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

December 8, 2007

two birthdays i just can’t ignore

Filed under: Haiga or Haibun,Haiku or Senryu,q.s. quickies — David Giacalone @ 4:22 pm

birthdayCake My two main haiga collaborators are having birthdays this weekend. They have both provided great photos for me to use in creating the combination of image and linked poem that we call haiga. They’ve also provided lots of memories, love, comfort, and agita over the years.

Happy Birthday today (Dec. 8) to “Mama G,” Connie M. Giacalone, of Rochester, NY)! (See some of our haiga here, here, there, and there)

… [larger at MagnaPoetsJF]

dad on the sofa,
mom at the stove –
it’s mother’s day

poem: David Giacalone
photo: Papa G. (1950)

the day she spanked
the wrong twin
all the other days

………………………… dagoSon

And Happy Birthday, tomorrow Dec. 9, to my twin brother Arthur J. Giacalone, of East Aurora, NY, peerless and fearless solo practitioner (who still needs a website!). Find some of our joint haiga efforts here at HaigaOnline, and here at Simply Haiku.

[larger at MagnaPoetsJF]

twins’ birthday –
two cakes
hundreds of miles apart

poem: David Giacalone
photo: Mama G. (1953)

[original photo in full color]

his face frozen
just like Mama
always said

poem: David Giacalone
photo: Arthur Giacalone


rain on
my bald spot —
recalling dry-scalp Aprils

. . . . . david giacalone

Happy Birthday!
you cut and
i’ll choose

….. poem: David Giacalone

………. photo: Mama G.

November 23, 2007

pity the baby-boomer raconteur

Filed under: Haiga or Haibun,Haiku or Senryu,viewpoint — David Giacalone @ 11:41 am

questionDude He’s always styled himself the family’s raconteur. Around the holiday table, where food, weather and health reports tend to be the primary topics of the elder generation, he would spice the conversation with odd tales from the internet, barbs for politicians and celebrities in the news, and opinions on new movies and recently-read books.

the pretty one?
not even
on the tip of my tongue

……………………… by dagosan

This year, though, he’s driving to Thanksgiving Dinner with a suitcase overstuffed with self-doubt. After years of joking about his “peri-dementia,” the joke is getting stale and the reality far from funny.  That damn tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon seems to happen all day, every day. And, frankly, the lost name or word sometimes is nowhere near the tip of his tongue.

erasingF “All the wrong synapses seem to be broken,” he said a few weeks ago, after flawlessly singing all the words to “Off My Cloud” and “Angie” on a Halloween party dance floor, but forgetting the name of the lovely, recently-divorced judge who convincingly exchanged her black robe for a cheerleader costume that night.

Heading down the Thruway, he can’t seem to recall the title (nor the plot) of either of those films he watched on dvd and really enjoyed earlier this week — much less the names of their Generation X leading men.  And, he can only picture the face of that annoying Senator from, um, that Rocky Mountain Red State, who wants to round up all the aliens at the meat-packing plants in one of those primary states.  He wonders if he’ll get a chance to see that new movie while home; the one based on the novel he praised so much a year or two ago, by — you know — that guy who wrote that trilogy and won the Pulitzer (or was it a Nobel)?

Uncle Vito’s scratchy voice returns from four decades ago, saying the pudgy 10-year-old “tells jokes like a girl” — restarting twice and forgetting the punchline. He wonders whether Vito’s widow will be bringing her infamous jello salad concoction, and if her hip operation was a success.

the octagenarian
fills in my blank ………….

………………………………. by dagosan, a/k/a david giacalone

The Joy of a Peanuts Christmas” by Charles Schulz (Hallmark Books, 2000; cartoon originally published, Nov. 21, 1990)

mountain village–
the old man doesn’t know
the dance

what did you forget?
retracing steps

……… by Kobayashi Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue don't forget

early Alzheimer’s
she says she’ll have . . .
the usual

………………… by John Stevenson from Quiet Enough

the senior partner
has a senior minute

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

September 25, 2007

reminders: moon cakes, harvest moon, lawyer poets & more

Filed under: Haiga or Haibun,Haiku or Senryu,q.s. quickies — David Giacalone @ 2:22 pm

A few friendly, helpful, inspiring reminders from the f/k/a Gang (penned while procrastinating over a more substantive posting):

ChinaMoonN As we wrote a week ago: The Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, during which families traditionally get together and eat moon cakes, is celebrated and concluded tonight.

cutting the moon cake
just like my mother
Mid Autumn Festival

………………………………… by yu chang Upstate Dim Sum 2002/I

The Harvest Moon will arrive in all its glory tomorrow night, September 26, 2007. The moon has been especially bright and beautiful here in Upstate New York all this week. Sadly, cloud covering will probably block our view of the Harvest Moon tomorrow. So, the f/k/a Gang will be out pre-Mooning over the Harvest Moon this evening.

