noon rush
trying not to notice
the waitress' mole

—Jeffrey Winke

About the author: Jeffrey Winke, jeff_winke at yahoo dot com

Jeffrey Winke is an industrial writer and adjunct university professor of modern poetry, business communication and public speaking in Milwaukee, Wis. His recent book What's Not There: Selected Haiku of Jeffrey Winke is a 2002 Merit Book Award winner. His motion graphics haiku collection, Chances, has been selected as a Cool Site winner. And a collection of Winke's essays combined with found art was recently exhibited at Milwaukee's Green Dragon Freedom Cafè gallery.


Responses to the haiku for 8 April 2003 by Jeffrey Winke

    2003-04-08 16:04:32

    Thanks for the smile. This describes, perfectly, many different situations we try to not notice.
    Very effective turn.

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-04-08 17:07:26

    on first reading, i laughed aloud, deborah.
    i found myself thinking, "rush, whatcha high on jeffrey", or just maybe, mind you, jeffrey did have this in mind.
    for those gentler souls, i reined in my wild and racy thoughts.

    might i began again?

    true, deborah, the things we try not to notice, but i don't know when one is in a rush.
    when one is rushing many things escapes the viewer.

    i wonder if jeffrey minds my remake.

    case in point:

    noon rush
    couldn't help noticing...
    waitress' mole

    can anyone see my point???

    "reviewed grade
    norm, stella, guy & helga
    sighed, finally, brevity..."

    Chris Rundblad
    2003-04-08 17:42:21

    I love how time is arrested here, jerked to a stop, and then, with ever so much effort, resumed. Great could be felt.

    2003-04-08 18:14:20

    I see your point Bob, and I have to wonder whether the noon rush was something Jeffrey was experiencing. Haiku moments tend just not to happen when one is rushed. If, as in your CIP, Jeffrey, though rushed, couldn't help noticing the mole, he surely wouldn't have cared enough to avert his attention.

    It seems more likely that our poet sat calmly aloof from the Milwaukee noontime rush (maybe he had a half day). I'm not sure what the noon rush adds to the haiku at all. In fact, whether Jeffrey is rushed or not, you can be sure his waitress is a lot more rushed, so she's hardly going to notice him noticing her mole, so why is he trying so hard not to notice it?

    Slightly off-topic:
    I vaguely remember from school there were some exceptions to the rules about 's and s'; would the word waitress' as in waitress' mole actually be pronounced as just 2 syllables? I would have to write waitress's (3 syllables) however odd it might look...

    Deborah P. Kolodji (dkolodji at aol dot com)
    2003-04-08 19:35:02


    I think the original is better than your suggested rewrite for a couple of reasons.

    1. It is in the present tense.

    2. It follows what Jane Reichhold, in her book "Writing and Enjoying Haiku", calls the phrase/fragment rule of writing haiku. For some people, "phrase/fragment" is easier to understand than "kireji". Jane's book is available at

    3.It sounds better to my poet's ear. I think the third line needs an article since the haiku is written in English not Japanese.

    Just my two cents.

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-04-08 22:07:43

    deborah, after my name, you said it all with the "i think". yet i feel a response is in order.

    your first point, "it's the present", you lost me there. i was sure this episode was over, "present", does it matter, unless jeffrey is caught up in time, flash back. (wink wink)

    2nd, you surprise me. i am amazed you'd limit yourself to jane's rules. that is one of the most disturbing problem (to me, remember to me)that one would lame one's creativeness to another's rules. what if all wrote in the same style???
    "personally, i think" jane should read my rules on writing and enjoying haiku. "for some people" anything is easier than for others.

    3rd, i can not question what sounds good to your ear, nor should you suggest what sounds good to mine.

    ahhh yes, the two cents bit again, you do understand you are due some change.

    2 questions come to mind, (present tense) are you caught up in the rush...
    and to which poet does that ear belong...

