Haibun Attempts 2 Revised

Global Haiku • Millikin University • Spring 2010

Wine List

This morning, Sunday the 28th of February, I went to a brunch at my friend’s house. We were sitting at the table eating when I noticed a book that was lying on the dresser near the table. The book was the “Official Wine Listing for the Windows of the World.” Seeing that book made my heart skip a beat. The last time I saw a copy of that book was on my kitchen drain back home when I was 11 years old, two days before the attacks on 9/11. My dad is a wine connoisseur, and he has always had a passion for learning about wine. That book was the official wine list for the “Windows of the World,” which is the restaurant on the top floor of the world trade center. My dad had a lunch appointment on 9/11 at the top of the world trade center, and the sole reason he went there was so he could get his book singed by the wine specialists who worked there and helped write the book. Seeing that book on the table this morning made memories of terror flood back into me, and I suddenly remembered how scared and helpless I felt when I was 11. My dad turned out to be ok, but I will never forget that day, and I will never forget that book.

fiery free-fall from
the world trade center…

          Garrett Derman (4)

Fossil Fuel

I take a walk down the street. I look up at the smoky sky, and dream of a time when humans used to be able to see the blueness of the sky. That was before we used all our natural resources, and in turn destroyed the environment. Despite scientific efforts, we have been unable to find a successful way to reproduce fuel and crops without causing even more destruction to our world. I wonder what it was like to walk outside without a mask on, to stand outside for more than a few minutes without having to worry about UV poisoning from the sun, and most of all, I wonder what it was like to not have a limit on how much water you can drink per day.


          Garrett Derman (6)

Bottom of the Bucket

Today we go to the strawberry farm, just like we do every summer. Me and my mom pick buckets full of berries. I eat some of the perfectly reddened, juicy strawberries I find as I walk down the rows and rows of plants I can choose to go down, that’s the way to do it. Me and mom take the buckets of strawberries home and rinse off all the berries and freeze some, make jelly from others, strawberry shortcake, and of course gorge ourselves in the rest. As we clean the berries we wash off dirt and leaves, and the occasional tiny black bug. This part always grosses me out but I still love to eat the strawberries! Somehow I end up with something on my shirt like I always do from the summer of strawberries.

in the kitchen
with mom we make

          Kari Thornton

Signal Light

Clear or rainy I am watching you. I am sitting in the shadows and waiting for the right moment to arrive. My suit is built to protect me and to harm you. I will not let you take advantage of this city and get away with it. With the help of my trusty butler no one knows my true identity and it will stay that way. You think you can hide in the darkness of this place, but I am already here. Though you can’t see me, my good deeds shine like the sun. This city needs me and I will be here when they call with a light in the sky. Watch your back sirs because I am here waiting for you. I will fly down from above and take you down. Challenge me I dare you, I already know how it will end. The corruption will stop here and Gotham will be turned around.

hiding in the shadows
I sit atop

          Kari Thorton

Treasure in the Mist

You know those tiny little rainbows that show up when there’s mist from a garden hose? Those rainbows are so tiny that you can see either end. I’ve never seen a pot of gold while watering the flowers. Either the end of the rainbow is hidden somehow, or there isn’t a pot of gold. Maybe it’s the leprechauns…. They seem like shady folk. Maybe they’ve found a way to hide themselves from our sight. That sounds logical, I suppose. Then they must make the pot of gold invisible as well. Perhaps they make the gold invisible when they touch it, and all you have to do is find the end of the rainbow, knock the leprechauns out of the way, and the gold will appear! Or maybe…

hidden treasure
before your eyes

          Nathan Bettenhausen

Rock Beats Bike

Years later, I still have the helmet. My parents say that they’re sure I would have died if I hadn’t been wearing it. The scrapes in it were nearly an inch deep. The bike is still in the barn. The tire still wobbles, and I’m still amazed it can be ridden (though not by me). The scars are still on my body too. They’ll always remind me of that day…

As we often did, my brother and I went biking one beautiful summer day. We began heading down the road towards the big hill. Being older than me, Brandan would almost always reach the top of the hill before me. Most days he would wait for me there, but this day he was apparently too impatient. As I was still hauling my bike up the hill, Brandan zoomed past me. I couldn’t believe that he had left me! I picked up the pace, hoping that I could make it to top of the hill before he made it back home. I finally got to the top, looked down the road, and saw that he had already disappeared into our barn. I quickly hopped onto my bike and pedaled furiously after him. I was going so fast! I kept going faster and faster until I was afraid. My bike didn’t have brakes on the handles; you had to backpedal in order to stop. It was almost impossible to slow down, but I tried it a few times. Fearing I would lose control, I decided I would just have to coast to a stop. I was flying down the road, until…


