Haiku Kukai 2 Favorites

Global Haiku • Millikin University • Spring 2016


the conductor cuts off
the ensemble bursts into a smile
that is why I do this

Corrin Littlefield (4)

soft light of Sunday morning
     wrapped in cotton sheets
I watch him dream

Whitney Gray

I wake up and there he is. I don’t normally sleep later than he does, but I don’t mind being awake. The sunlight streams through the window, a simple reminder that the day has started. Sunday – one more day before the week begins. With that in mind, I soak up every bit of this moment. He’s lying on his stomach, all tangled up in our white sheets, one foot poking out. He’s just lying there dreaming. I wonder what he’s thinking about. Maybe it’s about me, I make a mental note to ask him later. I just lay there and close my eyes. I imagine us, a wedding, a family, a bright future. Suddenly, I feel his lips against my cheek. “Good morning beautiful,” he says and I just smile to myself. I decide to not tell him that I’ve been up. I’ll keep this little memory near and dear to my heart. Corrin

winds of change
soulmates come and go
like Mary Poppins

Genevieve Breitbach (5)

my face buried in his neck
taking in his scent
the vet whispers, "it's time"

Whitney Gray (13)

When I first read this Haiku, I almost started crying because it made me think of when my dog, Honey, had to be put down. My dog, Honey, was the first real pet my family had. My family had a cat named Rascal before I was born, but I didn’t really like him as much as I loved Honey, and at that point, Rascal was still alive. We were on vacation to Disney World- my favorite place in the world- when we found out that she had passed away.  It was the first time I had lost someone/something that I was that close to, so it hit me really hard. After we came back from our trip, we went and visited her at the vet and were able to say goodbye to her. That was the instant I thought of when she said “my face buried in his neck,” because me and my family were crying into her neck after she had gone. Lauren

This was my favorite poem from Kukai 2. It was hard choose, because there were so many that I liked very much. This poem really hit home though. I have had to say goodbye to several dogs in my lifetime and it is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. There is a balance of being heart-broken and realizing that the pet will be out of misery. The wording in this poem really encompasses both of those ideas. “Sponging,” taking every last breath with your pup, is the vivid image this haiku paints and I was just taken by it’s lovely tone. Katherine

This haiku was a slap in the face in a way because last weekend I lost my best friend, my dog Carrie. She was an absolute sweetheart. Granted, I could not make it back home in time, I can still remember her scent, and every moment that we shared. Each one was taken for granted because I thought she had a good four or five more years left in her. I can just see my mother breaking down at the vet when she knew that they could never bring her back. This was a dog that we saved from death as a pup and raised for a memorable 10 years. This also brought me back to when I was 10 years old when my dog got ran over in my own driveway, and I sprinted out the door as I saw it happen. I held him and just watched him suffer to breathe. As he took his last gasps for air, I too smelled him for the last time as I watched him die in my arms, an image that will forever be imprinted in my mind. Joe

looking for you
lost in the shadows
of evening trees

Alexis Dockins

This particular haiku gives me a warm yet ominous feeling. I can imagine myself looking for my dog in the woods after she ran off. The sense of panic looking for a lost pet, or person, can be intense. When the evening sun comes through the trees in a dense forest an ominous aura is put off. This haiku makes me think back to when I was young and would spend my days playing outside, especially in the woods. I've always found the forest to be a safe and secret place to feel relaxed and at one with myself. Tyler

no more calls
no more texts
radio silence

Corrin Littlefield

I particularly like this poem upon a second reading. To be honest, I skimmed past it without giving it much thought. However, when sitting down to read again, this one made me pause. It begins with “no more calls” and “no more texts”, which seems typical of a break up or lost love, but then it moves to “radio silence”. When I think of radio silence I think of static, not complete silence, and this alludes to a relationship that’s not quite over yet; there are still some feelings left or thoughts unsaid. It’s not dead yet, and someone is still holding on just a little. I also like that radio silence is mentioned at all, because it implies listening or looking for more. I imagine a person staring at a radio, waiting for an answer, and that could be a similar story for a break up. The speaker is unable to let go, and is still listening. Taryn

flowers wilting
they die before the lovers
meet again

mismatched pottery
each with its own story

Cori Grzenia (4)

drifting off to sleep
in the back of the car
the sound of the snowfall

Natalie Smith

love to sleep in the car. I loved Sunday afternoons during football season when I was a kid, because it meant we could load up into the suburban and drive to Grandma's house for dinner and the Packer game. The drive there is always beautiful. It's about an hour of rolling hills in the middle of thick forest, with only Highway 64 proving people were here. I always loved how soft the trees looked; their black trunks contrasting with the powdered glitter resting on their branches. The day always included sledding and hot chocolate, and Grandma sending leftovers with us on the way home. That was the peaceful part: the ride home. We were tired and warm, and the moon followed us the whole way home, creating a completely different landscape than the one we came through on the way up. I was always a little sad when those days were over, but I'm glad I had them. Marah

late morning
and mom

Corrin Littlefield (4)

everything made her smile—
once he left
she could hardly feel

favorite belt gone
not the only thing

Alexis Dockins (4)

trees sway
broken dreams
are pushed to yesterday

punch thrown
through the dry-wall
of my chest

Genevieve Breitbach (17)

