The Raw Underlining of Modern Experience

A beauty lies in decay. In dilapidation and rust. Even in haiku poems, scenes of elaborate filth and squalor or raw tones of decomposition can be utilized to embellish a poet's message. Modern writers such as Richard Wright and Santoka Teneda knew this when creating their memorable poems. Even Bashō on occasion used this technique to his advantage. There is a danger making haiku verse into a sentimental recording of an event, a danger in capturing only picturesque moments or sequences of "deeper meaning"— Recreating moments with disturbing images or even mundane, ordinary objects can impact a reader with a strong emphasis, allowing them to transcend the information into something other.

Some Quick Examples:

     A horse is pissing
In the snow-covered courtyard
     In the morning sun.
                                   —Richard Wright

     While urinating
I feel slightly self-conscious
     Before the spring moon.
                                   —Richard Wright

Making my way through the fallen leaves,
I have a good shit in the fields.
                                   —Santoka Teneda

Red urine—
How long will I be able
To continue this journey?
                                   —Santoka Teneda

fleas and lice
now a horse pisses
by my pillow


What these five poems have in common is the emphasis of articulating the grit of everyday living— and moving beyond the "ugliness," beyond the unspoken rituals of existence.


With this in mind, I am currently developing a series of haiku sentences on themes not normally associated with such meditative verse. The first handful I have generated specifically delve into the night life of a gay dance club— the ones with less than posh atmospheres, the ones that carry scenes of a warehouse dive, or the hidden Mid-American beer joints with secret entrances.

What I hope to accomplish is a stronger, more direct approach towards my writing— a frank honesty, or a means to expose the raw underlining of modern existence. To utilize themes less expected from an average haiku.

A litany of these will be posted on Twitter: @Pan_Within.

A Quick Preview:

1/ From the stage— leaning through a blur of cigarettes— their hard bodies sway.

17/ When he drinks, his tongue slips forward first—darting into the mouth of the glass.

25/ On backstairs, he hears brusque intakes of breath. Then invisible whispers.

Works Cited Page


  1. I really am excited by this. Sounds good. Very good! The concept is one that I can absolutely identify with.
    I am so looking forward to reading more of this.
    It is the contrast/the dissonance between what we ordinarily label as "beautiful" or "meaningful" and the brutality or frankness with which we express something that unexpectedly brings a flash of beauty or meaning or illumination - these things are the things which most interest me. Thanks for this!

  2. My issue at hand now is I have built the bridge to the new idea, BUT I have to cross over into the concept... it is easy for me to see my errors, but it is complicated changing my methods. And then there is the whole disagreement of the value of beauty...

    Not in a good mood today either. Slept maybe five hours last night. Insomnia sucks.

  3. I have to add - your previous methods - your ability to twist something and produce a hopeful image or allusion has been a source of inspiration to me...
    And beauty...yes. I remember the arguments and battles fought over the nature of it so well. Truth is beauty, beauty, truth - that is all we need to know and etc... But what precisely do we mean when use the term? Mind you - I do believe that we recognise it when we see it?
    Insomnia does suck! Try valerian root? Or nap all day...!


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