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

November 30, 2006

noisy-shower condo lawsuit ain’t sunk yet

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,viewpoint — David Giacalone @ 2:18 pm


You may recall that we had a lot of fun earlier this year writing about the water-torture lawsuit brought by Denver lawyer Sheldon H. Smith, on behalf of his parents, against their condo neighbor Shannon Peterson — the suit was based on her allegedly tortious, too-early and too-noisy morning showers. [See our prior posts: get that lawyer out of my shower, Feb. 28 2006; and water-torture bathtub lawsuit still afloat, April 26, 2006, which have lots of links to newspaper and weblog coverage, including Walter Olson’s  Overlawyered.com posting, which brought the matter to our attention.]   The Smiths wanted special-ed teacher Peterson to shower no earlier than 8 A.M.

showerHead  To no one’s surprise, Peterson’s friend and lawyer J. Michael Dowling submitted a motion to dismiss the case for failure to state a claim.  We had asked for feedback from Lawyer Dowling, and he was good enough to leave the following Comment yesterday, at our original posting:

“The court recently denied [our] motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim asserting that there may be a claim if one doesn’t allow your neighbors’ plumbers into your apartment. “

Thus, the lawsuit is still afloat.  As we reported last April, Peterson had told the Denver Post that: ““I’ve done everything I can think of to work this out,” she said:

“I’ve had maintenance men remove all my tile and insulate the pipes. I’ve had sound engineers measure my unit and others in the building. Nothing’s abnormal. Even the homeowners’ board investigated and told the Smiths they should install sound barriers in their unit.”  

If this goes to trial, of course, the court will hear evidence on what the parties (and their plumbers) did and didn’t do, and when.  Perhaps condo law and tort experts will let us know just how much Peterson should have done, and how often, to avoid liability.  We will keep you posted.  Meanwhile, I get to reprise some of my favorite shower and bathtub haiku and senryu.




in the shower
an economy size bar of soap
lands on my toe


by Tom Clausen – Homework (Snapshot Press 2000)



midwinter bathing–
his head, the moon
in the water

in dawn frost
at the bathhouse door

mountain village–
even the horse bathes
in pure water

. . . by Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue


January thaw –
the cracks reappear
in the birdbath

. . . . by Yu Chang – Shiki Kukai (April 2000)


from the shower
a sad love song –
bathtub cricket


the shower massage   showerHead
finds her navel —
buddha smile


headful of suds
the shower
turns cold.

. . . . .. . . . .  . by dagosan

November 29, 2006

red moon press gets a website

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 6:06 pm


RMPLogo  Long on the cutting edge of English-language haiku, Red Moon Press has — let’s be honest — been a bit behind when it comes to having an internet presence.  For years, it has been borrowing a few modest webpages from HaikuWorld.org.  Last night, however, RMP’s publisher Jim Kacian [f/k/a‘s very first Honored Guest Poet] announced the launching of the new Red Moon Press website (giving much credit to web designer Dave Russo).  Here’s what Jim had to say about Red Moon’s new internet home: 

“the site will incorporate more features as time goes along, but for the
moment it is a site where all current red moon press products are
available, and which offers some information about us and our mission.”

The website offers a frequently-updated listing of Red Moon’s Best Sellers and also lets visitors/readers leave reviews of RMP books.  The About page gives a brief history of RMP, which has published over 60 volumes, many of which have been featured here at f/k/a

BigSkyRMA2006  big sky: rma 2006

If you haven’t checked out the Red Moon Press catalog lately, give it a close look.  For example, for an introduction to the best haiku written in English, consider the annual Red Moon Anthology series, which has been winning major awards for a decade.  [If the website had a Wish List feature, I’d be letting Mama G., know she can order me a copy of big sky: the red moon anthology 2006 now, for delivery in February, 2007. Like former rma volumes, big sky will have “200 works of haiku, haibun, renku, criticism and analysis.”]

I’m pleased to see that RMP has reissued Presents of Mind, Jim Kacian’s own full-length book of haiku. This new edition has “Japanese translations by the Kon Nichi Haiku Circle, the first time such serious, scholarly treatment has been afforded a book of English-language haiku.”

