Haiku Kukai 1

Fall 2008 Haiku Roundtable • Millikin University
(Select 5-6 favorite haiku, and write a ¶ of imagined response to 2 favorites.)

alcohol breath
from his side of the grate

When editing the Millikin University Haiku Anthology, I remember running across so many of these “misbehaving in church” haiku. It seems to be a common subject. I enjoy the twist in this one—it appears that the confessor is not the drinker! It could easily be paired up well with one of a few haiku I have read about priests tipping back communion wine! Melanie

two years later
your handwriting
was not unique

I find a bit of bitter humor in this haiku. There's the sense that whoever "you" is was once a very close/dear person to the one speaking, but there was a falling out and the "you" burned the other badly. Before, the speaker had idolized the "you" and every little thing about them was significant, even the handwriting. Then, looking at a note or card, or something two years later, the speaker sees there was nothing significant about it in the least. Though in my mind, I also tend to think of the content that was held in the handwriting and that the words themselves were amazing and spellbinding (perhaps even making the speaker feel insignificant), but as time has passed, this too has dwindled away. Aubrie

I enjoy this poem for the simple idea that things change and people grow. Something you thought was great five years ago is not so great five years later. People’s perspectives change with the experiences forced to face. As for the imagery loaded into this poem, I see myself going through a box of crinkled letters…giving disgust looks and lots of laughter. Brandy

This haiku is definitely nostalgic. I can imagine picking up a letter from an old friend or a love letter from a past boyfriend and being completely consumed by past memories, moments, and feelings. The best part about this haiku is the fact that the author knew the person who wrote the letter so well that the handwriting was even still fresh in the mind after two years. I also like the word choice of “unique”. Other words could have easily taken its place, but this word seems to fit nicely. Samantha

for a pink elephant
reattaching a leg

I liked this haiku because it didn't make any sense—it allows a lot of room for interpretation. I know it has some symbolic meaning—like I know a lot of people use alcohol for anesthesia, and pink elephants are what you're supposed to see when you're drunk. But I just picture being groggy, and watching a pink elephant reattach it's leg (like it's leg was made of legos and it just fell off). This haiku got stuck in my head. Debbie

going through old CDs
I remember
that summer

too dark
to read—
I think

Al Green
and Merlot—
for one

Is it Valentines Day or another holiday? Or is it just an average Sunday night celebration. My first thought when I read this haiku last week, is that this is a sad haiku, someone regretting another lonely celebration. But as I read this haiku again tonight, I got up and poured myself a glass of wine and turned on the radio, and it feels pretty good. I am alone right now, but not lonely, and this celebration is all for myself. The windows are open and the crickets are chirping; it is a lovely night. Debbie

our milkshake:
he feeds me
the only cherry

This poem I like because it is so darn sweet. Only one cherry and it goes to you. I picture a scene of a boy and a girl sitting across from one another at a diner, sharing a strawberry milkshake while gazing at one another. Smiles are shown when the milkshake is served by the waiter as polite “thank you’s” are exchanged. More smiles occur when the cherry is picked up and fed to the girl. The haiku is also very thoughtful and full of deep passion. Love is definitely in the air. Brandy

This is a very cute and cheesy haiku – and I mean that in a good way. It has the innocence of new love and the intimacy of sharing with someone special. It is also very vibrant with a pastel milkshake and a bright red cherry being the focus. Michelle

fresh salsa—
she asks if
he said I was pretty

the ocean waves swallow
calling me in
footsteps disappear

I love the beach, so this haiku really resonated with me. I like the imagery of the waves swallowing the remaining footsteps. I want to be in this moment instead of at my computer attempting to respond to, edit, and write haiku. I also like the “all” sound in swallow and call. Very well done! Amy

a childhood memory...
          why not?

The word “half-off” makes me think this haiku is about shopping, but it’s really about fishing through memories with families. The speaker doesn’t quite remember the memory like the rest of the family, so he/she concedes with their memory for the sake of stopping an argument. Amy

a cool breeze
stings my senses
unwelcome winter

I like this one because it brings the bitterness of the oncoming season. Its reminds me of when I get the chills because of the wind and how annoying it is when it happens. Michelle

arms crossed
his hand holds
her chin

When I read this haiku, I see two possible scenarios being depicted. The first is a father and his young daughter. She has misbehaved and is being scolded. She is unhappy with her father, who is doling out her punishment. She stands guarded in front of him—arms crossed, unwilling to look him in the eye. As usual, he lifts her chin up, determined to have her look at him to show she is listening to his words. The other image I see (which I personally prefer) is a couple having an argument. The girl has been hurt by her boyfriend in some way—he is trying to apologize and make amends, but she stands guarded, crying. Melanie

patio garden
terra cotta'd tomatoes

my grandfather is dead
tell the geese
today he flies

This haiku for me is rather powerful emotionally. It is poignant and strikes a cord in me even though my own grandfather is still alive. I picture it being the day one's grandfather passes away and the person's way of dealing with the grief... is literally dealing with it and accepting it as a part of life. But at the same time, there's a melancholy tone to it as they announce to the skies that the person's grandfather has joined it (the sky, the beyond) or that his soul is passing through, or that he has become one with nature. Then, I see almost as a way of saying the grandfather has moved on after death, almost in the "he's in a better place" sense and that he has been released from his constricting (perhaps debilitated) physical form. Aubrie

young boy
carrying his drunk father
once again

This poem seems to be about a child who has to take care of his father who should not only be taking care of himself but his son. Instead, the father seems to be an alcoholic, and goes out and drinks, frequently. Because this seems to happen a lot, the son has to take care of his father because if he doesn’t help him, no one will. Despite his father’s negligence, the son proceed to care for his father in ways only a son could care for a father. He wants him to be safe so he does what he can to take care of him even if that does mean dragging him home every night from the bars. Samantha


© 2008, Randy Brooks • Millikin University
All rights returned to authors upon publication.