Haiku Kukai 4 Favorites

Global Haiku • Millikin University • Fall 2014

vines entwine
the pain inside

Olivia Cuff (4)

ah, there you are
blue and white
we will loyal be

Rebecca Coutcher (4)

spring wedding
a lonely woman
picks up the rice

Natalie Zelman (4)

twirling her hair
whispers to friend
dibs called

Olivia Cuff (5)

the changing wind
p a s   s    b    y

Erin O'Brien (8)

winter oranges
bits of peel
stuck under fingernails

Natalie Zelman (2)

slaves' safe haven
solely engulfed in the mother's womb

Deja Finley (4)

blank computer screen
I don't know
where to start

emergency landing
baby bird's
clipped wing

extravagant party
knows the host

Olivia Cuff (8)

I am a sucker for anything Fitzgerald. Beyond that initial interest, however, I find myself drawn to the subtle social commentary of the haiku and the original novel. How superficial are we as a people that we will attend parties and praise a host that we cannot even pick out from a crowd? I'm guilty of it. It's just so interesting that being seen and present at a party is of more value than knowing who to thank. Olivia did a really swell job with this haiku. It is so sly that someone who does not pick out intimations of Fitzgerald/Gatsby could enjoy it. For those who pick up on the attachment, it is an added bonus. Taylor

two days late
she calls to warn
her boyfriend

couldn't cure a broken heart
this side of paradise

back and forth
on the swingset
naive or innocent?

scowling at
the recycling bin
orange peels

circus trailer
the clowns paint
fake emotions

Olivia Cuff (7)

I love this one so much. Not only does it present the literal image of clowns painting on a face for the audience, but it makes me think of people putting on makeup or presenting a fake face to the world. I interpret this haiku as something about how people hide their emotions, their sadness, with fake smiles and laughter. Too often, people hide what they truly feel so they do not disturb anyone else's apparent happiness. I think this haiku really brings attention to that and I think that's what makes me love it so much. Natalie

client's rancid pits
I don't get paid
enough for this

where does my heart go
         when home doesn't want it?

Olivia Cuff (7)

i love you . . .
text message
empty words

Rebecca Coutcher (3)

last chip
falls to the ground
unfinished business

scrabble tiles
spell my name
how did i get this job?

Danna Herbach (3)

This haiku makes me think of my job. I absolutely love working with the elderly especially dementia patients. This makes me think of game night with the ladies at Garden Place. Some people may find it frustrating to be asked to repeat the game rules with every turn, but I love it. I love helping them complete simple tasks and working toward the ultimate reward of a smile when they accomplish their goal. This haiku especially reminds me of playing dominos with two of the ladies. One understood how to play after one turn, but the other required me helping her the entire activity hour. While this may have annoyed some, I enjoyed every minute. I distinctly remember being told "that was fun" after we were finished. This haiku captures the precious memories that are created when games are played and for that reason I absolutely love it. Sara

he said one more drink
won't kill me . . .
it did

Daniel Rausch (8)

sometimes all you need
is a puppy to hold—
precious angel baby

the dead seen
in a mirror
no make-up today

crunch        of an apple
quiet classroom

Natalie Zelman (2)

clenching my son's hand
can only protect him
for so long

Daniel Rausch

I liked this haiku because it shows a physical and mental picture. There is a young mother and her son. She is gripping his hand and walking fast on a sidewalk in a city. I imagine her thinking about how she is able to keep her son close now, but in the future, she won't be there to always hold his hand. Erin

post-it notes
holding my heart

Danna Herbach (7)

I really liked this haiku mainly because I really like to leave notes for myself. Sometimes I feel like the notes are keeping me held together, which is probably true because I would likely be so disorganized without my notes that I would not be able to function well. I really liked this because I can relate to it. Alec

after the rain
I can't explain
how I can still love you

she blends the
colors on the canvas
and her forehead

Erin O'Brien (12)

I like this haiku for a couple reasons. I enjoy the use of colors and paint, which just brings the images of colorful marble to mind. Similar to when you put a bunch of different colors of paint into a bucket but don't mix it a ton and it just spins around everywhere. Another reason I like it is because as a painter, no matter how much I try I always managed to get paint in my hair or on my face. It almost never fails that I will be covered in paint all over my arms as well. Mikayla

rays of sunlight
protrude from the clouds

the sky's raining
today in Soho
umbrellas bump shoulders

Valina Hoang (4)

sensation on my tongue
with every bite

star shaped candy
in my eye

the bird out my window
won't bother me anymore
      F E a t H e R s

rub the world from

          my eyes

Danna Herbach (9)

