Monday, December 27, 2010

Reader submission from my favorite mathemetician

You may have noticed that I haven't been posting lately. I have a good reason. I have pneumonia. I'm feeling pretty miserable, but here is a little something from my friend Xander that made me feel better:

Please feel better soon
Nobody likes dead lawyers
Or at least not us

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Day 238: Pitter-Patter

Small scampering feet
And greasy pink worm-like tails
Flit across the tracks

Day 237: Seasons Greetings from the F Train

We squish together
Wrapped in coats like ornaments
Waiting for Christmas

I'm full of the holiday spirit, but the next guy who shoves me on the train gets his chestnuts roasted on an open fire.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Day 236: Bling

With a rock like that
I'm surprised that you don't limp
From the extra weight

I figured people with diamond rings that big took Town Cars to get around. Maybe she was slumming it -- you know, seeing how the unwashed masses live.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Day 235: Unsolicited Advice

She reads her torts text
"Drop out now!" I silently
Scream through my tight smile

Why on earth are people still going to law school? So they too can end up a in crippling debt and trying to make ends meet by working a temporary holiday retail job?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Day 234: A Memory

Nimble fingers fly
Hastily knitting in a
Filthy Queens sweatshop

This is an issue that has been important to me ever since I got lost in Flushing many years ago and wandered into a sweatshop to ask for directions. For more of my admittedly long-winded thoughts on this subject, check this out.

Day 233: Again

On an icy day
Bodies wrapped in battered coats
Crouch on subway grates

I write about the things I see. Sometimes I hate the things I see because I do not have any power to change them.

Day 232: High of 29

The chill violence
Of a biting winter wind
Browbeats the have-nots

It also helps me to remember that despite my difficulties, I am a very, very lucky woman.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Day 231: Undercover

A young woman weeps
Hiding her face and her tears
In a long brown scarf

She got on at Bergen Street during rush hour and sat next to me. She buried her face, but it quickly became apparent that she was crying. And not just whimpering a little -- really crying. After a few moments, I felt compelled to ask if she was okay (since she obviously wasn't). She gave me a watery smile and told me that it was just one of those days. I understood. I had her day three days ago. The only difference is that my scarf was purple.

Day 230: A Warning

Just because I'm small
Doesn't mean you can push me
So back off jackass

Men love to push me around. And I don't mean that metaphorically: grown men, often wearing business suits, enjoy physically shoving me on both subway and sidewalk. At least, I assume they enjoy it since it happens so often. I'm fairly petite, but I have a prodigious temper -- and one of these days I'm going to lose it. I can see the headlines now: Businessman Undergoes Briefcase Removal Surgery After Subway Ride Turns Deadly.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Day 229: Diamonds are forever

If his Jesus bling
Is all that he says it is
I'll mug him myself

After a long day of work and train trouble, I had the good fortune having to stand very close to man who picked a noisy and very one-sided fight with the train motorman. This performance culminated in an exaggerated waving of a navel-length diamond necklace with a diamond-encrusted Jesus head on it (try though I might, I can't find a picture of anything as appalling as the real thing online -- but this video is pretty close). He was loudly proclaiming that the necklace was all diamonds. Well, his actual words were "this shit's real, yo! It takes you a year to make what I make in a week!" followed by a lot of incoherent rambling and necklace-swinging. It's always advisable to yell about your valuables on a crowded subway platform.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Day 228: Bodies, heavenly and terrestrial

Scrambling commuters
Immune to the grace of a
Celestial ceiling

I am currently working a very pleasant temporary job at the holiday fair at Grand Central Terminal, one of the most beautiful spots in New York City. Sure, it's annoying to dodge the bumbling tourists when you have someplace to be, but can you blame them for wanting to stargaze at the gorgeous (and newly refurbished) Sky Ceiling?

Furthermore, if you're like me and Intrepid Boyfriend, you appreciate the value of a cheap (by NYC standards) date. If you've never indulged in an ice cream cone in the Dining Concourse and then whispered sweet nothings to each other through the Guastavino whispering arch, now may be the time to try.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Day 227: Heady and Aromatic

The old spice warehouse
Exudes curry with a trace
Of lemon pepper

There is a spice importer in an old brick building near the site of Ebbets Field (which, in a heinous crime against architecture, was knocked down and rebuilt as the ghastly Ebbets Field apartments in the 1960s). For better or for worse, Brooklyn is often a pungent place. This spot is like an exotic vacation for your nose.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Day 226: In Appreciation

A musical laugh
So light and ethereal
Like a butterfly

Monday, November 22, 2010

Day 225: She is Unstoppable

She faces the world
Armed with a trusty blanket
And a blue binkie

As a complete aside, I learned not long ago that putting honey on a pacifier is officially verboten. I had no idea. For the 10 minutes a year that Baby Me chose to rest my lungs from screaming, I sucked on a honey-coated pacifier. Have I finally found a reason to blame everything on my mother?

(Hahaha, I only wrote that because my mom is my most loyal reader, and she rocks. I just like to keep her on her toes.)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

My (Other) Secret Identity

As you've no doubt noticed from the cheerful little widget at the bottom of my blog, I'm not just a renegade haiku-er, I'm also a rampant crocheter. Now that I am unemployed I have even more time to crochet and think about the ways in which I would like to change the world.

I'm thinking of pioneering a Slow Gift movement (much like the famed Slow Food movement with its adorable snail logo) this holiday season. Here is a rough draft of my Slow Giving manifesto:

1) Think before you buy. Ask yourself, where will this gift be in a year? In five?

2) Take the time to become informed about where your money is really going. Make an effort to support small businesses, especially local shops and artisans (because, you know, maybe they just graduated from law school and are unemployed, but still have to pay rent and buy food and make loan payments...)

3) Giving should be a source of joy, not a tiresome obligation. Don't buy just to have something to give.

What do you think?

Day 223: Empire Boulevard, Crown Heights

A profusion of
Scattered chicken bones like a
Spread of dead fingers

Sometimes haiku isn't pretty, but I'm damned if it isn't vivid.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Reader Submission: It Runs in the Family

Have I mentioned that my mom is an excellent haiku-ist? Check this out:

A loud joyous cheer
Is heard from friends far and wide
You both passed the bar

How cute is she?

Day 222: Being Neighborly

"You are challah girl?"*
Asks the neighbor who can tell
When we bake our bread

*For the sake of accuracy, read this line in a thick Russian accent.

When I first moved into this apartment 2 1/2 years ago (has it been that long?) I was intimidated by the other residents. Nearly all of them are older Russian folks. I heard a lot of gruff, guttural raised voices behind apartment doors and through windows, leading to an immediate assumption that they were all talking about how much they hated me. However, in the time that I have lived here I've realized that while most of the people in the building are not particularly friendly, they are secretly sweet. There's the lady downstairs who barely speaks English but always gives me a big smile, asks how I'm doing, and looks confused as she puzzles out my answer. There's the man with the little girl from the second floor who invited us to borrow a cup of walnuts the day Intrepid Boyfriend and I were coming back from the grocery store, ready to bake, and I realized that I had forgotten them.

Oh, and just to clarify, I am not actually Challah Girl (sadly). Intrepid Boyfriend is Challah Boy. Check out his recipe here, and you just might find friends and neighbors drifting toward your own kitchen, lured by the delicious aroma of baking perfection.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Day 221: Regrets

The good news, as I mentioned previously, is that I passed the New York bar exam. The bad news is that nothing about my life has changed. I am still jobless, still having dreams that we get evicted and have to wander the world with our belongings packed in my granny cart, and still seemingly incapable of writing a single haiku. I fear I've lost my touch. The syllables used to just pop into my head as I walked down the street or sat on the train. Maybe it's just that I haven't been getting out enough lately, but I'm starting to feel like the stresses of everyday life have taken a steaming dump on my creativity.

I know that it was foolish to think that passing the bar would change my life for the better, but I really thought that it would. I thought that suddenly people would want to give me jobs and that I would be able to earn even a little money and stop feeling the way I've been feeling for the past few months: which is, for lack of a better word, useless.

I hope I'll have more haiku for you soon. I've dealt with writer's block before. In the meantime, the following haiku is all I've got. I encourage you to pass it along to anyone you know who thinks that going to law school is a good idea.

Have I been hoodwinked
Into a lifetime of debt
And ramen noodles?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Day 220: Winter comes early, and a spot of good news

The new ice sparkles
As children whirl about in
A dervish of blades

Seeing them all with their matching bright blue Bryant Park rental skates immediately made me think of a Chinese dragon that had lost its top layer. It also cracks me up when little kids stomp around on the ice and yell "I'm SKATING!" This is interesting because I mostly find both children and yelling to be rather trying. Maybe I'm finally growing up.

