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Contemporary Haiku

 EricSweetArt_JV_020_002_t_w600_h475(artwork by Eric Sweet)

 

MESSAGES

rain telegraphing
to pavement my memories,
my deepest desires

 

FAMILY

Beavers gnawing birch
build dams transforming bare earth
to life-breeding streams.

 

LOSS

Fracking Everglades
in endless craving for oil
suffocates bluegill.

 

HIDDEN

Beneath the surface
my pounding heart’s heard only
by ear pressed to chest.

 

ROCKY HORROR

Doctor Frank sings out
in Horror B rock ‘n’ roll
a mental mind fuck.

 

1954 PHOTO

Jasper and Robert
with drinks at stained plank table
melding love and art

 

GONE

Our bees, toxic spray
soaking their sacred pollen,
simply disappear.

 

QUESTIONS

Shall we change earth’s slow
dying we feel but don’t see?
Or shall we just grieve?

 

PLEASE HELP

Our war veteran
lost and alone, keeps hearing
screams though no one’s there.

 

THE LIE

We invade countries
for oil and gas, grin and call
it War on Terror.

 

NIGHT HORRORS

On opposite sides
of the wedding bed, they kneel
as they pray and cry.

 

PRESTO!

When we touch fingers—
our ancient, intimate wands—
psyches sense magic.

 

ABUSE DENIAL

Her right eye’s sewn closed.
Her soft mouth’s stitched shut. All fine,
since it’s with white thread.

 

FEEDING FRENZY

Multinationals
craving to survive and grow
must devour nations.

 

ABANDON

I run from bodies
lying silent on sidewalks
since each one is me.

 

FEEDING FRENZY II

Multinationals
morph smiling post-human form:
Hannibal Lecter.

 

FEEDING FRENZY III

Multinationals
chomping human flesh and bones
spit out credit cards.

 

FEEDING FRENZY IV

Multinationals
toss gnawed scraps to stuff their pet
mutts: politicians.

 

THIS NIGHT

Full moon, full spirit.
Mind filled with your gentle face
full of light and grace.

 

PET

Her pet I bet gets
let out from the vet’s, set free
of frets when petted.

 

PET II

When with your lover
always remember to let
your pet out at night.

 

REMINDER

When on the subway
repeat: “Those furry creatures
scratching past aren’t pets.”

 

RESPONSE

“Tell me how you feel
when we have sex,” she said. So
I write love sonnets.

 

MUSE’S MIGHT

Hunting with a lyre
Erato sings and wild beasts
lie tame at her feet.

 

KNOWLEDGE

Soft light on tree leaves
ignites images of great
light on leaves of books.

 

FIREWORKS

Beneath barrages
of flaring dandelions
our flesh inflames us.

 

FIREWORKS II

Trembling in retreat
beneath our couch, Spot senses
their deadly symbols.

 

AFTER WORK

he drives home, kisses
the wife and kids, pours a Scotch,
drinks and disappears.

 

BODY ELECTRIC

Don’t sugarcoat it,
my love. Cauterize the wound
and French kiss my scream.

 

GHOSTS

cloudy-sky fragments
edging through tree leaves: hazy
screens of memory

 

FEROCIOUS CURIOSITY

I survey your eyes,
sense stories of ancient lives,
feel my cells explode.

 

ROBIN HOOD

Study my focus,
my steady bow, as I aim
to split the arrow.

 

NAILING IT

Each fingernail knows
how to shield its tender tip
allowing love’s touch.

 

SAD SELFIE

sunglass lens reflects
light-drenched hand with dark iPhone
and me out the door

 

LIFTOFF

Your breasts and clit flame
me to fits, but blazing eyes
ignite our climax.

 

THE PLAN

I hear oligarchs
say, “Endless war will control
world population.”

 

AGING

My wall of birthdays
piles higher, wider each year
blocking West Berlin.

 

PRAYER

Amaterasu,
mother of our universe,
enlighten each cell.

