:

christmas muzac --
the pale sunshine can't make it
through the trees


christmas muzac --
the pale sunshine can't penetrate
the trees


christmas muzac --
the stubborn sunshine won't filter
through the trees

Winter sunshine is so weak and anemic compared to the summer variety. I feel like I live in a dark hollow under all these trees when the days are short.

Have a lovely weekend, Jennie.

christmas muzac --
no sign of the sun
in the mall

9 December 2005

Thursday, May 31, 2012

haiku retrospective ccclxviii

A cinquain.

I thought
I was in love
but my heart was only
beating faster because I was

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

haiku retrospective ccclxvii

gray thanksgiving
an outburst of laughter
from the kitchen

24 November 2005

winter twilight
the warmth of his back
against mine

26 November 2005

first raindrops --
the small boy hangs
on his brother's leg

30 November 2005

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

haiku retrospective ccclxvi

breaking waves --
my daughter tries to catch the wind
in her hands

22 November 2005

country road --
the crowns of the madrones heavy
with orange berries

22 November 2005

november sunshine
the taste of lemon pepper
on my lips

23 November 2005

Monday, May 28, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxlv

Hooray! This marks the 365th post in the haiku retrospective that I began to celebrate my 50th birthday. Thus far, the retrospective contains roughly 1100 haiku.

ragged leaves --
where do cockroaches keep
their ears?