Here are some of my favorite haiku from Presents of MindKacianPresents



         the cold night
 comes out of the stones
          all morning  


    noiseless wind
       icicles pend
from the bell clappers


  drowned moth
the wax hardens
    around it



  birds appear
and disppear
   tilting axis

   afternoon moon
the blue of the sky
   right through it


weed stalks
holding up
snow flowers 

. . . by Jim Kacian, Presents of Mind (1996) KacianSelf

November 25, 2006

puritans, prudes & professional picklepusses

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,viewpoint — David Giacalone @ 11:38 pm

Have you seen this Jiwani ad yet?  MassWeeklySuit bigger

The advertisement, which declares “a custom-tailored suit is a natural aphrodisiac” caused a ruckus in the home of the Pilgrims, this Thanksgiving week, after appearing in the usually staid Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.  (see Boston Globe, “Many fume over hot ad in lawyers newspaper,” Nov. 22, 2006)   At the front of those attacking the ad is the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Association, whose President, Kathleen M. O’Connor, wrote to MLWeekly that “As lawyers, we are obligated to fight against gender discrimination, in whatever form it may take,” and that “We expect more from this newspaper.”

MWL‘s Editor-in-Chief, David Yas, first called the complainers a “bunch of self-important prudes,” but later decided to pull the ads, explaining that “in listening to our readers, we learned that the ad was offensive to many of them.”  In a necessarily unscientific online poll, the Boston Globe asked “Is this ad too risque?” and over 78% of the respondents said “no”.

During a slow-news holiday period, the story has rippled across the online lawyer community. (See, e.g., the WSJ Law Blog) The weblog and “legal tabloid” Above the Law, ran its own poll, asking if running the ad was “appropriate” or “inappropriate” in the newspaper for lawyers.  77.5% of ATL‘s respondents said “appropriate”.  On the other hand, the venerable weblogger and legal-website guru Robert Ambrogi, a former editor at Mass. Lawyers Weekly, opined that “this dust-up has nothing to do with prudishness and has everything to do with knowing your readers.” (LawSites, “Call me a prude, but. .“, Nov. 22, 2006)

In a piece titled “Jurisprudes,” self-proclaimed feminist, Dahlia Lithwick at Slate, couldn’t understand the fuss, and wouldn’t call the ad’s opponents prudes, but concluded:

“Shouting about this ad reinforces the dangerous lesson that there is no place for sex or flirtation or anything naughty in the law and that all sex must be sexism, because when it happens to us, it’s rare and mysterious good fortune.”

We’ve been waiting to see what Feminist Law Professors might have to say about the controversy.  This evening (Nov. 25, 2006), Bridget Crawford wrote “Lawyers at their Desks,” and (surprisingly) pointed out that perhaps the Mass. WBA “shouldn’t throw stones too quickly or too hard.  Its website features a slideshow of photos — many captioned ‘scent-sational women attorneys’ – from a recent membership event held at a store that sells ‘natural perfume and cologne.’  Seems to me that the Women’s Bar Association relies on stereotypes, too. ”  [We’d like to point out that the perfumist, Nawtucket Natural Oils, brags at its website that “Some of the store’s most satisfied customers include Madonna and Steven Tyler (Aerosmith)”.]

The entire affair is enough to get Prof. Yabut off his La-Z-Boy and to get dagosan to pull out a little poetry:

mid-argument –
opposing counsel crosses
her legs

sua sponte
madame justice
catches me staring

. . .  by dagosan embraceG

If you’re a regular at f/k/a, you know The Gang doesn’t believe that neo-puritanism is the answer to the battle of the sexes.  As we said in September, differing with the folk at Feminist Law Professors about an Above the Law “hottie” contest:

We are tempted to point out, yet again, our belief, that the neo-feminist penchant for humorless, picky, puritanical censorship does far more harm to their cause than the materials and the (atavistic, often purposely and obviously puerile) attitudes they are deriding.

