Haiku Battle

A friend and I are in the midsts of a Haiku Battle. We exchange poems like a hail of bullets in 5-7-5 barrages. Moves and countermoves, each building on the last. He mentions a park and then I’m writing about a carriage-horse and then we’re at an old abandoned carousel where the horses sit lifelessly…and then we’re writing about death.

I check the shared google document regularly to see if it’s my turn. At this stage, about a week in, we are at 32 combined haikus and looking back to the beginning we’ve both already improved. It’s fun writing such a condensed format with inherent constraints. I’m not sure how long we’ll keep it up–probably not long, but I like to imagine us in our 70s, finding a new Haiku submitted and sitting down in our sky-suites to compose our retaliation.

Here are some of my own favorites so far:

Life is a haiku

Days counted like syllables

then, over too soon.


Remember the night

we climbed to your roof then fell

into a slow dance.


The tossed cigarette

explodes on the dark freeway

bright as dynamite.


Hey, amphibians!

Make up your minds already

Walk or swim, not hard.


Defunct carousel

Cracked horses wait in silence

for riders to come.


Death is patient, Death

is unkind. Proudly Death boasts

a perfect record.


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