.. … We have accumulated Harvest Moon lore and scores of Harvest Moon haiku over the past few years. To find them, go to

  1. this moon’s for you!
  2. more harvest moon haiku
  3. don’t forget to look up

his frail hands
the last harvest

of the harvest moon
the barn door open

harvest moon
a spider farms
the wall ivy

…………………………………………………… by Laryalee Fraser full moon neg
“harvest moon/spider”- Haiku Harvest (fall/winter/05)
“sway” Roadrunner Haiku Journal (Nov. 2006 Issue VI:4)
“his frail hands” – Simply Haiku (autumn 2004)

(large) In “Poetic Justice: Another Verse,” Bob Ambrogi told us yesterday at LegalBlogWatch (Sept. 24, 2007) , that “poetry is sweeping the profession.” Frankly, it looks more like bad doggerel and parody verse is sweeping the profession. However, this is a great chance to remind you that you can read thousands of real poems by real lawyer-poets online at the fabulous Law in Popular Culture Collection at the Tarlton Law Library of the University of Texas (Austin).

Over the past few years, we’ve told you (here, here and there) about three gigantic collections of lawyer poetry published by Law Prof. Jim Elkins, at West Virginia Law School, in the Legal Studies Forum (also see his online website about lawyer-poets, Strangers to Us All). The Tarlton Library has reproduced each of the LSF poetry volumes online — well over a thousand pages of text — and you can find them here:

Now forget billable hours for awhile, and commune with your Muse (and bookmark the pages).

The Unworn Necklace, Roberta Beary‘s first collected volume of haiku and senryu is finally available. (Snapshot Press, August 2007, order form) We first told you about the upcoming book, and posted five poems from it, when Robert’s manuscript won 1st Prize in the Snapshot Press Haiku Competition for 2006. A copy just arrived directly from the author yesterday (many thanks, RB!), so you can bet that we’ll soon have much more to say, once the entire 69-poem collection is savored and digested by the entire f/k/a Gang. Meanwhile, here are two poems honoring the current change of season and celestial show:

another summer over
red dahlias
fill a vase

harvest moon
the long pull
of faraway children

necklaceG ………………… by Roberta Beary from The Unworn Necklace (Snapshots Press, 2007; order)
“harvest moon” – The Heron’s Nest (Special Mention, 2006 Readers’ Choice Awards)

Some of you seem to have missed (judging from the sad dearth of click-throughs) this blurb from our recent post about the 2007 Annual Meeting of the Haiku Society of America:

Just Fell Off the Haiga Truck” (Sept. 14, 2007) To celebrate my attendance at the 2007 HSA Annual Meeting, I’ve mocked up a little two-sided, one-page, trifold brochure called “Just Fell Off the Haiga Truck.” It is filled with haiku and senryu that I originally wrote for haiga created using my brother Arthur’s photography (and occasionally Mama G’s). The hope is that the poems will stand up on their own, as good haiga poetry should. The brochure can be printed out if you click on the link above. It contains thumbnail images and hyperlinks to more than a dozen haiga.

haiku party . . .
I’ll cut
and you choose

……………………………. dagosan – similar haiga at MagnaPoetsJf

. . . Finally, a few of dagosan‘s Harvest Moon haiku:

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

double-dribble –
harvest moon hanging
on the rim

harvest moon party – full moon neg
the hostess stares
at the cloud cover

night game –
bocce balls kissing
the harvest moon

May 11, 2007

a mother of an Identity Theft problem

Filed under: Haiga or Haibun,Haiku or Senryu,lawyer news or ethics — David Giacalone @ 1:01 pm

update (3 PM): Forty poems from our Honored Guest Poets can be found in the brand new f/k/a’s Mother’s Day Haiku Collection.  

AvoidIDTheft It seems that mothers don’t just shape our identity, these days, they steal it, too.  My hometown newspaper has a story today about a mother who stole her 2-year-old’s identity in order to set up utility and phone accounts, and then skipped out, ruining the child’s credit rating.  (The [Schenectady, NY] Daily Gazette, “Mom accused of toddler ID theft,” May 11, 2007, p. B1, $ub.)  At the time of the arrest, the child had already been taken from the mother, Hope C. Maxwell (27 years old), by our county Child Protective Services, for unrelated reasons.  It never occurred to me that parental ID theft would be a widespread problem.  Apparently, it is.  For example, see:

  1.       “Identity Thieves’ Newest Target Children: Targeted Kids Often Learn of Destroyed Credit Years Later,” ABC World News, Feb. 7, 2006, where you will learn of a woman whose mother ran up $150,000 in debt on a credit care taken out in the child’s name, when the girl was 8 years old.  The daughter only found out when she tried to buy a car at the age of 20.
  2.       “Child Identity Theft,”  Inside Edition, May 10, 2005, where you’ll meet Shiloh Puckett of Rockwall, Texas.  Shiloh is ten, but is already listed on credit reports as being $14,000, thanks to her Mother, who served six months in prison on forgery and fraud charges after running up the bad debt on at least 17 credit cards. Note: “Puckett insists she only used her daughter’s credit to pay for necessities.”
  3.        Young Entrepeneurs of America: The same Inside Edition episode focused on Bryce Dalton, whose father got Bryce a business license for a contracting company called “Dalton & Sons”, when he was only three.  Of course, daddy ran up unpaid debts related to the business, and to a few credit cards in Bryce’s name.

