To All You Haiku Masters (Slimverse – The Journey, Episode 4)

(Episode 3 is here)

To All You Haiku Masters

it’s time to
discuss the
in the room.

Back in the time before the time, the Poets’ Circle would hold a meeting every April to honor TS Eliot, the theme was always the same, “April just got crueler”. No alcohol was served.
The last meeting, before the pandemic, took place at the house of The Accomplished Poet in West Point Grey. His wife, Cheryl served her asparagus quiche, by far the highlight of the evening.
At the invitation of The Accomplished Poet, The Academic Poet read his 40 verse poem about the Canadian Constitution and afterwards spoke for an hour about the making of the poem and his creative process. He wore, as always, a Mountain Equipment Co-Op black fleece vest, a pale blue button down shirt, a pair of Khaki pants with more pockets than any normal human being could use, and a pair of Merrill hiking shoes.
His creative process? He, apparently, decided at the outset on a six line verse with an ABABCC rhyming scheme and added the restriction that he would only use rhymes that had never been used before in an English language poem, a daunting task, as you can imagine. However, being a professor of literature at a local university, he had his resources and with the help of a few grants, he had a group of his students devise a computer program that would check all his rhymes for originality. This involved compiling a data bank of all the rhymes in English Literature, a process that took ten years and an ever changing band of students. In the end meaning and clarity had to take a back seat and the resulting poem turned out to be a real head scratcher, a masterpiece of obfuscation delivered in a dry monotone.
Did I mention that there was no alcohol at the event?
Slim and I got out of there as fast as we could and headed for The Post-Coital Beetle. Being April, both the hockey season and the European soccer competitions were reaching their climax, so the Beetle was crowded and raucous. All the screens were on and everyone was eager to take in the final stretch before the boredom and blandness of summer sports.
Slim and I got a booth in the corner, ordered a plate of nachos and a pitcher of Blue Buck Ale and settled in. It was hot in the room, and Slim’s bald head was shining, he took off his jacket to reveal a white tee shirt with the following message on the front:
U is at?
Is u at?
At issue?
Is it u?

The third and fourth lines of the message were on a different plane because of Slim’s stomach which is about the size of a regulation soccer ball. So the effect was almost cubist, images stealthily approaching the eye.
“Slimverse at its minimalist best”, I say to Slim, “what a relief!”
We both grin smugly and wax snide at The Academic Poet’s expense. The evening stretches before us like a drunk laid out on a pavement. Two pitchers in, our syllable count rises and we compose this haiku about the real estate bubble in Vancouver. The bubble is always either forming or bursting.

white Lexus on lease
new suit, shoes, two day stubble
bubble? What bubble?

Then cut free from the 12 syllable bonds of slimverse we write another:

cherry blossoms bloom
well-dressed ladies from Beijing
pose with hand on hip

The bar erupts, a goal has been scored. Is it hockey? Is it soccer? Slim and I don’t care, we are gorging on syllables. We expectorate another haiku

cherry blossoms bloom
the air is sticky with greed
houses, for sale, sold.

We pause. The nachos are gone, except for a few crumbs. The remains of the guacamole are slowly oxidizing in the bowl. The second pitcher is all but drained. In the hockey game, the goalie has been pulled. We manage a final push and the last haiku comes out screaming.

cherry blossoms bloom
the wrecking ball’s lazy swing
petals, debris, spring.

Then nothing, a guilty silence, the feeling that we had betrayed our mission, that the future of slimverse was threatened, in doubt. We drain our glasses, get up and head out into the spring night. I walk to the bus stop for the 99 express heading west. Slim walks to the bus stop for the 99 express heading east. It will be a number of months before we meet again.

Taking part in Open Link over at dverse

25 thoughts on “To All You Haiku Masters (Slimverse – The Journey, Episode 4)

  1. Sunra Rainz

    Wonderful haikus, Jim! And I enjoyed reading about the journey that led you to create them, that was like a prose poem in itself. Or you could call it a haibun? The t-shirt slogan was good too 🙂


  2. msjadeli

    Time to talk about the effable in the room gave me a big chuckle as did the rest. You take poetry and turn it on its ear, Jim. Always enjoyable, always refreshing.


  3. sanaarizvi

    Oh my goodness this is epic!! 💝💝 I especially like; “cherry blossoms bloom/the air is sticky with greed/houses, for sale, sold.”


  4. hedgewitch

    Made me laugh innumerable times. What a great pleasure to read this morning, how skilled and seamless and easy everything fell together for the reader. Great sense of immediacy and satire served with long cool drafts of real poetry like this : “..The evening stretches before us like a drunk laid out on a pavement..” My post-COVID life. Loved this.


  5. fireblossom32

    I see your Academic Poet and raise you a Retired Writing Group Participant, who every week will read a chapter from his 600-page long submarine warfare/ sex romp which skews heavy on the machinery and description of same. Begging your indulgence, a fauxku from his deathess pen:

    origami orders bloom
    dual propellers twin
    large pendulous breasts

    The last line seems to be a kind of touchstone for him, and appears in his novel 8,551 times.

    Thank you for sharing this howlingly funny, sly, irreverent piece. The final haiku made me laugh out loud.


    Liked by 2 people

    1. sdtp33 Post author

      Thank you Shay, enjoyed the fauxku, very funny! The phrase”pendulous breasts” brings to mind those English spy novels from the sixties, it was usually accompanied by “alabaster buttocks”! JIM

      Liked by 2 people


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