(Unpublished) #Poem: A haiku series

I wrote this series of haiku about a year ago, in November 2017. I’ve liked haiku for a long time, and that fondness was cemented, I think, after reading the book The Haiku Year, which had Generation X greats like Michael Stipe and Grant Lee Phillips exchanging haiku; the book had an introduction by another of my favorites, Steve Earle. Early in my teaching career, I used to have my students write a haiku every day at the start of class, to teach them to think about syllables, and at my thirtieth birthday party, my wife had our friends to write their well-wishings as haiku. I just like the form— so I wrote some of them.


With Southern history
chained to our ankles, it’s hard
to do a chin up.

We’re mere pollywogs
in quagmire bogs, wearing boots,
denying our roots.

Glistening in sun,
the newborn ones grow slow toes
but don’t climb just fine.

Fiery nay-saying
from necktied men who’ve necktied
others for the same things.

The old men preach old,
and the younger ones wonder
if might be still true.

Hijinks and sly winks
among unsung young ones, whose
comeuppance will come.

The knotted-up laws
circumscribe the staked-down dogs
that snarl at each other.

Hell, if there is one, gapes
open, begs for its next meal—
and one is coming.

About ten years ago, I all but quit submitting poems to literary magazines and began sharing a few here. To read previous (Unpublished) #Poem posts, each with its own mini-introduction, click on the title below:

(Unpublished) #Poem: “Don’t Nobody Even Like You”

(Unpublished) #Poem: “Yes, I Know”

(Unpublished) #Poem: “They Come, Growling”

(Unpublished) #Poem: “Lost Things”

(Unpublished) #Poem: “Taking Root”

(Unpublished) #Poem: “Sabbatical”

(Unpublished) #Poem: “Southern Soil”

(Unpublished) #Poem: “I Know”

(Unpublished) #Poem: “Common”

(Unpublished) #Poem: “Zero”

(Unpublished) #Poem: [Untitled]

(Unpublished) #Poem: “Reading Kenko”

(Unpublished) #Poem: “Curb Market, Saturday Morning”

(Unpublished) #Poem: “Greatest Unknown”


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