#1Mom If you want to be ID-theft savvy, and your mama didn’t teach you, go to the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft Website , which has lots of information on how to DETER identity thieves by safeguarding your information; DETECT suspicious activity by routinely monitoring your financial accounts and billing statements; and DEFEND against ID theft as soon as you suspect a problem.  You might want to take the OnGuard Online ID Theft Quiz (maybe with your kids).  Also, shlep has links to materials on identify theft and security fraud information.  Meanwhile, kids, be careful who gets to see your Social Security Number.  

Mother’s Day
the florist adds kisses
to my card
………. by Hilary Tann – Upstate Dim Sum (2005/II)


mother’s day  
a nurse unties
the restraints

…………………………… by roberta bearyThe Heron’s Nest VII:2
and Big Sky: Red Moon Anthology 2006


pity the daughters of beautiful mothers the years spent waiting to
grow into a beauty that never comes the sympathetic looks finally
understood at the moment when childhood ends

mother’s visit
side by side we outline
our lips


– haibun [prose with poem] by roberta beary, Modern Haiku Vol. 37:1 (Spring 2006) –



that spanking she gave    MomTwins50 2  Mama G.
the wrong twin —
all the other days

…………….. by dagosan


           Believe me, there is no connection between Mama G. and such financial hanky-panky.  But, with Mother’s Day only two days away, I want to send her my love and to remind you that we posted “a few haiku for mother’s day” In May 2005. In addition, later today, I will put up a much larger Mother’s Day Haiku Collection.  Check back here for the link.

Mother’s Day visit
  bringing home her smile
                    and her frown

. ………………………….. by dagosan, at MagnaPoets (May 11, 2007)

HaigaTulipsGS   orig. haiga at MagnaPoets (May 10, 2007)      

on mother’s day –
grandma’s favorite park

poem: david giacalone
photo: arthur giacalone


April 26, 2007

turn-offs and turn-ons

Filed under: Haiga or Haibun,Haiku or Senryu,lawyer news or ethics,viewpoint — David Giacalone @ 11:36 pm

      My biggest turn-off by far this week comes from the self-serving California lawyers who are opposing a proposal that would merely require lawyers to tell clients whether or not they have malpractice insurance. [It’s estimated that a third of all lawyers carry no malpractice insurance.].  As you know, I have to hold my nose whenever I smell groups of lawyers acting like guilds — protecting their own financial interests rather than putting their clients’ interests first — so, I’m forced to type this posting with just one hand.  The State Bar of California‘s Task Force studying the issue supported mandatory disclosure last year.  Despite receiving mostly negative responses from the profession, it is expected to release a final proposal for comment tomorrow (Friday, April 27, 2007) again recommending mandatory malpractice insurance disclosure. (See Calif. Bar Still Wants Insurance Disclosure Rule, The Recorder/Law.com, April 23, 2007)  See our prior post supporting mandatory disclosure, which discusses a very good piece in GPSolo magazine (April/May 2003) presenting a debate on the pros and cons. 

PhantomMask James Towery, who chairs the CalBar Task Force, supports the disclosure and wrote in the GPSolo article that the issue is: “When a client hires a lawyer, is the lawyer’s lack of insurance a material fact that the client is entitled to know?”  Virtually all clients simply assume every lawyer carries malpractice insurance — and would very much want to know otherwise.  Towery correctly states: “It is difficult to fashion a persuasive argument that clients are not entitled to that information.” 

Given their position as fiduciaries and their constant assertions of putting clients first, you’d think lawyers — or at least their leaders — would agree with Towery and the Task Force (even if reluctantly).  Nonetheless, many bar groups in California have fought hard for years to remove a prior disclosure requirement and to block it from being reinstated.  Leading the charge against the disclosure rules are several “voluntary” bar associations, including: a) the former state Trial Lawyers Association, which now has the nerve to call itself Consumer Attorneys of California (and soon perhaps the California Justice League); b) the Los Angeles County Bar Association, whose ethics committee chairman weighed in against the proposal; and the umbrella-group Conference of Delegates of California Bar Associations, which once had a website accessible to the public, but now apparently only wants members to know what they’re up to.   Why the fight against the State Bar?

  1.    CalBar is a “unified” or “mandatory” bar organization: It is a “statuatory public corporation in the judicial branch of state government.  As a unified State Bar, it “unifies” both the regulatory licensing activities applicable to the practice of law as well as the association activities of a professional association. In a unified bar, “membership” is mandatory for all attorneys who must pay “membership” or licensing fees to maintain their license to practice law.” (from Martindale.com profile) Of course, unified bars take anti-client positions at times but, with the right leadership, they can often stand up against the worst mob-psychology of organized groups of fearful lawyers.
  2.    About two-thirds of all state bar associations are “unified.”  Most state bar associations in the northeast and midwest are “voluntary” organizations (see ABA map), as are all county, city and national bar associations. (The pros and cons of voluntary and mandatory state bars are discussed in this Wisconsin Bar Journal article)  Because no lawyer is required to join a voluntary bar association, and thus be required to pay their dues and subscribe to their rules of conduct, voluntary bar association must “earn their keep” by providing services and results that their members like.  Despite doing many good deeds (especially for the poor and various “victim” groups), far too many voluntary bars attract and keep members by fighting to enhance lawyer income, stifling competition and innovation, and concocting horror stories and fairy tales to justify opposing rules and laws that protect their clients.  It’s not surprising, then, that the voluntary bars of Arkansas (see this post) and Massachusetts (discussed here) have voted down proposals to require malpractice insurance disclosure.