This is another one that I absolutely love. The phrase "the world" could mean so many things. It could be more literal, sleep in the corners of your eyes when you wake up or the last traces of makeup after a long day, or it could be something more along the lines of tears caused by the world. When I read this haiku, I imagine someone tiredly wiping away tears, only to start crying again. I don't know what the tears might have been caused by, it could have been anything in the world, and I love that about it. I love how open this haiku is to interpretation. Natalie

a perfect house
with a perfect white fence:
a blind man retrieves the mail

Daniel Rausch (11)

I just absolutely love this haiku because it breaks our perception of perfection. We live in this society where we want to achieve the American Dream, yet what we are really doing is conforming to what the perception of perfection is. I find it so compelling to have this perfect house that everyone strives for, yet this blind man does not even know. He just happens to live in the American Dream. Olivia

I love this haiku because it shows how unimportant the materialistic things we desire are. Since he was blind, and could not see his white picket fence and his beautiful house. We want all these material things with the hopes that it will bring us happiness. This Haiku proves that not only material things can bring happiness. DJ

playing cards slide
off an old Rosatti’s box
gin rummy

in the reflection
I don't see myself—
only a liar

Daniel Rausch (5)

foggy night
a one-eyed raven's
scraggly perch

Mackenzie Peck (3)

coastal town
love affair
a girl and the sea

Mackenzie Peck (5)

If I ever decide to leave the city lifestyle behind, I would want to live in a cute, happy seaside town. I've always wanted to spend a summer in a beachy, homey town. I want to learn how to surf so badly, but I know that will probably never happen. The girl in this haiku seemingly has a deep connection with her town and with the water, which makes me want to go explore and live in a seaside town even more! I think it would be such a cool and carefree experience. When I read this haiku, I think of Maine, Massachusetts, Georgia, and all those states! I can't wait to visit some of these places as well. Valina

over the mountain
clouds hide
what we long to see

Alexandria Wilson

I think of this as very spiritual and it puts me in a serene, happy place. I for some reason imagine this little girl with her father, standing on top of a mountain one day after church. She looks up to the sky and tries to see heave, just like the minister had talked about. Only problem is, it is cloudy outside. She believes the clouds block her view and her one chance to see heaven. Her father informs her that although she cannot see it, that doesn't mean it's not there, and she is able to calm down and be at ease. Olivia

silent and alone
he slowly swings
where is my mom?

blue skies
spring in a dress
and in my step

Alexandria Wilson (7)

I really enjoy this haiku. I think that it is very lighthearted and fun haiku. When I read this, I picture a teenage girl walking in the grass on a beautiful summer day. She doesn't have anywhere to be but if you saw her walking, you'd think she was going somewhere; she walks with a purpose that can't be misinterpreted. I also like the word play that this author used on the word "spring." He or she used it as two meanings and I thought that it was very cleverly placed. Daniel

heels off
barefoot on
hard concrete

Alexandria Wilson

I like this haiku because it reminds me of a small pleasure of mine. I greatly enjoy walk around barefoot and this haiku reminds me of that. Also this haiku gives me a sense of relief that comes from taking off heels after wearing them. Reading this haiku gives me a sense of that satisfaction. I also can feel the scrape of concrete on my bare feet and it's probably slightly cold. I also get the image that it is night, because it's usually after a long day that a person decides to give up and take of the heels. It's a very calming haiku that makes me feel like I've just survived a very long day and have finally found some relief. Trista

dropped balls, missed catches
going on
lap fifteen

in the classroom
people listen
but I dream

Brandi DeLeonardo (8)

metal spaghetti
in my drawer

hot hot
laptop burns
my legs

peanut butter
warm welcome from grade school
crayons and recess

school girls
boy born with HIV

faces walking down
crowded sidewalks
each one with a story

Rebecca Coutcher (8)

This haiku made me think pretty hard when I analyzed it more and more. This haiku made me feel very small compared to everything happening around me. I think that it is interesting to think that there could be thousands of people you walk past every day, and not know one single thing about them; only what they look like at a glance. It's so vast to think that each one of these people has a story that brought them to where they are. Compared to you however, they are just random people walking down the sidewalk. I rarely think of what their lives are like or what hardships they have experienced. Daniel

penguin love
where a widdle and a waddle
means so much more

Daniel Rausch (6)

something broken
          had never looked
                          whole . . .

