Haiku Extended Memory Haibun 1
Global Haiku • Millikin University • Fall 2015
Swist, TSBU, 85
This haiku reminds me of when I was in the intensive care unit after my surgery. My parents had to take turns being in the room with me because I was only allowed to have one visitor at a time. I would mostly sleep, so there was a lot of sitting and waiting for me to wake up. I remember my mom trying to stay busy, but she never could. I also remember being in the intensive care. My parents both said I was not making much sense when I was talking and I was being very silly. I was really out of it from all the pain medication and sometimes was very dizzy. The haiku represents the disorientation of my dizziness in the hospital. The haiku also represents my parents' nervousness and how the linoleum patterns would change from the waiting and anxiousness. I mostly slept during my time in the intensive care unit, but I did one thing that nobody has done before after a scoliosis correction surgery. I sat up on my bed and dangled my feet off the side. My surgeon had said that in the twenty five years he had been doing his job, he had never had a patient sit up in the same day after surgery. When I sat up, I was two inches taller and could immediately notice the difference. It was very different to sit up and to be taller in a matter of six hours.
deep sleep from anesthesia
Swist, TSBU, 85
My junior year of high school my immune system began to collapse. Right after New Year's, I became violently ill, and spent two days in the hospital. I missed three weeks of school. I returned back for half days for two weeks. On Valentine's Day, I went out for dinner with my parents. I started feeling dizzy. We went home, and I began uncontrollably vomiting. My parents rushed me back to the hospital. I don't remember much of my few days in the hospital this time. I remember when we got there, the nurses immediately began trying to start IV. I was so dehydrated, the nurse couldn't find my vein. Instead of stopped at two "misses", she continued digging in my arm four more times. Finally, an older nurse came in and stuck the needle right in. I spent the night in the hospital on a series of IV's. The next morning, they sent me home with strict orders to only rest. That afternoon, I began to get large red patches of raised welts. I became very tired and my temperature spiked to 102 degrees. Once again, I returned to the hospital. I was having a severe allergic reaction to a medication from the previous night. My arm was so bruised from the previous nurse, my IV was inserted in the other arm. The staff forced me to stay awake. I remember just feeling more tired than I had ever felt in my life. The room was spinning every time I opened my eyes. The checkered floor was swirling and the colors seemed to bleed from their tiles. One of the only things keeping me awake was the ice packs on my wrists and neck. I was so cold from the IV's and the ice packs, but they wouldn't let me have a real blanket, only a sheet. I've never experienced such cold in my life. I felt as if my veins were turning to ice. I just wanted a blanket and to sleep. At some point during my observation, they stopped keeping me awake. I don't remember leaving the hospital. I don't even remember waking up. The next month after my collapse, I was on sedatives. I didn't leave my bed, except to use the bathroom. The sedatives made me very tired. At the time, my bedroom walls had stripes. I do remember staring at them, for what seemed like an eternity, watching the stripes move in waves across the walls. I spent most of my time sleeping, attempting to repair my immune system. I barely remember anything from those three months of my life.
one, two, three—
Lyles, THTR, 82
When I was 16, I had my wisdom teeth removed. This haiku by Peggy Lyles, immediately takes me back to that time of my life. It was my very first surgery and ever since then, I've been a little skeptical about going to the dentist for anything.
I had the procedure done during the summer (to save myself from embarrassment). It was surprisingly a very cold morning in July in Dallas, TX. I remember anticipating everything. I remember checking-in at the front desk, sitting in this huge leather chair, and I remember patiently waiting for the dentist to come in. About 20-30 minutes later, a nurse came in and explained to me that she would start an IV in my arm and give me medication that would make me sleep through the entire procedure. I was really concerned about the medication wearing off mid-procedure so I asked the nurse if my mom could stay in the room with me the whole time because I needed a witness to make sure they didn't mess up my mouth while I was asleep. She started laughing, but I couldn't find anything funny. As she started to put the medication through my IV, the dentist walked in and all I could think was, "well look who decided to be late this morning." He started talking about how the procedure works, how long it would take, what to expect etc. I said ok and told him that I didn't think the medication was working because I wasn't feeling sleepy.
