Tillamook Burn Haiku Contest

At the Kick Ass Oregon History happy hour haiku throwdown, six pro and semi-pro haiku artists stepped to the invitation's challenge: Write a haiku about the Tillamook Burn, the devastating Oregon forest fire that scorched 311,000 acres of NW Oregon in 1933. (It wasn't only in 1933, but I don't want to get into the details. That's Kick Ass Doug's department.) As you might guess, any invitation that includes a request for a themed haiku will get my attention, so I wrote a few to throw into the ring. Read more [...]

Urban haiku

pickle bucket drums joyous soundtrack to the scene sour shoppers pass nightclub awning, rain patrons huddle in the neon making smalltalk, smoke fried fish, perfume whiff, dragons guard cheap bamboo shrine chinatown morning flower mosaic crafted from small sidewalk stones popsicle stick stem one-wheeled bicycle securely locked to street rack thin layer of dust spandex clad biker day-glo uniform complete blue-jeaned bikers pass as much cane as broom frail old woman slowly sweeps leaves Read more [...]

Nature haiku

glazed blue flower pot filled with dark brown soil and possibility slowly, steadily the passionflower's tendrils consume the swingset finding a feather, imagining one bluebird canting to the left angels trumpet blooms tiny victrola horns playing pale pink melodies campfire dwindles constellations of red coals fade into the night this iris harbors no ambition to become a willow tree odd little finch stares unflinching, as if thinking odd little man stares... crescendos of surf crashing Read more [...]

Spring haiku

day-glo rain jackets like vivid paint dabbed onto this black-and-white day pink and white petals paint the puddle beneath blooming magnolia a sliver of sun breaks through the shifting clouds and lands in my hand calendar says spring, clad in tank top and shorts shivering at bus stop this first day of spring burdened with winter's baggage, she tightens her scarf the first sun of spring and all along fourth street smiles come into bloom billowy gray clouds struggle to impose their Read more [...]

Transit haiku

stench of spoiled fruit formaldehyde bubble gum drunkard sleeps on train bus pulls away riders reach for headphones, books, slowly disappear silence is ousted by loud, brash teenage boasting the white noise of youth six-year old fingers form a garden of flowers fogged up bus window cell phone confession pained, urgent plea, we all cringe one bus seat away mom chatters over toddler's incessant crying bus tension rising kids yelling "car wash" I feel guilty riding past even on this Read more [...]

Winter haiku

dusk, the hill becomes constellations of lights as neighbors come home three santas on train curious toddler struggles to make sense of it through open windows the world whispers, shhh, shhh, shhh, tires splashing the rain fresh winter snow slowly obscuring rainbow-striped lawn chair crocuses blooming, small, defiant brilliance barren winter lawn sagging, toothless grin dusted with december snow tired jack-o-lantern breath against blue sky brisk winter wind whisks away frozen Read more [...]

Love haiku

couple on park bench kissing as pigeons gather, flap impatiently they hold hands as if they will always hold hands, as if immune to time polished trophy wife empty-handed while husband hefts packages, regret Jenny, I love you written in chalk on the street fading in the rain old cat too lazy to swat the kitten away thus, friendship begins laughing in the car I notice none of the miles except the last one they're too rough, she says of my weekend beard before leaning in again she Read more [...]

Life haiku

she sucks the smoke deep, in the cigarette's orange glow her furrowed brow yellow lab explodes aware only of the ball and the space between the beer and the beat colliding awkwardly in fevered dance steps shopping bag burden fatigued mom sits at food court tabletop empty a world of what ifs parading through tired mind damned insomnia warm orange sunrise no different than yesterday's same old beautiful midnight. ice melts in abandoned drinks, hardens in abandoned patrons lazy Read more [...]

Home haiku

three generations watch him try ill-fitting shirts only grandma smiles reaching pine shadows stripe the park with light and dark toddler jumps the gaps finger-paint flowers taped to living room windows raindrops splash on sill teen girl softly sings as she braids her sister's hair row after perfect row arms loaded with books teen trails dad to checkout, irrepressible grin awkward photograph another random landmark fatigued family one enormous bite cupcake's frosting disappears ravenous Read more [...]

Autumn haiku

orange sherbet sky lined with thin black stripes of geese waving goodbye one orange leaf falls and along the street, the sound of windows closing first leaves of autumn surrender to the cool breeze and tumble away clouds settle lightly upon neighborhood rooftops muffled honks of geese autumn creeps inside through windows that haven't closed since summer first knocked like embers cooling, orange mums in autumn sun. reach for my sweater this sugar maple like a color-by-number each Read more [...]