Haiku Kukai 3 - Mardi Gras & Ash Wednesday Favorites

Global Haiku • Millikin University • Spring 2013

smeared on her forehead
everyone stares

the worn glove
dusted off
a new rookie

Jonathan Robertson (8)

pet shop window
tiny pink paw
warms my palm

Therese O'Shaughnessy

I love this adorable image! I am a sucker for cute animals, so I can just picture someone, an adult or a child, stopping on the street at the sight of the puppies or kittens in the window. But there is one little animal who is brave enough to go right up to the window and stare at the onlooker. The idea of that tiny pink paw “warming” the human’s hand is such a strong image of connection between people and animals. Alex

boxed wine
the obligatory viewing
of a romantic comedy

Mardi Gras
trust me, no one
wants to see that

Randi Mehrmann (8)

in the lonely woods
she walks with God
owl wings whisper

Sarah E. Kisly (8)

This haiku is very deep, and that is why I think I enjoy it so much, as the girl is walking in “lonely” woods but you don’t get the sense that the girl is lonely as she clearly isn’t alone. Also, with the “owl wings” it gives almost a suspenseful/eerie feeling of being in the woods in the evening/night. Jon

gazing into the mirror
she sighs
. . . another lonely Valentine's day

a bad day
surprise delivery
fresh Paczkis

Heidi A. Zapp (2)

he kisses me softly
i wonder if he'd like me
if i wasn't pretty

Jordan Caulk (8)

This haiku does a great job at relating to all girls that have insecurities about someone they like or love or are seeking approval from. Looks are important to a girl’s self-esteem, but it is nice to feel like you are more than just what you are perceived as from the outside. I know that I have doubted myself and someone’s interest in me. I thought of a haiku response to this when I read it:

as we slowly kiss
i wonder if he'd love me
if i was pretty


One has to imagine this goes through the heads of many people when they are in a relationship with someone. It's so difficult to determine what role physical attraction should play in romance. As humans, we tend to be most interested in people we find physically attractive, but then it's easy to wonder if we are invested in the relationship for partially faulty reasons. I enjoy this haiku because it bluntly points out one of the most common thoughts humans have: am I loved for me, or the things I possess? Darien

I like this haiku because even in such a tender moment, when someone is kissing you softly, you can still feel self doubts. She is having self confidence issues despite the fact that she is receiving soft loving kisses. I can understand where she is coming from because I find myself doing that occasionally too. But what I've learned is that it is important to just cherish moments while they are happening, and not try to analyze them, because you will never get it right. Emily C.


112 lbs.
she still thinks
she's fat

Jordan Caulk (4)

bathroom mirror
who she sees
is not who she wants

a large meal—
acid burns
on her first two fingers

touching my forehead
what is this?
I softly explain the ashes

Sarah E. Kisly (3)

he always finds me

Alex Buchko (9)

This one could go either way. It could be a sweet man recognizing his lady friend based only upon her mannerisms and such. She is impressed and flattered. But, on the other hand, it could be about a woman who fled her family, friends, and steady job for fear of this man harming her in more ways than one. She found a nice apartment, an ok job, and things are beginning to look up. One of her acquaintances from work invites her to a themed party. This month: masquerade. She thinks, “Well, this would be my first time doing anything social since Bill started tracking me, but I think it might be safe. Especially because I’ll be masked the whole time.” She goes to the party, chats it up, drinks the punch, shows off her ability to touch her tongue to her nose, and has an overall great time. Then, in the corner of the room, nonchalantly chewing on a handful of salted cashews, and looking more menacing than usual in his leather pants, its Bill. Her heart drops, her glass shatters as it his the floor, and she dives out the second story window only to break her foot and find out it was some dude named Juarez standing there in the corner. Charlie

