Saturday, June 28, 2008

I'm going to begin inflicting bad agricultural haikus upon you. People are always asking me about my poetry--or the notable lack thereof.

The truth is I'm a bad bad poet. I have trouble using language for language's sake. Poetry is something I put aside in my twenties when my angst cooled down to a small brick of charcoal needing too much lighter fluid.

This is Agricultural Haiku #1. Geese.

Geese in yard honking

Run outside to see who’s there

What? Green shit on shoe?!

Anyway, what has brought to mind my poetic deficiencies is that I'm in the query process for my flash fiction chapbook, The Smoky Mountain Breakdown, A Chapbook of Appalachia. A chapbook is basically a small book. The manuscript is pretty much done, except for the tinkering I can't seem to stop myself from doing. I'm always writing more of these stories so I'll probably add more if the process goes on too long. Half of them are published already. Anyway, this is the little book you guys have been pestering me to put out.

I think it's going to be really great. I might even be able to get my old teacher, William Price Fox, to blurb it if he's still able. He's 82 now and I'm not sure how much longer he'll be around. He always did smoke too much. And--if they let me use Lee for the illustrations--I think it will be visually fun as well. Provided I can sweet talk her into it. All this is just wishful thinking at this point, though. I'm sure it's going to happen, and am working on it.

Which is what brings me back to bad poetry. Most of the chapbook publishers only do poetry. Or you have to pay them a reading fee and enter a contest. Have I mentioned I'm as poor as the people I write about? So, I'm thinking, if I can come up with enough truly bad agricultural haiku to do a chapbook with--I could submit it and when they write me the inevitable scathing rejection letter, I can write back--hey, could I possibly interest you in a chapbook of really wonderful Appalachian shorts? Yes? No?

I know what you really came here for today. You came for some Porn and Donuts, didn't you? Well, okay....

By the way, if you are just joining the blog and wondering what this is--every Saturday I run a segment of a novella I'm writing called Porn and Donuts. If you use the search bar to search "Serial Story Saturday", it should pull up all of the installments. They are difficult to find, tucked into journal posts, for a reason--sploggers and all that. Just look for the trucker girl in the donut.


“A heist?” It seemed like a big word for her to use.

She flashed the space between her front teeth and the dark gap just on the edge of her smile.

“Yeah, silly--we stage a hold-up! Look, I knows this guy outside of K-town. He keeps a gang of cash in his back room. Last time I was there making a delivery, I watched him punch in his code into the security system. It’ll be real easy. We just go there, break in and we’ll have that eight thousand dollars, and enough to get you a suit and rent a car.”

“Uh, I don’t know, Kellie,” Lucius said. He had been on the wrong side of the law for a long time. A bit of shoplifting here, some check kiting there and the ever-present drug use, but he never thought about robbing anyone.

“Aw, come on!” Kellie said, her eyes shiny. “It’ll be fun!”

“Fun? Robbing somebody? Why’d you want to do this anyway?”

Kellie punched him in the shoulder. “He’s my Papaw, too, dummy! Just think of it as my contribution to the family.”

“So, is this a house or what?”

“It’s a lingerie, adult novelty and check cashing shop.”

“You mean like a porn shop?” Lucius warmed to the idea.

“Well, sort of. They do have some dirty movies and magazines, but their main thing is accessories.”

“Accessories?” Lucius was not sure what she was talking about. He liked porn. He understood porn.

“Yeah, you know--what they call marital aides. Sexy underwear and nighties, costumes, vibrators--edible panties--that sort of thing.”

“Edible panties?” Lucius never gave much thought to such things. If it was on pay-per-view porn, it might have crossed his mind. It did not matter to him what they were wearing. He just liked looking at butts. Sexy underwear was fine, but Lucius was mainly interested in the taking off part.

Lucius knew his mother would not approve of such a place. The more he thought about it, the more this sounded like a place that not only ought to be robbed, but downright deserved it.

“I’m in. When do we leave?”

Kellie giggled. “I knew you’d see what a great idea it was.”


  1. Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...
    I am stuck on your "Haiku". It is a nice visual free verse but no haiku.
    Try Spring White Geese
    Run To see outside
    Green shit shoes

    This conveys your ideas with greater brevity. It fitssome of the rules: the 3-5-3 form. Mentions a season. Has contrasting images (white and green)

    There are some rules to Haiku besides three line brevity although I don't think the rules should over ride the image flashed on mind.

    I like your bait and switch technique to get a publisher to publish you good prose after rejecting your bad poetry.
    Rosie said...
    Actually, Phil, this is the traditional 5-7-5 form. Now, I've used syllables rather than on, so there may be some wiggle room. Your 3-5-3 form is certainly valid since it comes in under 17 syllables or on, but the 5-7-5 is commonly recognized as haiku form by most westerners--though really all it has to do is come in under 17 on.
    Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...
    I could see a weekend retreat in Haiku writing in the future.

    The 5 7 5 form is the traditional Japanese form. I understood 3 5 3 form worked in English better.

    Here is an interesting quote:

    Allen Ginsberg defines haiku as “first flash, second recognition, third afterthought.” He also defines haiku as “two polarized thoughts fused by a flash of recognition,” offering as his model Basho’s well-known haiku about a frog jumping into pond water. It goes, in syllabic meter (5-7-5 the accepted meter):

    In the ancient pond
    A frog leaps– and then the splash
    Of all that water.

    He also says that ideally the haiku “should contain emptiness, form and a blissful or humorous recognition of the relationship between the two.” He offers as his criteria for haiku (1) extreme compression of thought, (2) casualness of expression, (3) the very subtle suggestion of the Karmic law of cause and result.

    Who would not listen to the wisdom of Ginsberg.:)

    As an aside. I once heard Ginsberg perform "Howl" in a church in Boston. A great memory.
    Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...
    Here is a nice site on Haiku
    Nancy said...
    On the subject of bad agricultural Haiku, I submit the following (and relinquish all rights to you)

    Hens do love them worms
    Worms feast on manure and yet
    Eggs don't taste like shit.

    go figger.

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