Liam Wilkinson’s 3Lights journal ran from 2007 to 2010. The final issue, Winter 2010, featured 28 of my neon buddha poems with three of my photographs. A PDF version used to be available on Scribd, but all issues were deleted from the service some time ago. Below are my three neon buddha pages from the journal. See also 12 neon buddhas and neon buddha photo-haiga.

Michael Dylan Welch is currently serving as vice president of the Haiku Society of America, and in 2010 is a fellow in Seattle’s Jack Straw Writers Program, for which he is writing and developing more of his neon buddha poems. He curates two monthly poetry reading series, and is a board member of the Washington Poets Association. He edited the haiku journal Woodnotes from 1989 to 1997, and currently edits Tundra: The Journal of the Short Poem, and publishes haiku and tanka books with his award-winning press, Press Here. He cofounded the Haiku North America conference in 1991, and the American Haiku Archives in 1996. In 2000, he founded the Tanka Society of America, serving as its president for five years. Michael’s haiku and longer poems, essays, and book reviews have appeared in hundreds of journals and anthologies in more than a dozen languages. He has won first place in each of the Henderson, Brady, Drevniok, and Tokutomi contests, among others, and has also won a Museum of Haiku Literature Award and Merit Book Awards from the Haiku Society of America. Recent books include Noh (Tokyo: PIE Books, 2010), For a Moment (Pointe Claire, Quebec: King’s Road Press, 2009) and 100 Poets: Passions of the Imperial Court (Tokyo: PIE Books, 2008). A longtime photographer (his photographs appear with his poems here), for many years he was a judge for the Northern California Council of Camera Clubs, and his photographs have appeared in several calendars and books and on magazine covers. Michael now lives in Sammamish, Washington, with his wife and two perfect children. He agrees with Roland Barthes, who said “Haiku has this rather fantasmagorical property: that we always suppose we ourselves can write such things easily.”



neon buddha


his narcissism

neon buddha

neon buddha

I switch my wipers

to intermittent

neon buddha

she swears at me

in Norwegian

filling the pothole


neon buddha

the televangelist

reaches for my forehead

neon buddha

CD on repeat

the neon buddha

asks for a condom

the children ask

where babies come from

neon buddha


the neon buddha

has nothing to declare

the neon buddha

conjugates a verb

well I’ll be

not for sale

at Home Depot

neon buddha

a little too proud

of his lobotomy scar

neon buddha


for a payday loan

neon buddha


for tax evasion

neon buddha

the Eiffel Tower

stuck in his eye

neon buddha

to see what it’s like

the neon buddha

licks the Taj Mahal


that he’s had Botox

neon buddha


by a Smart Car

neon buddha

the neon buddha

gets a tattoo


playing ping pong

with his bare hands

neon buddha

flipping the book

to his favourite painting

neon buddha

neon buddha

the bar piano

locked shut

life after death

the neon buddha

toying with his porridge

out of charm’s way



ten minutes

till the end of the world

the neon buddha yawns

the neon buddha

couldn’t care less

about stock prices

the flip chart

shows the sales growth

of neon buddhas


no more

neon buddha