Donning an ivory mask, sparkling with crystals, I wait with bated breath in the center of the ballroom. Flashes of colorful faces spin around me, as I suddenly feel claustrophobic. An upbeat, familiar tune twinkles through the air. This cat and mouse game is almost over, as the clock tells me he has but one minute to find me. Suddenly, a strong pair of arms wraps around my waist and instinctually I lean back into the warm embrace. Craning my neck to look into his warm, honey eyes I kiss him tenderly as a reward. Therese

a valentine's day
love triangle:
me, Jose & Jack

Times Square
a ball of lights
lets me start over

Alex Buchko (7)

country music
the lyrics of
my life

Amanda Lee (3)

the smell of cigarettes
on his breath
when will it end

Amanda Lee (3)

early morning
her shower song
wakes me

Kelsey Meredith (6)

alone again
I guess that means
more chocolates for me

Kennth Albin (8)

This was my favorite poem from the kukai for different reasons. I liked that it started out in a way that led us to believe that this was going to be a sad poem. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the comical twist that it took when talking about more chocolates. I also love how chocolate is something that we have so closely associated with love, and how its appearance here is mocked as not only something that has to do with Valentine’s day, but can also mean being alone on Valentine’s day. Also, as a huge chocolate lover, I believe that any day can be a chocolate day. Molly

my valentine
this girl
I've never talked to

cozy in my bed
I have to pee

Amanda Lee (8)

I feel like this at times. It is usually that I am thirst, but I know I should get up but I don’t want to get up so I lie there and ponder and even though I am comfortable I still can't sleep because I need to pee or I am thirsty. Then I get up and I can’t get comfortable again when I lie down so I stay awake longer. This poem gives me feelings of discomfort and thirstiness. Kenneth

car seat removed
a rainbow of gummy dinos
and skittles

Charlie Decker (8)

midnight swim
moonlit droplets
on her cheek

Sarah E. Kisly (4)

after prom
cinderella alone—
a pumpkin again

Alex Buchko (7)

I love this haiku. It perfectly captures how you feel after any amazing night. You get home, still swept up in the magic of the evening, only to realize that you can never relive that night. You have been through this amazing experience, and just like that it is over. Randi

last day for candy
might as well eat it all

Amanda Lee (3)

returning together drunk . . .
a boy puts a screwdriver
in the electrical outlet

Charlie Decker (10)

2 in the morning
my laundry
still not dry

Montana sky
streaming black hair
becomes the horse's mane

Alex Buchko

Although I am not entirely sure of the meaning of this haiku, it causes me to think of a Montana sunset and the brilliant colors that accompany it. Gold, red, yellow, orange, and pink hues illuminate the horizon, causing trees and rocks to cast long shadows. I picture a field of tall grass, waving in the wind, almost black against the sky. The movement of the grass looks like the tossing of a wild horse’s mane, just as if he was galloping across the countryside, reveling in unbridled freedom. This haiku brings to mind the scents of fresh mountain air, faint pine, dust, leather, and smoke from a nearby campfire. “Montana sky” brings to my mind a splash of warm color, and a sense of freedom at the wide expanse laid before a traveller headed west. Perhaps cowboys are gathered around a fire after a long day’s work, enjoying stories and laughing heartily. Perhaps a child is running home to his mother’s arms after a day of endless play. Perhaps also, looking at the open sky, full of promise, a girl wishes for the horse she never had. Sarah

long day
of reality . . .
back to the novel

Alex Buchko (5)

scent of rubbing alcohol
grandma dabs
at my scraped knees

late night
I'll do my homework . . .