20 November 2005

dark water
the halyards slap
against the mast

20 November 2005

november darkness
tree shadows flicker
across the frosted glass

20 November 2005

Sunday, May 27, 2012

haiku retrospective ccclxiv

waning moon
the skunk waddles
down the slope

19 November 2005

tree shadows
the coyote's ears lie
close to its head

19 November 2005

shreds of cloud
the raccoon scampers off
carrying a corn cob

19 November 2005

Saturday, May 26, 2012

haiku retrospective ccclxiii

cold snap
the refrigerator freezes
the lettuce

19 November 2005

two boys squabble
under the comforter

19 November 2005

quivering hesitancy
the mouse twitches her nose
before eating the cat's cheese

19 November 2005

Friday, May 25, 2012

haiku retrospective ccclxii

indian summer --
the ceiling fan creaks
on startup

15 November 2005

evening breeze --
the pedant picks
her nose

15 November 2005

banked fire ~
moon shadows
on the bedroom wall

19 November 2005

Thursday, May 24, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxli

yellow ribbons --
the fat man pumps gas
into his SUV

11 November 2005

veterans' day --
the former green beret hides
in his barn

12 November 2005

contrails --
a coyote lollops
across the road

15 November 2005

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

haiku retrospective ccclx

storm clouds --
the woman separates
the squabbling boys

25 October 2005

time change --
the small boy laughs
at his own joke

30 October 2005

lingering clouds --
the scent of graphite
from the boys' drawings

30 October 2005

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

haiku retrospective ccclix

fitful breeze --
only a few yellow leaves left
on the maple

24 October 2005

morning rain --
yellow leaves in pieces
under the swings

25 October 2005

october clouds
grease stains in relief
on the highway

25 October 2005

Monday, May 21, 2012

haiku retrospective ccclviii

autumn sunshine --
a spaceship explodes
on the carpet

22 September 2005

autumn haze --
a kingfisher comes to rest
on the oak snag

27 September 2005

morning stillness --
a squirrel scolds the man
raking walnuts

5 October 2005

Sunday, May 20, 2012

haiku retrospective ccclvii

cricket song --
the woodpile tarp gleams
in the moonlight

19 September 2005

autumn clarity --
the spoon scrapes the bottom
of the tea tin

22 September 2005

fall morning --
two miniature knights agree
to fight the dragon

22 September 2005

Saturday, May 19, 2012

haiku retrospective ccclvi

autumn memories --
well-worn boots crush
the brittle leaves

18 September 2005

autumn dreams --
a new range of hair colors
at the beauty parlor

18 September 2005

autumn night --
your fingers trace the shape
of my dreams

19 September 2005

Friday, May 18, 2012

haiku retrospective ccclv

end of summer --
the quail's topknot bobs
across the road

7 September 2005

end of summer --
the peahens ignore
the peacock

7 September 2005

sticky honeycomb --
a bee tumbles out
of the hibiscus

15 September 2005

Thursday, May 17, 2012

haiku retrospective cccliv

labor day --
another company cuts
health benefits

5 September 2005

approaching squall --
the bedraggled seagull grabs
a fish head

5 September 2005

clump! clump! clump!
these boots stomp the poetry
out of my soul

5 September 2005

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

haiku retrospective cccliii

presque vu --
the image of a solar eclipse
through a pinhole

29 August 2005

world view --
the duck's feet push
through the algae

29 August 2005

Labor Day heat --
he heaves the battered chainsaw
into the shed

5 September 2005

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

haiku retrospective ccclii

ghost town --
the first raindrops raise
a little dust

loose shutter --
the first raindrops raise
a little dust

dry diggings --
the first raindrops raise
a little dust

empty cistern --
the first raindrops raise
a little dust

withered corn --
the first raindrops raise
a little dust

18 August 2005

Monday, May 14, 2012

haiku retrospective cccli

distant drought --
a butterfly weaves in and out
of the live oak

14 August 2005

august night --
the cricket's song keeps time
with the neighbor's stereo

19 August 2005

long cast --
the angler pulls a bass
out of the sunset

26 August 2005

Sunday, May 13, 2012

haiku retrospective cccl

train whistle --
she skips another stone
across the creek

11 August 2005

summer fog --
he pulls his roll apart
before eating it

13 August 2005

summer stars --
my husband starts snoring

14 August 2005

Saturday, May 12, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxlix

fleshy thighs --
the lithe girl lost
in my imagination

8 August 2005

endless summer --
another beach boys tune
on the oldies station

8 August 2005

light overcast --
a mourning dove lands
on the pigeon cage

9 August 2005

Friday, May 11, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxlviii

Today's selection comes from a discussion of haiku rules and why it is important to use concrete images to create the haiku experience rather than resorting to imagination, abstractions, or judgements. The first selection is completely sarcastic in tone, but the next several are playfully meandering back to haiku-ness.

What we can see in our imagination is clearly superior to what we observe in the real world.

torn shadow --
a woman's heart flutters
in the breeze

Haiku by free association. No concrete images need apply.

7 August 2005

sword dancer --
her high-heeled shoe crosses
the line

7 August 2005

se rendre --
the shadows of the night
caress her

8 August 2005

Thursday, May 10, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxlvii

My sons prefer to toss water wrapped in latex.

sudden rain --
a water balloon bursts
at his feet

It rained this morning, the remnants of a tropical storm in the Pacific. In my entire life, I don't think I've ever seen it rain in California in July. At first, I thought it was my neighbor's sprinkler, then I saw that it was watering my woodpile. Why, it was coming from the*sky*. Who woulda thunk?

worn work gloves --
the thunk-thunk-thunk of wet logs
hitting the woodpile

coffee break --
three stellers jays gossip
over the compost

21 July 2005

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxlvi

Check your towel before you get out, too. I once emerged from a relaxing shower, wrapped myself in a thick terrycloth towel, and had a brown recluse run down my leg.

