f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

October 30, 2006

Oct. 30: Haunted Refrigerator Night

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 7:20 pm

fridgeNotesN Ruth and Thomas Roy at Wellcat.com are known for creating holidays and related rituals. The Roys have deemed today, October 30th, to be Haunted Refrigerator Night — a time to gather your courage and see “what evil lurks in the refrigerators of men . . . and women.” We think it’s great practice for facing the coming horrors of Halloween (and even dias des los muertos).

The f/k/a Gang may have more than enough mold in their fridge, but we don’t have enough haiku to celebrate Haunted Refrigerator Night. So, come on Honored Guest Poets, click on the Comment link and try your hand. Good sport Ed Markowski has already offered a pair. Now it’s your turn. Until we get better ones, you’re stuck with dagosan’s quickies.

new fridge
the motor’s faint hum
still there

. . . . . …………………… . . . by Yu Chang
from the Haibun “refrigerator” (Am. Haibun and Haiga 2)

fisherman’s icebox
the look on her face
when she opens the chip dip

october 30th
orange mold creeps across
a long dead rainbow trout

. . . . . …………………………. . . . by Ed Markowski
“fisherman’s icebox” – Modern Haiku (Vol. 37.2, Autumn 2006)

autumn wind
rattles the window –
the fridge hums louder

95 degrees
the refrigerator
sweats, too

aging veggies
in the fridge —
I break a few eggs

October 30
the fridge bulb
flickers and dies

the Sub Zero kicks on —
magnets falling
to the kitchen floor


hissing in the kitchen —
cat and freon

. . . . . …………………………………. . . . . . . . . . written in haste by dagosan

October 24, 2006

how many of you?

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 11:00 pm

This posting is not a sad lament over the dwindling number of visitors we’ve been having at f/k/a since we started our punditry hiatus in early June. (But, it could be, and it’s our own fault.) Moreover, it’s not even a pat on your Editor’s back for the thousands (really) of visitors who stopped by his new weblog shlep today, to read a post about an online newspaper that is trying to deny its readers their right to Fair Use of copyrighted material.  [Hint to Matt Morden on how to get lots of visitors: have the #2 most popular weblog in the world link to your post, as Boing Boing did today for shlep.  Surprised me, too.]

 QuestionMarkKey Instead, the Gang wanted to tell you about the website HowManyOfMe.com, which purports to know how many people have your (or anyone’s) name.   HowMany does warn you that they are using Census Bureau data and people with rare names have been left out, for privacy reasons.  Therefore, “19% of people will have either one or both names missing from the list” — resulting in zero results being found for those individuals.  If you thought it would mostly be those youngsters with aberrant name spellings and novel monikers who would be in that 19% group, you’d probably be right.  But, after just a few examples tonight, I discovered that haiku writers are probably also over-represented in the Zero Names Group — at least, our Honored Guests are. 

Of course, I checked myself first, and “There are 10 people in the U.S. named David Giacalone.”  That number seems high.  Next, I learned that the statistics suggest “There are 8 people in the U.S. named Edward Markowski.”

Looking for a bigger number, I put in “John Stevenson” and was not at all surprised to see: “There are 1,526 people in the U.S. named John Stevenson.”   And, “There is 1 person in the U.S. named Yu Chang” seemed about right.  Then, things got interesting.  According to HowManyOfMe:

— There are 0 people in the U.S. named Laryalee Fraser, as (according to the uncloaked census data) “There are 0 people in the U.S. with the first name Laryalee.”
— There are 0 people in the U.S. with the last name Gurga, so “There are 0 people in the U.S. named Lee Gurga.”
— There are 0 people in the U.S. named Roberta Beary, because “neither was common enough to make it likely that someone in the U.S. has that name.”
— There are 0 people in the U.S. with the last name Kacian. There are 0 people in the U.S. named Jim Kacian.

