Haibun Attempts Kukai 1 • Global Haiku • Millikin University • Spring 2016


The text read, “I'm here.” I was confused because he wasn't coming down to see me; he had to work today. “What?” I texted back. “Come out front” he replies. I throw on my shoes and walk out of my dorm, and there he is, standing there with roses and a big goofy smile on his face. I run into his arms, giggling the whole way. He picks me up and spins me around. He sets me gently on the ground and opens the door to the backseat of his car and pulls out a duffle bag. He's staying the night! I couldn't believe it, everything we talked about finally coming true. I walk him up to my room, talking the entire way. He walks into my room and just smiles. He tells me it's so me and that he loves the pictures of us. I just smile and say that I do too. He sets his bag down then we head out on an adventure. We don't know what we're going to do yet, but who cares, because we're together and that's more than enough.

float across the bed


Deep Water

So many years, now together again. I look at him and I can tell his feelings haven't changed. I know we shouldn't be here together at this cabin. Just an afternoon of conversation. Catching up with an old friend. That's all it is. I keep telling myself. We stroll out to the peir as the clouds vanish for good and the warm late afternoon sun glares down. Sitting on the dock we talk. Past and present. Time has changed him and I slowly notice how. It gets silent for a moment. I can tell we are both thinking of the last summer we spent here together. Breath-taking blue eyes look up at me. I can already tell what he is going to say. Then, there it is. The challenge. The thing that old me would have done. The fun, crazy, no worries me. I dare you, he says. I'm older now and know better, but why not? I came to this cabin looking for something and maybe this is it, maybe I was trying to find the old me. I stand and without saying a word I shimmy out of my summer dress and dive into the warm lake water, feeling it surround me. I realize I should have let go much sooner. He cannonballs in after me and I know this is why I came here, to be young again.

shattering the silence
I splash
into freedom

Star Light

I just want to feel the grass and dirt between my toes. I long to feel the rushing river slipping through my fingers. This tower has held me and my tangles between its walls for too long. If only mother would come to her senses that I can be independent and I deserve freedom. I want to experience the world and not just what is outside my window. I want friendship with another person and to hear the laughter of children I read so often about. My life should not be like this. I have so much more to offer the world than my magic hair. But . . . I'll stay here for the rest of my life. If only I could see the floating lanterns just once. I feel like they were meant for me.

hidden forest
impaled by bricks . . .
silent brushstrokes

Fountain of Youth

Life on the beach is wonderful. You can wake up to the sound of the waves and smell the fresh air. Nothing quite like the sound of the seagulls flying by in search for something to eat. But the icy cold water is unescapable and the wind is harsh as well. Fish in the water swimming around, coming up occasionally gasping for air. Nothing but open beach and the vast body of water motionless. Walking down the feeling of the water hits me, I shiver but slowly I adjust to the temperature and dive in. No better feeling than soaking your body in the ocean, healing you of your pains.

icy cold sand
buries my feet
vast body of water


Rain sprinkles my skin, a chef salting her soup. My eyes are met with an explosion of pink. When the magnolia trees bloom, so does my heart. Invisible magnets among the spray of luminous petals drag my eyes up and around, helplessly engrossed. My feet sacredly kiss the ground spread with a petal mandala. My fingers long to climb her, to grab a branch and shake the water down in a wild baptism. I smile wider than I have in a long time. My toes new roots keep me grounded under Mama Magnolia's umbrella as the storm rages on outside.

heart aglow
as the sunset mists into

Dollars and Sense

Nobody deserves this treatment. Nobody. They may say our generation is soft, weak, ill-minded, yet it is not that leads. We always put the blame on ourselves. It is because the ones before us, and the ones that guide us cannot handle their responsibility, which results in their suffering being brought about us. The problem with our generation is that money controls us, it puts us down. A simple piece of paper ruins lives.

the manger's remark


Lonely Hooves

Hiding the hairy goat legs is hard when you cannot find shoes that look normal. Not being able to shop at average stores is time consuming and tough on me. Most people exclude the goat boy from their social groups and events because of the way his hooves click-clack on the school's tile floors. He just wants to fit in with his peers but the peers are not willing to let him in. If anyone befriends the goat boy, their social life will go down the toilet, and they cannot have that. So the goat boy stamps home every day to find shelter in a nice book and imagine the adventures that his real friends cannot have with him.

sitting alone
no one to share half
of this sandwich

A Deep Breath

I'm perched on the edge of the Northern Star, my overall cuffs hiding shoes about to fall into the abyss below. Breathing is strange up here. My eyes catch a glimpse of Orion's Belt that has gone missing in Andromeda's sock drawer. The stars whirl around me in perfectly synchronized chaos. My chilled hand reaches into a worn denim pocket lined with corduroy bliss. Catching my oxygen supply kit on a fingertip, I drag it out and lift it to my lips for a breath. Wonder eclipses my pupils as the Milky Way swirls into and out of spirals of specks and eternities.

