Ira’s Modern Haiku

MY POETRY  I’m glad to have you reprint, but ask, and credit me, with link to this page

“Great haikus!  Some of them are gems that speak to me. I cut myself off like a bartender. Tomorrow I’ll go back for more.” – Carol R., California
“I love your haiku, especially those packed with irony. I just read a couple dozen on your website – inspiring!” – Jayne P., Massachusetts

Law of the Jungle
We should know better as the
Crown of Creation

my hygge cafe

trusty laptop gets work done

while I cogitate

media reports

that I am old, or “older”

but “younger” lingers

Ugh, I’m so my moods

When I feel good, am I “me”?

But not when I suck?

What world do I want?

One that helps me live my life?

Or helps dumb despots?

Did I raise you right?

Will the world be good for you?

Do you feel my love?

There is a bias

“I live in the worst of times”

Still, it’s when I lived

I hope we survive

Magically joining forces

Would that not be grand?

Gratitude’s helpful

Appreciate that you’re loved

How that helps us live

I hate Jeff Goldblum

he annoys me perfectly

as does Kathy Bates

The loud guy talks most
That is cafe etiquette
Also most boring

hotel breakfast club

bad bacon, bagels, coffee

mankind I can’t stand

Family planet
We are all conjoined siblings
Kill me, kills you too

If you don’t believe
that there’s a God in Heaven
are you not allowed?

As God likes to say:

“Ye are a stiff-necked people,

Stop being so dumb!”

Optimism helps

but not as much as hard work

towards a sane planet

Looking within me

there is something divine too

that’s so much better

We tolerated

Climate chaos deniers

Soon we’ll swim with them

I love this tableau

rain/ coffee/ fan/ morning news/

calm to embrace it

Packing for vaca

almost forgot that gizmo

that gets my sock on

                (this will hopefully be unnecessary after my halloween hip replacement)

Said no to pastries
Deprived but then lost some pounds
Still, scones are so good

I am not on Earth

To build my great resume

But to know myself

Without any home
Except a confident shell
Repels and protects

Goal: “purpose-free calm”
No return on investment
Reason: just to be

Hunger must be fed?

Who died and made hunger king?

What if I felt it?

I just remembered

you bought pastrami for lunch

I feel understood

Hip hurts when I mow

Bees thrive when I mow badly
Problem solved somewhat

Is peace on the list

of what is OK to feel

in a broken world?

The world’s exploding
“unscheduled disassembly”
we meant to do that

Bravely die in vain
for a cause you’re born into
historic blooper

Have Chronic Shpilkes

I said that in Junior High

Still working on it

Was life this tinny
Before I wore hearing aids?
Cranking up the bass

I see time as real

but reality has rules

so I’m stuck in time

I lack that strong pull

to get my way (so screw you!)

misnamed “leadership”

I’m no Joie de Vivre
but survived a sad mother
who wished “Life is Good”

In one hundred years

remember us as heathens

hoping you exist

Learning to listen

First know it’s a good habit

As good as talking

When one wears a mask
They can read and move their lips
No one thinks they’re dumb

sometimes an insight

I remember from childhood

I realize again

Before dawn, a fox

Red, with a bushy black tail
Ran by, with a limp

I wish to not judge
The young bore with vocal fry
And his loud girlfriend

Not every actor
Needs to have something to say
Every single scene

When I learned to work

right away I knew half-baked

was unusable

Life is empty space

It’s what you make it, but no

You’re what it makes you

He praised my patience

Shpilkes has guided my life

glad it might not show

thanks, universal
truth, love, lived experience
making me want more

This is not a fight

My generation v yours

I used to be you

when in a foul mood

unsubscribe me from all lists

strange when a stranger

Reasons I do things

that look cautious, elderly,

help me be less old

billions of brilliance

and panicked absurdity

stumbling forward

Friends who search for me

who allow me at my best

thanks for your consent

Red and yellow leaves

show up when chlorophyll fades

what should fade in me?

Listening within

I am what is not me there

That is who I am

Don’t be a shirker

Said my responsible dad

Now I can’t relax


If you judge yourself, just say

I’m better than them

So many nudniks

who are not accountable

for their mishegas

Years when squirrels bloom

they are deer in the headlights

Does more mean dumber?

I’d love to knock out

the bastard ruining the earth

But there’s too many

I’m not disciplined

Yet I ride my bike daily

But more cause it’s fun

Feeling fraudulent?
your disingenuity
may not be helping


is not uninterested

what I learned today

Watch the rainy day

who cares what I accomplish,

what I choose to not?

Being sane and kind

Avoiding parental-ing

That is my sonnet

2 lobsters per day

I offer to all despots

To end their madness

Believe in an afterlife
Would I still go there?

Hold yourself upright

for what purpose? to impress

others on all fours?

When are you happy?

“When you lose and find” dad said


Call of me as bird:
“Share my food!” FUCK! “Share my food!”
Why can’t I shut up!?

Abuela and child

So easily enjoying

The love between them

Who would want a “T”

on their rapid test?, and yet

the suspense thrills me!

If I was more like

I wish I was, you’d like me

more and so would I

early hints of spring

thinking of kayaking soon

beer while mowing lawn

I wouldn’t like jail

My crime would not be foolproof

Plus it would be wrong

Your soul is putrid

Your joy is a zero sum

Billions abhor you

Alive for many years

Each day is the very first

Before tomorrow

Who said I’m perfect?

You may have misunderstood
me say “not perfect”

I’m no naysayer

but you’re full of some ideas
that need dissuasion

Just learned it’s always

Midnight at the North Pole – wow!

Can’t wait to share this!!

