Haiku of the week 11/12/14 – 11/27/14

I have always had a lot of ambivalence about the thanksgiving holiday. I love the food and connection to family…but the wrongheaded myth of its origin has always been troubling to me, and I am astounded that it is perpetuated despite the awareness that most Americans have regarding the horrific treatment of Native Americans in our history as well as in the present day. It continues to be a strange mix of nostalgia and shame…

Nevetheless, it was nearly a year ago, on Thanksgiving, that I began writing these daily haiku…at the urging of a friend and fellow writer, Nicole Galland. That day’s haiku was:

Commitment to write a haiku a day

Count me in
I can start right now;

I am grateful to this suggestion, though I’m often ambivalent about writing them. I know I need to but often find it hard to carve out the time or presence of mind in my day to day busyness. And, yet, it’s been an amazing year – 17 small syllables a day didn’t seem like too much of a commitment to begin a daily writing practice, but upon reflection, it has helped me focus on using more spare, impactful language to make observations or comparisons that wouldn’t have found a home in more unstructured writing.

Some of them can be a little morbid despite my intentions and I think that expressing these aspects of myself have strengthened my other poetry, too. Like these creepy moments:

inky brackish chill
night, a predator pupil
ponderous and still

do you think they knew,
(so inured to suffering)
they lived dark ages?

others are more pleasant…

tumbleweed tribbles
scud across the briney streets
in advance of snow

such a small thing,
your heart, already
housed in mine

welcoming- before the fact

as if we’d always
known this serendipity
it, our connection

one retreat, all these
new souls need woven inward –
to be reabsorbed

but then, I think, I am becoming more at home with the uncomfortable, the darkness within us. Perhaps this is related to the longer nights and shorter days as we cycle nearer to the solstice…

curdled green persists
on these chilled black branches
never riotous

no brisk exhale or
sprinkled coda, clung to
chiming greying skies

his crippled sermons
tilted windmillish toward her
root cellar reserves

oil rigs

top heavy dippers
tend tufted fields, stitching seams-
tailoring sinkholes

sideburn clouds hang low
and long beside bald
dimming tremolo

or perhaps these really are dark ages, not so very different from the massacres marking the founding of this country…

this evening, the sky
was not a riot of pink
at most, it was a

neon carnival –
these clouds have no language for
the carnage power

will make of unarmed
black youth, for damaged silence
which pillages fact,

the assured accused’s
calculating evasion…
or for the fury

untethered in loss,
refusing to be unseen.
the riots are a

sea of righteousness,
of recognition, the riots
are a hurricane

they knew was coming
but never fixed the levees
for and won’t rebuild

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