    Deborah P Kolodji (dkolodji at aol dot com)
    2003-04-09 13:45:50

    haiku is written in the present tense

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-04-09 17:49:09

    deborah, is written in the present tense.
    i disregard that rule.

    as i said before, i try not to limit myself with rules and regulations, one is apt to be more creative that way.

    someone once "pointed" out to me on my writings, the comment made was, "Your haiku tend to be more epigrammatic and offer commentary, often ironic, on the world or universe at large. That's not to say one approach is better than the other, but they are different --"

    i found solace within those words, who knows one day i may have a following...

    2003-04-09 18:39:17

    ew. mole. yuk.

    2003-04-09 19:05:37

    Deborah K, haiku does not cease to be haiku if not written in the present tense, so your statement above does not stand. Jeffrey's haiku at the top of this page is not written in the present tense, for instance. He supplies no finite verb, and the participle trying could grammatically be preceded by 'was' or 'will be' as easily as 'am'. Thus this haiku, along with a great many others, both traditional and western, has no explicit tense, leaving the reader to supply it.

    "...the third line needs an article since the haiku is written in English not Japanese"
    Grammatical incompleteness is a feature of haiku, both traditional and western. Surely a missing article is far less elliptic than omitting the subject and verb ("I am/was" in the 2nd line). To pass over the latter unremarked, but whinge when Bob drops a mere article... well, I'll be elliptic now and let you finish the sentence!

    Rules, yes. Slavish obedience? no.

    2003-04-09 19:49:44

    Not wishing to labour the point Deborah, but after posting the comment above, I thought I'd go have a look at your haiku on tinywords, for examples of present tense and no omitted articles. And what do I find?

    pot of shamrocks
    growing on the windowsill
    brogue in the wind

    - Deborah P. Kolodji

    Not, a growing...?

    Stella Siador (stelmar90 at zworg dot com)
    2003-04-10 16:46:46

    Your haiku gave me a smile, too. My own noon rush would be more focused on lunch, though, than being distracted by someone's mole--unless hair was growing out of it. Then that would be so unappetizing. Eww!

    As I read the other comments, I felt I was in English class again. What the hell is this?

    Also, why the plug on Jane Reichhold's book? I wouldn't follow her--or any other haiku "experts"--rules. No way would I read her patronizing crap for anything.

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-04-10 22:22:13

    wow, was that stella?

    stella, might i have some of what you are having.
    strange, as time progresses, the ones you find yourself in agreement with.

    stella, i smiled at your comment, not the hairy mole part though.

    how nice it would be to discuss the noon rush over lunch.

    with all the comments, i saw what jeffrey was trying to say, the mole was perhaps grotesque, and trying to avoid looking, after it caught the luncher's attention, was difficult to do.

    somethings are just that way, once seen they tend to become attached to one's attention.

    amazing how a genuine haiku creates a story within three lines.

    Stella Siador (stelmar90 at zworg dot com)
    2003-04-11 16:02:00

    Thought I'd chime in again, despite it's a day later.

    I got a kick out of Norman's zinger on Deborah Kolodji's "correction" on how a haiku's supposed to be written and dug into one of her own. Way to go! High five. Heh heh heh. There are too many haiku nazis out there dictating what the "correct" and "proper" way on how to write a haiku.

    When I printed out this haiku and the comments (before I posted my own comment) yesterday, as much as I loath to admit, I'm in agreement with Bob (ohmygod, I can't believe I'm saying this) on one thing he said: "I try not to limit myself with rules and regulations." It echoes how I think, and I should give Bob props for that. I'd rather write a haiku how I like than how an "expert" say I should. If I did, then my writing would be robotic, even sheeplike. Who wants to write haiku like that?

    d f tweney (dft at tinywords dot com)
    2003-04-11 20:01:58

    I'm afraid some of the comments on this discussion have gotten a little uncivil lately. I'm delighted that people are having spirited arguments about haiku on tinywords, but I also hope that it will remain a pleasant place to visit. Please try to keep your comments spirited, principled, passionate -- but polite.