A non-haiku tried to write me yesterday. I told it that there wasn't any way it would rise to haiku status. It grumbled a bit and subsided. You have given me courage to post it as a cinquain.

hindsight --
that fall I had
rollerblading backwards
lingers in my hip long after
you left


hindsight --
that fall I had
rollerblading backwards
has stayed with me much longer than
you did

20 July 2005

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxlv

summer drought --
a line of cars creeps
through town

17 July 2005

shagging flies --
the shadow of a swallow
on the outfield grass

25 July 2005

no fog --
the crisp white trousers
of the mexican sailor

5 August 2005

Sunday, March 18, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxliv

evening --
the scent of water
on asphalt

13 July 2005

high noon --
a milkweed wilts in the crotch
of the old oak

13 July 2005

summer dawn
a heavy silence hangs
in the still, warm air

14 July 2005

Saturday, March 17, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxliii

sea breeze
the peahens ignore
his shimmering tail

1 June 2005

bracken meadow
the distant clanking
of a cowbell

1 June 2005

the salt of his skin
a cloud of mosquitos
outside the tent

10 July 2005

Friday, March 16, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxlii

hilltop cemetery --
a redtail hawk hovers
against the clouds

17 May 2005

scent of jasmine --
her crystal pendant brushes
her breast

20 May 2005

blue-eyed grass --
a hawk's shadow skims
the field

30 May 2005

Thursday, March 15, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxli

labor day --
another company cuts
health benefits

3 May 2005

labor day --
wondering how that teenage body
fit inside mine

3 May 2005

crowning moment --
wait! I've changed my mind
about having this baby!

3 May 2005

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxl

moonlit walk --
tears splash down the baby's fat cheeks

dark trees sway --
oh baby! why won't you sleep?