The next thing I remember was waking up in the ditch. The only reason I knew that I blacked out was that I didn’t remember falling. One second I was hitting a small pebble, and the next I was in the ditch. Unfortunately I hadn’t just landed in the ditch, I had hit the road. I had hit the road HARD. I looked at myself and all I could see was blood. I began to cry harder than I had ever cried before. I was alone. Brandan had left me. He had left me behind. It was the only thing I could think about for quite some time. With a great deal of effort, I pulled myself up and began the longest bike ride of my life—back home.

screaming in pain
the cattle
don’t notice

          Nathan Bettenhausen (4)


After the philosophy lecture, I take the stairs and stop midway down. My friend comes out of the classroom after me. I glance at him wordlessly before looking back out the window.

"The snow is blowing up," I state. He looks out the window. Against the brick of the building, we can see snowflakes drifting upward, but none come back down.

"... I like when things are different," he replies.

We continue to stare out the window. After a span of silence, he briefly attempts to reason why the snow was doing it--the architecture of the building, air in the small recess pushing precipitation back--but we both soon fall back into quiescence, watching the snow fall up. He then checks the calendar on his phone and continues down the stairs.

no safety rail
at the rocky precipice
ocean mist

          Aubrie Cox (2)

Midnight Snack

Pouring myself a glass of water from the tap, I look out the kitchen window. Long tree shadows stretch across the backyard blue snow. I remember my professor asking if anyone knew which phase of the moon we were currently on; no one could answer, except that it would be a full moon on Friday; the professor corrected her; it would be a full moon on Saturday. Though now, the light already surpasses those of the street lamps. I lean over the sink, but can't catch a glimpse of the moon. Sleepless, I leave the glass on the counter and go back to bed.

my life—
240 pages

          Aubrie Cox

Flickering Light

Water drips into the filled tub. I reach over and pull the knob tighter and the faucet stops leaking. Candle light flickers against the bathroom's pale pink tiles. Outside, the wind howls and bare branches beat against the side of the house. As I run the wet washcloth over my forearm, I can hear the television in the next room. I slip further into the water. The gentle splashes seem loud in comparison to the news anchor reporting about the bomb in the baby carriage and the damage to the front of the bakery. On the bathroom ceiling is black soot from the Home Sweet Home candle.

wind carries away
the grey ash
daffodil buds

          Aubrie Cox

Moon Face

It was summer. Slightly warm out, but still had that good night chill. The sun had gone down hours ago and the heat of the night was settling upon us. Mosquitoes were buzzing by our ears as we sat around the campfire. The smoke wafted into our faces, choking back our oxygen a little bit. We looked up at the night sky together, enjoying the beauty it brought us. Out here in the country, the stars seemed to have multiplied infinitely. They were brighter than any city lights could ever be. I took her hand and walked her over by the lake. We lay down on the dock, still a little soggy from the daily lake activities. Right there, with her arm on my shoulder I felt as if nothing could go wrong. The stars were twinkling above us. The moon was lighting up her face perfectly. The fish were jumping out of the water every few minutes. The crickets chirped all around us. What could make this any more perfect?

Then, it happened. Stars started jumping in the sky. Shooting stars were everywhere. One after another these beautiful, twinkling lights jumped out of the black background towards our faces. This lasted for about an hour, just laying there on the dock. Everything around us was perfect. Everything around us comforted us and made us feel safe. Even though we were in the middle of some strange place that we didn’t really know, everything was known and perfect to us. We felt love. We were love. And the stars joined us.

looking for love
among the stars
lost, now found

          Olivia Birkey

Tuft of Hair

He looks up, deep into my eyes. The yellow outline tells a secret. The yellow teeth and awful breath explain it further. No, this is surely not Keith. He nears closer to my face and lets out a horrific roar. I can feel the heat flowing on my face. His fur, caught in the branches as he attempted to near me, is mangled tight, lucky for me. I duck down, hoping he will lose sight of me and I can scramble away. He is too smart for me though and stomps his gargantuan foot in my path. Fear cripples me. I cannot move. My heart pounds out of my chest. Tears well up in my eyes. Sweat beads form all across my forehead. I close my eyes, hoping to gather my thoughts and come up with a plan. I open my eyes, scared of what I will see now . . . my bedroom surrounds me. I am safe and sound at home. It had only been a dream! I roll over to go back to sleep and find a dark tuft of hair on my pillow…

running through the forest
escaping my
King Kong past

          Olivia Birkey

Big Blue

I carefully drive up to the campus of my possible future home, scattered with huge brick buildings. I had to drive carefully because there was a freak snow storm a few days before and Millikin had even cancelled classes. This is the first campus I have visited that hasn’t been intimidating. My mom and I pull into a parking lot and as we search for a spot, not are to be found. Finally, we find a random spot and decide it is our spot. We walk through puddles and snow, up to the biggest brick building and I feel like a princess as I enter this castle-like structure. I look to my right and see a large sign with “Shilling Hall” engraved on it.

