Notes & Whatnot

Haibun, Haiga, and What Else is New

February 24, 2024

November 1, 2023
Zen Garden

Embracing the paradox of reality, as cherry blossoms and bamboo flute music float through the air, I can’t help but smile when instructed to exit the garden through the gift shop.

hungry koi
follow a silver coin
to the bottom
of the garden pool
wishful thinking

Ribbons  Vol.19.3- Fall 2023

koi image by
October 28, 2023

August 2, 2023
Not Another Fish Story

One day last summer, after hearing that schools of bluefish were running close to shore, I decided to take my saltwater fly fishing outfit down to the beach. Over the years, I’ve done pretty well fishing from shore with my spinning rod, but fly fishing is still a bit of a mystery to me. As I was, yet again, untangling another wind knot from my leader, I noticed off in the distance a pair of large birds circling over the shoreline. At first glance, they looked like black-backed gulls, but as they moved closer, I could clearly discern the ruffled wing tips and wedged tails of raptors. When they were almost directly overhead, one of the birds suddenly dropped from the sky and splashed down about ten feet from where I was standing. A few seconds later, he emerged from the roiling water gripping a bluefish in his talons. The other bird, his mate, I presumed, greeted him with a piercing cry, and the pair flew off into the tree line at the top of the dunes.
Shortly after witnessing this incredible scene, I packed up my gear and headed home. My heartbeat was still racing when I walked in the door. My wife was puttering around the kitchen as I excitedly related my tale about being treated to an up-close view of the unbroken circle of life. When my story was done, she turned to me and said,  “But did you catch any fish?”

for the right word
summer kigo 
Prune Juice #40, August 2023
Woodblock print by Koson Ohara


June 30, 2023

June 23, 2023

June 5, 2023
May 31, 2023
Cattails Spring/April 2023 

May 27, 2023
April 2023 Ito En Art of Haiku English Semi-Finalists

May 3, 2023
I never received any notification, but I just found out that two of my haiku were selected in The Golden Triangle Haiku Contest this spring. The prompt for the contest was "Notes to Nature." Out of 3100 submissions 140 haiku were selected to be printed on signs placed around the Golden Triangle neighborhood of Washington D.C. during the cherry blossom season.

April 22, 2023

 March 24, 2023

February 21, 2023

January 10, 2023
The Instant Karma of Autoignition  

A few months ago, my neighbor exploded. Spontaneous combustion, they say. The fire marshal hypothesized that the event was most likely triggered by a static electrical charge, or perhaps a spark from the dog’s shock collar, coupled with the dog owner’s intake of copious amounts of alcohol.

If you ask me, a more likely explanation would be that his wife slipped some nitroglycerin into his whiskey. Or maybe she fed him a mixture of fertilizer and Limburger cheese. I hear you can find recipes for things like that on the internet.

the moon
howls back

Anyway, the neighborhood is a lot quieter these days. Mom had to get a job, and sometimes I hear Junior talking to himself while he plays ball in the backyard. But all in all, the family seems to be doing pretty well. Truth be told, I don't think anyone really misses the pyrotechnically departed. Even the dog seems to be smiling more these days.

play by play
he passes the football
to himself
Contemporary Haibun Online, December 2022

November 26, 2022
October 2022  English Semifinalists
Ito En Art of Haiku Contest
New York Seikatsu Press  November 2022

November 5, 2022
Sticking to It
After having four wedding dates canceled due to COVID lockdowns, our daughter finally got married this summer. A couple of weeks after the big bash, I happened to catch a glimpse of a shooting star streaking across the northern sky. I took the opportunity to silently wish the newlyweds a long and happy life together.

The sight of that meteorite burning through the atmosphere also brought back some old memories. As I watched the star come tumbling down to Earth, I recalled a little girl saving up her money to buy a package of glow-in-the-dark stars. That little girl then carefully applied the stickers to her bedroom ceiling in the shapes of the various constellations she had learned to identify. Unfortunately, it wasn't long before the adhesive began to give way and, one by one the stars, and the tears, began to fall. Seeing how sad she was, I tried to console her by telling her to look at the bright side—some of your stars are still up there, and every time one falls, you get to make a wish . . . She used the rest of her money to buy a tube of glue.

filling the space
between two stars
a cricket song
Failed Haiku # 83, November 2022