WolfDudeN It will be interesting to see whether (as suggested by Law.com), the CalBar task force has watered down their proposal to appease all the angry attorneys, who don’t want the pressure to purchase malpractice insurance or the embarrassment of telling clients they don’t have it.  In our prior post, you can see some of the specious, scary and unprofessional arguments made by the opponents of disclosure.  Another posting, tells of the status of disclosure rules across the country.  The legal reform group HALT supports mandatory insurance disclosure , but would prefer mandatory malpractice insurance coverage for all lawyers.

hidden in shadows 
a laughing mouse…
New Year’s inventory

midday’s mosquitoes
hidden behind
the Buddha of stone

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

fortune-telling machine
I re-pocket
my quarter


…………. by Carolyn Hall – Acorn #18 (2007)


 WolfDudeN……..  You can always get the straight scoop from lawyer-haijin Roberta Beary, like in this domestic haibun, from Hermitage 2006:

blue room

it is 6:30 a.m.  my boy has overslept for school again  i am his alarm
clock  for a few more months at least… by this time next year  he
will be gone  please god  not in that faraway war but under a blanket
of textbooks and rock music in the snowy heart of his homeland

empty house
pencil lines streak
a blue wall



         TVTurnOffLogo  To my surprise, I’m turned on by TV-Turnoff Week, which is April 23 to 29, 2007.  Frankly, I’ve often been annoyed by the “won’t-have-a tv-in-my-home” crowd, who seem just a wee bit too self-congratulatory in their presumed cultural and intellectual superiority, and rather ignorant of the good programming to be found on occasion on the tube.  Nevertheless, my reaction is quite positive to the TV-Turnoff project, which is organized by the Center for Screen-Time Awareness.  (That may be because of my own creeping addiction again to sitting at my computer engaged in weblog punditry.) The Center’s approach seems intelligently moderate: they stress all the good things that can be done with our non-screen time; advocate that we (especially our kids) greatly reduce screen time; and hope that a week [or, if you’re starting late, a few days] without tv and similar devices will help us realize just how addicted we are to television.   There are a few enjoyable quotations on their quotes page (along with some ponderously preachy ones):

  1. “The remarkable thing about television is that it permits several million people to laugh at the same joke and still feel lonely.” -T.S. Eliot
  2. “I really didn’t like TV-Turnoff Week except I did notice that my grades went up and I was in a good mood all week.” -Drew Henderson, 2nd grader, Donora, Pennsylvania
  3. “The one function TV news performs very well is that when there is no news we give it to you with the same emphasis as if there were.” -David Brinkley
  4. “I  find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.” -Groucho Marx
  5. “Television is a chewing gum for the eyes.” says Frank Lloyd Wright.

Speaking of Frank Lloyd Wright, and not watching tv, click here to see a haiga based on one of his creations, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City:

HaigaLightShowS  orig. haiga at Magnapoets (April 25, 2007) 

light show
behind eyelids —
free admission



 TVTurnOffLogo  Any haijin can tell you, there’s a world of things to do communing with nature, detached from television, computers and Blackberrys.


vastness of the stars
my gum


a deep breath
of mountain air
shooting stars


soft earth  seesaw 
I might risk
a cartwheel


………… by John Stevenson 
“vastness of the stars” – Hermitage, Vol. 2, 2005
“a deep breath” – Geppo, Jul/Aug, 2005
“soft earth” – Acorn, No. 14 (2005)


 dwindling heat
a butterfly lengthens
the rosevine


park bench    sunglassesG    
an old man slips deeper
into his dream


unveiling i listen hard  for spring rain


…………………………………… by Roberta Beary – Hermitage 2006 


the boy casts   HaigaLightShowSN 
farther than his father–
fine spring rain

………………….. by Carolyn Hall – Acorn #18 (2007)


April 18, 2007

overly-protective orders?

Filed under: Haiga or Haibun,lawyer news or ethics — David Giacalone @ 8:31 pm

bpmbFuse The current edition of the Harvard Law Bulletin (Spring 2007) brings news of an important discussion, which I missed when it first arose last Fall, about the proper role of domestic violence protective orders.  This issue’s Ask the Professor column is by Assistant Professor Jeannie Suk, and titled “‘Divorce’ by prosecutorial demand: When do protection orders go too far?.”