blinded by starlight
the past seen
by the future


I've never been a water person. The unknown scares me so not being able to see your feet is one of the most terrifying things I can think of. When asking to spend the day on a lake, at first I was apprehensive, but I knew I couldn't turn down a free lake house on a beautiful summer day. Stepping into the cool lake water was one of the most calming things I had ever experienced. Never being to a lake before, I entered with caution into each new activity I was faced with. Kaiaking, fishing, going out on the boat, and finally jumping into the water. In the middle of the lake, the boat finally came to a stop and all of my friends jumped into the water. I was left, alone, on the boat to contemplate my fear. After being pulled into the water I knew I had to conquer my fear. Even though I am still afraid to go into dark bodies of water, I know that I can do anything if I set my mind to it, or am forced to.

dark lake
calls to me
I answer with a splash

Knowing How

I wish you could talk to me. You look at me with those big brown eyes and I can't help but wonder what is going on inside of your head. There are so many things I want to express to you, I just do not have the right words to express them. I smile at you and say hi in that way that I know makes you happy, and you respond as you always do. If I could live my entire life ensuring you got whatever you wanted, I would, but I know that's not possible, since I can barely even tell what you want now. You don't really move unless it's for your own benefit, but I love you anyway. I know one day you will leave me, and I will never see you again, and that saddens me more than anything else. But when that day comes, I will be able to say I loved you as much as I possibly could, and made sure your short life was filled with love and joy.

the way you know how
tail wags

The Swell

I will never forget the feeling. The feeling I had when the world stopped turning and my heart stopped beating. Sitting in silence writing another damn paper and then came the text. Imagine it. One faint little ring of a battery-operated device, and your world changes. First there is a sharp breath sucking in the air around me. Next, there is an immediate grasp of the mouth. Next, the salty tears swell my eyeballs. Next, they stream down my face and take the black mascara with them. Next, I see my hand shaking. Next, I blow my nose and then ... then ... it is silent. The swelling ceased, the hands unclenched, and the realization hit. Hard.

the typing
each strike pounds
on my heart

Morning Light

A cold Sunday morning in his house left him thinking alone. It was a bitter divorce. The middle-aged husband misses her every day. She brought him everything good in his life from his kids to his house. She gave him purpose in his life. Now he has nothing. She took the kids from him, took the house, his money, and his purpose in life. He struggles to sleep at night because he cannot get her out of his mind. It was just one drunken mistake at a bar that he cannot seem to forgive himself for. He loves her more than anyone else in this world. As a way to try and get over her and live life, he packed all of her pictures away. He just wanted to sleep, but still saw nothing but her every time he closed his eyes. The reality of the situation left him broken.

pictures of her
no longer exist
except in his mind



The desert is a place for journeys. On the hottest days, the nights turn to freezing temperatures. Of all of the dangers, there are those that still pass on foot. The man trails the thief with nothing more than a revolver and water skin slapping his thighs. The redundancy of dune after dune should not dull the senses. With a week's lead, signs of the thief are minimal and far between. Piles of ash and smoke in the distance. These faint, nearly imperceptible beacons, are deceptively far, but invigorate a sense of hurry. The man rests, then continues. Becoming the law of a land that has passed on.

last of water
his plunder
becomes worthless


It runs and leaps, dodging obstacles and nearly missing fatal crashes. Running between two rocks, jumping over logs and pebbles, it effortlessly glides around everything in its path. Stuck for a moment, then it leaps into the air as if on wings, landing as a gymnast. Spinning and climbing, then falling, falling, falling . . . it stops, pausing to catch its breath . . . At the end, it's cradled in a bed of warm sand; the soft ground offers a resting place.

flooded river
garbage dump
a single bottle escaping

A Fish Tale

My grandpa brought a bucket to sit on, and my dad wandered to the other side of the farmer's pond. We each had our own rods, but shared the tackle and bait. I typically ran to the opposite side of the pond, but that also meant I tragically walked back to the worm bucket empty handed. This day, it was hot and windy, so I stayed about ten feet closer to the bucket than I would have normally. I was young and much smaller (if you can believe that), and at one point I thought my hook, like it normally happened, was caught on a log or rock at the bottom of the pond. I pulled and tugged and did as much as I could without breaking the line, and my dad saw me struggling. He sighed, put away his rod, and came to the rescue. But, he noticed that my line was moving, so it wasn't stuck on a rock . . . unless the rock had legs. I continued to reel it in, and to my surprise a snapping turtle appeared in the shallow end—it was stuck on my hook. My grandpa and dad started freaking out, trying to help me reel in the beast that was stuck on my line. And then the line snapped.

a single ripple
I throw
my line back in

That's It?

