Global Haiku • Spring 2020
Dr. Randy Brooks

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Kevin Escobar

reader response essay:

Kyle D. Craig's Haiku


Washed Away

Kevin Escobar

Something that has always fascinated me is people’s perceptions of the world around them. My perception of the world is very different than yours, just as yours could be and probably is very different from the next person’s. And I believe perception is also an ever-changing thing. I write these haiku as a way of questioning and understanding these different viewpoints and how they are constantly changing. Perhaps it’s just a lump of sand on the beach to you. But for the child who spent all day constructing this empire, who now sees it completely washed away, it means something completely different. I hope these haiku can inspire a moment of reflection into how we and others perceive the things around us, and what these fleeting moments reveal to us about the human condition.

Reading and writing haiku have become really great ways for me to release nervous and excess energy. I can be a somewhat anxious person, so my thoughts go all over the place frequently. Haiku has taught me to just hone in on one thing at a time. Read each line. Let it sit with you. Visualize it. Then move on to the next line. Doing this almost forces me to slow down my thought process. Even writing haiku, rather than visualizing the words on the page, I use stop, look, and listen now. That is when I am able to find the exact moment that I want to capture. I also find that writing haiku is almost like journaling in a way, where whatever emotions I am feeling is reflected in the haiku, and by writing it on paper, it is released. Although I wasn’t expecting it to be, haiku is actually a really effective grounding method.

I also just enjoy hearing everyone else’s interpretation of haiku. Some haiku are very definitive, others are bit more open-ended. I think by discussing your interpretation and hearing everyone else’s interpretations, you become much more open minded and start to think outside the box a bit more.

Overall, I really enjoyed this class and I think I got a lot more out of it than I initially expected to. Reading and writing haiku is a great way of connecting with others by discussing interpretations and is a great way of reflecting through your own or through someone else’s words. Kevin Escobar, Spring 2020

high tide
the child’s empire
washed away

When I wrote this haiku, I had fallen down a YouTube rabbit hole and somehow wound up watching videos of giant sandcastles and sand sculptures. I thought about how these people construct and create something so enormous and intricate only for it to be washed away by the waves later that day. I then thought about a child pretending to be the ruler of this sand empire that he’s spent all day building and seeing it collapse beneath the waves. When I thought of it like that, there was a sort of humbling quality to it, in addition to it feeling somewhat disappointing. But at the same time, the sand will be there the next day, and the child can just start building again. Kevin Escobar, Spring 2020

picnic tables
etched with hearts
and swastikas

This haiku is one of my favorites because when I wrote it, I was thinking of my friend back in Chicago. We would often go for walks in the forest preserve near his house and would take the paths off the main trail. We came across an area hidden from the main trail by the trees that had two picnic tables with benches. We decided to sit there and at some point we looked down at the tables and started pointing out all the etchings and graffiti. There were the of couples everywhere, swear words, Bernie and Trump stickers, and even carvings of swastikas. I thought it was interesting and almost a little scary to think about how many people had sat at that table before us and how contradictory their points of view are. Kevin Escobar, Spring 2020

holding her necklace
a shell
of who she used to be

I think that although this haiku gives off a somewhat depressing feeling after first reading it, it doesn’t necessarily have to feel that way. To me, the haiku is more about a moment of starting anew and moving on from the past than it is about the loss itself, whatever that may be. By holding her shell necklace, she is acknowledging who she was and who she will become. Kevin Escobar, Spring 2020

quiet bookstore
I pull out one
the rest

This is one of my favorite haiku that I’ve written because I can visualize the moment that all of the books collapse. I hate having unnecessary attention drawn to me, so when it happens to me it almost feels like everything is in slow-motion for a second. I see them starting to domino and then theres the loud thud of the books crashing on the shelf or the floor. And then there’s that awkward moment of silence right afterwards where you don’t want to look around to see if if you caused a distraction or if anyone is staring at you. Overall, this haiku just paints a very specific picture in my mind and I can feel the awkwardness of the moment. Kevin Escobar, Spring 2020

tiny coffeeshop
the HELP WANTED sign
faded from sunlight

When I wrote this haiku, I was thinking about a coffeeshop that used to be a few blocks away from my grandpa’s house. There was a big help wanted sign in bold capital letters taped to the inside of the window. Eventually that sign started to fade from sunlight. The coffeeshop eventually closed. What I like about this haiku is that the coffeeshop has a bit of personality to it. The sign seems to be pleading, desperate to keep the shop alive. But the fading seems to say that no one is coming to help. Kevin Escobar, Spring 2020

drink in hand
I crane my neck . . .
someone I know?

a tear in the wallpaper
I never noticed


hush in the audience
as the lights rise . . .
candy wrapper

outside the bar
two old friends
ash cigarettes in the snow

spring cleaning
a sweater from him
out with the trash

in the noisy high school hallway
I quietly come out
to myself

park fountain
shimmering at the bottom
a child’s wish

basement cupboard
our childhood hideaway
I bump my head

mom’s bedroom
a picture with her mom
to watch over her

handful of m&m’s
I sort out
the blue ones

© 2020, Randy Brooks • Millikin University
All rights returned to authors upon publication.