Urban Haiku

The following poems are all on the theme of “urban” haiku—in no particular order, and including some senryu. They have all been published in various journals and anthologies. To read more about my approach to haiku, please visit Becoming a Haiku Poet.

Photo by Kev Ryan, from a haiku wall displayed at the London Matsuri Japanese cultural festival at Spitalfields, London, England, on 18 September 2010
the siren stops

at the draped body—

hopscotch markings



spring breeze—

the pull of her hand

as we near the pet store                                                                                           +



clicking off the late movie . . .

     the couch cushion




you squeeze my hand . . .

how still the sky

after fireworks



distant car horn—

in the empty studio

the faceless portrait



hospital waiting room—

the drinking fountain

stops humming



a bitter loss—

college football players

without any necks



toll booth lit for Christmas—

from my hand to hers

warm change                                                                                                            +



dense fog—

I write your name

on the airport window



the street-corner preacher

points the way

with his Bible



express checkout

     the fat woman counts

          the thin man’s items



short day—

the manhole cover’s

misaligned stripe



singles bar

everyone coupled                     +

but me




      the dry spot

on the shopping cart seat



drifting cherry petals . . .

a window goes up

in the passing limousine



foggy night—

sparks from a tossed cigarette

scatter on the freeway



deserted park     hail on the chessboard



       spring sun—

at the top of the roller coaster

       she says yes



frost on the pampas grass—

the man at the bus stop

sways back and forth



after the verdict

the arsonist

lights up



December flurries—

in the airplane magazine

a half-finished crossword



rising gas prices—

the attendant changing numbers

in a pouring rain



the waiter interrupts

our argument on abortion—

a choice of teas



ringing church bell—

moonlight dimmed

by a gentle snowfall



first snow . . .

the children’s hangers

clatter in the closet



grocery shopping—

pushing my cart faster

through feminine protection                                                                                     +



drapes drawn—

just the edges done

on the daffodil puzzle



warm winter evening—

the chairs askew

after the poetry reading



autumn morning—

     old neighbours

          trimming the hedge



tourists talking

in several languages—

the glassblower exhales



bookmobile day—

huckleberries bloom

along the white picket fence



starry starry night—

unfinished art school paintings

in the dumpster



at his favourite deli,

the bald man finds a hair

in his soup                                                             +



record high—

this heat

even in my toothpaste



Valentine’s Day—

she reminds me

to fasten my seatbelt                                                           +     +



winter wind—

kite string tangled

in the garden trellis




                 on the freeway—

the skywriting drifts



a lull in her hands—

the hairstylist asks

how I part my hair



soaked by the rain

the umbrella man

sold out



first cold night—

the click of your domino

as we play by the fire                                                                                             +



cats in love—

the blinds split apart

in the neighbour’s window



scattered petals . . .

the thud of my books

in the book drop                                      +



snow-swept crossing—

the shudder

      through freight cars



snow on the landing—

     the prints

of the old woman’s walker






pale moonlight—

a snow-covered swing

twists in the wind



a table for one—

   leaves rustle

in the inner courtyard



an old woolen sweater

   taken yarn by yarn

      from the snowbank



upturned grocery cart—

one wheel spinning

in the current



first cold night—

smell of hot dust

from the vent



home from work—

a scuffed baseball

among shards of glass