There are a few other points worth making, in response to those who rant that the advertisements are “insulting,” tasteless,” and “demeaning”:

  1. A Jiwani FAQ says: “Do you make women’s clothing? Yes, we provide a full range of corporate suiting for women.”   This makes me wonder just who is doing the stereotyping when jumping to the conclusion that an ad for suits in a publication for lawyers is selling its product only to men (especially when it is the women in the ad who is wearing the suit).
  2. Like Dahlia Lithwick, we have to wonder just how the President of the Mass. WBA concluded that the advertisement amounts to “gender discrimination.”  This calls into question the lawyering skills and legal analysis of the complainants.  Every mention of a sexual topic is not sexism, nor sexual discrimination.   For lawyers, making distinctions and seeing differences is rather important.
  3. Those who worry about the continuation of old stereotypes need to pay very close attention to the new stereotypes they may be creating by their actions and positions.   Being seen as thin-skinned, humorless proponents of iffy legal analysis and bad attitudes is scarcely the way to win over the hearts or the minds of those who might still want to perpetuate the unwarranted stereotypes.  Indeed, it might just lose you a few allies or make them wary to come to your assistance every time you “cry wolf.”   Even the most open-minded and fair people can find it rather difficult to think of whiners as equals.
  4. Bob Ambrogi may be right that a publication “has to respect its readers,” but the readers need to respect themselves enough to withhold their sense of insult and outrage for matters that really matter.
one button undone
in the clerk’s blouse    I let her
steal my change

. . . by George Swede – from Almost Unseen (2000)

Update (Dec. 30, 2008): See our posting “a sparkingly Savage year,” which discusses the Boston Magazine article “Counsel Requests the Right to Appeal: Smokin’-hot lawyer Wendy Savage defends her buzzy turn as a pinup” (by Alyssa Giacobbe, January 2009), and the issue of professional women posing in sexy pictures.

In the community of haijin (haiku poets), there have also been many taboos and much tsk-tsking over the centuries.  Last year, with the publication of Taboo Haiku: An International Selection (Richard Krawiec, ed., Avisson Press, Greensboro, 2005), a group of poets tried to overcome some of those inhibitions.  Here are some examples of haiku and senryu by a few of f/k/a‘s Honored Guests

from Taboo Haiku: TabooHaikuCover

After the abortion       she weeds the garden

the widow’s black lace panties
covered with frost

back up   the open eyes
of the suicide

Warm breeze
the colt’s erection nuzzles
a daisy

. . . . . by George Swede embraceN

me in one hand
a belt in the other
dads sings a lullaby

punishment –
smell of old shoes
in the locked closet

. . by roberta beary

the most popular
swim teacher at the Y
– his tight speedo

. . .  by tom clausen embraceG

after dark
the shape her hands make
of me

at the end of Lent the taste of you

. . . . by jim kacian

figure drawing class —
in the model’s deepest shadow
a thin white string

oyster omelet  MassWeeklySuit
my tongue
between the folds

. . . by lee gurga

lost love —
I turn back from the tracks
going up her arm

. . . by andrew riutta

by candlelight
an entire generation
drips down her thigh

. . . by ed markowski

November 20, 2006

holding on to autumn

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 11:36 pm

The first truly wintry winds blew along the banks of the Mohawk River today, here in Schenectady, New York.  The chill reminded me that I’m not quite ready to see autumn go, and not quite ready to put on my holiday face, despite the joyous moments that are sure to happen around a Thanksgiving feast, just three days from now.  Andrew Riutta and Matt Morden seem to reflect my own spirits in the poems below.