motel path --
the baby keeps on screaming

2 May 2005

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxxxix

crossed ski tips --
a pileated woodpecker
on the white fir

tap! tap! tap!
a nodding red crest
against bright green moss

breathing hard --
pull up a tree, woodpecker,
and stay awhile

wings blur --
the gentle sweep of the snow
falling from the treetops

a shared smile --
the stump, stump, stump of ski poles
on the uphill climb

30 April 2005

Monday, March 12, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxxxviii

distant thunder --
another iris opens
its petals

25 April 2005

high noon --
the calico cat opens
one eye

3 May 2005

buckbrush in bloom --
the mountains surge away
to meet the clouds

17 May 2005

Sunday, March 11, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxxxvii

justice sunday --
his darkness matches
my light

24 April 2005

bridge party --
she eases her feet
out of her high heels

24 April 2005

hoeing potatoes --
an old down jacket
on the garden bench

24 April 2005

Saturday, March 10, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxxxvi

winter harbor
a string of small boats
along the pier

snow-capped fence
hands close
around the earthen mug

winter haze
her lantern in the window
guides us home

bare trees
a trail of bread crumbs
in the yard

18 February 2005

Friday, March 9, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxxxv

dawn shadows
your kiss stirs me from the depths
of my dreams

8 September 2004

yard clean-up --
a raw wind flattens
the first iris

21 April 2005

spring breakup --
ten new gossip threads
on the fan blog

22 April 2005

Thursday, March 8, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxxxiv

beach traffic
one tiny patent leather shoe
on the median

25 June 2004

a sip of buttermilk
the devil's food cake rises
in the oven

25 June 2004

4th of july
bill clinton's face
on the bookshop door

3 July 2004

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxxxiii

stinging rebuke
the sudden clarity
of tears

11 May 2004

sullen afternoon
a burst of static
from the speakers

21 May 2004

virginia slims
she has the perfect face
for radio

21 May 2004

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxxxii

green sister
brushing my brow
with leafy hands

11 May 2004

beach traffic
the tan heads of the grass
so still

11 May 2004

winding road
the knots in my thinking

19 May 2004

Monday, March 5, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxxxi

day moon
cottonwoods shimmer
in the breeze

17 April 2004

distant hawk
a gust of cherry petals crosses the lawn

17 April 2004

hot flash
waves of starlight wash over my bare skin

24 April 2004

Sunday, March 4, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxxx

blowing petals
the tree's shadow grows
a little longer

7 April 2004

day is done
poppies amidst the dying grass

7 April 2004

sudden breeze
a gnarled lilac
by the garden gate

7 April 2004

Saturday, March 3, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxxix

wooded ridge
faded white lines
on the baseball diamond

5 April 2004

frog chorus
the slamming door
of the portapotty

5 April 2004

lost child
a dry toothbrush
in the rack

7 April 2004

Friday, March 2, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxxviii

steep trail
the crowns of the firs rise
into the mist

silence and space
her smile welcomes me
to the room

silent worship
haloes surround
the trees

inner light
his feet trace
the stone labyrinth

waiting on god
the swish of the string mop
on cement

quaker charades
how do you act out

fading taillights
another slow tick
in god's clock

4 April 2004

Thursday, March 1, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxxvii

abandoned school
clover heads
on the ragged grass

3 April 2004

drifting oak pollen
an empty bottle
in the cyclone fence

3 April 2004

deserted playground
gnat trails crisscross
the sky

4 April 2004

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxxvi

celtic harp
the first raindrops touch
my cheeks

13 February 2004

deep puddle
raindrops scatter the reflection
of the streetlight

20 February 2004

stone fountain
rust stains
in the empty bowl

3 April 2004

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxxv

wind-rippled trees
i open my mouth wider
for the dentist

9 February 2004

prayer group
eight candle flames flicker
with our breath

10 February 2004

evening stillness
he cups a baby hedgehog
in his hands

10 February 2004

Monday, February 27, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxxiv

winter party
a few crumbs left
in the brownie pan

15 December 2003

dusk shadows
the murmur of the creek
along the quiet road

21 January 2004

robin song
fresh rainwater
in the weed-choked ditch

21 January 2004

Sunday, February 26, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxxiii

bare maple twigs
a stellers jay glides
from tree to tree

5 December 2003

a novel of ideas
the dog-eared pages reveal
cookie crumbs

15 December 2003

silent worship
the sound of her body
hitting the concrete

15 December 2003

Saturday, February 25, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxxii

bare trees
her distracted voice
long distance

3 December 2003

new grass
the jack-o-lantern grins
from the compost

3 December 2003

new grass
a rat scurries
under the woodpile

5 December 2003

Saturday, February 18, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxxi

old fiddle
the first hint of color
in the steeping tea

24 November 2003

forest trail
cigarette smoke
in the parking lot

24 November 2003

blowing leaves
his eyes flick back
to his newspaper

2 December 2003

Friday, February 17, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxx

steaming breath
heaps of gold maple leaves
along the road

21 November 2003

day is done
the crumpled pages
of his call-up letter

24 November 2003

roadside shadows
the sharp ears of the deer at rest

24 November 2003

Thursday, February 16, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxix

simmering stew
trees darken
against the sky

13 November 2003

burning leaves
the ragged ends of her hair brush
her shoulders

13 November 2003

hazy night
the rasp of the leaf rake
on asphalt

21 November 2003

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxviii

A lot of people don't get juxtaposition. This doesn't surprise me. Juxtaposition is not a Western way of looking at the world. We Westerners like to fill in the links, to explain everything. We don't often give people the elements of the realization and let them fill in the details for themselves.

Juxtaposition, though, is the power of haiku. It's the thing that makes haiku an art form. A good juxtaposition vibrates with power, and turns the two images into something that is bigger than both of them put together. It's a form of magic.

I wanted an example of juxtaposition, so I plucked two elements from my environment and typed them in:

gold-tinged leaves
the drone of the saw
goes on and on

I noticed the saw first, because it's been droning on and on all morning. Someone is cutting up a down tree for firewood. It's like a giant dental drill, giving the sky a headache.

Outside my window, the leaves of one tree caught my attention. They are just starting to turn, and I wanted to capture that slight tint of gold that hints at the coming autumn color.

Okay, so I put those two images here to demonstrate juxtaposition. It's not an inspired haiku, but it is a finger exercise. I'm working on my juxtaposition muscles.

This haiku, like most of the early haiku, is also in a social context, which is this conversation. Haiku in a social context have another layer of meaning, one that often escapes the notice of haiku critics. I think this layer of meaning can actually make haiku stronger, because the haiku, in addition to being a juxtaposition of two elements of the natural world, can also be a commentary on the social interaction. Early haiku were often a compliment to the host, and other verses might be gently poke fun at someone at a gathering. Not overtly, as in the case of senryu, but through the use of something like analogy.

