Haiku Attempts 06

Global Haiku • Millikin University • Fall 2021


a dagger through
the elephant in the room

Bailey Banks (15)

This haiku was the favorite of Kukai 6, and it’s no surprise. The word dagger is extremely visceral. The parallel between the metaphorical dagger of someone addressing, and thus killing, the metaphorical elephant in the room and the imagery of a dagger stabbing an elephant is quite striking. I also love two-line haiku because of their brevity and conciseness. This two-line haiku says everything it needs to within two lines, so props to Bailey. Trinity Pesko, Fall 2021


surprise picnic 
i want to cry
in a good way

Bailey Banks

I personally relate to this haiku. I think having a picnic with a partner is one of the most innocent ways to spend quality time together. Especially in these times where everyone is so connected to their phones. It is nice to be able to connect with one another and with nature through a shared meal or activity without any technology to break the connection. I really enjoyed the sincerity and purity of this haiku. Diana Hernandez, Fall 2021


last place finisher
on the winning team
cheering her name

Shay Buchanan

My dad runs 5Ks a lot for his employers, in order to help raise money for charity. He is not the most athletic man in the world, but he’s in his sixties and he really cares about staying active. So even when he crosses the finish line near the end of the pack, I am still very proud of him for giving his best effort and for pushing himself.


temporary tattoo
sticks to everything
the spoils of war

Shay Buchanan (6)


accident at the bonfire
burned by
the hotdog’s rebellion

Shay Buchanan (10)


I stare at the streaks of
orange, red, yellow,
black marshmallow

Diana Hernandez (8)

I love the appeal to the sense of sight in this haiku. Even though she only describes streaks of color, many could infer she’s talking about a fire (especially with the added context of the third line). Then the bright colors of the fire are contrasted with the blackened marshmallow. The third line adds humor for me, as I imagine someone so entranced by the fire that they forget about their marshmallow and have an “oh shit” moment as they realize it’s totally burnt. The rhyming of the second and third lines also add a humorous tone to the poem. She could have arranged the colors in any order, but she chose to rhyme “yellow” and “marshmallow”. Overall, this is a cute and relatable story. Emily Nicholas, Fall 2021


scholastic roller coaster
pauses. . .
before the big drop

Priscilla Sabourin

This haiku reminds me of how my week is going. I had fall break, but I didn’t really get to rest for various reasons, and then this week not too much is going on, except I have an audition, a show next week, 
midterm papers and projects to start, and I just learned I got a zero on an assignment and I don’t know why. I feel like the drop just started and I hate it. Daniel Clear, Fall 2021


laughing along
to jokes made
at my expense

Priscilla Sabourin (13)

Too. Damn. Relatable. Every time I reunite with my family, there will be at least some joke made about me. “Too liberal.” “Theatre student.” “Vegetarian.” Every aspect of my being receives at least some judgement. My dad is very supportive of me living the life I want to, but that doesn’t mean he won’t crack a joke here and there. The main culprit is my Mom’s side of the family (judgmental as hell), but my brother also has a lot to say about the way I live (we are polar opposites). Makes me wonder how much more they would have to say if they found out I like girls too. Allison Durham, Fall 2021


winning goal
mom still buys ice cream

Priscilla Sabourin

THis Haiku was sweet since it reminded me of my parents after a soccer game I would play in when I was a lot younger. I wasn’t the best so that meant I would lose a lot of games but my parents were good with making sure they came to see the games and taking me home as well. Nico Velazquez, Fall 2021


telling stories
gathered around the fire
the sky begins to lighten

Reece Brown (6)


we light a fire
and pumpkin scented candle
the coziness of autumn


I open the door
Takis in hand
middle school sister smiles

Nico Velazquez (7)


what you’ve done
are you even aware

Nathan Gallop (9)

