45. two haikusentences
For the haiku form, an insistent present tense works best. Perhaps due to the shortness of the poem, the reader is placed in a stronger sense of the poet-speaker’s personal situation when an unfolding, on-going event is used as the main focus. A closely-shared common experience results, firmly linking two distinct points of view across histories, cultures, identities. One has to watch out, as a result, due to an over-bearing use of gerunds, those —ing verb forms Walt Whitman loved to use repetitively, obsessively in his works. When over-used, a text locks into the echoing phonetics, jarring the reader’s ear with a tiresome routine of similarities. With haiku in particular, since the “now” moment is the focal point, a balance becomes necessary between the poet-speaker’s past “now” moment and the reader’s present “now” moment.
Because of this possibility, oftentimes I over-think the situation. I will end up redrafting the same line for hours compulsively until some harmonious compromise is reached. Two cases below illustrate my point. I couldn’t avoid the prominent placement of the gerund at the beginning of each sentence: the voice otherwise seemed faulty, insincere.
(5) wasted afternoon (4) paring my nails (5) in the kitchen sink (3) another (4)
in quarantine Another
wasted / afternoon in quarantine, / paring back my nails. Paring
my nails in / the kitchensink; another / wasted afternoon.
871. Paring nails in the kitchensink; yet another wasted afternoon.
to the quick (5) almost
to the quick / (5) almost past the quick (4) quick
of the nails (5) proof
I am awake (7) seeking
proof that I am awake / alive / present / aware (7) trim
back my nails to the quick (3) too
often (7/8) I
trim my nails (down) to the quick (3) my
shadow (5) awake
I trim my nails to the quick, seeking proof I am
awake and aware. Seeking proof I am awake and aware— I trim my nails
to the quick. Seeking proof I am awake and aware—trimming my
nails to the quick. Seeking proof of being awake and aware—(I) trim(ming)
(back) my nails(—) to the quick. Proof of being awake and aware— I trim back my nails
to the quick. For proof of being awake and aware— I trim my
nails down to the quick. As proof of being awake and aware— I trim my nails
down to the quick. Trimming my nails down to the quick— proof of
being awake and aware.
872. Trimming my nails down to the quick— proof of being awake and aware.