October 5, 2022
A Dream Within a Dream

It's four a.m. on a cold winter night, and suddenly I’m wide awake, not jolted awake as if being woken up by someone breaking into my house or a tree falling on the roof. It's more like my mind has just decided that it’s time for my body to get out of bed and do something. I try to ignore my annoying mind and go back to sleep, but eventually, I end up in the kitchen. After downing a couple of glasses of water, raising the weights on the pendulum clock, and having a brief conversation with the cat, I make my way back to bed and lie there, listening to the clock tick while a cuckoo sings about the hours. As night gradually turns into day, I slip into a dream, a dream about sleepwalking through another day.

the distant
cry of a cuckoo
from the edge
of a forgotten dream
Contemporary Haibun Online, August 2022
September 2, 2022

August 27, 2022

July 23, 2022

June 21, 2022

Recycling the cover of our 2020 CD with the addition of some rooster haiku.

The Homegrown String Band™
(AKA Rooster Rick & the Cacklin' Hens) 


June 1, 2022
Honored to have a poem featured in "Haiku 2022" an anthology of 100 notable English language haiku published in 2021.
Edited by Scott Metz & Lee Gurga and published by Modern Haiku Press.
saying nothing
about everything
empty shells
Autumn Moon Haiku Journal # 5:1, Autumn/Winter 2021-22
Modern Haiku Press - Haiku 2022
April 23, 2022
March 2022 Ito En Art of Haiku Contest English Semifinalists.
Shukan New York Seiksu, April 2022

New York Seikatsu Press - 4/23/22
April 19, 2022

April 1, 2022
 Grateful Friend

About thirty years ago, our family became members of The Religious Society of Friends. Sometime shortly after, while trying to describe the essence of a Quaker meeting to an old friend of mine, I compared the feeling of collective consciousness one hopes to attain during a silent meeting for worship, with the experience of a Grateful Dead concert, without the music . . . or the drugs.

One Sunday, a few weeks later, about halfway through meeting, my friend; and soon-to-be Friend, wheeled his bike into the room and took a seat.

squeaky wheel
a Friend arrives late
silence pauses

Failed Haiku # 76, April 2022

March 15, 2022
a crowd gathers
around the middle of nowhere
Zoom meeting
Golden Haiku Contest Selection 2022

February 26, 2022
2022 Ito En Art of Haiku Contest January Semifinal Selections
Shukan New York Seiksu, February 2022
New York Seikatsu Press - 2/26/22
 December 1, 2021
photo by Annalee Jackofsky
Asleep at the Wheel   

Halfway through the story, I come to the conclusion that this author can't be trusted! He can't be trusted to leave me with the happy ending I’m looking for. As a matter of fact, he can’t be trusted to provide any kind of ending at all. Even so, I decide to press on, go along for the ride, just relax and enjoy the scenery; it is all about the journey, right? Later that night, I lie awake, wondering if the next chapter might reveal a clear path through the labyrinth of my dreams.

a cricket harmonizes
with the ringing in my ears

Failed Haiku # 72, December 2021 
November 25, 2021
a garden gone to seed
butterflies stumble
in the autumn breeze
Semifinalist October 2021 Ito En Art of Haiku Contest
New York Seikatsu Press  November 2021

September 22, 2021
bent by the wind
an old salt trims his sails
in an empty bottle
Semifinalist September 2021 Ito En Art of Haiku Contest


August 28, 2021 
climbing a mountain the color of the sun
Semifinalist July 2021 Ito En Art of Haiku Contest

July 25, 2021 
into the wind
a black-backed gull
Semifinalist June 2021 Ito En Art of Haiku Contest

July 1, 2021   

looking up

We live in the woods; our old house rests under a canopy of maple and oak, sturdy trees that provide us with shade and a welcome respite from the summer heat. Unfortunately, for much of the year, their leafy crowns also block our view of the moon and stars. But sometimes, on a clear winter night, I step out under the leafless branches to catch a glimpse of the heavens above.

in the snow
Failed Haiku # 67, July 2021 

June 24, 2021 
the cry of a loon
piercing the morning mist
a red canoe
Semifinalist May 2021 Ito En Art of Haiku Contest

April 22, 2021
the gray area
between two seasons
Semifinalist March 2021 Ito En Art of Haiku Contest

March 19. 2021
One of my poems has been selected, in the Golden Haiku Contest, to be one of approximately one hundred haiku that will be printed on placards and displayed around the Golden Triangle neighborhood of downtown Washington D.C. this spring.