This haiku was one of my favorites because it has so many multiple meanings. More specifically this haiku carries an emotional blow when you read it. The first two lines of the haiku carry a very different meaning versus when you read the last line. For me I picture a relationship break up where one of the partners said something very emotionally hard for the other partner to deal with, and therefore here it is described as a punch thrown to the heart. The detail, "dry wall" suggest that the person may be very hollow inside or lonely. Emilio

This haiku packed a powerful punch (pun intended) in regards to strong imagery and purposeful words. When someone punches through dry-wall, the dust takes ages to settle and slowly coats everything. This, combined with the fact that dry-wall has strength only when layered, brings indications of strong emotions to the haiku. I just imagine the narrator telling this story in slow-motion, as if still in shock from the actual event. The dry-wall is smashed and the dust just lingers in the air, like the memory of the major fight that just occurred. Slowly, the dust begins to fall and things settle, but soon, you find the dust everywhere you look. In the same way, little flashbacks to the hurtful things said keep popping up, even though the relationship may be rekindled or moved on. Just as the drywall can never be truly fixed without replacement, there is an emotional scar inflicted on the person hurt in this incident. Cori

This haiku was my favorite because it takes such an interesting turn from the second to third line. When I first read it, I had a mentality of the haiku possibly taking place in a party, and a man sees a girlfriend cheating. So he puts a hole in the drywall. However, the mood shifts on the last line, and it makes me thing that this is taking place in a house and the man puts the hole through the drywall and the woman is writing the poem and she feels the pain, even though she was not hit directly. I enjoyed the curveball that the Haiku throws at me. Jacob

Initially with this haiku, I took it literally and pictured someone punching through a wall. As I read through the second line, I continued to imagine a violent scene of an angry man punching through a wall. Through the third line, I then went a different direction and related it to a more emotional sense. I could feel the emptiness and the “punch” or aching feeling that you would feel during a heartbreak. This was a haiku that I could not only imagine but feel. Grace

Ray Bans flash
snowy streets now
Hollywood boulevards

laughing with friends
the phone rings       shit
please not now

Natalie Smith (9)

I liked this haiku because I can feel the surprise and the angst in it. It reminds me of all the times I have been called with bad news. Every time I have gotten bad news, I have been out with my friends, having a great time, then all of a sudden my world is crashing. For example, both times I got the news that my grandma and grandpa had past, I was at school: one in high school one while I was at college. I can remember it all so clearly. Both times when I saw my phone ring or my teacher approach me, I had this gut-dropping feeling that something was wrong. That is why every time I get an unexpected call, I automatically think something awful has happened. I really like the addition of the word “shit” and how it is spaced from the rest of the second line. It being out there by itself really makes the focus land on it, and gives the gut-dropping feeling that the haiku was meant to give.  Whitney

season two finished.
way better
than some restaurant

Natalie Smith (7)

her love
comes and goes
ocean wave

dementia sets in
he enjoys a late night fire
out back

Joseph Pegura (6)

a bud closed tight—
it has yet
to decide

Marah Kittelson (4)

I absolutely love the simplicity of  his haiku, especially paired with its powerful metaphorical standpoint. It reminds me of a beautiful quote of Anäis Nin: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” It tells me that its okay to stay in the incubator of past behavioral patterns, where you feel safe, in your comfort zone, etc. but at some point, to make any progress, you as your own individual human being have to make the brave decision to shift your ways and risk something in return for growth. I truly believe that people have inside them the right and ability to choose between love and fear at all times. This also includes human beings’ tendency to flight or fight responses to things that are unexpected. Sometimes, I feel like I need to just stop and allow myself the time to draw within, much like a flower bud, and let the sparring ideas simmer on the backburner for a bit before I can make a decision to move in one direction or another and what I am most passionate about spending my energy growing. Genevieve

Valentine's Day
I stare at the table
meant for only me

man's best friend
always remembered
blue collar

roaming the house
like a cat

Taryn Pepping (5)

the snow piles high
he tenderly caresses
her bald head

Katherine Viviano (6)

two words
stamped into his mind
just friends

Joseph Pegura (8)

hopping on the hardwood
she will not be helped

Marah Kittelson (3)

her beautiful smile at
me from across the party
I can't find her

Michael Barber (6)