Next thing I remember, I was waking up. The first thing I said was, "Is it over?" I was shocked at how quick he was able to take out all four of my wisdom teeth and my mom laughed and said, "Yea girl, you had a nice nap." At this point I was still heavily medicated and feeling great so I jumped out of the chair and fell straight to the floor. Fortunately, the nurse caught my head so I didn't get hurt. After everyone stopped laughing at me, she helped me into a wheelchair and started talking to my mom about what happens next. The whole time they're talking on the way to the car, I felt so confused because I couldn't understand how it all happened so fast. The nurse helped me into the car and before she closed the door, she showed me the wisdom teeth they had just taken out. They were actually pretty big so the dentist cut each one in half and took them out of my mouth piece by piece. Unfortunately, my mom wouldn't let me keep them so we just left. I fell back asleep at home and when I woke up I was in excruciating pain. I appreciated the anesthesia so much more once it wore off. Saving the bloody details, I was in pain for about 2 weeks and my mouth didn't stop bleeding for about a week. The dentist prescribed medication for my pain and nausea from the constant taste of blood in my mouth. He also gave me a curved syringe to spray water into the holes in my gums until they closed up to prevent infection. I will never forget that summer and because of it, I will never enjoy a dentist visit again because I'm too afraid they'll find another reason to operate in my mouth and I cant bear anymore pain throughout my face like that ever again.
the pain is so unbearable
a frozen towel has never
Lyles, THTR, 108
When I was a kid, sometimes my dad would be doing things outside and my sister and I would get to be out there with him. We would be running around, laughing, playing—being typical little kids. On this particular day, my sister and I had gotten our bathes and went outside to the backyard in our pajamas to play. The sun was going down and the sky was that beautiful dusky color. As the sky was getting darker, the fireflies started becoming visible. Glowing in the dark, they always amazed me. They reminded me of stars that you could touch. In that moment, I had a brilliant idea. Brilliant for a seven year old at least. I decided that I would take them in and light up my room. So I spent about ten minutes collecting them and putting them in my pajama pocket. It took me a while to realize that they were just going to fly out unless I found a way to keep them inside. So when it was finally time to go inside, I had about fifteen fireflies in my pajama shirt pocket and was ready to march inside and let them free in my bedroom. The one problem was that my pocket was glowing and at this point, it had become really dark outside. My dad turned around and saw my pocket and asked what I was doing. I probably said something really dumb like "going inside". After telling me that I can't bring in the fireflies and killing my dream of a magical bedroom, I had to let them go in the backyard.
a ray of sunlight
Wally Swist, The Silence Between Us, 99
This haiku reminded me of the trip I took with my family to see my cousins in Nebraska. They own a horse ranch and a small farm next to it. We had left our home very early in the morning so we would be there by lunchtime and I was awake for the entirety of the seven hour old trip. Besides the excitement I felt the whole time, I also remember exactly what I saw as we crossed the state line into Nebraska. I had the supreme opportunity to see my first real life sunrise. I waited in anticipation eating a chocolate chip granola bar and as we drove over a tall hill, I saw the most beautiful combination of colors the seemed to be painted with a giant brush across the sky. It was also very heavily colored with orange over other colors, which make this haiku much more relatable for me. I drew the window down on the backseat car door and I looked out my window as we turned left and I thought for a moment that this scenery was just looking at me directly. I saw all of the colors and felt the breeze on my face. I smelled the fresh morning dew in the air, and finally arrived at our destination.