I love the breakup of these lines. Flipping around the sentence “are you even aware of what you’ve done” to “what you’ve done/are you even aware” is such an effective choice for Haiku. I also love the religious symbolism of Judas Iscariot. I would assume that the reference with the first two lines is to someone who has cheated—perhaps someone who betrayed their significant other with a kiss. The parallels are drawn nicely. Also, Judas gets thrown around a lot, but the word choice of just referring to him as Iscariot really snaps and has much crisper sounds. Trinity Pesko, Fall 2021


looks like a muffin
tastes like a muffin
I think it’s a muffin

Nathan Gallop

This haiku is kinda like what it feels like to be gaslit. There is a period between realizing what was going on and healing where sometimes objectively real things are hard to believe because you have been conditioned to just think any emotion or sense that you have is insane.  Daniel Clear, Fall 2021


discarded trash
through an empty lot

Nathan Gallop

Not to read too deep into this, but this point in the semester is when I start to feel just like this haiku. The nights are getting dark earlier and the course loads drones on but the novelty of a new year and fall is far behind in the rearview. After a long day of classes and extracurriculars and rehearsals I drift through the SAE parking lot on the way to the Woods feeling like a piece of trash. Not the best at anything I do and tired of being blown around by my schedule. Ahhhh, reading into haikus. Priscilla Sabourin Fall 2021


cloud nine
then cloud eight, seven, six. . .
ferris wheel ride 

Bailey Banks (8)



Allison Durham (7)

I love how short and simple this haiku is. It is only three words, straight to the point. As always, I love a good plot twist at the last line. You expected a pumpkin spice latte, but that is not what you got. This is also a clever way to talk about seasonal depression. The season of fall is indicated by the pumpkin spice. This is also just funny and relatable. I feel like our generation copes with humor. For example, we love a good ironic post-cry peace sign mirror selfie. This has very much the same energy. It is almost like “Order up! Here is your medium spicy depression drink with oat milk and an extra shot of espresso! Have a great day!”. Barrett Van, Fall 2021


everyone home
with their family
Mom didn’t pick up my call

Allison Durham (7)

This haiku is extremely relatable for me because I am still in volleyball season and wasn’t able to go home for fall break. Additionally, my family is still going on with their life without me being home which is still a weird feeling and makes me miss them even more. Reece Brown, Fall 2021


the road to my house
curves alongside the river
surrounded by autumn trees


corn mazes and hayrides
are not cliche
the blessings of autumn

Reece Brown

You know that fun little haiku I wrote about the World’s Largest Corn Maze? Well, that was the epitome of fall in Spring Grove, Illinois. Every weekend, families and friends would flock over to Richardson’s Corn Maze for fall festivities: walking through the corn maze, jumping on the parachute pillows, picking pumpkins, going on hayrides, snacking on corn, kettle corn, fudge, funnel cakes, and caramel apples, and drinking hot cider or chocolate. Just recently, I saw a fellow Millikin classmate go there during fall break while I was stuck here, and I wanted nothing more than to be back home. Why could she go to my hometown, yet I couldn’t? I always wanted to bring someone there from Millikin and show them how much fun these autumnal activities are. They’re not cliche at all; they’re things you do with the people you love. Allison Durham, Fall 2021


around the fire
we argue about marshmallows
golden brown or burnt to a crisp

Reece Brown

It wasn’t brought up in class, but I really liked this piece. I feel like you simply cannot make s’mores without somebody arguing over the best way to cook the marshmallow (it’s golden brown, but I digress). And for whatever reason, people get SO heated about it… I mean who the hell burns their marshmallows!? Nathan Gallop, Fall 2021


freezing cold
under the starry sky
clock stops ticking


red, orange, yellow
leaves cover the ground
Captain Crunch

India Guerrero (8)

This haiku is so clever and I love the appeal to senses of sight and hearing. The bright colors of the fall leaves connect to the bright colors of Captain Crunch cereal. The crunch of stepping on the dry leaves connects to the crunch of eating dry cereal. This haiku makes me picture a little kid waking up on a Saturday in October and eating his Captain Crunch as he looks outside at all the fallen leaves. He finishes breakfast and heads outside to crunch the leaves as his parents rake. I imagine he declares himself “Captain Crunch” because of how many leaves he steps on. This haiku invokes nostalgic feelings of my childhood in fall. Emily Nicholas, Fall 2021


a simple family goes
apple picking each year
simple never existed in my family

Diana Hernandez

This haiku is oddly comforting to me. My family never really did a lot of “normal” activities like apple-picking and that made me feel really isolated when I was younger, because I went to a school with a bunch of kids from the suburbs, and we lived in the city, and my classmates had money, and I didn’t. So holiday traditions or just “regular,” “simple” family things never really resonate with me. However, I do like that the author of this haiku also didn’t have this experience, because it makes me feel less alone. Daniel Clear, Fall 2021