    Personally, I found Deborah's reference to Jane Reichhold's book useful. Reichhold actually quotes Basho as saying "Learn the rules; and then forget them," and her web site lists a whopping 65 rules for writing haiku. I think of her list as a menu, not a rulebook.

    BTW, the haiku that Norman quotes, above, is by Deborah P. Kolodji.

    Jeffrey Winke (jeff at jeffwinke dot com)
    2003-04-11 22:36:52

    mole...mole...mole...MOLE! (whew! had to get that out of my system)

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-04-11 23:11:56

    guess who, stella...

    "i think" jeffrey has finally admitted he was looking at the "mole".
    it is said, "confession is good for the soul".

    dft, a question, what if, what you conceive is not on the menu?
    as in any learning and the ability to express one's own's opinion, a knowledge, even though it may not be thorough, gives one a foundation from which to spring forth.

    a thought comes to mind, frightening at times, "what was the thinking before the first haiku was written, "btfh"?

    to be the first at anything, one has to the pioneer, trial and error. i'm assuming this would apply to one creating their own writing style.

    d f tweney (dft at tinywords dot com)
    2003-04-12 10:42:22

    Jeff -- Ah yes, Austin Powers at last raises his toothy and bespectacled head!

    Bob -- If what you want isn't on the menu, no problem -- make up your own rules, and of course your own haiku. Order off the menu. But in haiku, as in other art forms, your transgressions of the rules will be more effective if you know what the rules are.

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-04-12 22:46:53

    life with all it's wonderment, continually goes in circles. at first, i was tempted to say, "goes around and around in circles", but that would have been redundant.

    i was thinking of the word "rules", hmmm, an established form of construction in a particular class of words, or expressions of that form in words.
    then "transgression" barged in, "the breaking of any rule".

    it's too easy to assume lack of knowledge, for often the trap is laid, therein lies a trite saying on assumptions.

    to be cont.

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-04-12 22:56:12


    many a rebel simply didn't like the effects of the rule, while not looking for effectiveness, simply seeking a different way to satisfy their own liking, being in disagreement has often times been satisfactory to it's development.

    when one studies the rules, many times one realizes what they are for, and thus become in favor of the rules, then, it produces similar thinking.
    at times the rules are many, and by the time they have been assimilated, many a free thinker has been stopped in their tracks, sounding akin to a conspiracy.

    once rules are established, one tend to think they are unbreakable and unchangeable, reminds me of being etched in stone.

    "i don't think so".

    lack of this knowledge can produce a new thought process. one often times is thought to be mad at the onset, but over the course of time it becomes apparent one had witnessed a new beginning...

    Stella Siador
    2003-04-15 15:50:17

    All right, fine. Whatever. Maybe I was a bit harsh on the haiku nazi thing.

    But I'm still not backing down on what I believe.

    Stella Siador
    2003-04-15 15:59:25

    Forgot to add this to my above comment: Excuse me for being outspoken!

    bobrichardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-04-16 12:47:57

    stella's knight...
    though not in shining armor
    is outspoken, also

    stella, i did not find your words overly harsh.
    i feel you were getting your point across, while being caught up in the heat of the moment.
    if one has convictions, one is expected to stand up for them, especially when they come under fire. my thoughts are, you have thought thoroughly about your position, prior to speaking out on it.

    stella, the day you "hear" me, figure of speech, apologizing for being "verbose"(borrowed from someone else, not my word of choice), watch out for something else.

    two things come to mind.

    1. doing things in public, expect 3 opinionated worlds, good, bad, or possibly in-between.
    2. usage of "nazi", should not be offensive to anyone, unless they are of that frame of mind, then in retrospect, evaluating their position, they should surmise, "NOPE, I AM NOT OF THAT CAMP"; then, you'll not hear any complaints.

    this is what it might take, to provide a wake up call.

