8.2.07

Hai Coups



When you hear "Haiku Party" you immediately acknowledge the redundancy, and then you envision nature-loving literary sorts in black turtle necks with unkempt, twig-riddled hair sitting in a circle in low light reciting short 5-7-5 poems about owls and poplar trees to one another in a very subdued and orderly fashion. That is what haiku is all about. Order. 5 syllabi, 7 syllabi, 5 more syllabi for good measure and BLAM!, or more like blam, you have yourself an awkward sounding mess that is as comfortable to write, read, or hear as two teenagers making out on the roof of the school for the first time. It it is all elbows, hands, words that shouldn't be there because they don't fit but they do have enough syllables so technically they do fit, and give us fits, and ah hell! Haiku is terrible. Structuralist, formalist, take-your-thoughts-and-put-them-in-a-non-rhyming, non-interesting, conformist box with the dimensions of 5x7x5. Which gives it a volume of zero.

So I was quite excited to witness/participate in a Haiku Party if only to demean and undermine the whole exercise of inebriated lit. students counting on their hands. One-two-three-aaaaaah...I give up.

Through much anticipation and wandering lost through a snow storm for some time we came to the place at long last. Uninvited, unknown, NOT a lit. student. I guess I crashed a Haiku Party. I guess that might make me a villain in some comic strips, I like to think of myself as a hero in a long and well inked epic graphic novel about a hero fighting on behalf of the cause of literary chaos.

I was somewhat disappointed to discover that there were no sullen-naturalist souls longing to be one with nature and expressing their anguish with 5x7x5 haiku boxes about their romance with the gull and their appreciation of the big tall redwood tree. No one was even wearing a black turtle neck! I saw no one with twigs in their hair! It was a freaking house party! The girls were in various states of topless, and the guys were in various states of drunken asshole, and everyone was having a wonderful time. I was disappointed.

My mood picked up considerably when I found my way to the the tiny kitchen where there was a large pile of haiku poems on cards and scraps of paper and pens and more paper to write more. I am sure there were rules governing the haiku pile. Whatever they were I didn't know them, heed them, need them. I am a lone wolf. I will not be put in box. I won't write haiku.

I quickly grabbed an open scrap and an orange sharpie and composed a 5 line epic about a birthday cake decorated with Ninja Turtles. I cannot recall what it was, but it was amazing, and it surely wasn't haiku. My accompaniment that evening was bewildered by my lack of structural respect for the ancient Japanese art of kowtowing, but she quickly realized what sort of haiku night this was going to be and took delight in the developing war of words, syllables, scraps, sharpies and cook books.

The closest I came all night to a haiku was "Rolled Gold Pretzels: Make a nice light snack!" To which the Russian Eng. Lit. masters student, whom I would later end up inviting to my Super Bowl Party, nearly had an aneurysm and a nervous breakdown simultaneously when he read. It was the most fantastic of all sights I have ever beheld.

The haiku party then took a serious turn to the serious when one of the very self-serious Eng. Lit. kids found their poetry textbook and started reading "real" haiku. Which was important, because only the masters could count to 5x7x5. That was the only actual reading of anything that went on all night. Was a few largely ignored masterwork haiku around the kitchen table. I wasn't listening, I found that critiquing other's haiku, and copying tidbits out of recipe books over by the sink of dirty dishes was much more fun. And I am also pretty sure that no one in the other room were listening, they were too busy trying to coyly feel one another up. And the other few serious literary types around the table were to busy writing haiku about penises and drawing penises and talking about penises to give two shits about what Joe Haiku, the Haiku King of the Mid West had to say about the forest so dark green.

Eventually there was a shift in arrangement and I found myself sharing a chair around the table and talking absolute nonsense with an ally about absolute nonsense. Our Russian friend's head once again verged on explosion when he walked into the midst of our "rubbing skunks asses on your face" discussion. I wish I could remember what it was about. I am pretty sure it was about Walt Whitman.

Guests slowly began to give up on trying to feel up that girl/guy from their 17th century Eng. Lit. class and went home. Our nonsense poured out in greater volumes. Eventually all that remained was me and my accompaniment on one chair, penis hands on camera, the Mad Russian trying to keep his mind intact, and my ally exchanging hilarious gibberish about this, that and that other thing. Oh, and the three hosts of the haiku party, the inhabitants of the house, leaning up against the sink full of dirty dishes with a "get the fuck out of our house so we can go to bed" scowl on their collective face.

Finally, at 4:18 am, the lone male Eng. Lit. inhabitant spoke up, "uh, WE ARE GOING TO BED NOW," he declared. Then came 10 minutes of awkward leaving. As is the case whenever you are kicked out of anyone's Haiku Party. Amidst this awkward leaving was "who are you?" "whose friend are you?" "who did you come with?" I never admitted to anything! We left in a disorderly fashion. We left their house in a worse state. And we left a large pile of hideous haiku with orange sharpie critiques and a gaggle of original orange sharpie "poems" on their kitchen table. We went and got poutine.


•The top haiku stuck to my sleeve when I tried to leave, so I kept it.
•The second one is indicative of the average fare. Of note is the complex syllabic scheme noted in the top right.
•The third is a very deep haiku about the meaning of high lit students. To which I corrected the punctuation and made a snide remark.
•The final one is a haiku about homework. Upon which I wrote my best work of the night. A found poetry piece called "Baked Potato Soup" found in Teen Cooking in the kitchen on the microwave, next to the sink full of dirty dishes. It goes:

Baked Potato Soup:
This is one of my favourite soups. The soup itself doesn't have a ton of flavour, but once you put the cheese and bacon on it, oh man, it's super good! Megan uses Bacos™ instead of bacon, and every single time she points out it is the first soy product ever produced (like I care!).

2 comments:

Tricia said...

The first haiku is 5-7-6. No wonder you crashed this party, they were a bunch of amateurs.

On that brisk night, you
Learned what many knew before:
Lit. students can't count.

Tam said...

Goats would feast on notes,
Written but haphazardly,
By small minds with pens.