        Prof. Suk argues that the feminist movement’s success in getting our society to recognize domestic violence as a crime has had an unintentional result: the overprotective intrusion of the criminal justice system into the homes of the women it meant to protect.  Suk asserts that “The point of domestic violence protection orders — in fact, the point of legal measures against domestic violence — is to protect the automony of women.” (emphasis added)  She complains that plea agreements that make a protection order permanent, keeping the defendant out of the home whether the woman wants him out or not, effectively divorce the couple. Prof. Suk points out that convicting the partner of a violation of a protection order has become a “proxy crime — a way of circumventing the burden of proof.”   Suk’s 69-page article, Criminal Law Comes Home, which details her arguments, appeared last year in the Yale Law Journal, Vol. 116, p. 2, 2006.  Click for an SSRN Abstract

I’m a longtime advocate for criminalizing domestic violence.  As a representative of scores of children who lived in households tainted by domestic violence, I often said that the best way to keep the children safe is to keep their mother safe.  Nonetheless, while being sympathetic to Prof. Suk’s concerns (and believing prosecutors can and should use more discretion and finer-tuned approaches), I am troubled by her notion that “the point” of criminal measures against domestic violence is “to protect the automony of women.”  A society chooses to criminalize behavior because we deem the behavior unacceptable and harmful to the society, no matter who commits it or who the victim is — not to fulfill the political or philosophical agenda of a particular gender. 

bombFuseN It doesn’t take much time observing couples and families with histories of domestic violence to know how high the recidivism rate is and how often a victim who invites the batterer back into a relationship and a home is quickly reinjured, threatened or terrorized.  Prosecutors can and should take this experience into account when shaping remedies and responses that also respect the unique situation of each couple and family.  A mechanism should be in place that permits a stay-away order to be lifted, after an appropriate period, when voluntarily sought by the former victim and buttressed by proof that the defendant has worked on dealing with anger management and any substance abuse or similar issues that may contribute to the likelihood of repeat violence.  If children are involved, special care must be taken, but arrangements should be made for a defendant parent to have appropriate (perhaps supervised) visitation.

  thin winter coat
so little protection
against her boyfriend

. . . . . . . . . . . . by John Stevenson – Quiet Enough (2004)   

    With a little research, I discovered that this topic was previously covered last December by Walter Olson at Overlawyered.com.  He pointed us to an article by Vermont Law School professor Cheryl Hanna, titled “Because Breaking Up Is Hard To Do,” 116 Yale L.J. Pocket Part 92 (2006).  Walter says Hanna “argues that current legal trends appropriately treat alleged domestic violence as a crime against the state and not just against the nominal victim, and that it is wrong to place too much emphasis on accusers’ supposed right to forgive abusive conduct ”  Her article is a bit more nuanced.  Prof. Hanna is troubled by Suk’s “near obsession with basing law and policy on what victims want.”  Hanna makes a number of excellent points, including:

  1.  “To base any legal doctrine or policy on autonomy compromised by violence is misguided and will likely undermine the progress that has been made in protecting intimate partners from abuse.”
  2. “. . . I am more concerned about the under-enforcement of domestic violence laws throughout the country than the over-enforcement that troubles Suk.”  And,
  3. “The goal, then, is to refine our practices, but not to return to a time when the law and its officers were unable or unwilling to intervene when abuse happened behind closed doors. Violence cannot seek sanctuary in our homes. The criminal law’s role is to exorcise it so that love and intimacy can flourish.” 

Prof. Hanna’s piece deserves a full reading, as does Prof. Suk’s.  For now, though, I suggest you first consider this excellent haibun (prose plus haiku) by lawyer-haijin Roberta Beary:


stranger danger

IN SCHOOL THEY WARN YOU about stranger danger beware
of all the people you don’t know don’t walk near the bushes keep
to the open street watch out for vans with sliding doors at home
keep the door locked don’t open up for strangers and they leave
out the part about the one with you in a place where no locks
can save you for years too long to count.

funeral over
the deadbolt
slides into place

by Roberta Beary, Frogpond XXVIII:2 (2005)   bpmbFuse

February 16, 2007

UICL conference on lawyers and poetry

Filed under: Haiga or Haibun,Haiku or Senryu,viewpoint — David Giacalone @ 11:26 am

mouseLawyer If you hurry right now to Urbana, Illinois, you can still catch the last few sessions of the University of Illinois College of Law’s inaugural Law and Poetry Conference, “Opening Arguments: Poetry and the Law.” Billed as “the first conference in the United States to explore and celebrate the relationship of law and poetry,” the Feb. 15 – 16 confab is sponsored by UICL, the University of Illinois MFA Creative Writing Program, and Richard Powers, the author of “The Echo Maker,” a recent National Book Award winner. [And see, Urbana Gazette, “Urbana attorney loves poetry … and the law,” Feb. 11, 2007, featuring lawyer-poet Carl Reisman and discussing the conference.]

mouseArtisteF As Robert Ambrogi noted at Legal Blog Watch (Feb. 12, 2007): Among the topics on the agenda: “In Search of the Lawyer Poets,” “Does the Practice of Law Kill Passion?” and “Law and Poetry as Spiritual Paths.” A featured speaker will be West Virginia College of Law professor James R. Elkins, who collects information on lawyer/poets at his Web site, Strangers to Us All: Lawyers and Poetry.