This was my favorite because it has a very cute and romantic feeling to it. I just picture a scene from a movie where a guy sees a perfect girl at a party, but then loses her and can’t find her, almost like Cinderella. However it’s also sad because can’t find the girl he saw and it just ends like that, maybe he is imagining a girl he used to know, or he just wants this girl and can’t have her. Either way I think it’s very sweet, the description of the smile and the idea that it’s for him. It just made me feel happy and go awwwww!! Alexis

dusty shelves
forgotten boxes
of someone's memories

fears sits
right outside the car door
her parents

the melted kit-kats
now smeared on
the little one

Katherine Viviano (7)

There is nothing in the world quite like the feeling of leaving a child alone for too long and coming back to discover what happened while you were gone. I love this haiku because even you haven’t walked into a room to find this specific scene, it takes you back to every time you’ve ever beheld a child catastrophe. Whether it’s hundreds of Perler beads spilled on the floor, a chunk of hair snipped off, or the bathroom’s toilet paper completely unrolled (fun trivia: these have all happened to me), you have no choice but to blame yourself and feel betrayed by a two year old at the same time. I also love the word choice “smeared on the little one” because it implies that the little one wasn’t the one doing the smearing and there was more of a peanut butter baby-esque debacle taking place. Natalie

whiskey on his breath
a foreign perfume
it was all a lie

after the lecture
a dolphin dive
into cozy sheets

Jacob Hamilton (8)

four missed calls
seven new messages
just go away

at the restaurant
meeting for the first time
awkward introductions








that silent face
speaks volumes and novels
and nothing at all

Benjamin Brawner (6)

he's cool, calm water
soothing          comfortable
            I miss your flame

falling face
first into summer stars
the lake winks below

Genevieve Breitbach (3)

his earthy bass
he said
my name

marah Kittelson (2)

your boyfriend
still—the air between us

I loved you so dearly
until you were gone
slice of pizza

Tyler Trzcinski (9)

don't say anything embarrassing
I open the door

Natalie Smith (7)

This haiku is one of the few of this kukai that takes an unconventional approach. I like this, because it can be interpreted in multiple ways, and either way, it is comedic. Whether it is the person talking to someone else, or talking to themselves, the haiku can be reread multiple times in multiple scenarios. With this, anyone can choose what they really want to remember from it. I personally remember when the first time I hung out with a crush, and telling myself the whole time not to say anything that would ruin things, or make things awkward. I find this funny, because if the situation was with family members, I would want them to stay stupid things, because the things they say is hilarious most of the time. Noah

beautiful spring day
ice finally melting
ends in sorrow

each day grows longer
I grow too tired
to stay

avoiding eye contact
it's been six-thirty
for weeks now

Natalie Smith (7)

with each step
the ground is moving
tiny frogs

Alexis Dockins (5)

in the valley
a river flowing
through the heart

Michael Barber (2)

with infinite storage
her mind files
every mistake

Noah Klumpe (12)

When I read this haiku, it brought me back to every mistake I’ve ever made in life. Others thought of it as a girlfriend remembering every mistake her boyfriend made, but I saw it differently. I thought of every awkward encounter I’ve ever had in my life. There are multiple memories I think of, including relationship ones. I am the type of person who is terrible at flirting or talking to the opposite sex. I am also the person to remember an awkward encounter I had with my third grade crush. My mind has infinite storage and I remember every mistake I’ve ever taken, just like this haiku says. Erica

house arrest
with your ex

Marah Kittelson (2)

in this apartment
his smell
the only thing left

Lauren Montesano (4)

first base line
all alone

Jacob Hamilton (3)

headphones in
shoes laced tight
open road ahead

Joseph Pegura (7)

This was one of my favorite haiku because it prepares you for the moment when you are about to complete an obstacle or challenge. Right when you are getting ready to perform it, these are the little things that this haiku is describing in the moment. This is particularly why I like it so much is because this haiku could be easily related to sports and getting ready to play. One might say that it relates the easiest to a marathon runner or track and field but honestly the "open road ahead" can be symbolic of any challenge. Emilio

father's old hat
on once again
never gets old

Emilio Tejada (5)

I watch him walk
in combat boots
my love on the line

Grace Ganley (7)

I really like this haiku for a few reasons. First, I like and respect military members. Secondly I really enjoy the last line of this haiku. There are two different ways that I approach the line and specifically the word “love”. The word “love” can be interpreted as a noun as she calls her husband or boyfriend her love as he walks away to head to war. The word “love” could also be interpreted as he is carrying her love with him wherever he goes in war. This haiku is not overly descriptive and is vague, but yet I read it differently every time I read it. Michael

worlds away
I pinky swear my heart
will find you again

Genevieve Breitbach (5)

tik tok
they lay together
for the last time

Lauren Montesano (3)

he greets her with a hot breakfast in bed before the nurse arrives

he saw her every weekend and kept her from being herself

Taryn Pepping (6)

on our park bench
my phone rings
I ignore it.

one silent dinner
all that's left
after all that love

I draw rocket ships
     with dad

the hazy moon . . .
     gleaming tracks
she awaits a train



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