deep breath
before I enter
the panhandler’s aura

11 Responses

  1. marge Says:

    please take me off your e mail list…thanks.

  2. Thornton Kimes Says:

    I have been homeless, have homeless friends, and am involved in anti-poverty activism. i appreciate honesty, but that was a low blow…

  3. d. f. tweney Says:

    I think the author had a more generous meaning in mind and was trying to turn the reader toward the humanity of the homeless. At least, that's how I read the unexpectedness of the last word.

  4. d. f. tweney Says:

    marge, I can't unsubscribe you without knowing your email address. But you can do it yourself by visiting the subscriptions page on this site and using the form there:

  5. gillena cox Says:

    click click click
    at my laptop; the soft breath
    of dawn

    much love

  6. Alan Summers Says:

    I'd agree with dylan. I've worked with homeless on poetry projects, and they have an amazing aura of integrity and personality despite hard times. They put to shame the people with decent incomes, home and family, who still moan about their own state of affairs.

    But I can also see why marge and Thornton would be upset, as my first reading also took in a negative take. But that's why we need to read something a second or a third time.

    One of my best friends (now in his 30s) was homeless and on the run from drug dealers: he now has a university degrees, and is a fine poet and prose writer. Also Les Murray the great world poet from Australia was homeless, as he told us in a workshop.

    I talk to lots of homeless who either sell The Big Issue, or are struggling. Despite the fact that two homeless people couldn't read or write, they are two contributors to the Bath 1000 Verse Renga, as well as wonderful people to talk with.

    I hope we all revisit the above haiku, and maybe the author could comment? But I genuinely feel the haiku is not a negative comment.


  7. Christopher Pickslay Says:

    Wow, I didn't anticipate this senryu would strike such a chord. I do admit that the most obvious interpretation is that of the self-centered observer trying to remove themselves from the situation. And as unempathetic as that might be, I think it's a common experience.

    However, I used the words "breath" and "aura" inentionally, as they both have multiple connotations, which can be combined into several interpretations (positive and negative), which different readers will identify with and relate to differently.

    I appreciate the sentiments in the comments, and the seriousness of the issue of homelessness. On the other hand, I don't see any reason why the observations in haiku or senryu have to evoke a pleasant sentiment, and I personally enjoy art that evokes sentiments I might not want to admit to.

  8. marlene mountain Says:

    why is this not a haiku


  9. judith ingram Says:

    I look at the hand of the homeless woman
    much like my own

  10. G-Daddy Says:

    Maybe he just threw some words together after he passed another grimy hand and set of empty eyes as he entered McDonalds to get supersize.

  11. G-Daddy Says:

    My maiden voyage in Haiku waters…

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