Jonathan Rieck (10)

I cannot even really say why I like this haiku. I was very drawn to it by the punctuation and the spacing, but I also liked how the text of being broken matched how the text was arranged since it was broken as well. I really think that it is very interesting and makes for a very modern haiku. Allie

two years later
threatening messages
. . .
she’s alive

strum it, Dylan, as if
youth will never fade
make a sound for the ages
(timelessly afraid)

Taylor Hagerdorn (3)

I LOVE THIS HAIKU. And, no, I'm NOT personally biased. I absolutely loved the Bob Dylan reference, and I loved how this haiku unintentionally rhymed! This was such a cool haiku, and it almost recreated Woodstock for me in my mind! I imagined all of these people, and they were all just enraptured by the performance. This was such a cool image to be created in my mind! Thought I have never been to Woodstock, I think that this haiku could bring me there. Good job, Taylor. Such a great haiku! Jonathan

Although there were so many good haikus in this Kukai, but this one is my favorite. It reminds me of lyrics from songs I listen to and love. I'm a sucker for lyrics that talk about music and singing, so this haiku is right up my alley! One of my favorite ways to get my feelings out without punching a wall is playing my guitar. When I am having a good guitar day and I'm nailing all the chords, I feel invincible. This haiku gives light to the positive side of our generation and gives me hope that we, indeed, will change the world. Also, I look at the line "(timelessly afraid)" as a beacon of hope because although Dylan may be scared of losing his innocence or youth, in the moments of playing guitar, he wins. Valina

first few months
. . . I could have loved you

pumpkin seeds
a new face

Erin O'Brien (5)

I thought that this haiku was very much in the spirit of upcoming Halloween. Of course carving pumpkins is fun and brings back a lot of memories, but I think that the fact it is being called murder here is very interesting. People don't really think of carving a pumpkin as being a crime against the pumpkin. It almost equates the simple carving with something more gruesome. Almost like a story about a serial killer who carves humans. I liked how it brought those two together. Alec

tattooed tears
battered jeans
your Beastie's tee

flickering orange
frosted window reflection
cat licks her paws

little nook
—a tiny closet
one small chair

tossed away
like the petal I tore off
he loves me not

A Solo-Renku

her brittle hand
by brittle air

new year clockwork
we embraced

donned in black
her curls
like Harry did before

losing my tooth
in the spare bedroom

she made me promise
and I couldn't

lost in concrete serpents finding a new home

nature is beautiful
but it's course is cruel

I cherish her soul, her soul cherishes mine

would you be proud?
traipsing through her empty room

for times I was scared
she let me sleep
in her bed

forever together
together alone.

Jonathan Rieck (4)

• • •


broken glass reflects my broken bones

a drive through
the city I grew up in . . .
I fall once again

Valina Hoang

I really loved this haiku. Sometimes, when I am back in the area I grew up in, I will take some time and drive past my childhood house. It is kind of sad to see even the smallest of changes, but it is also cool to see just how little things have changed. Maybe the old tree by the side of the house was torn down, maybe the paint on the house is tan instead of white. But overall, the house and the neighborhood are still as I remember them. The old wrought-iron mailbox that marked the entrance to my neighborhood is still there. The road is still cracked in the same places as it was when I was younger. The memories are still there, even if I'm not. I am not a person of change, so it is nice to go back to a place that is the same as I remember it. Mackenzie

         a beacon of hope
that one day I'll soar as high,
stand as tall

Valina Hoang (12)

I really liked this haiku because I am a sucker for inspirational quotes and this reminded me of many inspirational quotes I have seen. Again, I also really liked the spacing in this haiku although I am not exactly sure that there is a purpose to it, except that it is more visually pleasing. Allie

ritzy draping crystals
over smoke-filled chatter
hidden booze in canes and garters

making decisions
for me

broken shackles

Mackenzie Peck (7)

I changed my major last semester, and I believe that was one of the first impactful decisions that I have ever made for me. My whole life, I've been making decisions to please others. I am such a people pleaser. It is not even funny!! I was scared of letting people down with changing my major, but then I realized that I am the one that has to deal with my career choice for the rest of my life. I should be happy in my future career, so I changed my major, and I have not looked back since. Being liberated feels great! Rebecca

quiet, quiet
don't let them hear
quiet, quiet
. . . the dark is near

gothic kid
in class
what is he thinking?