In other news, we found out on Friday that Intrepid Boyfriend and I both passed the New York State bar!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Day 219: In the park

Late October sun
All cares are forgettable
On a clear blue day

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Day 218: Love hurts

Sandpaper kisses
From a most beloved tongue
Followed by a bite

Five years ago I met the love of my life. No, not Intrepid Boyfriend (he showed up two years later). I'm talking about Ferocious Tabby. It was serendipity that made me lock myself out of my old apartment, and foolishness that made me think maybe I could climb a drainpipe to get in. When I got to the back of the building I heard a noise like a baby bird. I moved aside some leaves and sticks and uncovered a gray kitten so tiny that at first glance I thought "Ew! A mouse!"

Little did I know that that tiny kitten would grow up to be Ferocious Tabby: 13 lbs. of fury, defender of the homestead, fuzzy alarm clock, professional pigeon stalker, and all-around Brooklyn bad ass. I'm so lucky.

I can't believe I just haiku'd about my cat. I need a job.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Day 217: Lookin' good!

A frowsy woman
Steps out for a cigarette
In her red bathrobe

As I walked past my Russian neighbor in her ancient robe and slippers, enjoying one last cigarette before retiring for the night, I couldn't help but admire her confidence -- if not her fashion sense.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Day 216: Morning obstacles

Your rush hour backpack
Knocks small children flat as if
They were bowling pins

Ah, the rush hour backpack. Sure, you think it's too much trouble to take it off and set it on the floor, and what do you care about some stranger's eye? I'm also a big fan of the rush hour yoga mat, the rush hour smelly breakfast, and the rush hour double-wide stroller (lest I be accused of baby hating again, let me make it clear that I know it's really, really hard to travel around this city with small children, and that strollers are often the only viable option if you want to be able to leave your house. But have you ever been on an F train in Brooklyn at 8:30 in the morning? They're like medieval battering rams.)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Day 215: Dog envy (again)

Our laughing eyes meet
Over your dog's yellow back
His wet brown eyes smile

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Day 214: What a charmer

A man with a snake
Draped across his broad shoulders
Cycles through the park

I really wish I were quicker with my camera phone.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 213: Watching, waiting

I park on a bench
Looking for a slow moment
In a hard, fast world

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day 212: the cruelty of children

A man tries to sleep
In the sunlight as children
Throw garbage at him

I wanted to strangle them with the sleeves of their crested prep school blazers. Instead, I asked them how they could possibly treat a fellow human being like that. They found my question hilarious. I guess that was my answer.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Day 211: Rain dance

I'm a sodden mess
My forgotten umbrella
Is laughing at home

Also, I smell like a wet sheep.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Day 210: Practical AND aerodynamic

A sidewalk chasm
claims my granny cart's right wheel
I am airborne

So are my groceries.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day 209: Sympathy, Exhaustion, Insomnia

A small sigh escapes
From a mother absently
Pushing a stroller

She looked so sleepy and wistful. I think she was daydreaming about switching places with her two children for a few minutes. I for one wouldn't mind being pushed around the park in a stroller until I dozed off, and I don't even have a baby keeping me up at night. I look at a woman like her (a mom who looks genuinely nice, not the bossy and entitled type that you see so often around here) and it makes me think "wow, I have no reason to feel tired."

Although in my defense, being unemployed and frighteningly broke does severely impact one's ability to sleep. Especially when your dreams involve muggers handing you an eviction notice as they beat you up and take your wallet.

Day 208: Bargain hunting fail

Even castoffs from
Your brownstone castle are far
Out of my price range

I've been haiku-ing far faster than I've been posting lately. Recently, Brooklyn Heights hosted a neighborhood-wide stoop sale in conjunction with the Atlantic Antic, a massively popular street fair that gives me severe agita . Brooklyn Heights is a gorgeous , affluent *** neighborhood full of palatial brownstone townhouses, many with historical and architectural significance.

However, these people could learn a thing or two about stoop sales. I walked by a stoop sale where a woman was looking at a glass candy dish. Nothing fancy. The kind of thing you'd expect to pay $1 for at a stoop sale in most places. When she asked the homeowner how much the dish was, the answer was $30. She put it down like it had bitten her. The next door neighbor's cheapest stoop sale item was $150. No, not $1.50. One hundred and fifty dollars.

***And yes, the property in the link above rents for $11,500 a month. I guess price tags like that skew your perception of reality. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a $300 salad fork to sell.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Day 207: Hand in hand

A small quick-eyed girl
In a pink plastic raincoat
Clasps her father's hand

She was just taking it all in.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Day 206: Blue on blue

Bright sunlight cascades
Off a sea of broken tiles
A trash mosaic

I think they were a casualty of the ever-present remodeling in the neighborhood.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Day 205: Burning questions

To stay or to go?
How can we afford to live?
Yet how can we leave?

Intrepid Boyfriend and I are in a bit of a crisis right now. I've lived in Brooklyn for over 5 years; IB for a little more than 3. We love our very small, comparatively affordable apartment. We love our building, which has an elevator, a non-creepy laundry room, and the kind of superintendent that other renters in this city dream about. We love our neighborhood, Kensington, which I think of as Park Slope's secretly hip maiden aunt.

Here are some things I don't love: Our increasingly futile search for even the most humble jobs in the legal field. IB and I thought we had enough in savings to bridge the gap between graduating from law school and finding jobs. Guess what? That gap is more of a chasm, really. I don't love the fact that the only job I have been able to find is a part-time position that is not in my field, and for which I receive an embarrassingly low hourly wage. But the thing I love least of all is being told that said hourly wage, while laughable when measured against rent and student loan payments (forget about groceries, utilities, and transportation) is enough to take us out of the running for any kind of publicly funded health care program. Strike that. The thing I love least of all is this feeling that I am completely powerless to change any of these things.

So, we are faced with a question: How much longer can we live like this? Meaning, how much longer can we afford to live in New York City? It's not a question of refusing to apply for certain jobs as a matter of pride. Neither of us has much pride left, and we get a lot of "we can't hire you because you have too much experience" or "you'll just quit when a law job comes along" when we apply for non-law jobs. We can't even find temp agencies to take us on.

It's starting to look like our only option is to move in with my parents, who live in another part of New York state (about as far as you can get from New York City without leaving the state), and to live there until we can find jobs in another (cheaper) city.

We've made a home here. It's not perfect, but I'm not sure I'm ready to uproot -- especially when the job market doesn't seem much better anywhere else. Is it worth it to pay more than we can afford to live where there are more jobs, but also more recent law grads vying for them? Or is it better to move someplace significantly cheaper where there are fewer jobs, but less competition?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day 204: Hot and Cold

Autumn day scent-track:
Bittersweet decaying leaves
With frosty top notes

You know, like a soundtrack for your nose. I walked through the park at dusk yesterday evening. The air was just starting to turn from the warm mugginess of day to the cool freshness of night. The smell of decomposing leaves was hot and vaguely nauseating -- but the evening air contained the slightest, crystalline hint of winter.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 203: Avoiding Another Year of the Swine

My aching left arm
Remembers the needle's glint
Recalls its blunt bite

Last fall I managed to contract not only the swine flu, but also a case of bronchitis so severe I was put on bed rest for a week. So today I nipped flu season in the bud and got a flu shot. It was a tough decision. Not because I have a problem with needles, or because I think the flu vaccine is a conspiracy, but because I don't have health insurance or a full-time job. I know $24.99 doesn't sound like a lot, but right now it feels like a lot. Still, it's cheaper than the $100+ I'll have to pay to see a doctor if I get sick.

I have the gall to be an uninsured low-wage worker. Let's hope I don't have the gall to get sick. I can't afford it.

Day 202: Elegy for a Squab

Tragic baby bird
Tumbling from your nest to die
In a murky pool

The sizable pigeon population in the overpass near my subway stop is now one less. I'm not sure if the fall killed it or if it drowned in the scummy flood left by the latest deluge, but there it was in the giant puddle -- its small beak wrenched open in a silent baby pigeon scream. Entwined with my sadness for the tiny creature was a small, guilty thrill at seeing a baby pigeon for the first time. I'd always thought pigeons emerged, full-grown and covered in filth, from the gates of hell by way of the storm drains.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Day 201: Avert your eyes

Broken mangled trees
Speak of nature's violence
With their naked roots

I walked through the park two days after the tornadoes. The damage was amazing. There's something about seeing a tree ripped out of the earth, its top sheared off and its roots exposed for all to see. It's like you're seeing something you shouldn't. I felt like I caught Mother Nature in her underwear on laundry day.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Day 200: (Brief) Awakening

In the aftermath
Of a devastating night
We bow to nature

Living in a city like this, surrounded as we are by concrete, bricks, control freaks, and more concrete, it's easy to forget that we are not actually in charge of our own environment. Mother Nature delivers periodic and emphatic wake-up calls, but we always manage to forget.

On a completely different note, I'd like to take a moment and pat myself on the back for posting my 200th HAIKU! I'm like a haiku tornado. I'm rather proud of myself.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Day 199: More storm coverage

Like the hand of god
Lightning forks across the sky
And grabs an old tree

The trees of the outer boroughs took quite a hit during the tornadoes.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 198: Weather theater

A harsh green curtain
Of rain and ferocious wind
Drops on Brooklyn's stage

The Sept. 16 tornado actually wasn't my first Brooklyn tornado. We had an impressive one back in August 2007. My block was untouched, but the surrounding area was a mess. In addition to the streets filling with water, the entire subway system flooded, causing a close approximation of total chaos. Last Thursday, our living room window was a front row seat for some epic weather. We got to watch the clouds sweep across the sky and basically attack the streetscape. It was pretty cool.

