EN170 Haiku Writing Roundtable
Dr. Randy Brooks
Millikin University • Fall 2003
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Jenna Roberts

To begin with, everything.
Selected Haiku

Jenna Roberts

until college, i had never lived anywhere but in the country, with nothing but grass and fields and roads for miles in every direction. it taught me how to listen, and, somehow, reinforced the need in me to lip-sync along with the radio. i have it down to an art. it's something, i think, about combating the stillness so that it never becomes too stagnant. and i miss home, oh i do.

but then there are these people here, teaching me to be patient, teaching me everything, & i just can't seem to say goodbye because all i can think about is how far we've come since hello.

college is so different—so compact—everyone is close, in every sense of the word & i sometimes find that i am pressing my palms to my face trying to cry or not to cry. it is so funny that i want to be everywhere at once, but whenever i think about leaving the place where i am, i can't get through one conversation without crying into my potato chips. i sit down on the stairwell, lean my head against the bannister, trying to remember & trying to forget all the at the same time.

sometimes i wrap my arms around my knees & try to remember, as vividly as i can, the summer i spent at home when we were young—my friends and i. all the conversations we had about (anything/everything) & it's all i can do to not cry, just for the past & for all those words i've tried to hand out, so blank & empty in memory, when i wanted to give something lush & full. life is funny & ironic & beautiful & always always right on time.

these haiku are about life. my life. it's about the way i try to measure life in song lyrics, how i have to say goodbye to my friends for years at a time these days—the times i couldn't say goodbye, how sometimes it takes entire sections of my heart to admit to myself that i'm afraid. i'm terrified of love, of the possibility of loss. i avoid confrontation like the plague, but i will invent some sordid drama in 2 seconds because i am also, perhaps even more so, terrified of a normal, passionless, contented life.

lately i've been hugging my friends for a few seconds longer, holding on, staying up talking until the morning, knowing that we can't afford ourselves these things, but fighting, raging against the rapid progression of time. i talked to God last night & pleaded to him for a falling star. and He said listen. you keep asking for shooting stars. and the stars are always falling. in the meantime, look at what stays in place.

young visionaries
the lilac bush
is our fort

sweaty basement
and air guitars
open mic punk rock

sweet sixteen
her engaging smile
is buried



dim sanctuary
whispered confessions

her glowing face
reflects the moon
reflects the sun



miles between us
no one heals me
like you do

falling in love
laughing in a tree


©2003 Randy Brooks, Millikin University, Decatur, Illinois || all rights reserved for original authors