The rest of you out there will have to check out your own names, as I’ve managed to fritter away enough time on this frivolous project already this evening (with Game 3 of the World Series on the tv behind me).  To make it up to you, here are some topic-relevant haiku and senryu:



this worm downwind
from countless stars



. . . . . . . by andrew riutta
Simply Haiku (Summer 2005, vol. 3:2)

fund drive
the ivy covered building
has a new name






another spring
the nameless shoot
still nameless



. . . . . . . . .  by Yu Chang 
“fund drive”  Upstate Dim Sum (2002/II)
 “another spring” The Heron’s Nest (Sept. 2005)





the shelter of a tree—
neither of us knows
the other’s name

no sign
where two roads meet
iris blooms



. . . . .  by paul m 
“shelter” –  finding the way (Press Here, 2002)
“no sign”   the heron’s nest






winter night
a stranger in the laundromat
asks my name


. . . . .  by pamela miller ness  –  haiku spirit 20



one sentence from the end
          a pretty nurse
          calls my name





early thaw…
for a moment
mother remembers my name


. . . . . . by ed markowski 

October 19, 2006

before the pond freezes

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 12:17 am


The newest edition of Frogpond [XXIX:3, Fall 2006] arrived at my frontdoor today and it was a pleasure to find so many friends represented, and to see haiku, senryu, haibun, essays, and more, and more from old and new favorites.

 HSALogo The weather around here has had a bite to it lately, and I want to think of the frogpond a bit longer as a place where the breeze is still a friend — before it freezes over into a skating rink.  So, enjoy the poems and the warm glow of our Honored Guests, from the Fall 2006 Frogpond, which was edited with love and skill by John Stevenson. (Click on this Honored Guest Archive link to find the personal archive page of each of our Guests)

birthday morning
the bog
lined with iris


. . . . . . . Pamela Miller Ness



pencil in hand
I watch my sister
photograph the sunset




smoke curls
from the curing shed

. . . . . . .   Hilary Tann




last day of school —
she tells me there was nothing
more to learn





I give someone
easy directions
. . . . . . .   Tom Clausen


day’s end
thumbs stretching
the overall straps




flower arranging
we gather
around the table


. . . . . . .   w.f. owen




day off–
the dog works the bald spot
in the rug
. . . . . . . . . . . Roberta Beary




the teenagers lounge
near the deepend

. . . . . . . . . . . Tom Painting




fertile ground
the gardener
takes no credit



pencil box
the silkworm
cool to my touch


. . . . . . . . . . .  Yu Chang



on a glad morning i am glad spring sun



rickety billboard
the ghost of a name
through the whitewash
. . . . . . . . . . .  Jim Kacian


night on the town–
how beautiful the girl
my wife finds fault with
. . . . . . . . . . . Lee Gurga



bare patch in the garden–
again my daughter doesn’t
answer her phone
. . . . . . . . . . .   Carolyn Hall


frogpond And, here are some older poems, from the Essay, “A Haiku Eye on Camden,” by Ruth Yarrow (the keynote address at the 1st Annual Nick Virgilio Haiku Conference):


evening walk
after office politics
lilac scent
. . . . . . . . . . .  Randy M. Brooks, Modern Haiku XXXIV:3

freezing rain
tallying the strike vote
at the union hall
. . . . . . . . . . .  Ed Markowski, Frogpond XXV:2

ultrasound picture
slowly passed from hand to hand —
beginning of spring



toll booth lit for Christmas–
from my hand to hers
warm change
. . . . . . . . . . .   Michael Dylan Welch
“ultrasound picture” orig. pub’d Frogpond XXVI:3
“toll booth” – orig. pub’d The Haiku Anthology 1999



crowded mall
water magnifies a goldfish
in a plastic bag
. . . . . . . . . . .  Peggy Willis Lyles , Frogpond XXVI:2



schoolgirls take turns
mimicking a stutter–
March wind
. . . . . . . . . . . Barry George, Frogpond XXV:2



with a black eye     halo
around the moon
. . . . . . . . . . .  George Swede, Frogpond VIII: 3