Day 197: It's a twista!

Auntie Em dropped in
Bringing two black tornadoes
Leaving Toto home

I don't know if you all heard about the two tornadoes that hit the outer boroughs last week, but they were pretty big news around here. So big, in fact, that I can't stop writing haiku about it. Brace yourself for a few days of severe weather here on A Life in 5-7-5.

196: We should be moving shortly...

After ten minutes
There is solidarity
In a stalled train car

Maybe the City of New York periodically causes trains to stall on purpose. You know, to get us all to forget our differences and unite against a common enemy -- the MTA.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Day 195: Infant communication

You want a bottle?
Mommy's got a Blackberry
Just send her a text

Wouldn't it be great if babies could do that? Think of the screaming and tears that would be saved. I'm sure Park Slope is piloting a Baby Blackberry program already. Baby texting classes are going to be the new baby sign language classes.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day 194: Bananagram

A banana peel
Dropped on a subway platform
This will not end well

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 193: Catch of the day

Stoic old-timers
Hook silvery-scaled fish from
Coney's ancient pier

My grandfather used to fish off the Steeplechase Pier at Coney Island when he was a kid in the 1920s. There is still an active fishing culture on the pier, although there are now signs warning you not to eat anything that you catch (damn mercury). For a good little article about the pier, check this out, and for some great pictures, click here.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 192: Please stop.

She's not reading Kant?
Your toddler needs a tutor
Or no Yale for you

Initially, the last line of this haiku was "or no Yale for her." Then I remembered that for most of these parents, the child's interests are secondary at best. You thought your baby was ahead of the game because she cut her teeth early -- but she hasn't mastered baby sign language? Psshhhh. You're not red shirting your 5-year-old son? Gasp! Your children are going to be playing catch-up for the rest of their lives.

P.S. A special thanks to the Times for publishing both of the stories to which I have linked. I can't imagine how I would keep up with the troubles of rich White Manhattanites without their help.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 191: Mmm. Sticky.

Dozing on the bus
Tiny fingers poke my back
And play with my hair

It was actually kind of cute. See? I don't really hate kids after all. I just have to try hard not to think about the fact that those little fingers may have recently been up little noses.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Day 190: 9 years later

One day ev'ry year
We suffer from collective
Post-traumatic stress

Friday, September 10, 2010

Day 189: for the woman who drives the B67 bus

She's got the sunshine
Greets each rider with a bright
"How you doin' love?"

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Day 188: More on parenting

Overindulged spawn
Needs only whine to receive
Her small heart's desire

I'm not actually a kid-hater. I know I come off as one, but deep down I think kids are okay. What I can't stand are the two extremes of parenting that I see on a daily basis: one the one hand you have the completely checked-out parents who treat their child like a social life-hampering out of season accessory. On the other you have the hovering, private-kindergarten-admissions-obsessed, "I can't believe your baby doesn't know sign language and what do you mean you have an English-speaking nanny?" crowd. They are equally tiresome, but whichever type of parent is closest to me at a given time (on the street, in the park, on the train) is the worst kind.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Day 187: the tenth commences the law suit

A child skins her knee
Nine helicopter parents
Rush to make it right

This is why we will soon have an entire generation of people who cannot make simple decisions or use the toilet unaccompanied. Plus, when you over-parent your child this happens. As Intrepid Boyfriend often says, "Park Slope just needs to stop."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Day 186: Is there an app for that?

Your child tugs your hand
But who needs parenting when
You have an iPhone?

Day 185: Like nails on a chalkboard

A tinny click and
Your fingernail clippings fall
To the subway floor

Call me old-fashioned, but I think that if a behavior is something you'd usually do in the privacy of your bathroom, it doesn't belong on the subway. This includes obvious culprits like eyebrow plucking, nose hair trimming, flossing, and shaving, and the lesser offenses of hair brushing and elaborate makeup application. I saw a woman clip her toenails once. I still haven't recovered.

Day 184: Nice tonsils

You yawn in my face
Not bothering to cover
Your cavernous mouth

It's not just that I'm a germaphobe (which I am), it's also that no one likes to start their day with a close, unobstructed view of a stranger's uvula in a crowded subway car.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Day 183: St. George of the Subway

Wreathed in vibrant ink
The old man's arms tell stories
Of dragons and skulls

I often wonder how elderly people feel about the tattoos that seemed so timeless and bad-ass when they were 19. This man was well into his 70s, but his saggy, spindly arms were covered in the full sleeve tattoos of a young heavy metal roadie. And you know what? It made him look pretty bad-ass.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Day 182: Lost and Found

Lacy pink panties
Perched atop an iron fence
Waiting to be claimed

They were gone by the next morning.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Day 181: A romantic evening

It's the perfect date:
Him with his Blackberry and
Her with her iPhone

Is there anything more romantic than dressing up in your best clothes, scoring a table on the terrace at a trendy restaurant, ordering a nice bottle of wine, and proceeding to ignore each other for the entire evening? Why talk to your date when you can scope Facebook for somebody better looking who will take you someplace even trendier?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day 180: Thoughts on the proposed MTA fare hike

One-thirty a month?
Maybe if you guarantee
A urine-free trip

No one live here because it's cheap, but this subway fare hike game is getting ridiculous. Now that they've threatened a $41 increase to monthly metrocards, we're supposed to be relieved when they only raise the price by $25, or $28, or $30, or whatever arbitrary number they decide on. The best part is that a mere 3 years ago, the MTA had a $1 billion budget surplus. The MTA's budget deficit is now $800,000,000. Now it's eliminating entire train lines, cutting bus service (especially in poorer neighborhoods), firing station agents, and devising new ways to bleed people dry. Meanwhile, the trains are overcrowded piss-drenched eyesores; the stations are filthy, stench-ridden, and devoid of station agents or police officers; and the riders get angrier every day.

Day 179: Making slow progress

How do you treat writer's block? By renewing your acquaintance with your muse. In my case, that means spending quality time that bitch goddess, the Metropolitan Transit Authority. Although I am not completely cured of my writer's block, I've seen some things that have given me a weak infusion of inspiration. Like this:

A gaunt teenager
Practices his A-Rod swing
On the F platform

He had obviously just come from practice, and he made sure I was watching before he started in on his elaborate peacocking. I wanted to stop him. Not so much because I was afraid he might accidentally hit someone, but because his swing was all wrong. I know a thing or two about baseball, and while a low-to-high swing does get you that occasional glorious home run, a level swing gets you frequent and respectable line drives.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day 178: simple logic

Since your sneakers cost
About half my August rent
I should beg from you

I'm still writer's blocked, but I'm trying to muddle through.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Meditations on Writer's Block

Mope. Whine. Mope.

You may have noticed that I've been delinquent with my haiku lately. I'm not big on posting stuff about myself or my life (well, other than 175 or so haiku that I've posted so far). This is partly because I don't want the internet to know too much about me, and partly because I feel like my life is not particularly blog-worthy. I'm not a one-woman news outlet. I'm not spearheading a world-changing project. I'm not particularly funny. I don't think I even have any readers who aren't close friends or blood relatives.

I write three-line, 17-syllable poems about mundane things. Lately I've been concerned that these little poems aren't very interesting to anyone but me. I've even been having trouble writing them, which never used to happen. Maybe my desperate search for a job, ANY job, is sucking the creativity right out of me. Maybe the internet is just too big a place for my 17 syllables. I feel like my words are getting lost in the void (sort of like all those resumes I've been sending out).

Does anyone have suggestions to cure writer's block? If I mope any harder I just might fall in love with a teenage vampire. Although, despite her admirable moping abilities, I'm pretty sure Bella couldn't spell "ennui" with a dictionary.

Day 177: the beginning of the end

A wisp of autumn
Curled its fingers 'round today
A sly harbinger

Day 176: a polite request

Dear sir or madam:
I don't jog in your toilet
Don't pee in my street

This haiku is part of my "New York City is Not a Giant Urinal" haiku campaign. It's just a grassroots movement for now, but I am confident that with time and effort we can make some real strides. Or at least print some t-shirts. You know, like no smoking signs, but... Well, I'll leave it to your imagination.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day 175: Ranting at the ranters

This is hallowed ground?
Blocks of tchotchke vendors and
A few titty bars?

I've been following the (grossly misnamed) "Ground Zero Mosque" debacle as closely as anyone, and I must say I'm finding the entire thing mildly ridiculous. Having worked a few blocks from the World Trade Center site for several years, I can confidently say that while the site itself is indeed important both to individuals and to the entire city, the surrounding area is nothing more than a fairly gritty lower Manhattan neighborhood. I'm tired of people from places like Wasilla acting like they know what it's like to live in New York -- or know anything about life in a diverse society, for that matter.