Now, in this context, I might have wrought more than I intended. I had no social agenda when I plucked haiku elements out of my environment. In this social milieu, however, "the drone of the saw goes on and on" has a certain edge to it. I could be commenting that the same old saws (rules and thoughts) come up again and again. I could be talking about how this discussion drones on and on. Or I could be talking about my own dogged insistence on juxtaposition, juxtaposition, juxtaposition.

Are there other ways in which my juxtaposition works?

The two elements are not causally or obviously related. A common mistake in haiku is to pull together two elements that have a so-what relationship:

spring rain
the robin drinks from a puddle
of snow melt

acid indigestion
he washes back a tums
with his beer

In these two cases, the individual elements are okay, but the pairing is predictable and so the resulting haiku make the reader yawn. Not good, unless the subject of the haiku is tedium.

You also don't want the two elements to be obvious opposites.

blazing sun
he takes another sip
of ice-cold lemonade

This is tedious in a different way.

Even though you don't want the two elements of the juxtaposition to be obviously linked, you want a resonance between the two elements. A strong juxtaposition creates an intense resonance, but doesn't cross the border into obviousness.

This resonance was totally mysterious to me until I read a lot of commentary on Japanese haiku. The resonance comes out of the words of the haiku, the way they set off associations in the brain of the reader. Resonance depends on cultural context, on people having the same sets of associations to given words.

24 October 2003

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxvii

white bean soup
the soft chatter of birds
settling for the night

23 October 2003

haiku chatter
the pine recedes
in the mist

12 November 2003

somber skies
drifts of dead fir needles
on the road

13 November 2003

Monday, February 13, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxvi

dark cedars
a hawk tilts
through the mist

Port Angeles
Olympic Peninsula
29 September 2003

midnight walk
fog drips
from the cedars

4 October 2003

abstract images
sometimes a cigar
is only a cigar

23 October 2003

Sunday, February 12, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxv

friendly fire
he sprinkles red sugar
on the cupcakes

13 September 2003

tall grass
an old DeSoto
beyond the old Dodge

14 September 2003

The small boy uses “if you exist” in the place of “if you insist.”

“Let's get you dressed.”
“If you exist.”

