January 08, 2005


telling is seeing
zen and the art of blogging
truth revealed in bits

On the surface it's terribly hard to take Haiku seriously. But it is still strikingly addictive in its seemingly pedestrian charm. Like Limericks, but without all the sleazy anatomy.

about a Nantucket man
and what he once did

I like Haiku because I'm lazy. Seriously. It's easy. Well, as easy as getting hooked on Heroin.

The sadistic truth of the matter is, once you get sucked in by the simple mechanics, there is no going back to the real world, not without some incarceration and a serious marathon of convulsions, hallucination, innards-twisting pain, and recuperation. I don't know about the Heroin. Haiku is a bitch.

Just like the game of GO - another sick and twisted joke of complexity from our friends in the Far East - Haiku's difficulty is in making something meaningful happen with the barest of tools in a nominal workspace. Anyone, and I mean Anyone, can string together three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables. Doing it well is the trick.

As in any form of poetry, the mechanics are nothing more than a starting point. (Except maybe in the case of the Sonnet, a torturous and all-consuming exercise that I like to call a Linguistics Manhattan Project. But I digress).

I bring all this up because I am descending into the depths of hellish addiction. I am admitting here before you: "Hello, my name is Don, and I am Haikooky".

Or rather,

Hi my name is Don
I haiku and can't get up
please stop the madness

Every stupid news story, sports highlight, song, or SDG&E Gas Bill, is fodder for my silly addiction. Help me.

Ok, maybe it's not that bad. It only just sort of consumes whole chunks of otherwise healthy daydreaming time, like, let's say, cancer of the earlobe. On a good day I can just lop it off and move on with my life. So ultimately this is my own demon and I'll keep it that way. In the meantime, I warn you: I am going to foist upon you my menacing glop. More than I already have. Pity those who wander aimlessly into this blog.

the clever waters
softly weaving past the rock
reduce it to sand

By the way, Luke, this is partly your fault. You do it well. And before that, Maya's.

Another catalyst is sports talk show host Jim Rome and his bemused endorsement of Haiku-format comments showing up in emails to his show. I listen to the Jungle. I hear the Haiku... can't ... resist ... lotus ... position ... aaaarrghhhh! Blammo, Haiku about Ricky Williams never returning to the NFL. or whatever. After something like that, all day I'll suddenly find myself contemplating my coffee, or the pen sitting uncapped next to my keyboard. And see what happens?

coffee is cooling
pen uncapped on the desk lurks
hating the keyboard

The difficulty really is all in the editting. The restraint. If I whip out two ways to express roughly the same idea, do I keep both? Change one? Merge and destroy?

meditate and sneeze
clear your mind and your sinuses
haiku, gezundheit

like meditation
clearing your mind of clutter

Another question: Are you allowed to be funny with Haiku? Are there any laws about this? I would hate to have the Japanese John Ashcroft come a calling someday.

Anyway, as you can see, this post has nothing at all on the history of Haiku, its meaning or its cultural significance in the development of Eastern Philosophy and teachings. That's your job, you're on the internet.

I'm no expert. I'm just hooked.
Maybe I'll take up Limericks.


Post a Comment

<< Home