Curious as to what the area around Ground Zero is really like? Check out this link.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Day 174: I think they hear you in Connecticut

Streams of expletives
Precede him down the street like
Large venomous snakes

This man's fluency in profanity was almost as impressive as his vocal projection skills. I heard him coming from two full blocks away. Whoever was on the receiving end of that phone call must have really raised this guy's ire.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day 173: Dog or human?

The sharp scent of piss
Punctuates the sentence of
A summer sidewalk

Day 172: the search continues

Oh so many ways
To give away one's work, but
What about a job?

I am consistently amazed at the many opportunities to work for free in this city. Having just graduated from law school, I'm particularly impressed by job postings for unpaid temporary internships at law firms and government agencies (because it's not like any of us have crippling student loan payments or rent or anything). These "job" postings remind me of the nonsense I've encountered while searching for apartments: "bedroom available, no windows but plenty of privacy," or "I'm renting out my futon for $300/month, no kitchen access, hot female preferred" (these were both real ads).

So, my search for a job that actually pays continues...In the meantime, anyone want to give me a book deal?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Day 171: good fortune

One gleaming quarter
Hot from the sun-baked sidewalk
Warms my empty hand

Day 170: When will it rain?

The sere earth beckons
Grass is baked to a dry crisp
Flowers bow to death

(It's been a hot, dry summer around here. Our fire escape basil needs constant watering, and the poor sapling in front of our building [planted by an ambitious public-private initiative devoted to greening NYC] has seen better days. The Long Meadow in Prospect Park looks like a dust bowl. When will it rain?)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Day 169

Two sneaky raccoons
Scamper through the dusky park
Like swift masked bandits

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Day 167

A determined crowd
Tears through garbage bags, culling
What can be salvaged

(Intrepid Boyfriend and I were walking down Atlantic Avenue late last night when we saw a small, chaotic crowd in the distance, milling around outside of a certain very popular grocery store. As we got closer, it became apparent that the store had just put out its waste in a few small dumpsters. The people frantically ripped the trash bags to shreds, extracting bruised vegetables, expired meats, and rotting fruit. One man whooped as he discovered a carton of unbroken eggs. Another woman neatly laid out her finds on the sidewalk, most of them covered in grime and food scraps, as if envisioning the meals she could prepare with them. There are a many, many hungry people in this city. I've always known that. I see homeless people often, and I've seen people picking through the trash many times before. But I've never seen anything like this.)

Day 166: it's a living

Armed with screwdrivers
A man extracts metal from
Discarded TVs

(Foraging for scrap metal is a big thing around here. It's not uncommon to see a man or a group of men dissecting castoff household appliances on the sidewalk. Old air conditioners and VCRs are actually worth less than the sum of their parts.)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Day 165: Brooklyn's own Love Canal

Its opaque waters
Unable to support life
The Gowanus sighs

(Snaking its way into Brooklyn like a crooked, filthy finger, the Gowanus Canal is one of the nation's most polluted waterways. Some of you may remember Sludgie, the apparently healthy Minke whale that wandered into the canal in April 2007 and died two days later. The EPA declared the Canal a Superfund site a few months ago. The designation does not appear to have affected rental prices in the neighborhood.)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Day 164: how'd he get the hose up there?

A man on a roof
Visible from Smith and 9th
Waters tomatoes

(You may not know this, but the subway stop at Smith and 9th Street is actually the highest stop in the system [yes, the subway actually runs above ground in a lot of places, especially in the newly hip outer boroughs]. Like many others the station is in a hopeless state of disrepair, but you can't beat the view.)

Day 163: service with a smile

A sullen lad sells
Coffee from a crooked cart
'Neath the overpass

Friday, July 30, 2010

Day 162: Again? Really?

Pigeon pugilist
Smacks me five times in the face
Birds one, girl zero

(I was walking under some scaffolding in downtown Brooklyn when a pigeon flew directly at my face, hit me repeatedly with his wings, and flew away. There were numerous witnesses. It was clearly premeditated. Oh, and for those of you keeping track at home, this is actually the second time in my life I've been hit in the head by a pigeon. I feel like a modern-day Tippi Hedren.)

Day 161: Creepy.

A large dead pigeon
Nestled in a cardboard box
Like a dreadful gift

(Did he die in mid-air and happen to fall into the box? Did someone carefully place him there, and then leave the box on the street? If so, why?)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

...And we're back!

After a brief hiatus to study for and take the New York bar exam, I am back and ready to haiku. It's not like I have a job or anything, so I'll have plenty of time (sigh). Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Day 160: Common ground

They breathe the same air
Though it seems he'd rather not
Share it with the poor

Day 159: Overexposure

That is quite a skirt
I get that you're from Jersey
But cover your cooch

(I know, I mock New Jersey a lot. I'll stop when it stops being so easy.)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Day 158: It was a chihuahua

Your tattooed arms could
Wrestle a rhino but you
Cradle a puppy

Day 157: Subterranean strata

Seven coats of paint
Peel from a subway pillar
Beige to tan to green

(I'm getting the hang of taking pictures with my phone. It only took about 5 years.)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Day 156: Raspberries

"How about this one?"
He smiles, combining two pints
Of berries for me

(There's a guy who works at the Borough Hall Greenmarket who is a shameless sweet talker. He regularly convinces me that I need more peaches and plums, because how could I possibly get through two whole days with only four plums? [He's right; I can easily eat all four before I've left the market.] Today I desperately wanted to buy raspberries as well, but decided against it because Intrepid Boyfriend and I are on a tight budget. Sensing his opportunity, Mr. Sweet Talker began to work his magic.)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Day 155: Crying fowl

Prospect Park laments
An avian genocide
For the sake of flight

(I'm not a wildlife biologist, or a jet pilot, or even a bird aficionado [see my earlier posts on pigeons]. What I am is a Brooklyn resident who loves the Park and its various creatures with naive devotion. That's why I was horrified to read that over the weekend DOA biologists descended on the Park, stuffed 400 Canada geese in crates, and carted them off to the gas chambers. It was part of an action to eliminate all geese within 7 miles of the city's airports. Was it really necessary to euthanize 400 geese that don't even leave the Park? And if this was really necessary, couldn't they at least have used the geese to feed some of the many hungry people in this city?)

Day 154: You're wearing that?

Scantily clad girls
Teeter through the Village on
Impossible shoes

(Saturday night in Greenwich Village involves a fair amount of pageantry. I'm a t-shirt and jeans kind of girl, so I find a lot of humor in the plumage employed to attract the attention of the opposite sex. Case in point: a group of young women parading down West 3rd in 4-inch heels, squealing and taking silly little Imperial China steps through waist-high piles of garbage bags. Well, the important thing is that they seemed to be having the time of their lives.)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Day 153: Sunday morning on the mews

Wives gossip under
Brightly colored kerchiefs while
Men play dominoes

Day 152: Love for Kensington

Yarmulkes, niqab,
Saris and Kente cloth meet
On Ocean Parkway

(One of the most wonderful things about my neighborhood is its diversity. As someone who grew up in a small town that was almost entirely white, I am appreciative of the opportunity to live near and interact with so many people from different backgrounds.)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Day 151: Summer in the city

A rush of water
Pours forth from a fire hydrant
An icy respite

Day 150: Hot town

The street turns to tar
Making each step a chore and
Radiating heat

Day 149: Ah, tasty irony

We now pay 4 bucks
For berries we picked for free
When we were children

(The Borough Hall Greenmarket has exploded into a cornucopia of colorful deliciousness. I wait all year for the blackberries. I can't help but laugh a little at what we city dwellers [myself included] are willing to pay for them.)

Day 148: Chuckie sighting in Carroll Gardens

A red-haired doll head
Languishes on Henry Street
Vaguely menacing

(Remember Chuckie? If you grew up in the 1980s, between the Child's Play movies and My Buddy, you were likely put off dolls for life [and don't even get me started on the horror that was Teddy Ruxpin]. From the looks of the carnage on the Henry Street sidewalk, a local tot has finally bested the red-headed demon.)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 147: Too cool for school

Look at emo kid
Smoking hand-rolled cigarettes
On a street corner

(I think it's humorous [and sad] that regardless of the passage of time and the prevalence of information, smoking continues to triumph as the epitome of cool among teenagers. Oh, and if you're still confused about what "emo" means, I suggest you check this out.)

Day 146

His trembling fingers
Clutch a can in a brown bag
Like it’s a lifeline

Day 145: It's too darn hot

She tugs at her skirt
Undoes another button
On her top and sighs

(Given the negligible amount of clothing she was wearing, imagine how the rest of us fully clothed people felt.)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day 144

Hate to interrupt
Your subway makeout session
But this is my stop

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 143: More olfactory complaints

That distinctive scent
Like you've bathed in cheap cologne
In a garbage can

(Choosing between a commute with Mr. Rank Pits versus Mr. Axe Body Spray is sort of like choosing between being forced to eat a subway rat or a pigeon.)

Day 142: A summertime conundrum

Empty subway car?
Either there is no A/C
Or a dead body

(There are days when I would consider taking the latter.)

