Six haiku (or “lowku”)

  • In a field of flowers
  • two abandoned
  • bicycles.
  • Busy with words
  • he drinks the fly
  • in his cup.
  • Dark night:
  • no refuge
  • from the banging gate.
  • my new
  • fix-it-yourself manual
  • used as a doorstop
  • What to write
  • about the girl checking
  • her make-up in a puddle?
  • Even my father
  • says I’m
  • looking old.

John Brandi is probably our country’s best known haiku poet. But Brandi doesn’t worry about following the rules of Japanese haiku; the requirement, for example, that the poem be 17 syllables long and contain a reference to a particular season. Franklin Straus, a San Diego poet and children’s book author who passed away several years ago, used to call this Americanized brand of haiku by the name “lowku” and that seems perfectly fitting for Brandi’s wonderful adaptation of that traditional Japanese form. He writes: “If I’m in the right state of openness — intellect absent, the world before me as is, no hint of another to come — then poems arrive unexpectedly, as they should.” These six epiphanic poems are from Brandi’s collection Weeding the Cosmos, published by La Alameda Press. The poems are used with the author’s permission.

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