 

ON WAKING

Through lean slit at top
of closed blinds sunlight streak cloaks
slight strips of green leaves.

 

WINTER WONDERLAND

Spray spews defrosting
plane window as I wonder
is this my last flight.

 

2 a.m.

Walking in dark rain,
missing you, whispering this
to your distant light.

 

MANDATE

I must write haiku
before midnight. Don’t ask me
why. I’m not the Muse.

 

FIRST AMENDMENT

Protesters carry
flowers while police hover
with armor and clubs.

 

PREYING MANTIS

Drooling predator
devours pension victims, then
crawls back to Wall Street.

 

LIGHT

Dawn light finding us,
noon light blinding us, with last
light reminding us:

Love your higher light,
love your inner light, and you’ll
love your lover’s light.

 

PEACEFUL REVOLUTION

Beat us with clubs, debt
and endless war. We will rise,
our Constitution

in hand, come en masse
to call on you, clarify
who runs this country.

 

EDUCATION

Shut up. Fall in line.
Do what you’re told. Listen. Learn
what to think, not how.

 

CIVILIZATION

Poison your air, earth,
water. Ignore history.
Meh. Count your money.

 

REINCARNATION

Do you choose to come
back as a giant oak tree
or Mercedes Benz?

 

TEAMWORK

Each cell a conscious
entity, they link like hands
lifting us toward light.

 

3…2…1…

The mushroom clouds rise.
The radiation descends.
Winds breathe our Amen.

 

DICTATOR

The tongue depressor
manipulates the machine,
sewing your mouth shut.

 

FINAL COMMITMENT

The Trident missile
rises through air, flaming tail
predicting globe’s blaze.

 

THAT DAY

In Greenwich Village
I gazed down Sullivan Street
to towerless sky.

City of silence,
even those glazed-eyed loved ones
taping up photos.

 

BLESSING FOR BEKKAH

I envisioned you
blowing out candles, grateful
for your poet’s gift.

 

SURPRISE GUESTS

We open closed blinds
to welcome warm autumn sun,
but in fly five wasps.

 

WAR ON TERROR

The mouse’s shadow
magnifies, covers the wall.
We scream, nuke the room.

 

MYSTERY

The fragile feather
fluttering through the light breeze
transforms to a bird.

 

LIFE GUARD

Your eyes, ebbing me
through blue endless undertow,
drown my soul with life.

 

ELECTIONS

Avalanches crash
into valleys crushing all
in their village dens.

 

JUST FOLLOWING ORDERS

Teach yelled, “Change the world!”
So I grabbed the classroom’s globe
and sawed it in half.

 

COLD TURKEY

Hacked half a bird left,
with its meal’s worth of trimmings,
tossed in the garbage.

 

YODA

I sense from sayings
he imparts, that ugly fart’s
really pretty smart.

 

RITE OF PASSAGE

College winter night,
older woman in my class
takes me home with her.

 

SWEET SURRENDER

Beethoven invades,
his sonata conquering
my gloom with moonlight.

 

CONSUMED

Her eye’s blue iris
opens my ocean, controls
deep tide’s ebb and flow.

 

YESTERDAY

she reached out her hand
as if wanting to touch me,
paused, and walked away.

 

ANTIWAR RALLY

He stands at Broadway
and Bleecker—alone. Shouts, “Let’s
all go home and fuck!”

 

CRYSTAL METH AWARD

Her once glowing teeth,
chipped, charred like homeless chimneys,
grind down and fall out.

 

RANG A BELLE

She called, introduced
herself, spoke of poetry.
And we fell in love.

Roger Armbrust

Roger Armbrust's articles and columns have covered labor and management, Congressional legislation, and federal court cases, including appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court. He formerly served as national news editor of Back Stage in New York City, where he also taught a professional writing course at New York University. His recent book of sonnets -- oh, touch me there: Love Sonnets -- is available from Amazon and other book sites. He is an associate curator of The Clyde Fitch Report. He is also co-founder and co-curator of reality: a world of views.

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