the old days . . .
autumn colors
black and white



instant coffee
a stirring of leaves
in the courtyard


holding my own . . .
autumn colors
let go


leafless trees—
an old man stares at himself
in the river


how cold:
sunshine through
a leafless willow

autumn wind—
a leaf and homeless man
cross paths


in her silence
the tea kettle
announces winter

small world
in the rear-view mirror
everywhere I’ve been
. . . . . .  by andrew riutta    TurkeySil

early frost
my daughter asks me to
turn the music down


november dusk
an owl chases
commuters home


mid-life crisis
raking up leaves
in the wind



autumn dusk
following a poet’s car
to the rainbow’s end


. . . . by matt morden 


a third helping
of Thanksgiving politics
I bite my tongue 


harsh wind
takes the tree’s last leaves —
slowly undressing her



Thanksgiving rush —
not as late
as that flock of geese


. . . by dagosan


andrew riutta 
“the old days . . .”  – for Linda Chambers, Full Moon Magazine (2005)
“instant coffee” – SP Quill–Autumn 2005
“leafless trees” – Simply Haiku (Autumn 2005)
“how cold” – Full Moon Magazine (2005)
“small world” – clouds peak #1 (July 1, 2006)


TurkeyWine  matt morden 
“early frost” –   Morden Haiku   (Nov. 22, 2005)

“november dusk” – Morden Haiku (Nov. 13, 2006)
“mid-life” & “autumn dusk” – Haiku Canada Newsletter –  Vol XVIII Feb 2005 No.1

November 13, 2006

playing games: Haiku Journey

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 6:27 pm


We’re not sure whether this is weblog Sweeps Week, but f/k/a is hereby making a blatant attempt to woo a younger, hipper audience by focusing on a computer game.  Naturally, it’s not just any-old new computer game.  Instead, it’s Haiku Journey.   Here’s the description from producer Hot Lava Games:
Haiku Journey Escape to picturesque and pastoral Japan at the foot of Mount Fuji in this new word puzzler. The unique experience of Haiku Journey is part logical mindbender and part relaxation therapy! Build words to gain inspiration and reveal/solve original Haiku. Collect ancient artifacts along the way to power up your abilities. Includes two modes of play and a tranquil screensaver.  
There’s a detailed description and rave review of the game at GameZebo. You can get a free trial of Haiku Journey by clicking PLAY NOW and find system requirements here.  According to our Honored Guest poet Alice Frampton (who wrote to say that the game is a prize for winners of the upcoming Vancouver Cherry Blossom haiku invitational), Haiku Journey features 540 English-language haiku by 45 poets around the world, selected by Michael Dylan Welch.  Michael was the second Honored Guest Poet featured here at f/k/a, and we thought we’d use this occasion to reprise a handful of his haiku that evoke the journey theme.


after the quake
a hobo
directing traffic




first on the trail—
the pull of a spider’s strand
across my face


         on the freeway–
the skywriting drifts



pausing on the trail—
I run my hand
through brush grass


at the trail’s end,
the way we sit
beneath the redwoods

. . . . . by Michael Dylan Welch  HaikuJourneyN
“gridlock” – from Open Window – click here for orig. photo & poem 
others from Thornewood Poems, and TAO





Of course, haiku Master Issa knew a thing or two about journeys in Japan:


back from his journey
into the saddle…
rice-planting horse





is today a good day
to journey too?
returning geese



will these old knees
journey on?
autumn wind


the calf begins
his journey…
autumn rain


off on a journey
I’m not alone…
first inn of the year


dancing butterflies–
my journey is forgotten
for a while


. . . . . . . by  Kobayashi Issa, translated by Daniel G. Lanoue
– find these and more “journey” haiku by Issa here 

November 10, 2006

ripples: politics & poetry

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 11:31 pm

What a difference two years makes.  On November 3, 2004, your Editor was so moved by the Election Results that he wrote towards a “democratic morality” and majority, urging his fellow Democrats to acknowledge and emphasize the values that we share with a broad portion of the American public: To start a conversation with “people of good will and strong personal ethics, [who are] deeply committed to their social and family responsibilities,” and then to “build a broad consensus on values and morality — social and personal — that can make America stronger and more united.

With our punditry allergy still strong, we’ve been lettingothersreact to this past week’s very different Election Results.  And, offer just two quick points: 1) Last year’s advice still goes: stress the values we share we a majority of Americans (and don’t overestimate your mandate); and 2) use the insight offered by David Callahan in his The Moral Center — the public/electorate is not so much split between liberals and conservatives, as between “The Cares [about the fate of all Americans]” and “The Care Nots.”  Reaching out to The Cares will allow the Party to achieve much of its legislative agenda, without pushing all those Blue State congressional districts back into Republican hands in 2008.