Day 141: the perils of music

A crowded train and
An ill-played harmonica
Make for a long ride

(I'm appreciative of talented subway musicians, but I can't help but think that a man who plays a harmonica very poorly on a packed, hot subway car during rush hour takes his life in his hands.)

Day 140: A dubious contest

Two smelly fellows
Locked in competition for
Most hellacious pits

(And I, of course, am wedged between them.)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 139

Why am I behind
Three guys pushing hot dog carts
Here in the bike lane?

(They don't magically appear on street corners, you know.)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Day 138: appearances are deceiving

Though you look surly
You leaped to your feet for a
Girl with a baby

(Sometimes people on the subway surprise you, like when an angry-looking teenage boy with blaring headphones jumps up to offer his seat to a teenage mother with a little girl.)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Day 137: The trust fund baby's mantra

You expect me to
Work for eight whole hours a day?
I'm calling my dad

(Last summer the Times published this supremely humorous article about Williamsburg hipsters that lost their trust fund income as the result of the economic downturn. My favorite part is where the one guy "scales back" by shopping for a $300,000 apartment.)

Day 136: Date night?

"I'll pick up some wine
Just swing by my place at eight"
"What about your wife?"

(Based on a romantic conversation between a canoodling couple overheard on the Brooklyn Promenade.)

Day 135: Peter Pan apartments

Like glorified dorms
For the many New Yorkers
Who can't quite grow up

(It's a big thing in NY to build huge, expensive apartment buildings geared towards well-heeled twenty- and thirty-somethings who feel a profound need to socialize with their neighbors [judging from the ads, this is related to their hopes of finding equally well-heeled boy/girlfriends]. These buildings include yuppie-friendly amenities like lobby coffee bars, screening rooms, and Aspen lodge-themed "extended living rooms" with skee-ball and billiards. Their print ads are laughably annoying, with some qualifying as borderline lewd.)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Day 134: We all have these days

A sad pretty girl
A kiss from her husband can't
Even make her smile

Day 133: a malodorous commute

Here I sit, resigned
Sandwiched between coffee breath
And onion BO


Day 132: How will he get back to Williamsburg?

A forlorn hipster
With his broken down Vespa
Standing in the rain

(Almost everyone on the bus I was riding pointed and chuckled a little -- myself included. It's not that I relish other people's misfortune, it's just that it's funny to see a hipster so resigned to getting raindrops all over his bushy beard, ironic t-shirt, and Buddy Holly glasses. For those of you unfamiliar with hipsters, here is a handy-dandy guide.)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Day 131: Bracing myself for lots of "dislikes"

Explain to me how
You live in the projects and
Drive a Range Rover

(I spent a long time walking around Red Hook in the rain yesterday. Red Hook is a fascinating area. It is home to Brooklyn's largest housing project, as well as many shops, restaurants, and a very cool community farm. It's amazing how many luxury SUVs are parked throughout the Red Hook Houses. I'm not just playing to offensive stereotypes; I did some research on public housing fraud at a former job. New York City has a real problem with people lying about their income in order to take advantage of public housing options. In some extreme examples, people actually owned multi-family houses in other neighborhoods, which they were renting out for substantial profit while living in subsidized housing.)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Day 130: Me, me, me, me, me

For three long years I
Gestated a law degree
While my friends had kids

(Until very recently, most of my haiku were about pigeons, public urination, the subway, or a combination of those magical elements. Lately, most of them are about me. I'm going through some pretty major life changes these days [no, not menopause] and I'm having trouble thinking about anything else. Please forgive me for posting a few haiku about myself. It's a phase. I'll get back to the real mission of this blog soon, I promise.

Hmm... If I could find a way to combine pigeons, public urination, the subway, AND my ovaries in 17 syllables, I might produce a haiku so great I break the internet.)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Day 129

Over the past year
Six friends had babies and I
Got another cat

Day 128: Roadblocked

I say "excuse me"
You huff, sneer, move a single
Atom to the left

(I will never, ever understand New Yorkers' inability to use escalators. Sigh.)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Day 127

Good thing that you have
That iPhone so you don't have
To talk to your kid

Day 126: identity crisis

Borough of churches?
No, borough of babies and
Some designer dogs

(Brooklyn boasts some of the most beautiful houses of worship in New York City, many of which are quickly becoming relics of a bygone age. I'm not religious, but something about an historic Gothic church with a "for sale" sign out front touches even my stony heart. However, I'm also a big fan of adaptive reuse, so there's something cool about a church like this one being turned into offices and apartments [rendered less cool by the fact that I will never be able to afford to live there]. Oh, and as for the designer dog thing, I'm convinced that some women get dogs just because they want to be able to carry bags like this [note the price]).

Day 125: Ahem.

Summer subway rides
Are a special kind of hell
That is not my hand

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I will let you in on a secret

I'm hesitant to let the internet know too much about my true identity, but I feel that my loyal readers (both of them) deserve to know why I haven't been posting regularly. I will let you in on a secret: I am graduating from law school tomorrow.

Interestingly, 3 years of legal education is not enough to prepare one for the bar exam. You have to pay an exorbitant amount of money to take a review course -- so exorbitant, in fact, that I am working part-time while studying for the bar (everyone I meet really enjoys telling me this is a bad idea, which is exactly what someone in my position loves to hear). This means I spend 4 hours in class and 4 hours at work, then scoot home on the old bicycle for many, many hours of practice essays, problem sets, and reading. This has been going on for a few weeks and will continue through the end of July.

It doesn't leave a lot of time for haiku-ing (or much else).

Nonetheless, I've made a commitment to writing a year's worth of haiku and I intend to do just that. I'll try to write and post one a day, but sometimes I may get backed up. I hope you'll stick with me.

Day 124: Pirate cartography

If I made a map
Of this city it would say
"Here thar be pigeons"

(Especially in Brooklyn.)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Day 123: Taking my life in my hands twice a day

Yes, you drive a car
That makes you better than me
Please run me over

(Various [financial] circumstances have led to my becoming a bicycle commuter. If you believe the NYC Bike Month posters that you see on the subway, you may think that I sail off to work in a pristine white sundress that is magically immune to both bicycle grease and perspiration. Other common misconceptions: that bike lanes are safe, that Brooklyn is flat, that motorists are not secretly trying to kill me, and that my commute is "refreshing."

Now, I know that many cyclists in this town are real ass-holes who refuse to obey traffic laws. I am not one of them. And even if I were, is that any excuse to yell at me after you've doored me in the bike lane? Or to drop your cigarette ashes onto my arm at a stop light?)

(Oh, crap. I just remembered that my mom reads this. Hi Mom. I'm fine. Really.)

Day 122: shouts and murmurs

An oddly young man
Shouting bible verses to
The apathetic

(We were able to here him on the sixth floor of the building where I work. When I left at the end of the day, I was expecting the usual type: an elderly, bearded zealot with a bible and a bag of cans. I was surprised to see a very young man -- probably no more than seventeen -- anxiously shouting about god to everyone within earshot. Needless to say, we avoided him. It's just what you do.)

Day 121

Pre-teen muggers say
"Hey man! Give us your wallet!"
But the man just laughs

(This actually happened to Intrepid Boyfriend's dad in Washington Square a few years back. It makes a good companion story to the one about a coworker's friend who was held up in the lobby of his apartment building by a bunch of 8-year-olds with switchblades.)

Day 120: advice from the unfashionable

My dear young lady:
Tights do not an outfit make
You forgot your skirt

(In the interest of full disclosure, I offer the following information:
1. I am not fashionable
2. I understand that I'm starting to sound more and more like a senior citizen
3. I know I've kvetched about this before

However, tights are not pants. I don't think there's a valid argument to the contrary. I get that leggings are comfortable and insanely popular, but are they really office attire? Oh, and if I can see your control top, your outfit is missing at least one important element.)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Day 119: Channeling my inner old person

Skateboarders outside
This could be my chance to yell
"Hey! Get off my lawn!"

(I've promised Intrepid Boyfriend that I won't do it. They really don't bother me very much, but when else will I have the opportunity?)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Day 118: Funny, they don't mention that on their website...

Fancy new hotel
Complete with scenic view of
The holding center

(That's right, for a mere $315 a night, you can stay in a room that overlooks a real live jail! I guess that's what they mean when they say the hotel was "conceived to create an authentic travel experience integrated into the fabric of the local landscape.")

Monday, May 24, 2010

Day 117: Unsolicited advice

Hey falafel guy
Put on a chest hairnet or
Button up your shirt

(On a humorous side note, my computer thinks that I meant to say "Falstaff.")

Day 116: And that's the news from Brooklyn...

