Friday, December 4, 2009

back to school haiku

In a recent Lively Arts meeting, I got to hear some more wonderful haiku from the award-winning Christopher Patchel and a collaborator he knew online. Chris is a quiet and thoughtful artist/designer and more. I truly admire his artistry. What he shares is often poignant, profound, breathtaking - sometimes nostalgia hits you so hard it hurts.

This time however, I and few others commented that his collaborative haiku seemed a little more about going to school than going back to school. Then a wise friend suggested that I make some haiku to show how it could be done.

I did. And yes, like his, about half of these are not so much as going back to school but rather the unforgettable experienced moments that can make up a school day. Its tough to separate the two I found.

I have very few positive images about high school due to the stresses at home and being in the public school system of North Mississippi. But everyone enjoys a little poignancy mixed with pathos, and haiku seems to me to be a suitable vehicle for it.

NOTE: haiku is supposed to be 'one breath length' and has no true formal structure. Some of these are good scenes, but not true haiku. I am aware of this failing. This is my first attempt with no mentor, only a specific challenge to use brevity to capture "snapshots" of high school as I experienced it -or how it IS experienced by so many.

Enjoy! And - "Remember..."


back to school

cheery store signs
announce the death
of summer

6:30 a.m.
my clock hates me
i reciprocate

my new backpack
has six copycats
this morning

kind older kids write
my bus number
on my name tag

the bus arrives
and i am on
the wrong side

homeroom gives me
time to pray
and draw superheroes

first week of classes
the bells declare
everyone’s tardy

colliding with
old enemies
between classes

the class window
reflects the grass
i love

bullies have again
found my drawings
of superman

old women spoon out
meals on hot
plastic trays

the pretty girl
in front of me

fall comes
and i remember
the hobbit

lunchtime comes
and i remember
lord of the flies

between calculus
and french
i am beat up

between biology
and social sciences
i’m called gay

dusty library shelves
offer minutes of
safety and adventure

my lab
partner’s genes (jeans)
are all wrong

three o’clock bells
release us all
with homework

running home
to watch
the six million dollar man

the new bus
survives the
first route

the bus deposits me
to watch star trek
with mom

riding my bike
i escape row after row
on the bus


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