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