Of course, f/k/a is built on the premise that lawyers and poetry (at least, the one-breath variety) are an excellent mix (see, Yes, Lawyers and Haiku, for example). We have frequently celebrated the efforts of Prof. Elkins at his Strangers website and his Legal Studies Forum, which has published perhaps a thousand pages of poetry by modern lawyers over the past couple of years. (see Every Law Library Needs this Volume)

quillPen In just the past two weeks, three major haiku journals — Bottle Rockets (Vol. 8:2, #16), Frogpond (XXX:1, Winter 2007) and Simply Haiku (Vol. 5:1, Spring 2007) — have included the work of lawyer poets:

in my soup
the dampness
of winter rain

last train
a can rolls the length
of the quiet car

. . . by Roberta Beary, Bottle Rockets #16 (Spring 2007)

a light in the boathouse
the long room
for the sculls

South Philly in spring —
the hoagie shop’s signed picture
of Stallone

. . . by Barry George, Frogpond (Winter 2007) quillPen

first date–
the little pile
of anchovies

. . . by Roberta Beary, Frogpond (Winter 2007), 1st Place,
Haiku Society of America’s 2006 Gerald Brady Senryu Contest

HaigaCurtainTimeS original (haiga)

curtain time:
the stage crew as silent
as the props

HaigaAprilStormS orig.

april storm —
borrowing the neighbor’s
rock salt

a foot of snow HaigaFootSnowGS orig.
a month too soon
candles for nightlights

. . . haiga by Arthur Giacalone (photos) & David Giacalone (poetry);
Simply Haiku Journal, Vol. 5 no. 1 (Spring 2007)
– click on the link next to each picture to see the full version,
and go here, for access to three more Giacalone haiga

MouseArtiste p.s. On a related topic, see “Cases to Canvas: ART CLASSES TURN A LAWYER INTO A PAINTER,” Washington Post, Feb. 15, 2007, featuring lawyer-painter Shahrzad Heyat Jalinous (via Elefant at LegalBlogWatch)

June 28, 2006

a summer trip to the Simply Haiku website

Filed under: Haiga or Haibun,Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 6:11 pm

During our punditry hiatus, we thought we’d take a day trip to explore the Simply Haiku Journal, whose editors have posted a carnival of Japanese Short Form Poetry for their Summer 2006 edition (vol. 4 no. 2) — haiku, senryu, haibun, tanka, renku, haiga and more, plus related essays and commentary. There are dozens of contributors to Simply Haiku‘s Summer 2006 edition, but it should be no surprise that some of the best work is by a handful of f/k/a‘s Honored Guest Poets.
haiku from Ed Markowski

raising the height
of her bicycle seat…
spring rain

(for issabella)

the last word
of a short letter…
winter twilight

below zero…
sparrows peck
the snowman’s nose

harvest moon
we move the scarecrow
to the front porch

one to nothing
a full moon shines above
the centerfield scoreboard

……………………………………. by ed markowski

Senryu – on Things

old water fountain
hitting me in the eye

it’s dogshit…
it’s dogshit

Barry George

his first haircut
a cowlick

Randy Brooks

tunnel of love
she props the stuffed frog
between us

Ed Markowski

cool forest lake
as I slip off my shorts the snort
of a bull moose

—— George Swede

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

Tom Clausen

A Haibun by Roberta Beary

er work

the weight of memory at times like this with its hard push of his hand on my bike columbia blue he bought me and me riding solo look at me daddy look at me and he gives me one big wave and then the soft thud in the drive and he’s gone and i have nowhere to look but up at the stars forever changing and the same

vigil over
binding his
with a rosary

always his hand over mine his hard and strong mine little and soft the crush of his hand while we wait for the light to turn green and the cars coming every which way quick he pulls me back safe the hurt of his hand over mine under the streetlamp’s soft glow forever changing and the same

rosary slips over
cooling hands

roberta beary

A Haibun by Andrew Riutta

– Andrew Riutta
In two days she turns just twenty-one. Twenty-one. So young. So pale. I tell her she should stay away from the bars. I tell her she should go out west and save the whales, or a redwood-or the endangered laughter of working-class people who go out on porches at dusk to hum the same hymns over and over in their heads that their grand- parents did. She tells me that saving herself from her father is hard enough.

peaceful autumn-
a window display
of hunter’s orange

andrew riutta

?? How will you celebrate the Fourth of July? See our posting from a year ago: Independence, fireworks and dissent (July 4, 2005) .

June 2, 2006

let’s let ed do the talkin’

Filed under: Haiga or Haibun — David Giacalone @ 6:52 pm

class reunion
      by ed markowski

what about denise, the girl who wore patchouli,
and revealed to me the mysteries of inner space
that night on the roof of her father’s liquor store,
with glitter on her cheeks, and the stars in her hair?      
everyone i ask shakes their head and says,
“i thought you knew.”

vivid memories
along with the moon
a cloud takes my shadow

by ed markowski form Simply Haiku  (Winter 2005) 

* The new edition of The Heron’s Nest is now available
online.  It contains this little gem from ed:      

cherry blossoms
    the rookie pitcher puts on
        his game face    

          ed markowski – The Heron’s Nest (Vol. VIII: 2, June 2006)

May 31, 2006

the haibun pundit: our premature arrival [and departure]

Filed under: Haiga or Haibun,Uncategorized — David Giacalone @ 7:54 pm

Welcome to the very premature unveiling of the haibun pundit. Due to recent chronic problems at the old Harvard-weblog webserver, the Editor of f/k/a has decided to rush this very imperfect version of his “next stage” weblog into online publication on the new, improved Harvard webserver. If you travel down this Home Page, you will find a few sample posts featuring the new theme and haibun format. [update:  See our About Page to follow the many changes in this weblog since this post was written.  Someday, the Editor hopes to start a separate, group weblog focused on Haibun Punditry.]