Vacations have always been a big part of what my family did for fun. Camping and exploring the wilderness was something I have been into ever since I was a very young runt. One place I had always wanted to visit was Yellowstone National Park. The summer after fifth grade our destination was in fact Yellowstone. There was so much to see at the park. From the wildlife to the natural hot springs, there was always something amazing to look at. When we first got there one plan we had was to see Old Faithful. We had planned to do it the last day we were there. After waiting the whole week and being so excited my family and my grandparents made the trek to Old Faithful. The geyser wasn't scheduled to go off anytime soon so we went inside the building to get some lunch. After looking around we had to settle on the sub par cafeteria food that cost an arm and a leg. After this we went outside to wait for Old Faithful. During the wait my younger brother was being very agitating and everyone was getting grumpy. After a long 2 hours of waiting Old Faithfully finally burst and it was the most unsatisfying experience of my life.

geyser attraction
waiting in hot mountain sun
heads low on the drive

Without Words

Watching the cloud of breath in the crisp morning air, my boots clomp along in dad's footsteps, trying my best to be quiet. My body confused, I sweat from my heavy parka while the winter air bites at my fingertips. Finally, we come upon the deer stand, a ghostly sight among the dark forest. Dad straps me into my harness, and it hugs me tightly as I climb high up into the sky. Fingers burning on the steel, I grasp one rung after another until I can finally swing myself into the seat. We sit above the world for what seems like hours. The sun slowly creeping into the sky, and bringing the world back to life. Numb from the cold and anticipation, dad taps my knee, and gestures to the north pasture. The doe steps out into the sunlight, and I lift my gun.

sun peeking
over the horizon
the morning dove calls

Gravity of Water

Standing above the water as it glistens in the light of the moon. Seeing the bottom and the reflection the street light brings. Ready to dive head first into the world below, anxious to breach the rim of the water. Diving head first into crystal clear radiance flashing beneath. The lights flash and flicker and the fish dance around. Bubbles fly and emerge to the ceiling. Waves, music to my ears.

in the light
that swims

Whale's Eye

Words blur together as the professor's drone slowly fades into white noise. The minute hand crawls in circles and the dull ticking melts into static monotone. The professor smears chalk equations into light grey blobs while students pack books and wander out of the hall. She gathers loose papers and trudges across campus. Grey clouds cover the sky and dull the colors of the new spring blossoms. She drops her bag in a corner and tosses the papers into a growing pile under her bed. Shoved into a desk drawer are six white pills in a plastic bag. She takes two and stares at the beige imprints in the ceiling.

Light dances across the neon bedspread. She sits up and sees the purples and turquoises of her painting swim across the walls. Colors explode into golden sunlight droplets that land in her hair. A smile spreads across her face as sky blue fairies spring up from the carpet and twirl through the air. One motions towards her guitar before they disappear. The room catches her when she stands, and time stops for a moment. She dusts the butterflies off the case and throws open her bedroom door. She takes careful steps through the hallway. The ocean beneath her feet moves with her until she finds herself outside.

Stars float in the deep indigo sky, suspended in the air by tiny beams of light. She sits down underneath a tree with silver leaves and begins to play the melodies she sees in the stars. She can feel the earth gently turning underneath her as she plays. She lays down in the grass and watches a whale swim through the northern lights. Inhaling slowly, she gazes into the starry night and wishes for the world to stay this beautiful.

early morning stroll . . .
avoid eye contact
with Weird Girl


Has it really been 5 years already? Only 60 months since I too roamed these halls? Only 260 weeks since I last ran the mile? Only 1825 days since I was so naive? Though I barely recognize the place, I am overwhelmed with memories at each corner as I head to the old gym. In that corner, I lost the 8th period tennis championships. I doubt Sarah Jenkins even forgave me. Now, she disregards the fault lines and occupies her toddlers. With two in the stroller and one at her heels, it all feels surreal. Wendy the homecoming queen leaves for another smoke break. My old friends are on their honeymoon. Even the nameless stoners have moved on. I too have moved on, but it isn't the same. I still feel juvenile not having started my life yet. My real life doesn't exist outside my unwanted resumes; the only settling down I've done is moving back in with my parents. I was supposed to be the most likely to succeed, but I've got thousands of dollars in student debt and struggle to find an entry level job in my field. As the only college graduate in the room, I feel left behind my peers, as though I still am a naive high schooler. My life revolves around minimum wage jobs, grade point averages, and borrowing mom's car. Looking around-- my life has yet to begin.

snow melts in my shoe
I find myself again
hiding in the bathroom


© 2016, Randy Brooks • Millikin University
All rights returned to authors upon publication.