It’s Tuesday, time for some haiku…

Since I have decided to post my jailhouse haiku project, a little tutorial is in order. Haiku are not as cut and dry as they seem to be. There are different schools of thought surrounding the poetic form, with certain rules that must be followed. The most famous form is used in the practice of Zen Buddhism. The haiku must be an expression of nature, egoless and without any judgment. One must cultivate ‘Mu’, or a state of nothingness, that corresponds to the natural world. Only then will the haiku have ‘satori’, or enlightenment. As western poetry uses metaphor, simile, and all that, Japanese haiku use devices as well. There is the term ‘sabi’, which comes from the noun ‘sabiru’, and means ‘to rust’. This means a word that shows age or aging, like ‘wrinkled’ or ‘weary’. ‘Kigo’ is a seasonal word, like ‘snow’ or ‘leafy’. Then there is ‘yugen’, which is a Zen metaphysical concept that designates the mysterious, what lies beneath the surface. It usually expresses joy, sorrow, or change. Then there are different forms of rhyme, with different syllabic structure, the most famous being 5-7-5. That is 17 syllables, arranged line-by-line. There are ‘Renga’ which are continuous chains of 14 (7-7) , followed by 17 (5-7-5), independently composed, but read as one piece. There are also ‘Senryu’, or mock haiku, which deal with humor and moralizing nuances. They can get pretty ribald and scatological at times.
My own work tends to be more senryu, but I tried for haiku, which is all anyone can really do anyway. To reach satori is to remove oneself from the wheel of life altogether through meditation and prayer. At that point composing haiku is a meaningless pursuit.

So here are 3 more haiku, from cell F201, in no particular order.

Walking quietly
I can sneak up on the waves
and catch them crashing.

Quit jamming, crickets,
and put away your fiddles,
morning is rising!

Man built this stone house:
a mortar of broken souls
holds the keystone tight.

So there are three more haiku, and it is now about 2:30AM and time for me to attempt sleep, once again.


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Johnnyboy is a queer recovering alcoholic. For the moment he is also the primary caregiver for his mother, who suffers from age-related cognitive impairment. She is happy as a lark and is surrounded by a crew of sober women which gives him the freedom he needs to get out of town. When he is not at home in Somewheresville, he is searching out the proper path to travel for happiness and joy. He is a photographer who believes in the digital age, but feels that film is still where its at. He has a darkroom and works in it. He is single and is in remarkably great physical condition for all the damage he has submitted his body to. His cardiologist is very happy. Johnnyboy is over the age of 35.

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