The f/k/a Gang has been searching for something a bit less stressful (and maybe even more effective) than sermons or commentary on the legal profession and its ethics. Frankly, being judgmental has become a physical and psychic drain on all of us here. We’d also like to become a bit more creative and “literary”.

Although we are going to continue to feature haiku and senryu from some of the very best haiku poets around — see our Guest Poet Archive — we are also going to experiment with the “haibun” genre, twisting it a bit to fit into a weblog format that focuses on current events and issues of interest to its Editor (and his alter egoes), and contains relevant links and blurbs.

“Haibun” is a literary and poetic genre with origins in 17th Century Japan and the writings of Master Haiku poet Bashō. It is a “linked form” — and, as the haibun editor of Simply Haiku magazine tells us, “The link is between narrative, prose sections and one or more haiku.” We will be presenting our brand of “haibun punditry” using prose and poems written by the Editor (aka “dagosan“), as well as published haibun written by our Honored Guest Poets.

winding road —

under the influence

of a strawberry moon

– by dagosanThe Heron’s Nest (VII: 4, Winter 2005)

Disclaimer: It is novel, and rather unorthodox, to try to use haibun in a “punditry” context, since haibun usually steers clear of drawing conclusions. Our hope is that it is the punditry rather than the haibun aspect if this union that will be influenced most by the linkage. In addition, please bear in mind that your Editor has never attempted to write “real” haibun before this week. This is, then, a bit of brash experimentation and perhaps a neophyte’s folly. It’s hoped that those who already appreciate the haibun genre will forgive my taking the name in vain. I hope to quickly get the hang of writing passable haibun, while figuring out how to do it in a weblog-commentary context.

We’re going to try to present “non-judgmental” commentary, using a haibun sensitivity — meaning “showing rather than telling,” and using imagery and narrative rather than conclusions, with as much brevity as is possible, given the DNA of the Editor. Most of our home-grown haibun will be followed by links to online news articles and other resources that are (more or less) relevant to the topic. Please let us know how this new approach to our weblog is working for you — and don’t forget that this website will continue to contain the Archives of both ethicalEsq and f/k/a.

full tummies

and empty bladders —

soon, vice-versa

…………………. dagosan from  simply senryu

p.s. Please bear with us on the formatting of this weblog. We have much work to do with the SideBar, as well as learning some of the basics, like spacing and font use, not too mention images. It’s like starting all over again, after getting too used to the prior weblogging software and architecture..

p.p.s. For a better idea of what good haibun should be like, please go to the website of Contemporary Haibun Online, which has lots of examples, a good definitions page and many helpful links. The haibun editor at Simply Haiku, who is now w.f. owen (one of our f/k/a Honored Guests), offered the following perspective on what makes good haibun:

Readers of this and other journals will see the wide range of styles of haibun writing. Content also varies. Traditional haibun have focused on such “mundane” topics as a broom or a gate or a tea cup. Some prose presents stream-of-consciousness, occasionally surreal, writing with little or no punctuation or conjunctions. Other prose sections use reflective memories set off by ellipses and still others offer autobiographical events. Bashô’s writings give excellent examples of one’s travels (e.g., Narrow Road to the Interior). All of these forms of haibun are welcome.

In the context of this flexibility, there are some common standards or criteria submitters should heed. One criterion is to limit or eliminate repetition of words and phrases. Just as haiku are sparse and economical in wording, so too are good haibun. This does not mean a haibun needs to be short in length; it means what is written is tightly constructed. Another major criterion for a successful haibun is a successful haiku. So many fine narratives fail to be good haibun because the haiku do not stand alone as solid poetry. And there is more. Haiku, especially those that end a haibun, need to relate to previous prose sections yet not be an extension of the prose. The oblique but relevant association between haiku and prose is the defining moment of the haibun. Thus, I look for an ending haiku that does not repeat, nor does it seem so unrelated as to leave the readers scratching their heads. The haiku link offers readers a springboard to multiple, and often unexpected, meanings. That is the challenge I hope you embrace.

Note: Your Editor will be on the road June 1st and 2nd and apologizes in advance for any tardy response to Comments.

“bad for the gander” — a haibun tale

Filed under: Haiga or Haibun,Schenectady Synecdoche — David Giacalone @ 6:53 pm

bad for the gander – a tale from the news, by the Haibun Pundit

She had me up at sunrise making “Save the Geese” signs. This must be penance for ogling that waitress with the great legs last weekend. Instead of picnicking, we’re spending a hot and humid Memorial Day on a picket line, on about the only shadeless stretch of road in the Village of Scotia, New York.

