The Operating System and Liminal Lab


The haiku form stands in a precarious place in the contemporary world. Our collective mindset has adapted appreciation of shorter and shorter gratification cycles, which should benefit the haiku. However, the powerful rise of short form media (yes, twitter) has changed the way we process. The haiku is not a sound bite or clip of a larger whole, nor does it represent a piece of the overall conversation. Haiku presents a self-contained image or idea—challenges both the writer and the reader to have a whole experience in a morsel we are conditioned to look at almost as a puzzle piece. The challenge is the joy too though. I love reading three short lines and being able to occupy the moment, or as Donna Fleischer put it:
haiku poetics
no time for steaming
eat it raw
Eating it raw is the haiku’s siren call. The combined freedom and power of the form drew Jack Kerouac, Albert Saijo, and Lew Welch to record their 1959 cross-country drive in collaborative haiku, the result was a terrific book, Trip Trap, which recorded hundreds of specific, striking moments and landscapes that would have otherwise been lost amid the larger experience. Likewise, Exit Strata’s haiku month is a documentation, which archives the production of our community and preserves moments, thoughts, and scenes that could otherwise be lost in the shuffle of our pervasively demanding everyday lives.
I encourage you to create with us over the next couple weeks of haiku month. Use this event as a reason to catalogue what too often slips away in your life. Spend a little time focusing on those moments that occur for every one of us. You don’t need to consider yourself as a writer to create something simple, beautiful, and enduring. You just need to allow yourself to. Please, consider the selections below from the first half of haiku month as a gallery—stop for a moment with each piece, take each haiku in as a separate work of art, and have that thought with the writer before you move on.
make your home of soil
she told me, I am built for
land and seeds and growth
— Caits Meissner-Chiriga

the creak of floorboards

the oscillating fan’s squeal:

birds of my morning.

—Lynne Desilva-Johnson


Fireflies randomly
Knocking softly against stems.
They’re not digitized.

— Jonathan Rose


fresh barley wine –

sipping rainwater through

a dandelion straw

—Donna Fleischer

Dear local parents,
I’m the man you’re looking for.
I didn’t choose this.
—Jim Cummings

No more well wishers:
penny-antes fished out; we
wish well wishing-wells.

—Jerome Bushnell


There are so many
graveyards in this world, so few
monuments to life.

—Benjamin Wiessner


Read the introductory invitation and a little history of this annual tradition, now in its third year, here!

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