wet washcloth
the mama cow licks the chocolate
off the baby cow

14 September 2003

Sunday, February 5, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxiv

september 11th --
serving up leftover
devil's food cake

11 September 2003, a day after my son's 8th birthday

september sunshine
the coarseness of his hair
against my lips

11 September 2003

unknown soldier
a fallen comrade carried
by two ants

13 September 2003

Saturday, February 4, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxiii

grocery parking lot
the drivers' eyes meet
over chocolate

8 September 2003

muggy wind
back-to-school ads
in the gutter

8 September 2003

spent dandelions
a weather-beaten lawn chair
on the bare patch

13 September 2003

Friday, February 3, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxii

ticking clock
she brushes pastry crumbs
off her nightie

25 August 2003

empty beer bottle
the stale breath
of the waterfall

27 August 2003

shady arbor
how beautiful these bunches
of bitter grapes

31 August 2003

Thursday, February 2, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxi

the soft hooting
of an owl

14 August 2003

cold tea
the four-year-old finishes
his tantrum

16 August 2003

august wind
the pianist plays one tune
the stereo another

20 August 2003

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

haiku retrospective cccx

the buck gets all four feet
in the compost bin

12 August 2003

silent worship
the old man's face glows
with love

14 August 2003

the swirling cloth
in the dye vat

14 August 2003

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

haiku retrospective cccix

lavender shampoo
a faint whiff of sewage gas
from the drain

28 July 2003

slow river
the trees' reflections sway
across the sand

7 August 2003

hiroshima day
the first meteors fall

7 August 2003

Monday, January 30, 2012

haiku retrospective cccviii

a mother's tears
the desert alive
with ocatillo

25 July 2003

the pelvic bones open
to admit the head

28 July 2003

summer siesta
i put my laptop to sleep
so it won't burn my knees

28 July 2003

Sunday, January 29, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxii

ceaseless heat
the squirrel's hands keep turning
the corncob

23 July 2003

drooping lily
the maples the same shade of green
as the redwoods

23 July 2003

almost forgotten --
last winter's rain

24 July 2003

Saturday, January 28, 2012

haiku retrospective cccxi

scalding blacktop
orange and yellow blooms
on the prickly pear

22 July 2003

hot and humid
the tea kettle dribbles
onto the counter

22 July 2003

plastic lilies
papa's last mistake
chiseled in marble

22 July 2003

Friday, January 27, 2012

haiku retrospective cccx

summer moon
the sprinkler makes its way
across the lawn

14 July 2003

beach rollercoaster
brake lights
all the way to the summit

16 July 2003

barbecued spare ribs
prickly pear blossoms
in the sunshine

16 July 2003

Thursday, January 26, 2012

haiku retrospective cccix

hot afternoon
the pebbled coolness
of dried beans

6 July 2003

fourth of july traffic --
my emergency chocolate melts
all over my purse

6 July 2003

hard bench
no haiku admitted
to the courtroom

9 July 2003

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

haiku retrospective cccviii

faded roses
dirty white bubbles
below the drain pipe

swaying treetops
flowered sheets billow
on the clothesline

hot deck underfoot
damp cotton gauze clings
to my arm

sun-bleached drying rack
a row of tie-dyed panties
above the socks

still evening
a stack of folded slacks
on the picnic table

mosquitoes rise
the damp scent of clean clothes
on the line

2 July 2003

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

haiku retrospective cccvii

gray cubicle
sparrow song
from the computer speaker

11 June 2003

sweet corn by the bushel --
the market umbrella
sails away

24 June 2003

kestrel in flight
poison hemlock chokes
the fire road

24 June 2003

Monday, January 23, 2012

haiku retrospective cccvi

stacking bricks
a hummingbird over
the rose campion

loaded wheelbarrow
rust-gold lichen
on the concrete

the clink of bricks
star jasmine scents
the evening air

ragged breath
brushing forget-me-not seeds
off my pants

swelling rose hips
the wheelbarrow tire
loses more air

a sip of tea
empty dye bottles stacked
on the window sill

9 June 2003

Sunday, January 22, 2012

haiku retrospective cccv

a tall glass of iced tea --
forget-me-not seeds stuck
to my pants legs

8 June 2003

trust me on this one --
you can vacuum sock stickers off your sandals
but not your pants