We are ushered to, what I now know as, Lower RTUC and President Zemke speaks to us about this beautiful campus and what it has to offer to students like me. He says that even under all of this snow, Millikin still shines with a “Big Blue” sky. I am then assigned to a student who will walk my mother and I around, as well as another potential student.

I come to learn that this student is Lili Torre, a potential theater major from South Carolina. We chat and gossip all day about our tour and how much we love the school so far. She explained to me that she was also doing her audition for the theater program this day and thus, was dressed up and not prepared for the snow. As we step over huge piles of glistening white snow, we giggle because our parents look so funny trying to make their way around the snow.

Obviously, in the end, I chose Millikin because of my experiences on this day. Not only was the campus gorgeous, the people were welcoming and inviting. I could really see myself as a student there, and now I am.

snow sparkles
under my feet as I walk
across my future home

          Becky Smith

Christmas Eve

One year, on Christmas Eve, my family and I were planning on going to church. However, the weather was really horrible. There were at least 8 inches of snow and more falling at every minute. We were all dressed up with me in my new, black and sparkly Christmas dress. We all sat around the fireplace, contemplating if the roads were too bad to bear. I was supposed to sing in the choir so I kept saying that we needed to go. My uncle put his arm around me and explained that if the roads were too bad, there was nothing we could do. However, in the end, my mom decided that we could go. However, when we got to the church, not a single car was in the parking lot. We drove home in a slump, sad that our Christmas Eve mass was ruined.

a little girl
longing to sing at church
on Christmas Eve

          Becky Smith

Panama City Beach

I'm running across the beach, kicking hot sand onto the back of my legs. Standing on the shoreline, the cool breeze rolls over my pale skin, the sun beating down on my bare shoulders. I hear the gentle roar of the waves as they crash onto the shore, sending water rushing around my ankles and softening the sand into warm mashed potatoes as my toes sink under. I feel free. Little children splashing and screaming, normally I'd be annoyed but I'm too calm to care—although it's almost sunset which I heard is shark feeding time so hopefully no one goes too far out into the water. The cool water settling around my ankles, I let my knees buckle and I land in the wet sand, staring off into the sunset wondering what the night will bring.

far offshore
child's innertube floats

          Jade Anderson (7)

Night Air

The wind rushing through my hair, goosebumps popping up all over my body, the incredible rush of flying through the clouds is extraordinary. Wispy clouds are a blur, and the night sky above me seems just a little bit closer than when I was on the ground. Dipping in and out of the clouds, swerving around birds and airplanes, the adrenaline rush almost matches the amount of fear I’m feeling. Flying on a broomstick to escape this town that I have hated growing up in is so freeing.

nighttime observing
not a shooting star but
a broomstick

          Jade Anderson


“Hurry up!” Sisters scamper ahead of mother. She is laden down with bulging bags of sunscreen, snacks, and towels. Her sunglasses dangerously dangle on the tip of her nose. “Not so fast!” No need. My uncle swooping in and scooping us up, our sunburnt bottoms slapping against his tanned forearms. We scream and wriggle out, our feet hitting the fine sand, wallowing in it like sugar. Waiting, impatient for mom. She finally lays down the towels, sets up the umbrella, and motions for us. The cold sunscreen melts down our skin and we wait and squirm, blowing on it to dry faster. Waves crashing, teasing. The sun glimmering. The sunscreen starts to sweat off. Gulls cry and our cousins laugh. We wait. Finally, the magic word from the boss: “Okay.” We take off from the starting block with our pails and shovels, determined to finish our city’s ground plan before lunchtime. I’m in charge of the moat, my sister of the buildings - no wonder she went on to become an architect. I lug sand back and forth from the tide, digging a trench that no hermit crab can cross. The tide comes in. An hour has passed. My moat is filled with foamy brine, and a tower collapses! My cousins swim out to the sandbar, and my sister joins them while I try to salvage the castle. I slap wet mounds of sand on the moat over and over. Sand crusts under my fingernails and rubs my palms raw. My eyes sting from the grit. My mom calls “Snack time!” I reluctantly go and scarf down a sandwich, and then return. The castle is in ruins. Sigh. I turn around and grab my goggles. Time for a swim.