The adults are cute
The babies are numerous
And the dogs are fat

(I wonder if Garrison Keillor has ever made it out to BK?)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Day 115: Subway Psychology 301: You're not as sly as you think

You pretend to text
While photographing our breasts
But no one is fooled

(How stupid do you think we are?)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Day 114

Sometimes less is more
That's easy to forget when
You live around here

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Day 113: Subterranean Meteorology

On this dreary day
The rain falls on Nevins Street
Even underground

(The subway doors opened on a chilly cascade, drizzling from the ceiling and creating slippery pools on the platform.)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Day 112: Anonymous advice

"Trust your struggles" says
The graffiti on the wall
Sounds like good advice

(This beautiful cursive graffiti appeared on a brick wall near my subway stop. I've been going through a rough time lately, and I'm just about to the point where I start taking life advice from brick walls.)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Day 111

Dawn breaks vibrantly
On another piss-drenched day
In the Big Apple

(Maybe I should start a category for bodily functions. They seem to turn up in my haiku with alarming frequency.)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Day 110: A Bardian haiku

Just like Shakespeare said
So shows a snow white pigeon
Trooping with the grays

(Okay, so maybe he was talking about doves. But it's pretty close. I saw a pure white pigeon scavenging for bread crumbs with its friends in the park, and I immediately thought of the scene where Romeo and Juliet meet. Because I'm crazy.)

Day 109

Are you kidding me?
No one offers a seat to
A man with one leg

(Really, New York? Really?)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Day 108

An old man dozes
On his stoop to the sounds of
Radio baseball

(Sometimes the haiku is enough, and I don't need to write anything else.)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Day 107: you take the good with the bad

On this flawless day
I will curse the pollen count
Between my sneezes

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Day 106: an age-old question

Popsicle or blood?
Sticky red mystery stains
On the subway floor

(I think it was popsicle. I hope it was popsicle.)

Day 105: Mope.

Ramen for dinner
Haiku doesn't pay the bills
I need a book deal

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Day 104: They probably know just how much I talk to the cat

Are they fighting or
Does it just sound that way since
It's all in Russian?

(It's impossible to tell whether our elderly neighbors are scolding each other about something or declaring their undying love. A Ukrainian friend assures me that it would probably sound the same either way.)

Day 103: Grim defeat

Sweet honeysuckle
Brutally weed-whacked by an
MTA butcher

(It was horrible. Intrepid Boyfriend and I saw the carnage on our way to the subway. The trunk is still twisted around the fence, but all of the branches, buds, and leaves are gone. It was like seeing a skeleton. I've been walking past the honeysuckle almost every day for a few years now, marveling at its ability to thrive in less than ideal conditions [i.e. rooted in a scrap of NYC dirt and wrapped around an MTA fence]. I don't blame the workers. I'm sure it just looked like a weed to them.)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Day 102: the lilacs aren't the only thing ahead of schedule

Early start this year
New York smells like hot dog pee
And it's only May

(Canines, not frankfurters. On an unseasonably warm day like today [well over 80 degrees] the pungent aroma of sun-baked dog urine hits you like a ton of bricks. It's one of the things you forget about when you're knee-deep in February and waxing nostalgic about summer days.)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Day 101: driven to distraction by spring

Enveloped in the
Sweet scent of lilacs, and all
Troubles forgotten

(At risk of becoming an advertisement for the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the lilacs are exquisite this year. Sure, I should have been studying for my last set of law school exams EVER, but the garden was calling my name.)

Friday, April 30, 2010

Day 100: Elegy for the Anthora

That iconic cup
Happily serving us with
Steaming elixir

(It never occurred to me that NY's omnipresent Grecian urn coffee cup had been designed by a human; I always assumed it had descended from Mount Olympus. It turns out that both the cup and the man have an interesting story.)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Day 99: one of the many joys of apartment life

What are they cooking?
The funk seeps through doors and walls
Like a toxic haze

(The other night I walked into our apartment and was assaulted by such a horrible odor that I assumed the cat had had some kind of smelly accident. We traced the smell to, of all places, the kitchen closet. I became worried that an especially smelly mouse had somehow managed to sneak into our building and die in our closet. I held the flashlight while Intrepid Boyfriend searched every inch of the closet. We finally determined that the smell was emanating from the wall. Our neighbor's kitchen is on the other side of that wall; our kitchens share a fire escape. What could they have possibly been eating that night? Rodent souffle? Stewed garbage? More importantly, can I send them our dry cleaning bill?)

Day 98: kind of depressing

She takes a long drag
Then pushes her child's stroller
With renewed vigor

(Venture just a few blocks away and you're in helicopter parent territory, but in my neighborhood it's not uncommon to watch parents chain smoke with one hand while pushing a baby carriage with the other. I am always tempted to say something, but then I remind myself that it's really none of my business. Right?)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Day 97: April showers

An atonal wash
From the pavement to the sky
A study in gray

Monday, April 26, 2010

Day 96

If I must get hit
As I ride my bike to work
Let it be a Benz

(Yes, Mom. I'm extremely careful. You don't need to write a comment telling me to be careful. I'm more careful than the drivers.)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Day 95

Sari-clad sisters
Bright shoulder to bright shoulder
Sharing one iPod

(The two young women had such a protective look as they huddled around a single iPod, each with one headphone. It was like they were protecting a flickering candle.)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Day 94: thoughts on a New York icon

"Peel a carrot, then
Put it in your other hand
It's a new machine!"

(Ever since the death of the famous vegetable peeler man, his adult daughter has taken over the job of hawking Swiss-made vegetable peelers all over the city. I love that she uses almost the exact same loud, British-accented patter that her father used. He always referred to the peeler as his "machine" while skillfully demonstrating the best way to julienne a potato. Every time we peel a carrot [which Intrepid Boyfriend did last night], we feel compelled to recite part of his sales pitch in homage.)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day 93: if I tried that, I'd lose an eye

With her makeup bag
The subway duckling becomes
A beautiful swan

(Her dexterity was as amazing as her portable beauty arsenal. Over the course of our commute she applied foundation, liquid eyeliner, mascara, lip liner, lipstick, lip gloss, cheekbone highlighter, and then topped it all off by waving a paintbrush that seemed to dispense some kind of goo all over her face.)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day 92: vocabulary building

"Kick his ass, Aidan*!"
Hell hath no fury like a
Toddler soccer dad

(They say the Vale of Cashmere is the most dangerous part of Prospect Park, but the people who say that have never seen a toddler soccer league game. It's a simple program: children learn teamwork, make friends, refine their gross motor skills...and gain valuable exposure to obscenities thanks to Aidan's dad.

*This haiku is based on an actual event, but the boy's name wasn't Aidan [anonymity, blah blah blah]. However, I will bet you money that at least one of the kids in the group was named Aidan. You can't swing a canvas shopping bag at the Greenmarket without hitting an Aidan.)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Day 91: the delights of anticipation

Anxiously we wait
For the rogue honeysuckle's
Fragrant revival

(There is a mysterious honeysuckle climbing the fence near my subway stop. I noticed some early alien-like buds this afternoon. In the summer, hundreds of people walk past it every day, inhaling deeply before moving onward with a slightly lovestruck air. In the morning it's invigorating; at dusk it's intoxicating. For me that hypnotically sweet scent is one of the definitive aromas of summer in Brooklyn [and one of the few pleasant ones]. Last summer, in a shocking move that left the neighborhood's collective head spinning, the honeysuckle bloomed twice.)

(P.S. Remember that time on Day 89 that I thought I had a cold? It turns out I have tonsillitis. Yes, adults get tonsillitis. And anyone who can come up with a haiku about tonsillitis gets my undying admiration.)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Day 90: a celebratory freebie

And as a special bonus, a bit of ego-stroking:

A smallish milestone
But impressive nonetheless
Ninety haiku down!

(That's 1/4 of the way through, for those of you keeping score at home.)

Day 90: mental travels

Let's pretend the noise
Of cars on Ocean Parkway
Is the sound of waves

(When you need to escape from studying for your very last set of law school final exams EVER [and a really lousy head cold], you take what you can get, which isn't much. If that means sitting under a halogen lamp and pretending the sound of traffic below your window is the soothing sound of the ocean's eternal waves -- well, any port in a storm.)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Day 89

Today's agenda:
Spend the day in pajamas
Fighting off a cold

(A losing battle.)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Day 88: what are the odds?

We exchange a smile
As we turn the pages of
Identical books

(We were both reading The Blind Assassin, by Margaret Atwood. I highly recommend it.)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Day 87: A rant

Hey there screaming kid
Mommy has priorities
That's why she's texting

(Intrepid Boyfriend and I go out for dinner very rarely, so when we do we want it to be special. You know what is the opposite of special? Trying to enjoy a meal while a nearby mother busily fiddles with her Blackberry, studiously ignoring Hellion 1 as he runs around the restaurant, touching things on other people's tables, and the other stands, shrieking like a banshee, in the middle of the room. On the other hand, it made for pretty effective birth control.)

Day 86: Happy Hanami!

An urban respite
Cherry blossoms fall like snow
Welcoming the spring

(The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is an amazing wonderland of rosy pink blossoms. It's one of the few places where I can forget my cares. Plus, if you are very lucky, you may see the baby red-tailed hawk that I saw in a tree near the Cherry Esplanade.)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Day 85: unexpected beauty

An explosion of
Bright wisteria accents
A graffitied wall

(Each element was beautiful in its own way, and together they were perfect.)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Day 84: more meditations on pigeons

I try to duck, but
The pigeon grazes my head
With its filthy wing

(People laugh when I say this, but I'm not exaggerating: my head is a pigeon magnet. I am a also bit of a mysophobe. I have the good sense to recognize that this makes for frequent comical situations.)