I really like this haiku because it’s reminiscent of my own experience. I know a lot of people who grew up with siblings and parents who were married and loved each other, and I just feel like I don’t relate to those people whatsoever in the family sense. My parents divorced when I was 9, and my dad moved 9 hours away, so as far back as I can remember there was no “simple” in my family. I also had no siblings to relate to in that situation. There was never any family group chat or typical nuclear family activities because that never existed for me, so that’s why I like this haiku. India Guerrero, Fall 2021


back home again
what was known has shifted
half step

Nico Velazquez

Okay, music theory reference! I missed this haiku when we did the Kukai in class, but I really enjoy it. It's a beautiful little statement. A half step is the smallest distance possible on scale, so I love the image of home being different than you remember it, but only slightly. Everything looks the same, but after being gone and coming back, everything just feels different. Priscilla Sabourin Fall 2021


returning home
for a break
the emptiness lingers


one-hour playlist
for a three-hour drive
would you take me back?

Nathan Gallop

When I drive my girlfriend anywhere, I usually have the same playlist going on in my car. I usually have 30 minutes before she loses it and skips every song until she finds one that she can tolerate. Nico Velazquez, Fall 2021

I imagine a person driving home from school and their playlist has gone through every single song so now they are driving in silence. In this silence, they begin thinking and pondering on different aspects of their life and begin to think of their ex-boyfriend or girlfriend. They are feeling lonely and therefore are wondering if they would ever have a chance of getting back together, or if things are too messed up now. Reece Brown, Fall 2021


marks on the doorframe
stretching his neck
to grow an extra inch

Priscilla Sabourin (10)

This made me think of my little brother. When we moved to Illinois, I was already full grown. My brother was still a little runt though. I started to track how tall he was on the wall in our shared bathroom. Every couple of months we would update it. He started a full head shorter than me and is now almost a full foot taller than me. It is so surreal to look at those little marks on the wall and remember my tiny little baby brother and connect that to the hulking beast he is now. He was always the worst about trying to sneak in extra height with his hair or by standing on his toes or trying to puff up. I think all little kids do that. I marked his height again on the wall when I went home for break and had to stand on a step stool to do it. This haiku also made me a little emotional because last year my little brother had a pacemaker put in. His heart kept stopping and he would have these seizure-like episodes or be temporarily paralyzed. It was very scary, and we weren’t sure he was going to live. Now I am just relieved he got a chance to grow an extra inch. Barrett Van, Fall 2021


following my lead
in search of light
little sunflower

Priscilla Sabourin (10)


Fall Break
and yet
I still run into you

India Guerrero

That experience of finally breathing a sigh of relief, knowing you won’t have to deal with a specific person, only to then, of course, have to deal with them a lot. Oh man, I HATE that experience. Especially when it’s mutually understood that neither of you want to deal with one another, but you keep getting lumped together.



with old friends
Michael, Jason, Freddy

India Guerrero (4)


crisp autumn air
the sun gives me a kiss
maybe it will be ok

India Guerrero (9)

I am not usually a fan of haiku that revolve around nature, but this is an exception. “Crisp autumn air” is a line that is as pleasant to read as it is to feel. It truly transports the reader into the world of the haiku. I also have a soft spot for chilly yet sunny fall days. The sun shines down and gives a touch of warmth in a period of coldness, just like a kiss during a fight. I also like the uncertainty of “maybe.” The ending is up to interpretation, and I appreciate that. Trinity Pesko, Fall 2021


justifying him
to my friends
my monologue

Priscilla Sabourin (10)

I have lived the experience in this haiku way too often I feel like. And that probably says something about the guys I decide to pursue but I digress. This haiku brings me to the moment right before you’re about to show a photo of your new guy to your friends or even maybe right before your friends meet your new guy. If you’re not totally confident in him, and I have been in this situation many times, you just start to word vomit justification for why you like him and why you’re good together and so on. It’s definitely like a monologue, and it’s definitely embarrassing because if it’s the right person you shouldn’t feel the need to do that -- you should feel confident in that your friends will love the person who is right for you. India Guerrero, Fall 2021