January 1, 2021
On December 12th I was honored to receive the third place award in the English category of the 2020 Ito En Art of Haiku Contest.  Domo Arigato!

November 29, 2020
hanging basil
and canning tomatoes
what’s left of summer
Semifinalist October 2020 Ito En Art of Haiku Contest


November 13, 2020
rods and cones
the reds and grays
of autumn days


 October 25. 2020
summer lingers
in the cool evening air
a few fireflies
Semifinalist September 2020 Ito En Art of Haiku Contest

October 6, 2020

Haibun is a literary form originating in Japan and pioneered by the 17th-century haiku poet Matsuo Basho. This poetic form ties together a piece of prose and one or more haiku. Below is a haibun I wrote that was recently published in Frogpond, the journal of the Haiku Society of America. While Basho used haibun to chronicle his travels around Japan, in this piece, I fantasize about a different type of travel.

A Backspace in Time
Once again, my train of thought gets derailed by a steady stream of unconsciousness, bits and bytes of random and somewhat related data, taking me further and further away from myself. At times like this, I dream about going back in time; back to the days when rotary telephones and typewriters were state of the art technological wonders. Is there an app for that? 

My DeLorean is in the shop, so I pull the plug and hop onto a 1954 Smith Corona Silent-Super. The rhythm of my analog digits dancing on Bakelite keys accompanied by the sound of typebars smacking into a fresh ribbon invokes visions of Kerouac and Ginsberg, bebop and scat; clickety-clack, I’m back on track.

        ringing bells
        and rattling bones
        smith corona                                   
        Frogpond - vol. 43, #3 - Autumn 2020
October 1, 2020

Haiga is a Japanese art form that combines an image with a haiku poem. Traditionally haiga featured Japanese-style brush painting and calligraphy, but over the years, the term has grown to include other types of media, including photography and digital images.

With a background in photography and haiku, it was a natural progression for me to start creating photographic haiga. My first published haiga appears in the October 2020 issue of failed haiku: A Journal of English Senryu. The is an image of a fungus with an oxymoronic name, gilled polypore, growing on an oak log, a piece of wood that remains unburned after an unseasonably warm winter and a short maple sugaring season.

September 28, 2020
the cricket's song interrupted
by a lovers' quarrel
Semifinalist August 2020 Ito En Art of Haiku Contest

 September 7, 2020

A song I wrote and recorded Labor Day weekend 2012 for all the working people of America and around the world.

 September 2, 2020



Busy Bees

As I sit beneath a two-hundred-year-old oak, admiring a lily   that will bloom for just one day, birds and time go flying by, but some things never change. I wonder if these stately trees merely suffer the gossip of buzzing bees, or do they savor the trending topics and flavors of the day.

spreading gossip
they call it news 
Failed Haiku #57, September 2020


August 22, 2020   

fading light—
in the spider’s web
a firefly
July Semifinalist 2020 Ito En Art of Haiku Contest


July 25, 2020         

sandlot heroes the roar of cicadas  
June Semifinalist 2020 Ito En Art of Haiku Contest


June 27, 2020        

mother’s day—
a bouquet of flowers
in sixty-four colors
May Semifinalist 2020 Ito En Art of Haiku Contest


May 14, 2020        


April 8, 2020         


March 28, 2020    

Cabin fever in New York, 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic


March 2020 


February 2020

New Year’s Day
a blanket of snow
covers our tracks
January Semifinalist 2020 Ito En Art of Haiku Contest


February 19, 2020

the cat watches
a squirrel watching me
tap a tree


February 4, 2020

even the cat
sleeps late
a cloudy day 


January 27, 2020

bump ditty bump
ditty bump bump bump
banjo haiku


January 17, 2020

my new laptop a '58 rocket

Hermes Rocket


January 3, 2020

Congratulations!, Omedeto!  to all the winners of the 2019 Ito En Haiku Grand Prix.

fill the little girl’s poem
with wonder

New York Seikatsu Press January 1, 2020


January 1, 2020

Happy New Year!  

looking back
my twenty-twenty


December 13, 2019
Domo Arigato!

My wife and I attended the 2019 Ito En Art of Haiku Grand Prix awards ceremony at the Nippon Club in N.Y.C. where I received my third place award from Rona Tyson, Vice President of Ito En North America. Many thanks to the folks at Ito En, NewYork Seikatsu Press, and the Nippon Club for making the contest and wonderful awards ceremony possible.