Day 83: Subway Psychology 201: Failed Flirtations

Court: noticed your smile
Bergen: your sparkling blue eyes
Smith: your wedding band

(This is an oldie-but-goody [i.e. from the days before I met Intrepid Boyfriend) that I dug out of my reserves because thinking about these incidents still cracks me up. Maybe it's just part of living in Brooklyn, but all of the attractive men on the subway are either wearing wedding rings or holding hands with another guy. Sometimes both.)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Day 82: Divine intervention on Joralemon Street

Before I know it
The Bible is in my hand
Those sly Gideons

(I knew they left Bibles in hotel rooms, but did you know that some stalwart Gideons hand them out on the street? I usually don't even fall prey to people with restaurant fliers, and yet I recently became the accidental owner of a pocket-sized green Bible. It seemed rude to give it back. What should I do with it? Suggestions?)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Day 81: Heard on Smith Street

A jazzy whistle
Like a saxophone played by
A humorous bird

(I heard the fantastic whistling first, and only after a few moments was I able to trace it to the guy strolling by wearing a hard hat.)

Day 80: a job is a job

A packed minivan
Three men lie on 2x4s
Perched on shopping carts

(Seeing things like that remind me that my life is pretty great. These men were literally packed into a van full of building supplies, their faces and hands pressed against the ceiling as they lay across piles of stuff. That was the only way that they could fit in the van. I'm not explaining it very well. It was scary to see.)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Day 79: An early sign of summer

Ice cream trucks provide
An unofficial soundtrack
On a sunny day

(Although Mayor Bloomberg declared war on Mr. Softee a few years back, his efforts failed. Those iconic white trucks piloted by sketchy men remain an integral part of warm-weather life in New York City. Like so many other things in this town, they seem both essential and mildly annoying.)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Day 78

Heading out of town
For a haiku hiatus
But I'll be back soon

(I don't normally travel very much, but this has been a busy couple of weeks! Back in a few days with more haiku.)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Day 77: A Culinary Conundrum

Special at Foodtown
Get your free Passover ham!
Goes great with matzoh

(I would have expected a grocery store in Brooklyn to be a little more informed about these things.)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day 76: Brooklyn is for lovers

Chilly fingers touch
Eyes meet as car alarms play
A Brooklyn love song

(For E, who makes me giddy.)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Day 75: Subway psychology 101: body language

Fine, I guess I'll stand
Heaven forbid you should stop
Airing out your junk

(You want to know how to really freak men out? Wedge yourself into the space between two junk-airing offenders on a crowded train. They will try to squeeze you out by splaying their legs even wider, but don't back down. Over the course of a few stops, assume typical male subway posture. Be patient. Don't rush this, or you'll risk losing the element of surprise. Your hard work will be rewarded when, in an obvious panic, both men decide they'd rather stand than sit next to a crazy gender-bender with the gall to let her knee touch theirs.)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Day 74: A point of some pride

From 14th to Jay
Touching nothing but the floor
It's all in the knees

(Trust me, if touching the subway floor were not a requirement of gravity, I wouldn't touch it either.)

Day 73: so much for spring

We'll think of today
When our air conditioner
Breaks in mid-August

(Last weekend I was basking in the sun in the Park, along with everyone else in the borough. Why is it in the 30s now?)

Day 72: F is for Fail

The only thing worse
Than riding on the F train
Is waiting for it

(More than two full hours to travel 12 miles? Really? Notable moments: waiting a total of 60 minutes for assorted trains to come, my intrepid boyfriend offering a guy money to stop playing a mash-up of Hava Nagila and Take Me Out to the Ballgame on an electric mini-keyboard, and 25 stops worth of puffy-drunk asshats shouting "Woooooo! WOOOOO!")

Friday, March 26, 2010

From a commuting flight attendant

You can never tell
Inside the Holland Tunnel
If it's day or night

(I've always thought the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels were kind of terrifying--and I've only gone through them as a passenger.)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Day 71: Too close for comfort

I am close enough
To your aged ear to pluck
A gray souvenir

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Day 70: it must be something in the decaf soy lattes

Or the tax bracket.

Step aside, Plain Jane
Everyone good-looking gets
Off at Seventh Ave

(At least that means I'll get a seat.)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Day 69: I'll tell you what I want, what I really, really want

For you to buy better headphones.

Thank you for sharing
Your lousy taste in music
With this entire car

(Don't worry, Mr. Middle-Aged Spice Girls Fan. Your secret is safe with us.)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Day 68: ...or it could be that I'm just old and unfashionable

You may think you're hot
But your pleather minidress
Screams "I'm from Jersey!"

(Nothing says "classy" like a hot pink rubber dress and a Snooki bouffant.)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Day 67: Bonsais, Magnolias, and (Fertile) Myrtles

Am I the only
Woman in this whole borough
That isn't pregnant?

(I went to the Botanic Garden on a Sunday, then walked home through the park. Enough said.)

Day 66: unpleasant memories

And upon my worst
Sworn enemy from high school
I shall wish bedbugs

(Those subway ads for mattress covers make my skin crawl. Almost two years after an infestation left me between apartments for two months, sometimes I still need to move to a different car rather than face pictures of enormous bedbugs.)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

From Someone Who Didn't See Anything, Anywhere, obviously

A long, grey snakeskin
Outside the mafia bar
It appears empty

(The awesomeness of this haiku speaks for itself.)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Day 65: At least he didn't fart

You're young and robust
Going to the second floor?
Take the effing stairs

(If you're like me, you work on an upper floor of one of those
fabulous Cold War-era government buildings that was never meant to
accommodate as much elevator traffic in a day as it sees in an hour.
After waiting for 15 minutes for an elevator that's apparently powered
by a hamster in a wheel, I don't understand why the strapping young
lad who waited next to me disembarks at the second floor. And yes, I
know that not all disabilities are readily apparent. I'm not
completely heartless.)

Day 64: One of this city's great mysteries (and small annoyances)

You stand motionless
Escalator traffic jams
Forming in your wake

(Why, oh why, in a city where everyone is in a hurry, do people choose
to block the entire escalator during rush hour? It's not that I'm
eager to get to work, it's that I'm looking forward to not having my
face in this stranger's ass.)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

From Sara in Brooklyn: SHE's not afraid to ask the tough questions

doc bronner's mint soap:
invigorates for sure, but
does it get me clean?

(Sara: the religious rants on the Dr. Bronner's bottle amuse/baffle me so much that its cleaning power has become secondary.)

Day 63: sometimes it's better not to ask questions

Old man with shovel
Buries secrets underneath
A lone maple tree

(No, I don't know what he was burying. All I know is that when you see an elderly man digging a hole under a tree in the little scrap of fenced-in grass near your subway stop, at dusk, you keep walking. Then you go home and let your imagination run away with you.)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Day 62: Re-entry Shock

After vacation
Returning to New York is
Like a cold shower

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

From Anonymous, Somewhere in Canada

Piles of tiny clothes
Lay unworn in unused cribs.
Third time's the charm, right?

(If you have a moment, please send some positive thoughts toward the Great White North.)

Day 56: going on hiatus (briefly)

Starting tomorrow:
A much-needed vacation!
Back in a few days

Don't worry, I'm sure I'll come up with at least 3 snarky haikus about the subway ride to the airport and another 12 about the TSA.

From Erik, Brooklyn

A suspicious eye
Cast at the gray birds above
Please don't poop on me

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Monday, March 8, 2010

Day 54: welcoming a stranger back to town after a long winter

We rub our tired eyes
And stare at the strange bright orb
In an azure sky

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Day 53

The love of a dog
Can be a sweet comfort in
A lonely city

If you're a New Yorker thinking of adopting a pet, might I suggest visiting a local pound or shelter? The following are just a few options for finding the new love of your life:

Sean Casey Animal Rescue Center (Brooklyn, NY)

Bideawee (New York, NY)
ASPCA-NYC (New York, NY)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Day 52: What's cookin'?

Taco night on two
Smells like brownies on five and
Pierogis on six

(Ah, the scents of a Brooklyn apartment building. Ours is a melange of multicultural food aromas, often delicious, and only occasionally ruined by the resident chain-smoker or some malodorous borscht.)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Day 51

Tempers are rising
As the turf wars escalate
Between geese and swans

(Seriously, the lake at Prospect Park is a feather-strewn, poop-laden battlefield.)

Day 50

That bird had a plan
I swear that it winked as it
Crapped on your shoulder

(Although my head is an inexplicable pigeon magnet, I've had pretty good luck avoiding their business ends. Unfortunately, my intrepid boyfriend was not so lucky yesterday. He was the victim of a completely premeditated pigeon-shitting.)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Day 50: "stand clear of the closing doors, please"

She runs on thin legs
Turns sideways, then reappears
In the subway car

(The doors were almost closed. The skinny girl was on the platform, and then she was suddenly in the car. It was like magic. The rest of us on the platform just looked at each other like, "how did she do that?")