Throughout high school I was in a crappy relationship to say the least and all of my friends didn’t like him and would try to give me advice, but I was “in love” and didn’t want to break up with him. Now that I look back on this I was so dumb and should’ve ended things way sooner for my own happiness, but I didn’t. Now that I am in college one of my friends is in the exact same situation that I was two years ago and it is such a weird place for me to be. Now that I have a different perspective it has made me such a wiser and stronger person. Reece Brown, Fall 2021


homemade pumpkin pie
in a bread pan
nailed it

Priscilla Sabourin

I love the self-deprivation this haiku brings when reading it. I love baking but feel I never have all the right ingredients/pans to make what I want to cook, meaning I don’t often bake. This person is more courageous than me for thinking outside the box and aching their food work for them. Nico Velazquez, Fall 2021


refreshing crisp breeze
indigo night
gonna need another jacket


crisp air fills our lungs
we talk about
what never was


of the woman
she was

Allison Durham (6)

I think a lot of us have seen someone slowly become a ghost. They aren’t actually dead, but maybe they are preparing to die. You watch their light go out and their ambitions fade. They become a shell of who they once were. For me, this person was my mom. She struggles with depression really badly. For many years of my childhood, my mom was just a husk of a person. It is so heartbreaking to look at the woman who gave you life and was your whole life as a little kid and see them completely lose themselves. There is also a feeling of helplessness because there is next to nothing a child can do to help a parent in that situation. This haiku reminded me of the feeling of mourning someone who has not yet died. Barrett Van, Fall 2021

I really enjoyed how the structure adds meaning to the haiku. Rather than saying “ghost of the woman” in one line, the separation of “ghost” and “of the woman” emphasizes that it is a ghost of the past rather than death. Over time people start to lose themselves due to the pressures of family or just society in general. This haiku evoked an image of her past self-haunting her current self because of how she's captive in her own body. It was a very powerful haiku that left me thinking about my own identity and persona. Diana Hernandez, Fall 2021


Skittles and Starbursts!
I’ll trade you
all my chocolate

Allison Durham (7)

When I was really young, I made up a game entitled “Priscilla Poker.” After trick or treating on Halloween night, my siblings and my neighbor and I would all gather around in a circle with a deck of cards and all of our bags of candy. I don't remember what the exact rules were, but I remember each round you would bet candy and the winner of that round would take all the candy that had been bet. Everyone would take the candy that they liked the least and put it in the middle in hopes that they would lose it and win some candy that they liked instead. Priscilla Sabourin Fall 2021


waking up
to the smell of earth
nobody can hear me scream

India Guerrero (8)


the recurring nightmare
drenched in sweat and tears
dad, please come back

Diana Hernandez

I have not had to deal with a trauma quite this extreme, but I can only imagine how stressful it must be to have to relive it again and again. I have definitely, however, experienced traumatic moments, and I can definitely sympathize with the experience of not being able to focus on much else for a while.


forgot my sheet
poltergeist it is

India Guerrero (8)


walking to stand in line
the chainsaw by my ear
makes me collapse


through the dark
bone-chilling scream
ruh-roh Raggy

Nathan Gallop (7)

I love Scooby Doo so much, so I was really happy to see a Scooby Doo haiku! That rhymes, oh my goodness! I love how the first two lines are so spooky and eerie, then the third line comes along and makes you smile! I feel like that is what Halloween is all about –- being just spooked enough to have fun! Therefore, I think this is a great Halloween haiku specifically. I like how there’s a small bit of movement in this haiku with “through the dark”. Maya Gomez, Fall 2021


shaking fingers brush mine
holding our breath
past the cemetery

Priscilla Sabourin (8)

I really enjoyed this spooky haiku. At first, I read this as a couple walking through a cemetery as a dare. However, after reading it carefully I realized that the shaking fingers could have come from a ghost from the cemetery which creeped me out. I have never been in a cemetery, especially on my own for this very reason. This haiku could have also been interpreted as something more meaningful. For instance, the day of the dead is a day where people tend to recall their loved ones and put all of their favorite items in an altar to bring their spirit to earth to be remembered. A person in the cemetery could have felt the touch of someone that has passed leaving her happy. Diana Hernandez, Fall 2021

I think this is a fabulous haiku for the way it captures the feeling of Halloween. I want to know why the fingers are shaking. Are they cold? Afraid? Both? There’s superstition in this haiku, which feels very on the nose with the prompt. Each line seems to creep out of the haiku. “Holding our breath” provides a physical feeling to think about too that creates an interesting reaction when reading this haiku. Maya Gomez, Fall 2021


dressed as a ghost
she haunts her past lover
toilet paper in the trees

Priscilla Sabourin (11)