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-04-16 12:50:08

    i wonder if stella was really apologizing. hahahaha

    Stella Siador
    2003-04-16 16:51:07

    Hoo boy, guess I really shook this discussion up. But, oh well.

    I only ranted like I did when the nitpickiness of composing a haiku went into near ridiculous proportions. I like coming to tinywords and checking out the day's haiku and occasionally saying my piece. I just want to enjoy a haiku as it is (emphasis on "as it is") instead of being given a lesson on the right way to compose one or having a haiku picked apart and analyzed to death.

    I don't suffer fools with nitpickers, and I won't hold back on calling a spade a spade like last time. Like the cliche goes, "If the shoe fits . . ."

    I'm amazed that Bob came to my defense (thanks, dude!), and he did come up with valid points about rules. That's really cool. Thanks again, Bob.

    hugh durden
    2003-04-16 19:26:47

    At the noon rush it is the waitress who is the most rushed, as a rule. A particular customer might not be at all rushed, and might have plenty of time to notice the waitress, the mole, and all the other customers who are rushed. The waitress also refers to all the customers at that time as the "rush", so perhaps many people are trying not to notice her mole. Perhaps the poet is noticing them rather than it. The mole must be pretty extreme to be worth not noticing, btw.
    I haven't browsed the comments before; do things often drift away from the poem as in the thread above?
    Not that the discussion of rules isn't interesting. I'm reminded of a drama teacher of mine long ago who used to browbeat a fine arts student friend for trying to break creative ground when he thought that she hadn't mastered draftsmanship. His argument was that an artist has to know the fundamentals not only in order to use them, but also in order to choose to disregard them.

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-04-16 23:21:32

    first things first, you are most welcome stella.

    hugh, hugh, in most conversations, there is a drifting of subject matter. who among us has ever been engaged in a single subject discussion. be not amazed as to where the topic leads one, but give the haiku credit for being the catalyst.

    "my" thoughts are, rules and knowledge of the rules do come in handy, yet when it comes to creativeness and originality, the rules then take a back seat, "notice i didn't say they left the vehicle".

    some think i am of the mind "the rules be damn". yes, at times; though some admire the rules more than what they apply to. because one doesn't follow the rules, don't think, in haste, the rules are not known. if one's work and the real thing are juxtaposed, there is a lesson in the making.

    hugh, you mentioned the drama teacher's argument, what is your opinion.

    i wonder if hugh realizes he drifted into the tributary, away from the poem.

    2003-04-18 00:43:53

    why should we assume that the mole is (or was) unsightly? didn't women in the 19th century glue on false moles as "beauty marks"? maybe he didn't want to be caught leering...and caught himself in the act of trying not to be caught.

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-04-18 07:06:01

    mike, you are entirely correct on the creation of many (maybe)s, quite a few (what if)s, a sprinkling of (perhaps)s, a dash of (assumptions)s, some (i think)s, handfuls of (i wonder)s, a group of (i would say, as for me, in my opinion, did this for me)s, and the list is endless; all creations of the vivid haiku, the true answer being known by the author, sometimes.

    at least, "i think", this is what you meant.

    "i was thinking", "perhaps", a warning label should be attached to one's haiku.

    case in point:

    reader beware, please
    this piece will cause you to think...
    no quick assumptions

    W.E.G. (the_renga_master at hotmail dot com)
    2003-09-03 19:03:36

    It has got punch Jeffrey Winke. Nice. I remember your name from back then since i started writing ku in 1973 but had an inter-regnum shall we say. Anyways i am very glad to see your work again.

    john tiong chunghoo (bagiruang at yahoo dot com)
    2004-01-06 04:05:55

    tropical noon rush
    all the suns in the
    traffic's windscreens

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2004-06-07 15:59:25

    midnight silence
    torn newspaper page
    rumbles down the street