ProcessionRipples  Although the move to two-party Government again in Washington, DC, may have many political and social ripples, tonight we’d rather emphasize haiku ripples from Peggy Willis Lyles and Laryalee Fraser.  This week, Laryalee unveiled her online anthology opus a procession of ripples — with hand-picked haiku by her haijin friends and fellow travelers (100 of them), arranged in 36 topics, with each of the 36 pages illustrated with an image created in black-and-white by Ms. Fraser.   Part II of the anthology is also a tribute to Laryalee’s “mentors . . . in order of their appearance along my haiku path.” 

In addition to a pair of haiku by Ed Markowski, and one each by f/k/a Honored Guests Alice Frampton and Andrew Riutta, plus dagosan, a procession of ripples contains two poems by Peggy Willis Lyles.   Below you can read them both, along with two of her “ripple” haiku that have appeared at f/k/a.   Then, we offer an excerpt from an Interview with Peggy Lyles that speaks of haiku ripples and mentors.


still at the edge
of its shadow —
the frog


crescent moon
a periscope rises
from the oil spill



a ripple
reaches the pond’s edge —


glide of the kayak
ripples overlapping
water lilies

. . . . by peggy willis lyles  ProcessionRipplesN
Global Haiku Tradition, Millikin University, Spring 2001)

When did you start writing haiku?

– Lyles: . . . [T]he first edition of Cor van den Heuvel’s The Haiku Handbook, which I found in the University of Georgia Bookstore in 1976, brought me firmly into the North American haiku movement. The haiku there still sparkle with vitality and create ever-widening ripples. The poems thrilled me with a “shock of recognition.” Something fine was in progress, and references to books and contemporary haiku magazines offered first steps toward becoming part of it.

Do you have a mentor—someone who introduced you to haiku or had the most influence over your style?

– Lyles: I think of many haiku poets as mentors at a distance, usually teaching me through their work rather than by specific instruction. Perceptive editors, Robert Spiess in particular, have given me invaluable guidance simply by accepting some haiku and returning others.


CREDITS: “still at the edge” – a procession of ripples; To Hear the Rain
“crescent moon” – a procession of ripplesTo Hear the Rain (2002)

“a ripple” – The Heron’s Nest VII:1 (March 2005)
“glide of the kayak” – Terebess Asia Online  

November 5, 2006

an old issue and some new haiku

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 11:18 pm


A favorite target of f/k/a punditry (see this posting and that one) was back in the news this week: the silly Florida Bar is busy banning the use of various vicious animals in lawyer ads, for fear of demeaning the profession — confirming that “sharks, wolves, crocodiles and piranhas” belong to the per se unlawful category they created for pit bulls.  (see this Law.com article, via LegalBlogWatch and How Appealing)  Perhaps in response, the Miami firm of Panter & Panter has gone from the lean-mean panthers we featured last April to cuddlier chubby ones.

dogBlack   While things stay the same for the legal profession, the haiku world — especially, our newest family member Laryalee Fraser — keeps creating new ku for your enjoyment.  Here are a pair of hers from the brand new issue of Roadrunner, and another (out of 5) appearing in Simply Haiku‘s Autumn 2006 issue.  Even dagosan gets into the act with some wild birds.

of the harvest moon
the barn door open
suitcase packed —  NoloShark 
the weathervane
points north
  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Laryalee Fraser  Roadrunner Haiku Journal  
(Nov. 2006 Issue VI:4)





spring equinox —
the toilet paper roll





almost payday
the wind tugs at
my pocket
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . by Laryalee Fraser   Simply Haiku dogBlack
Autumn 2006, vol 4 no 3




early March —
the weather vane goose
still heading south




winter gale —
the crows fly farther
than the crow flies



. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . by David Giacalone Simply Haiku
(Autumn 2006, Vol. 4 no. 3)

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