Back in 1989, a pair of Canadian geese were brought from a state game farm to our nature preserve. As the flock grew, we’d bring the kids to see them on Collins Lake — sitting on that knoll that’s covered in bird shit today. “Which ones are coming, Daddy?” . . . “Which are going?” . . . “Which ones live here?” By now, almost two hundred of them are considered “resident birds,” staying until the 50-acre Lake is frozen and coming back in the Spring

The beetle I righted
flies straight into
a cobweb

George Swede from Almost Unseen

Most Scotians love the idea of hosting those honking immigrants, but there’s so much goose excrement around Collins Park, no one wants their children to play here, and the Lake and beach had to be closed last summer. Still, the Wife and her Geese-Savers want to stop Mayor McLaughlin from euthanizing part of the flock. They say it’s inhumane and he hasn’t tried hard enough the past ten years to use nonlethal methods — like border collies and noise-makers, and the always-mysterious “egg-addling”.

Except for that one guy with the graying pony tail and Birkenstocks, who keeps trying to start those lame cheers, every male on this line — from 8 to 80 — looks dispirited, drafted, drug-here. It wasn’t enough that I gave up hunting geese years ago, to please her and the kids. Now I’m spending a perfectly good holiday baking my buns on the pavement, not grilling burgers in the backyard. Her crusade has become mine.

There is one consolation: my sweaty face and “Kinky Friedmant-shirt embarrass the crap out of her.

a spider spirals
down the drain —
the cricket keeps singing

haibun by dagosan (with thanks to George Swede for “the beetle”)

In the News, see:

– – “Protesters reacting to decision to gas Canada geese(CapitalNews9, May 28, 2006) “The clock is ticking for 150 Canada Geese in Scotia, and residents are rallying against plans to exterminate the birds. The village is planning to control the geese population in Collins Park by trapping, and then gassing them. Officials approved the plan and said it’s the only way to stop the birds from contaminating the pond. But members of a group called, “Save the Geese in Scotia” said the plan amounts to cruelty to animals [and that “proven nonlethal management techniques are more effective and humane”.] . . . “Protestors also said that instead of killing the geese they should be relocated. However, that approach would not be legal under current-state law.”

– – See the story as it unfolded and continued at Jerry Moore’s School Talk website.

guest haijin:

clouds of pollen
drifting through sunbeams —
a sparrow’s sudden flight

the web between stumps —
a tree frog answers
the pond frog

a white swan shakes her tail
at last the ripples
reach her mate

stones on the trail . . .
a downy feather
wafts in the breeze

by Michael Dylan Welch from Thornewood Poems at Captain Haiku’s Secret Hangout.

droping stone after stone
into the lake I keep

starlings on the telephone wire

George Swede from Almost Unseen

* Don’t forget #59, the special Memorial Day edition of Blawg Review, hosted by their very own Edit.

May 30, 2006

silly woman

Filed under: Haiga or Haibun — David Giacalone @ 8:56 am

Such a silly woman. I had to change my dress before he drove baby-&-me to the hospital. As if maternity nurses never saw hemorrhaging or a bloody skirt. “I’ll be right back, Dear,” I promised, as I stepped off the curb and hurried to the house. Never said how dizzy I felt.

Such a silly man. Herbert did a little eye-roll, but didn’t argue with a woman going into labor. Then, I collapsed onto the street behind our old car. Herbert saw that gray Buick sedan passing by — with the license number he got almost right — and thought “hit-‘n’-run.” Over and over, he yelled “Call 911! Call 911!” to everyone, and no one, his tears wetting my face.

Silly police. Hours of roadblocks and interviews. On the tv news, neighbors outraged over a “black driver” who would knock down a full-term, pregnant woman and keep on going. A “very nice woman” I was.

Silly Medical Examiner. It took him a day to figure it out. “ ‘The cause of death was not consistent with injuries being struck by a motor vehicle,” said Amsterdam Chief Thomas Brownall. She fell backwards at just the same time the vehicle was going by. Fell backwards, struck her head and died of those injuries.” [WNYT.com]

They did a C-section, but my baby was dead. They examined the gray car and it never hit any body. When I got to the hospital, my clothes had more rusty splotches. I can hear my mother wailing in Uganda. Such a silly woman.

midnight fire alarm —
stumbling toward
the wedding album

.. by dagosan

from the news:

– “Amsterdam Woman’s Death Not Caused by Hit and Run,” WNYT.com, Albany, NY (May 27, 2006) “So it appears when all is said and done, this was just a tragic circumstance where the initial report of the vehicle striking the person was inaccurate” said Chief Brownall. Police say it helps to know that what was believed to be a heinous crime is just rather an unfortunate event, but they add it doesn’t make the situation any less tragic.

– “Autopsy: Aneurysm killed mom“, Albany Times Union, May 28, 2006

afterwords: “Silly Woman” has been published in Contemporary Haibun Online Vol. 3 #3 (September 2007), and was selected to appear in the associated annual print journal “Contemporary Haibun, Vol. 9” (Edited by Jim Kacian, Bruce Ross, and Ken Jones, 2008), from Red Moon Press.

guest haijin:

under the
blackest doodle
something unerasable

descending into
her perfume

… by John Stevenson
“under the” – Something Erasable (1995)
“stairway” – Some of the Silence (1999)

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