Swist, TSBU, 103
This haiku made me think of a memory I have from this past summer. It was the middle of the summer and I was hanging out with my boyfriend, Austin. We were at his house playing basketball in the backyard with his twin brother and his brother's girlfriend. After we were done playing, Austin's brother and his girlfriend went back inside the house, but Austin and I stayed in the yard. The sun had almost set and it was starting to get dark. We noticed a few lightning bugs starting to appear, flying around the yard. Austin chased one to catch it, and he succeeded after a few attempts. We then decided we wanted to catch more, so Austin gave me the first lightning bug to hold in my hands while he ran inside to get a container to keep them in. I could barely keep the little guy trapped between my palms, but luckily I was able to hold him until Austin got back. Once we added our first lightning bug to the Tupperware container, we were on the hunt for more. After a few minutes we were both running around the yard chasing the bugs as if we were children again. Each time we caught one we would run back to the container and add it to our collection. It was so much fun to try and keep the bugs in sight as they flashed around the yard. Sometimes they got away from us and we had to pick a new target. They are really hard to keep sight of! It was such an evening of pure fun. We were able to act like kids again, doing something I hadn't done for years. By the end of our hunt we had captured quite a few bugs in our container (and sadly squished a few in the lid along the way—whoops!). After we stared at them for a while, it was time to let them go. We wanted to make sure most of them got the chance to live after we had our fun. We ended the night with a swim in his pool. It was one of the best nights we had this summer because it was so simplistic. It was the epitome of what summer is supposed to be—fun, carefree, and with the people you love. I hope to have more nights like this in the future, getting to revisit fun times from my childhood. It is one of my best memories from this summer.
new age bookstore
Swist, TSBU, 84
This haiku especially triggered a memory of my early teenage years. I was going to visit a grave of someone that was close to me. I know this memory doesn't take place in a bookstore but I did not take that part literal.
I was alone, and I remember that it was supposed to be a quick visit because I had other things to do that day. I went to the cemetery alone, and went straight to the grave I was visiting. It was always hard for me to visit their grave because so many emotions would always come flooding back. Every time I came and visited I thought of all the memories we had together. The good and the bad ones, but eventually I had seen every memory with them as a good one because having a memory means they were still with me.
On this day, the sun was covered by clouds, but the summer breeze was still warm. I sat down in the grass in front of the grave stone, like I always do, and talk to them about all the things that have happened to me since I was last there. It seems weird, but I was not willing to let them go. I said my good byes to them, and said that I would be back next week and I began to leave.
As I was walking I saw a headstone of a baby that had only been alive for a day. I stopped for a second and thought about the parents of that baby. I thought that maybe they had been successful lawyers or something prestigious and they had just lost the love of their lives. Then I began to walk through all of the graves. When I would cross over gravestones, I paid attention to the years they were alive. I think about the possible lives they led. Some people lived through the Great Depression, and some lived through Woodstock. I went through hundreds of graves that day just designating lives to each person. There were some married couples that I offered my imagination to as well.
When the sun started to go down, that's when I realized that time had completely slipped my mind. This is a memory that I look back on frequently. It might be a weird habit for certain people, but now when I go visit their grave I make it point to go to new graves and just wonder about the lives they led. There are so many different people in the world, so many personalities, values, families, and they all lead somewhere different. The days that I go to the cemetery are an escape. There is no reality anymore for those people, and it allows me to take a break from mine.
as I sit by your name
hundreds of graves
the familiar carpet of grass
Although looking outside to see the first snowfall of the year is always a special moment, I especially remember the moment that I opened my blinds to see half of my garage door hidden behind a wall of the cold white stuff: During the night, while everyone was asleep, Illinois was hit with a snowstorm that left like, two or three feet of snow. I put my hand up to the window and immediately pulled it back due to how cold it was. I got a phone call from my high school office about not having to come in that day and suddenly a regular morning turned into one of the happiest days of my high school career. I was ecstatic for the remainder of that day and then for the next couple of days after that because there was SO much snow that simply pushing it to the sides of the road wasn't enough to make room for cars, so the school called the entire week off. After a while, I got tired of not having a schedule and I got tired of shoveling the driveway and the street for an hour every time I wanted to go somewhere. Eventually, everything was put back to the way it was before all the snow and I finally had to go back to school. However, opening my blinds for the first time and seeing all of my backyard buried underneath two entire feet or so of snow will always remain a vivid and colorful memory in my mind for years to come, especially whenever I see snow and think, "This is cool, but do you remember when we got two feet of snow in 2011?" For me, it will always be the standard. ~Nick
the alarm rings.
© 2015, Randy Brooks Millikin University
All rights returned to authors upon publication.