Falling Apart, or New Delhi Haiku Blues

by Kevin Murphy

Haiku accost me at every corner. Ominous haiku,

shabby haiku, aggressively congenial haiku, so

many splatters on the wall, so much watery

action at the edge of a leaf.

Seventeen con artists lined up in a row. Seventeen

propositions incapable of being refused.

Seventeen tourists in seventeen mini-vans.

Eight million sleeping people in the city. Sixteen

million nostrils flaring with breath. Fifty-two

thousand four hundred and seven bony dogs

howling at shapes. Monkeys of precisely

seventeen syllables.

A bowl of noodles, a lizard on a ceiling, the

undulation of a mosquito net. From inside the

mosquito net, the hiccups of the beloved. One

detail askew and it all falls apart.

This poem appears in the book Poetry Walk: Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest—The First Five Years, edited by Nancy Canyon and Anita K. Boyle. The poem was one of the winners in the 2010 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest in Bellingham, Washington. See the announcement and broadside. You can also watch a video of the author reading the poem on YouTube.