Global Haiku • Spring 2016
Dr. Randy Brooks

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Benjamin Brawner

Reader Response Essay:
Cor van den Heuvel's Haiku on “Boys” and “Nature”

Sneer, Shift, and Sway:
A Simple Haiku Transformation

Benjamin Noah Brawner

Haiku did not come to me easily. No cunning twist, word play, or crude humor was going to give me a quick fix into finding a voice in short poetry. It wasn’t until I began to focus on the simple observations and meditations of the Zen poets that I started to understand what haiku really meant to me. Haiku is understanding a moment so intimately that your response can be spoken on a single breath. What a twist I discovered, that crude humor can easily belong in haiku; it simply must come from a place of honesty.


that face
speaks novels
and nothing at all
        . . . women

a dry cough
startles the cock

spring drizzle
a rain coat
lifts its thumb

band practice
calloused hands
can’t play the notes

salmon lips
for them
I swim upstream

beach day
the speckled salt
I carry with me

skinny white boy
crooning Louis Armstrong
uncomfortable silence


cigarette burns
a drunken reminder
to stop smoking

a white shirt
stained red
with pomegranate

pitch black
bare feet across snow
hauling the night’s wood

a snail
sheds its shell
silly slug

reading Whitman
strumming a guitar

my hand reaches
toward the glowing mass
little bro runs away


skinny priest
kneels down
praying mantis

midnight rider
around the block
fussy baby

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