I think Priscilla’s writing always has such a fun balance between the deep and whimsical. The use of the words haunting is almost palpable. It implies a connotation of longing, of revenge, and of nostalgia. This is contrasted by the final line “toilet paper in the trees”, which makes me, as a reader, laugh because what a harmless way to haunt. The use of the word “past” lover versus “ex” lover also has a strong impact on the contrast because it puts the poem in a place that isn’t necessary 21st century. “Past lover” feels melancholy, and almost romantic, while the use of a word like “ex” feels very modernized. The speaker waits to modernize the poem until the very last line. It was very cleverly written. Bailey Banks, Fall 2021


driving through the storm
suddenly the glint of eyes
in my backseat

India Guerrero (6)

Again, my friend in high school was an absolute ass for telling me this story right before I left his house at like 1 AM, driving through the very poorly-lit streets for quite a while before getting to the highway. Whenever I drive alone at night I always check at least once in my mirror. Nathan Gallop, Fall 2021



I’ve gotten many compliments
on my new suit
her skin is so pretty

India Guerrero (10)

This haiku is so creepy! I love the instant reaction it caused during Kukai. Nearly everyone yelled “ewwwwwww!”. It took me a minute to understand, but when I did, I fell in love with this haiku. I’m a fan of “Silence of the Lambs” as it is a great horror movie, so it was interesting to see a haiku inspired by it. I like how the first two lines of the haiku are so nice and wonderful. Then, the third line comes along and ruins that nice wonderful feeling instantly! Maya Gomez, Fall 2021


for every missing person
a new rose bush
planted in her back yard

India Guerrero (11)

This haiku gives the perfect spooky vibes without being obvious. At first glance you may think this poem is about a women planting flowers in mourning for the people who have gone missing or died. But if you look closer, you notice that she’s planting rose bushes specifically -- the perfect plant to cover up an grave. You realize that maybe she’s the reason so many people are going missing. I also like the order that the lines are in. It indicates to me that the rose bushes always appear after the person has gone missing, in a way that raises eyebrows. It’s very clever and spooky fun. Emily Nicholas, Fall 2021


October 31st
i open my exam results
. . . BOO!


child tucked in
no monsters here
but you and me

Shay Buchanan

Also not brought up in class, I thought it was fun that the author wrote from the perspective of the monsters. It’s a little creepy, but I appreciate their choice. It’s a little bit vague, so I wonder if adding some details and specificity would bring it to the next level. Nathan Gallop, Fall 2021


medusa’s head
on a pike
you were my friend

Shay Buchanan (12)


choking on candy corn
two sisters
catch up


the smile carved
into my cheeks
a shell of a pumpkin

Bailey Banks (11)

I love the imagery and comparison in this haiku. I think it’s so cool how the person is comparing themselves to a jack-o-lantern because a carved pumpkin is empty on the inside with an expression literally carved onto its’ face with a knife. That imagery is so graphic and violent and I really love it. I love the idea of comparing yourself to a carved pumpkin; it’s like I have literally, painfully carved this smile onto my face even though I am completely empty inside. It’s just really really good comparison and imagery and I love it so so much. There’s also the idea of maybe someone else hollowed you out and carved that smile into your face which is even more violent and powerful, I think. I’m not sure if this reading is “correct,” but I think it’s worth considering because obviously pumpkins don’t carve themselves, other people carve them. India Guerrero, Fall 2021


Ouija Board
It’s all fun and games, right?
R.. I.. G.. H.. T..

India Guerrero (12)

India SNATCHED this spooky Kukai! The structure and word choice of this haiku is genius. I love spelling out “right” as one would on a ouija board with their friends. Who is moving the planchette? Your friends or the ghost? Who knows?! It’s all part of the Halloween fun, and India captured that perfectly. Allison Durham, Fall 2021

I just love how clever this is. The shift/break in the poem comes from the call-and-response written in. It’s almost as if this haiku has 2 speakers, the speaker and the ouija board. I am not really scared of ghosts as much as I’m more afraid of things I can’t explain, and I cannot explain ghosts at all, but the connotations of spirits being something scary has always been silly to me. This haiku represents the trope in a lot of mass produced horror films, so I feel like everyone could see the image they were going for. Bailey Banks, Fall 2021


October confessional
with mom
her gritted teeth

Bailey Banks (4)


cold wind
cracks the window pane
ghosts whistle through

Nathan Gallop (6)


Spirit Halloween
replaces the Macy’s
gap specialist

India Guerrero (7)

© 2021, Randy Brooks • Millikin University
All rights returned to authors upon publication.