October 18, 2006

baseballs and champions

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 10:52 pm

infielderF Detroit Tigers baseball fan(atic) Ed Markowski has a lot more to cheer about than usual this year. If you’re like Ed, you’re anticipating the start of the Major League Baseball World Series this weekend. This is, naturally, the perfect time to point you again to f/k/a‘s Baseball Haiku Page. Ed has many poems on that page and he’s been inspired lately to write a few more. Here is a handful of old and new ones:

first red leaves
i swing late
on a change-up

season’s end
a popcorn bag’s pop
through a stadium corridor

two crows
settle on the foul pole…
100th loss

“red hots!”
for an instant i’m ten
father’s still alive

bases loaded
no one out…..
the pitcher
blows a bubble

. . . . . . . . . . . . by Ed Markowski EdMarkowski
“bases loaded” – Haiku Sun (Issue X, Jan. 2004)

baseball Meanwhile, Roberta Beary dropped a note recently to remind me that women haijin also write baseball/ softball haiku and senryu. That’s something haikuEsq learned long ago. For example:

nearly dark–

snow deepens

on the baseball field

warm beer–

heat lightning flickers

beyond the outfield

. . . . . . by billie wilson

“nearly dark” – Acorn 15 (2005)

“warm beer” – frogpond (2004)

Happily, Roberta sent along a couple samples of her own:

tryouts —

the softball sails over

my daughter’s glove

spring thaw

a pinecone rolls

to first base

. . . . and we’re adding a Halloween bonus: pumpkin

Halloween twilight

army helicopters

fill the sky

. . . . . . . . by Roberta Beary – “tryouts” – shiki kukai, November 2004

spring thaw” – shiki kukai, March 2005

“Halloween twilight” – shiki kukai, Oct. 2001

at bat Since we’ve just talked about championships, Roberta, and Halloween, I should take the time to let you know that Ms. Beary has again shown her championship style — winning first place in the 2006 Kiyoshi and Kiyoko Tokutomi Memorial Contest for yuki teikei haiku. Here’s the most excellent First Place haiku:

Halloween twilight
again this year my son waits
alone by the door

p.s. Due to website technicalities, I can no longer add to our Baseball Haiku Page, but hope to start a second one soon. All of our Honored Guest Poets are hereby requested to send more baseball haiku for inclusion. thanks.

October 10, 2006

pumpkin paucity, but lots of laryalee

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 3:40 pm

The news media has been filled with reports lately that our rainy summer in the northeastern USA has greatly reduced the pumpkin crop in states such as New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, which produce much of the nation’s supply of the usually ubiquitous and festive autumnal gourd-fruit-squash.  Since we at f/k/a planned ahead, you can always find a supply of pumpkin haiku by going to our archival storm cellar, and clicking on pithy pumpkin poetry and/or pumped for pumpkins.  [As usual, we apologize for the formatting problems caused by the switch to our new weblog server and platform.] 
Although there may be a pumpkin shortage at your farm stands and supermarkets, there will no longer be a shortage of poetry by Laryalee Fraser, at this humble but proud weblog.  As was leaked last week by haikuEsq, the entire f/k/a Gang is proud and pleased to announce that Lary has joined the f/k/a family, agreeing to become our latest (and 28th) Honored Guest Poet.  If you love contemporary English-language haiku or modern haiga, you probably already know Laryalee’s fine work.  If not, a quick look at her poetry site along poetry creek) or her haiga webpages (soft strokes), will surely explain our enthusiasm.  


By the way, the first glimmer of hope for dagosan‘s neophyte career as a haiku poet came earlier this year, when he had the high honor of sharing with Laryalee The Scorpion Prize for Roadrunner Haiku Journal Issue V:4.  Here’s Lary’s winning poem from Roadrunner V:4:



new neighbors —
apples hang on both sides
of the fence


Lary is also a frequent winner in the Shiki Monthly Kukai (contest).  Indeed, she won 1st Place for both prongs of the contest (kigo and freeform) in July 2006:


he adjusts the sprinkler
for the fourth time



campfire chili
a loon’s call stirs
the darkness


Although I couldn’t find any pumpkin haiku by Lary, her many perspectives on nature and human nature can be seen in these autumn haiku:

the scent of autumn —

his frail hands
the last harvest




harvest moon
a spider farms
the wall ivy







fading rainbow
a maple leaf swirls
down the drain

bristled pine —
the autumn moon
has a moustache!
Laryalee Fraser

“noticing” – Simply Haiku (autumn 2005)
“his frail hands” – Simply Haiku  (autumn 2004)
“harvest moon”- Haiku Harvest (fall/winter/05)
“sales flyer” – Clouds Peak (#1, July 2006)
“bristled pine –” – Simply Haiku Vol. 2:2
LaryaleeFraser Lary tells me she’s not fond of biographies, but I want to share this brief one from Haigaonline with you, so you can know a bit about our newest family member from Canada:  “A former newspaper reporter, Laryalee is a widely published author whose favorite forms of writing have now become haiku and tanka. Her haiga have been published in Haigaonline, Mindfire Renewed, Simply Haiku and World Haiku Review, and she is a regular participant in the World Haiku Association’s monthly haiga contests. More of her haiga can be found on her web site Along Poetry Creek.   Since her retirement, Lary’s interests have included gardening, photography and visiting her grandchildren. These and the pleasures she finds in small-town life in British Columbia infuse her haiga.”     I bet she’d rather make your acquaintance through her poems, like this pair from Clouds Peak (Issue #2, p. 1, Oct. 2006):



sales flyer —
a crow paces
the parking lot  



new pink sneakers —
grandma’s porch step
still creaks

Whatever the season or event, we warmly welcome, Laryalee!!  pumpkin


October 6, 2006

looking up: harvest moon, justin’s clouds, etc.

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 2:20 pm

Are things looking up in your corner of the universe?  We’re still in a lazy stage at f/k/a, but three things happened this week to lift our spirits:

1) Edition #2 of Dustin Neal’s clouds peak arrived on line, despite computer glitches galore .  In it, you will find several webpages of fine haiku, many quite original and challenging.    Until two days ago, I would have added, “none of f/k/a‘s Honored Guest poets appear in Clouds Peak #2, so you can discover haijin you haven’t yet met here.” However, we are most pleased to say that there is a new, illustrious member in the f/k/a Family, and seven of her poems are included in Edition #2.  Our next posting will officially welcome Laryalee Fraser to the Honored Guest honor roll, but here is a sneak peak from Clouds Peak:

two petals
left on the daisy…
her furrowed brow



toy windmill —
grandpa’s garlic


autumn haze
a farmer dusts off
the “for sale” sign


. . . by Laryalee Fraser, Clouds Peak (#2, Oct. 2006)



fullmoon 2)  The Harvest Moon has decided to return yet again to the delight of farmers and pickers of all kinds.   Luckily, we put together several pages of excellent Harvest Moon haiku and senryu in 2004 and 2005, so you can click right on over to find bushels and bushels of tasty offerings of the season.  Go to: this moon’s for you! (two dozen from Master Issa, translated by David Lanoue);  more harvest moon haiku;  and don’t forget to look up.


the sake gone
time to buckle down
and moon-gaze
. . . . . . . . . . . . . by Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue


a nightlight
for our Gulf Coast friends —
Harvest Moon 2005
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . by dagosan

3)  Despite (or, probably, because of) the quiescence the past few months at f/k/a, another one of Your Editor’s alter egos officially launched a new weblog, on October 1, 2006, called shlep: the Self-Help Law ExPressshlep will bring news and views about do-it-yourself lawyering, self-represented (pro se) litigants, and similar issues relating to achieving fuller access to justice for every person — so we don’t have to shlep toward justice with a lawyer on our backs any more.  To keep myself from burning out, I’ve assembled a team of self-help law experts and advocates in Team Shlep.  If you’ve missed our punditry, please check out shlep and you will, hopefully, be edified and entertained.


three-headed stranger  –
on his shoulders a pumpkin
and a harvest moon

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . by dagosan

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