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Day 49

"Pretty today!" smiles
The sweet lady from downstairs
Who just made my day

Monday, March 1, 2010

Day 48

A breath of spring air
Dances down the street with a
Garbage day chaser

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Day 47

A perfect igloo
Occupants: one boy, one dog
Just popped up next door

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Day 46

A headless snowman
Still sporting a knotted scarf
Oddly menacing

Friday, February 26, 2010

Day 45

A sparkling city
Wrapped in a cold clean blanket
Of sweetest silence

(There is nothing quite like waking up to a beautiful new world.)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Day 44

Infernal car horns
A cacophonous nuisance
That makes my head spin

From Xander, Montreal: On Olympic Hockey

I'm American,
but I live in Canada.
Who do I root for?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Day 43: To an iPod Dying Young

Stalwart companion
Of so many subway rides
How I shall miss you

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day 42

February laughs
Smothers us in wet blankets
Til we forget spring

Monday, February 22, 2010

Day 41

Why have I never
Once seen a baby pigeon?
A true conundrum.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Life in 5-7-5: Now available in technicolor!

Well, not exactly. But I've added "like" and "dislike" buttons at the bottom of each post. Use them! I'd like to know what you think, and I promise not to take it too personally (I'll just post another haiku when I finish crying).

Day 40

Kensington, Brooklyn
Slightly south of hip and just
North of Orthodox

Saturday, February 20, 2010

From Grama in South Wales, NY

I live in a place
That has multitudes of stars
And sometimes fireflies

(It must run in the family. This is a submission from my mom, who has only recently revealed her secret talent for haiku.)

Day 39

When you're young and broke
The ghosts of garbage days past
Furnish your small home

Day 38

I don't like to brag
But my subway balance is
Rather impressive

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Day 37

A splitting headache
Cramps my efforts at haiku
And sends me to bed

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 36

If I miss the F
I can hitch back to Brooklyn
On the Mitzvah Tank

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Day 35

We heave misty sighs
"No trains at this station" means
Impromptu snow day!

(Dear MTA, please credit my unlimited Metrocard accordingly. XOXO FiveSevenFive.)

Monday, February 15, 2010

From Xander, Montreal

where is it written
that poems cannot have
silent syllables

From Chicago in Winter

Kermit the Frog green
Your beret seems so cheerful
Too bad it’s a lie

Day 34

Sturdy daffodils
Send green shoots through grimy snow
On our fire escape

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Day 33

He yells in Russian
At a cashier whose face shows
This happens often

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Day 32

Anyone out there?
I feel like a tiny voice
No one listens to

Friday, February 12, 2010

Day 31

Do the horses dream
Of lives far away from this
Nose-to-tailpipe one?

I implore you to educate yourselves about the living and working conditions of New York City carriage horses before you consider taking a carriage ride through Central Park.

From Alana, Montreal: an update

The lonely fruit fly
Has found himself a partner
And now we have three

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Day 30

I square my shoulders
And brace myself for a long
Day with one wet foot

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Reader Submission; Daniela, Macedonia

Red bus full of dust
Took me nowhere, yet my mind
Told me a haiku

Day 29

Delightful snow day
Looking at a frozen world
Through a frosted pane

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Day 28

As seen on TV!
Get your very own street Snuggie
(Don't ask where it's from)

Monday, February 8, 2010

5-7-5 is still actively seeking submissions!

Please email your haiku submission to Please include your location and the name by which you would like to be identified.

Day 27

"Nine hundred a week!"
Hawking hope to the forlorn
On a cold corner

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Day 26

Trust me, it's okay
To say "no" to your children
Once in a blue moon

Saturday, February 6, 2010

From Less is More, Brooklyn, NY

Subway Hand Pole Dance:

oops, did i just make
it hard for you to hang on?
thoughtful, silent shift.

Day 25

Oh F train, with your
Long waits and puzzling smells
Wish I could quit you

Friday, February 5, 2010

Day 24

I could be sustained
By your bags of sugared bliss
And your friendly smile

(I normally don't explain my haiku, but the man who sells Nuts for Nuts in downtown Brooklyn deserves a special shout-out. He is so kind and cheerful--even when it's 15 degrees out and I'm partly buying the nuts to warm my hands.)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Day 23

Really glad I know
The details of your sad life
Thanks to your Nextel

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

From Alana, Montreal

A single fruit fly
Stuck indoors in the winter
A sad, sexless life

Day 22

I can't help but stare
For a girl with pink talons
You text quite deftly

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Day 21

Silently I ask
What's the frequency, Kenneth?
Of my reflection

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Day 20

A smallish turtle?
Or a scrambling salad plate?
Nope, just a cockroach

Day 19

I'm not stalking you
It's just that I really want
To befriend your dog

Friday, January 29, 2010

Day 18

Are you chivalrous
Or do you think I'm pregnant?
Maybe I'll just stand

Too good to languish in the comments section

I am so taken with Adairdevil's haiku, originally posted in the comments section for yesterday's entry, that I had to re-publish it here:

I am short, and so
Must ride this subway in your
Armpit of sorrow

Brooklyn, NY

Day 17 (slightly late)

I can hide my eyes
But can't ignore the smell of
The vomiting child

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 16 (slightly early)

Raving lunatic
Or businessman with Bluetooth?
The jury is out

Reader Submission: Daniela, Macedonia

Rainbow hanging on
The old window, adorned
With the gray raindrops

Written and translated from Macedonian by Daniela from Macedonia

Day 15

Yet again I run
Reaching out for you but you
Pull away from me

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 14

If you want to feel
Fatter than you really are
Just walk through Midtown

Monday, January 25, 2010

Exciting news!

I know what you're thinking: "That FiveSevenFive. She is so derivative. I could do a much better job of writing classical Japanese poetry about modern crap."

You're in luck. As of today, A Life in 5-7-5 is accepting reader submissions for publication on the blog! Here's how it works:

1. Encapsulate your musings into a 17-syllable poem following the traditional 5-7-5 haiku format.

2. Email your submission to Be sure to note the name you would like to have attached to your haiku if it is selected for publication on A Life in 5-7-5 (or whether you wish to remain anonymous), and your geographic area. Feel free to include an explanation of your haiku, but only the haiku will be posted.

3. Depending on the amount of interest, I may publish several haiku each week in addition to the daily posting. Be sure to check back daily to see if your submission has been posted.

In closing, here is a special bonus haiku to get you started:

I can't wait to read
Your many witticisms
Let's see what you've got

Day 13

Smoggy raindrops fall
Can't we all just stay in bed
On a day like this?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 12: slightly crude

Your tights are not pants
No one wants to see your crack
Or your camel toe

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Day 11

With her low-carb toast
The Park Slope mom might as well
Eat her yoga mat

Friday, January 22, 2010

Day 10

Are your glasses from
Some Williamsburg boutique or
My nanna's nightstand?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 9

In the park I find
All that remains of Christmas:
A fragrant mulch pile

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day 8

You improved my skin
You improved my life as well
Thank you Doctor Z!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day 7

The line at Duane Reade
Quietly reinforces
Shoplifting’s allure

Monday, January 18, 2010

Idea in the Works

Sure, I've only been at this blogging thing for a week, but I've got ambition. And I'm guessing you have it, too. What do you, my loyal readers (both of you), think of the idea of publishing a reader-submitted haiku once a week? Let me know by leaving a comment.

Day 6

I hear that you have
A rent-controlled apartment
Will you adopt me?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Day 5: for a friend

If my water breaks
Because you won't let me sit
Woe betide your shoes

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Day 4

Tall candles flicker
At the edge of the water
An impromptu shrine

Friday, January 15, 2010

Day 3

Some days genius strikes
Other days it's subtle like
Your blue eye shadow

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Belated Introduction

I love the simplicity of haiku. In a culture that constantly inundates us with words and images, it's refreshing to find an entire story in 17 syllables.

I hope to spend a year using haiku to capture the goings-on in my city. I plan to use the traditional 5-7-5 model to do so -- I'm thinking of it as "word photography." In the interest of the reader (assuming I have any), I don't plan to write a description of the scene or incident that inspires each haiku. Isn't it more fun to wonder?

If this collection of haiku truly captures the essence of New York City, it will be intermittently funny, poignant, joyful, depressing, and offensive. Apologies in advance.

One last note: please feel free to leave comments or a haiku of your own in response to any post. I would like to hear from you.

Day 2

"By all means" I say
To the cougher next to me
"Don't cover your mouth"

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 1

He returns my smile
Says "you're not from around here"
And hands me my lunch

My Life in Haiku

Welcome to A Life in 5-7-5 -- or as I like to think of it, A Year in the Life of New York: A Story Told in Haiku.

The Mission: one haiku a day, one day at a time, 365 illustrations of the people, places, and events that make this town so brilliant, grimy, exciting, and fascinating.