Kennth Albin (6)

he pulls me towards him
says he's not like the other
I try to believe him

overflowing sink
dirty dishes, murky water
she ponders pregnancy

Darien M. Sloat (9)

for Lent
the Pope gave up
being the Pope

Courtney Burress (9)

hanging on the wall
early retirement

an old man
alone at the doctor's office
waits for his ride

Emily Crutchfield (3)

valentine's day
I can still be happy
for others

counseling at Starbucks
two days later
she dials his number

Therese O'Shaughnessy (4)

my valentine
has a t-rex on it
she likes me

Valentine's day
spaghetti dinner
he likes my gift

as you show your faith
I am reminded
I have none

Courtney Burress

I like this haiku. Not because I don’t have any faith; I believe in God. I just don’t really know what else to believe. I feel like I don’t know very much about religion. I rarely go to church; I’ve never read the bible. This haiku makes me think of Ash Wednesday, when it was obvious who had been to a Catholic Service. I had to ask my friends what it meant to have the ashes put on your forehead. Kelsey

elementary school
I made fun of his ears
he liked me anyway

Kelsey Meredith (6)

first time
I ever cared
Feb 14

my varentine
no varentine
I so ronry

Matt Swofford (8)

the cafe is full
I sit

Kennth Albin

Living in a place that doesn’t require me to have a meal plan with the school has been both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that I don’t have to go to the cafe every day. The curse is that when I do go I don’t have that group of people that I always go with. It’s like a game of roulette whenever I go to eat there. I stand there praying that there is someone I know that I can sit with. Sometimes I do end up sitting alone and there have been days when the cafe is full that I’ve sat alone in the corner because I literally know no one. You would think that at a small school like Millikin, we would know everyone by now. Heidi

This is my life! I don’t really know why, but I tend to eat meals in the cafeteria by myself, even when there are friends of mine eating at the same time. I guess it's because I don't want to intrude on whatever they were talking about before I showed up and make it all awkward. I definitely empathize with the author of this haiku if that's what they do most of the time. Jordan

my baby cousin
dances for the party
Mardi Gras style

biting cold
she decides
to hold on

Jonathan Robertson

We didn’t talk about this haiku in class so I thought I would write about it. I like this one because if it’s images. I am always drawn to haiku that are able to accomplish so much in so few words, because I think there is so much value in that. The atmosphere is immediately set with the onset of the “biting cold.” This gives a very clear picture. It’s the kind of cold that makes you run inside and avoid going outside at all costs. In this haiku however, she is stuck in this cold that people work so hard to avoid. In the midst of this, she decides to hold on. We aren’t sure what she is holding on to, but we know that whether it is literal or metaphorical, it is costing her a great deal. So much so, that she has to make a significant effort to decide to hold on. The author put “she decides” on its on line so there would be a pause. This pause shows the great effort it has taken. I like that this can have a literal or metaphorical meaning. I like the idea of a metaphorical storm with “biting cold” that must be overcome. I think there are times like that in many people’s lives and I think this haiku captures it beautifully. Emily D.

burnt cookies
that don't look like hearts . . .
start from scratch

Courtney Burre (3)

mardi gras
in Iowa
just Tuesday

Darien M. Sloat (6)

I remember
last Valentine's day
we fought

February twenty eighth
still on the desk
a pile of valentines

Heidi A. Zapp (2)

valentine's day
nursing home
dinner with grandma

Darien M. Sloat (7)

I love this haiku because it is so sweet. I love how this person chose to spend their Valentine’s Day with their grandma. I love how they did not choose to talk about how they are either alone or taken on Valentine’s Day. I love how it brings the focus of Valentine’s Day to a love other than romantic love. It is so sweet how this haiku brings a whole new meaning to Valentine’s Day. I am really close with my grandma so I can relate to this person. Amanda

This reminds me of the importance of family, and how we should think of the rights and feelings of others rather than our own, and whose conduct proceeds from good will. It makes me think of selflessness and being there for the ones we love in their time of need, even if it means making a sacrifice. However, even though this haiku doesn’t state the intent of the visit, I visualize the dinner occurring out of love and a desire to do so, rather than obligation. Matt

a wild celebration
plastic beads
to hide the scar

Emily D'Ambrose (3)

beauty in the mirror
she only sees
the beast

Alex Buchko (6)

free refills
the soda fountain
spits on my hand

Charlie Decker (6)


© 2013, Randy Brooks • Millikin University
All rights returned to authors upon publication.