8 June 2003

Saturday, January 21, 2012

haiku retrospective ccciv

fading lupine
a fog bank rolls
over the ridge

3 June 2003

“you may kiss the bride”
tears run
through her mascara

5 June 2003

empty to-do list
new reeds
at the pond

7 June 2003

Friday, January 20, 2012

haiku retrospective ccciii

towhee's call --
the scent of water
on potting soil

2 June 2003

church picnic --
the volleyball bounces
all the way to the freeway

2 June 2003

gray cubical
sparrow song
from the computer speaker

3 June 2003

Thursday, January 19, 2012

haiku retrospective cccii

bees in the bottlebrush
a bird feeder on its side
in the grass

27 May 2003

jasmine flowers
the high-pitched whine
of a mosquito

27 May 2003

rooftop picnic
each palm leaf sharp
against the blue sky

2 June 2003

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

haiku retrospective ccci

powder room
her breath extends
as she loosens her stays

14 May 2003

his dark eyes
all of the questions
i'm afraid to ask

23 May 2003

civil war re-enactment
a bare-chested young man sobs
into the grass

23 May 2003

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

haiku retrospective ccc

barbed wire
against the sky

14 May 2003

morning fog
my limbs sink back
into the mattress

14 May 2003

tumbledown fence
sunlight streams
through the honey locusts

14 May 2003

Monday, January 16, 2012

haiku retrospective ccxcix

til death do us part --
mating soldier beetles cling
to the window screen

10 May 2003

leaf litter --
mating soldier beetles
on the window screen

10 May 2003

cracked cereal bowl
an old bath towel
under the new dishwasher

12 May 2003

Sunday, January 15, 2012

haiku retrospective ccxcviii

evening prayer
hailstones rattle
the windows

8 May 2003

fading light
wild oats nod
above the lupine

8 May 2003

piano recital
a steady drone
from the coke machine

9 May 2003

Saturday, January 14, 2012

haiku retrospective ccxcvii

Back when the Giants were at foggy, windy Candlestick Park, they awarded the Croix de Candlestick to those fans intrepid enough to sit out an extra inning game. I loved Candlestick, even on foggy, windy nights. I loved the way the flag in left field flapped in a different direction from the flag in right field. I loved the way the fog swirled across the field.

fingers numb with cold
he pins another medal
to her hat
8 May 2003

Friday, January 13, 2012

haiku retrospective ccxcvi

When I was a child, I thought that my friend's father genuflected to apologize for being late for church. When I was grown, a Catholic friend of mine said, “No, he was apologizing for being born.”

hardwood pews
latin prayers mingle
with the incense

I'm older than Vatican II.

My stepmother was a nun for 17 years. She left the church because she was disciplined for working with the Black Panthers to provide hot breakfast for Oakland ghetto children. A retired first grade teacher, she now works as a consultant to help schools teach English to the many California pupils who speak another language at home.

guns and rosaries
scrambled eggs bring a smile
to the child's face

1 May 2003

Thursday, January 12, 2012

haiku retrospective ccxcv

virus checker
a handkerchief
fresh from the laundry

30 April 2003

all the same answers
hand-me-down math book

30 April 2003

storm's end
baby bluejays start

3 May 2003

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

haiku retrospective ccxciv

gnats in flight --
the bearded iris sways
in the breeze

30 April 2003

leaf rake --
a pile of camellia petals
on the blacktop

30 April 2003

morning paper
washing down leftover french fries
with orange juice

30 April 2003

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

haiku retrospective ccxciii

empire waist
bombs and blood spilled
on the desert sand

23 April 2003

weathered park bench
the old lady knits
in the rain

25 April 2003

wind chimes
the eyes of the child i was
still in my face

28 April 2003

Monday, January 9, 2012

haiku retrospective ccxcii

makeshift umbrella
rain drums on the leaves
of the maple

21 April 2003

climbing blackberry --
a cat with white paws shits
in the sandbox

21 April 2003

childhood memories
peacock feathers
in blue glass

22 April 2003

Sunday, January 8, 2012

haiku retrospective ccxci

drifting oak pollen
dark-eyed juncos flit
from branch to branch

17 April 2003

iris in bud --
a small boy balances
on the fence rail

17 April 2003

home again
on the floor

19 April 2003

Saturday, January 7, 2012

haiku retrospective ccxc

worn wiper blade
a forest skyline
in the rear view mirror

14 April 2003

ethnic cleansing
the colored woman scrubs
the white toilet

16 April 2003

zayante creek
horsetails choke
the roadside ditch

17 April 2003

Friday, January 6, 2012

haiku retrospective cclxxxix

first light --
cherry leaves heavy
with rain

12 April 2003

well-thumbed book
a memory of cottage cheese
on page 73

14 April 2003

hauling advertisement --
a dog's tongue hangs out
of the bike trailer

14 April 2003

Thursday, January 5, 2012

haiku retrospective cclxxxviii

first drops of rain --
a backhoe parked
among the hyacinths

10 April 2003

clematis buds
the cracked lights
of the old trailer

10 April 2003

salvia 4-pak
the dreamy look
in the checker's eyes

10 April 2003