furry body
long whiskers
what are you thinking

the bright lights
of Times Square
teary eyes

Valina Hoang

I like this haiku because it leaves the subject open for interpretation. I love New York City and I went there my junior of high school. I was in awe when we went to Times Square. This haiku reminded me, though, that my friend had her phone stolen that day and she was crying in the middle of Times Square. Also, I pictured a child that may have been separated from their parents and they are crying all alone. Someone may have been waiting their whole life to see Times Square and now they are finally there and they start to tear up. There are so many possibilities with this haiku and it leaves options for so many people to connect to it. Erin

in the dark I know well
there is a part
I can't tell

Mikayla Shaw (4)

I read this and wonder, is this about suppression? I see myself, young and scared and naïve, burrowing a secret deep within. I didn't know why, but it was bad. I want to hug her, to see if Mikayla is okay. I also want to start a global campaign to let people know that they do not have to feel this way. Knowing that other people feel this, my heart breaks. She phrased this sensation so eloquently and perfectly. No one could have done it better. Taylor

red flags
no one pays attention

Mikayla Shaw (3)

night sky
all of the stars
watching me

Erin O'Brien

When you feel alone in the night, you can look for company, and I find mine in the stars. It feels like they are all so far away, but sometimes they are little points of light that can offer you can use. In darkness with the stars, I don't need anyone else or anything else. I enjoy the beauty and peace and peace and quiet. Brandi

Always asking
       what time is it?
               wishing my life away

Deja Finley

When one is down, it isn't hard to see why they feel like their life is slipping away. This can also be a result of waiting for something and it is killing you to wait for it. It can be hard either way when the suspense is killing you. Sometimes you are trying to get away from an extremely boring situation, or you're just dying of boredom. Brandi

hands clasped
all I can do for her
is pray

Natalie Zelman

This reminds me of my boyfriend. Typically when I am upset with him he likes to tell me he is praying for me. This seems to calm me down right away no matter how upset I am. This also makes me think of a family with a loved one experiencing sickness. I think of how powerful prayers can be. In my small, close-knit community many churches have prayer chains that pray for anyone in the community in need of prayers. Something so simple can provide peace of mind to that persons loved ones, and even to the individual in need of the prayers. I don't know who wrote this haiku, but I love it. I thank you for writing about something that is a powerful part of today's society even though it can be easily overlooked. Sara

shouldn't we love freely?
sparrows always
find their way home

Jonathan Rieck (4)

lady liberty
waves goodbye
10,000 feet down

basement piano;
I use the washing machine
to keep in time

Jonathan Rieck (4)

he kissed me
last weekend
—and now I'm nothing

like a game of
   "tag!" you're it
       but love's not a game

piercing needle
through the skin
adjorning new jewelry

Trista Smith

Mrs. White
in the hall
with the revolver?

she lit my cigarette
outside the late night diner—
lasts are always bests

Jonathan Rieck (5)

but the bruises
scream louder

Mikayla Shaw (12)

This poem opens so many doors. I see it as an abusive relationship, but it could be describing a couple different situations. I see it as a girl trying to break up with this boy who had abused her in their relationship. He offers apologies and promises that he will be better in the future, but she can barely hear all that he is trying to say because all she can hear are her bruises yelling not to trust him and that he will just do it again. Danna

The Plaza on Fifth Avenue
pink bow in her hair
carelessly Eloise twirls

hides himself
behind thick-framed wayfarers
and Tolstoy

sculpture studio
inhaling soot
at the ringing anvil

Natalie Zelman (2)

no caller ID but
incessant ringing
(parking garage at night)

my senses search
for harvest

Sara Siegfried (4)

I've always been a really big home body so I have experienced quiet a lot of homesickness. I had spent my entire life at my home until going off to college. For me this haiku reminds me a lot of my home. I grew up in the country and one of my favorites times would be harvest, when the air is just starting to get chilly and the combines are in the fields. These haiku gives me that sense of chilly air, with the smell of harvest. It's very nostalgic for me, because some of my earliest memories for me are standing at the edge of a field watching my grandfather drive a combine. I feel at home in a cornfield surrounded by amber stalks of corn. I can even hear them crunching underneath my feet. Trista

alone at home
blank white envelope

Sara Siegfried (8)

This haiku makes me just think of a mystery. Someone brings it the mail and on the counter is just a blank white envelope with no stamp or address adorning it. He just leaves it on the counter as they sort through the other mail in the pile. Eventually, his eyes come to rest upon the blank letter. He thinks of a list of people who would send him this letter. He then takes out the letter opener and solves his mystery, but inside the letter is just a piece of white paper. Blank. Danna

sweetheart on his knee
he said loved me
let that be my story

even if it was
only for a night,
you were still mine

sun rises, moon dances
still the only person
I think about

pine breeze
cradles every strand of hair
sun setting

weed sifts to the door
grumble like old people
who don’t like crowds

ground shifts
to who I am

Trista Smith (5)

