Friday, June 4, 2010

On haiku

Why I love haiku:
its simple syllables help
my wild thoughts come clean

Haiku is simple, and it is good to me. Always has been. I used to entertain friends at bars and music halls with pretty personalized haiku in tribute to their glowing personalities. Sometimes I penned some raunchy blue ones, like a late 1990's Wife of Bath.

Haiku helps me usher in the odd thoughts that hit me at 2:00 a.m., the elevators to space and poppy fields that fill my night with strange cinema. Haiku helps me organize the hodgepodge into neat, rhythmic structured syllabic form. It helps that haiku isn't meant to rhyme.

Imagine my sighs when I saw some crummy haiku up in a lobby art installation, chiseled and lasered on expensive architectural art plastic (the sort that I admired in a few design-centric-sales luncheons, the ones I wasn't needed or expected at but that I loved to attend once in an while). Crummy haiku written about plasma TV's, and wads of cash, and hunting without poetry.

I was disappointed and angry that I hadn't submitted any, that I didn't even know where to submit. Then I realized that my little haiku weren't in mesh with the odes to ATV's and snowboards that illustrated the new young Alaskan spirit. It only reminded me that this beautiful world is not my permanent world, that I do much better on a front porch with an oak or willow nearby, or on a mountain that doesn't expect me to tame it, or something "extreme" on it. Haiku has brought me everything, really; the children's book Gary and I are almost finished creating is told in it, and I plan on telling many more in the same way.

It is good to me
it holds my hand and guides me there
and quiets the din

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