homeeditorsreviewsessaysmhbooks issues


Volume 34.2
Summer 2003



Favorite haiku of the winter issue:

dog days of summer
twenty-three games
out of first
Michael Ketchek

Favorite senryu of the winter issue:

family feud
the pallbearers
take sides
Tom Painting

Favorite haibun of the winter issue:


Yet we cannot reach happiness by consciously searching for it.
—Mihaly Csikszentmihaly, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

Saturday morning: Two chapters into Csikszentmihaly and I’m eager to engineer flow for my kids, whom I’ve neglected while chasing yet another new idea. Today, I decide, we are going to paint. I load them into the minivan, drive into the city. At the art supply store we wander long aisles of brushes, color tubes, crayons, cuts of paper. Finally, each boy chooses a paint-by-number. At the checkout lane the middle boy wants a chocolate bar. I say “no, not now,” and I repeat these words several times, as calmly as possible, against the rising water of his wrath. When the levee bursts I am soaked through with his screams, fists, mad flailings. Back in the car I stare straight ahead and clench the wheel, and at home I can do nothing but shake my head and sigh as the boys swirl paint around their cardboard canvases, oblivious to the numbers and the light-blue contour lines.

at the window
gazing at the rain
seamless gray skies

That night the sink clogs. I suspect the kids, blame them, then plunge the drain to no avail. Half a bottle of Liquid-Plumr returns only a burning sulphurous stench and a bunch of black flakes, a dandruff of rusted calcium deposits. I go to the store and buy a plumber’s snake, which knocks loose the clog, yes, but which bores through the rusted trap. I go back to the store to buy a new trap, return, and while removing the old trap I inadvertently snap off the corroded tailpiece that connects to it. So I go back to the store. But now it’s deep into Sunday morning. I am tired but I am not going to sleep until I am done with the sink. I am immersed in pipes and joints, the smells of grease and putty. I am in the flow.

so clear and so cool
I drink water straight
from the bathroom tap

by Del Doughty



©2003 Modern Haiku • PO Box 68 • Lincoln, IL 62656