atop the ruined sandcastle
a gull sunbathes
staring contest

          Susie Wirthlin

Ghost Shirt

Wind comes in. Hot, dusty air clogs my throat and stings my eyes, even through my helmet. I can hear the shots, feel the bullets, and taste the blood. I look around at the rocky hills, the sun beating down on me like a mallet. I tremble: they’re gonna eat me alive. My hands sweat inside the gloves, my torso expands inside of the thick bullet proof vest. The gun feels heavy in my suddenly clumsy hands, and my feet feel like leaden blocks on the ends of my stumpy shins. I feel rough, like a ball of clay smushed by a child and thrown into the kiln, meant for nothing but destruction. No glaze, just armor haphazardly thrown on as I clank towards the battlefield. A helmet lies in the weeds, dusty with age, an exotic flower growing from a bullet hole. The shadow stretches into the horizon, beyond everything I have known and everything I have left behind. I clench my teeth and breath. My eyes overflow. The air whizzes with bullets, and my heart stops.

metal helmet
riddled with holes
missing its head

          Susie Wirthlin (7)

Camping in Wisconsin

At an early age, I was quickly introduced to the outdoors. My family enjoyed sports, camping, hiking, biking, and boating. Basically, you name the outdoors activity and we liked to do it. Furthermore, growing up in Wisconsin produced a close relationship with different types of nature from all four seasons. Of these seasons summer became a particular favorite due to camping throughout Wisconsin. The family favorite camping site was two hours north of Green Bay called Boulder Junction. We reserved the same small red cabin for a week in July up until I was ten years old. Camping at Boulder Junction became a vital family tradition in my upbringing, placing importance with those memories.

The most vivid memories revolved around the old wooden dock in the backyard of the lakefront cabin. We fished off the dock at breakfast, swam in the shallows during the day, and watched the sunset at night. The six supporting pillars were stained just above water level with passing waves. Several of the faded dock boards creaked slowly as I would approach the end of the pier. Although the creaking should have made me cautious, I had complete faith in the strength of the dock and would run along it carefree. Sitting at the end, I would run my hands along the age-smoothed wood, usually warm to the touch from the sun. The dock was covered with knicks and chipped wood as though they were the battle scars of the veteran pier. Sturdy and constant the dock served as a anchor for many of my childhood camping memories.

Wisconsin camping trip
lake splashing chaos,
a family tradition

           Tyler Lamensky

Soccer Champion

The epitome of my high school career came with senior soccer season. I had been announced captain of the varsity team early in the summer and wasted no time to get the team in shape. Daily lifting and strenuous of hour soccer to follow quickly shaved off any extra pounds. Beyond the physical requirement for greatness, the team mentality was perfect. Nine of the thirteen seniors (myself included) had been playing soccer together for eleven years. We knew where each other would run on the field before they even did it. Working several influential juniors into the mix, we trained all summer to evolve into a single working unit.

As the season began we won a few important games against very competitive schools, but needed to be consistent in our results. We seemed to win depending on the mood of the players. Once I realized this crucial aspect of our results I worked hard to boost team moral and set a good example for the team. Before each game we would be so mentally focused and motivated that our confidence became reality. We finished the regular season as conference champions and advanced to the state tournament.

The first game was against a much smaller conference school and we quickly won the game. The next team (semifinals) put up a valiant effort, but our determination to win prevailed yet again. This placed us in the state championship game. Fan busses from Neenah, my hometown, drove to Milwaukee for the event, giving us a home-crowd-feel of five hundred people. Our opponent was a large all-boys school called Marquette and had won six out of the last seven state championships. The hard fought battle pushed every player to their mental and physical limits. As if to prove the quality of both teams the regulation time ended with a 2-2 tie, leading us to over time.

Five minutes into the overtime my fellow captain put a volley into the side netting, scoring the game winning goal. Since that moment, life became a slow motion film. Every player rushed the field and was quickly met by ecstatic fans. Engulfed in a wave of people we held the state trophy high in the air as we cheered the infamous “ole” chant. That moment will always be embedded in my memory as one of the happiest events of my life.

trophy held high
engulfed by fans
I wake up

          Tyler Lamensky

© 2010, Randy Brooks • Millikin University
All rights returned to authors upon publication.