             &welcome him home

Taylor Hagerdorn (3)

a room for two
times four
warm laughs all around

santa's house
young children cling
to wish lists

Sara Siegfried (5)

jar of sand on dresser
the echoes
of soldiers

Trista Smith (7)

the beauty of a kiss

hospital room
people come and go
but only doctors

Alexandria Wilson (6)

sharp train horn
second reminder
of the new day

how about those clouds,
slo-mo breath
of sky

. . . silence
of a baseball bat

greying hair and smiles
baggage claim
home at last

sunny day
are null and void

nothing beats
my garden back home

footprints in the sand
where do i begin
where do I end

Alexandria Wilson (8)

evening walk
peaceful chatter shattered
by dog's teeth

home alarm system
seconds before the doorbell
baying beagles

feeling like two of a kind,
she picks the
white colored pencil

Alec Campbell (6)

I like this one because it points out the unnoticed girl in the the classroom. Some girls feel like they are unimportant, like the white colored pencil. Girls like this don't realize their worth. I particularly like this one because a girl in our class pointed out how important the white colored pencil is. She mentioned that there is so many things that could be done with a white colored pencil that people don't realize. This is also true for this girl. She is a lot more important than she realizes. DJ

yellowed photograph
my departed grandmother
at age fourteen

Alec Campbell (6)

butterfly whispers
"hey squirt"
just like dad did

Olivia Cuff (6)

dust everywhere
I examine
the strange tracks

giggling girls
I smirk
dating sims forever

Brandi DeLeonardo (3)

the sewing machine
ticking along
then a bomb

Alexandria Wilson (2)

slipped on the ice I said,
stitches line my face
one of many lies

long talk past dusk
the neighbors
retrieve their drugs

old willow
dying in summer sun
no more swinging

Alexandria Wilson (4)

            don't tell me
there's nothing to worry about

Natalie Zelman (15)

This haiku describes my freshmen year or college when no one else understood how extremely stressful it is being a theater design major.  The little amounts of sleep with a 40+ hour work week along with non major classes it was rough for me to adjust that semester. It did not help ever when people would tell me that I get too stressed too fast because I realized now that I've switched majors that it was mostly coming from that theater major just not being right for me anymore. Mikayla

Bless you, Natalie. You have written something that the vast majority of us can relate to. Anxiety is such a difficult thing to struggle with, and it is nearly impossible to describe to someone who does not struggle with it. You have done a great job of describing the frustration that comes along with trying to explain anxiety to someone who does not understand it. I don't think there really is a way to describe it to another person, because things that might worry you may not worry someone else. A lot of times, there is no rationality behind the things that make us anxious or why they make us anxious. They just do. It is so frustrating when someone tells you not to worry so much, because you can't not worry. It is not something that you can control. I like that this haiku validates the seriousness of anxiety. It's not something to brush off. Mackenzie

my own words start
a song
in my head

Natalie Zelman

I just adore how simple this haiku is. It reminds me of when I was little, and I wanted to be a pop star. I would stand in the shower and just sing whatever came to my mind. It didn't matter what the melody was or if the words rhymed. I just let it out. When I was around eight years old, I wrote a song about cottage cheese. It was my jam. This haiku reminds me a lot of my youth and how easy it was. Rebecca

pillow fight
with myroommate
cheeks hurt

my past surfacing
to strike from below

Alec Campbell (8)

little dress
brown elephants
for Africa

quiet building
we run around
finding sardines

Brandi DeLeonardo (8)

His love
gives me breath
and sucks me breathless simultaneously

Deja Finley (9)

What a gorgeous understatement of love. This haiku was just so lovely to read, but I loved this whole experience within the haiku that Deja has going. She's got this remarkable voice in her haiku, and it prominently shows within these four lines. Her statement of "simultaneously" is what made the haiku for me, and I think that her form was what created this strong sense of individuality and beauty. Great job, Deja! Jonathan

grooves rotate and swirl
needle is not clean
but beautifully impure:
play me that sound of silence

Taylor Hagerdorn (4)

on the wall
mental hospital




© 2014, Randy Brooks • Millikin University
All rights returned to authors upon publication.