I love any day

Where I needn’t make my bed

But I still make it

First time I saw snow

I’d enjoy it more if it

was always like that

There is one damn place

Where my discipline declines

Inhibiting’s hard

Be your own best friend
Includes being an adult
Not child or parent

We are the heroes

and you are the assholes, cause
that’s just how we feel

“Good enough mother”

Turns down the pressure cooker

I am good enough

Goal-free v Aimless

an Important Distinction

in the Game of Life

Hungry ghost be damned
Being satisfied is nice
If you’re satisfied

I parent myself

I send myself to my room

To go within more

How do I love thee?

I cleaned out rotting fridge food

It was disgusting

Life is not different

than it was when I felt good

so feel good, dammit!

“in it to win it”

but then, “in, not of, the world”

life’s big juggling act

You think “Life is Good”

Despite evidence it’s not

That makes my life good


how to invest my free time?

productive futzing

If you only did

What you say you only do

Life would be better

“Let there be light” said

the power that let us be

and choose thrive or die

Jerk’s car weaves past me

Making record time, till crash

Average group speed down

I don’t see just how

I contribute to the mess

but I’m sure I do

It helps me to know

I’ll be forgotten one day

Less pressure to “win”

“Noise” is to my mind

As heat is to an engine

Not what it’s made for

Roundabout design
Doesn’t consider needs of
entitled people

Now at 68
I can finally shut up
just a little bit

Soft strong call “Ohai!”

Dog bounds up stone wall to her

Allison power

Did you ever feel

fraudulent at being you?

kidding, me neither

Scrambled eggs again

Where nobody knows my name

But still feels homey

“Life is Good” she hoped

Overcame morphine to slog

Through her to-do list

Are we just our moods?

When we feel X we are X?

Stupid universe!

Is this wise advice?

“Begin with the end in mind”
I’ll be dead- so no

Erikson’s last stage:

integrity or despair

Pros V Cons are clear

“maturity” means

I’ve lived long enough to doubt

I know everything

you won’t see, in hell

“fine people from both sides” there

they’ll all be assholes

My belief that I’m

a stranger in a strange land

is true, and not true

If there were no God

Simply that we are alive

Is pretty divine

Sherlock’s special skill

is knowing where you have been
but not where you’ll go

is what makes a person smart
that’s why you are dumb

Who knew that the curse
“live in interesting times”
would be so boring?

What you said is false

We are not afraid of change

We’re afraid of dumb

Life is surprises
sometimes global pandemic
sometimes feeling good

every winter’s mood

this hell will last forever

and then it’s over

“Keep Calm, Carry On”

need to achieve and maintain

not my normal state

Pickled herring, Yum!

But suggestion: have a mint

When donning your mask

How to fix the world?

Help people row together

Each in their own boat

I owe you something

for me to be my best self

we both benefit

If a pandemic

Has some odd good consequence

That’s not an “upside”

right to swing your arms

ends where my nose/mouth begins

wear your mask, dummy!

aiming for sane, calm

in this “special period”

good time for lessons

“Nothing to be done”

Godot expresses “Regrets,

social distancing!”

on zoom; out window

many strangers strolling past:

humans getting by

I don’t pray, I hope

telling you I care feels good

if it works, do it

Hug friends I admire

Eat street food, hold hands at films,

I want normal back!

QUATRAINS (more haiku below)

why I need to be better:

so I can help us commune

so I can see beautiful

so I can love what I love

my mood improves after

focusing within, good coffee,

a substantial bowel movement

life’s secrets are varied and elusive

that couple sipping coffee

and making small talk

are not writing a poem

about me spying on them

I have burned in my brain

“slow down, you move too fast”

as advice for someone else

but it actually seems wise

there is hardly a downside

to focusing “within inside”

so what seems crucial

stays in perspective

trying to get perspective

on where one is at

is not living in the now

too self conscious

I respect my own journey

arriving at a place

where I am me

I’m just a person

weird free day

plane cancelled, fly tomorrow

I might go to the circus

I might eat a lobster roll

What’s wrong with this picture?

man in woods, on a cabin porch

watching his breath, writing poems

nothing, so be that person

Life needn’t be a race

to some mountaintop finish line

and then they build a statue

and everyone remembers

it no longer feels phony

to try to be my best self

to look carefully

not afraid to see

we might be soul mates

as we seem to qualify

as willing to be ourselves

and become known well

on a perfect cabin porch

near a radium hot spring

all is as calm as you’d want

get my mind in tune

the faint traffic sounds

subplot to gigantic Rockies

doesn’t disturb me

or that huge chipmunk

my coffee’s slogan:

“wake up and kick ass”

but I am feeling serene

I am amped up to chill out

log cabin look and feel

imprinted on me as pure and real

Lincoln, and Lincoln Logs

have succeeded in their branding

Dogs seem to like being mastered

owner takes away the stress

of eating their kill

and keeping peace with wolves

why is sad my default?

generations escaping bias

what I’ve added in bad ideas

my work is cut out for me

what’s attractive to humans

is indecipherable to an ant

loyalty, beauty, ideas of love;

nothing compared to that spilled food

so easy to break what you made

and then it’s irreparable

so think hard, maybe inhibit

maybe behave, maybe survive

learned cosmic particles hit

like a hockey puck at 100 mph

are we that dense, to not notice?

so much going on that I don’t know

this hotel utilizes materials

from nature, all around here:

slate, bison, spruce, all transformed

a zero sum interior redecoration

I enjoy: walks on the beach,

holding hands at movies,

feeling that life has no purpose

“for a good time, call Ira”

my entire adult life

I have had the means and ways

to feel the goodness within

how do I still not realize that?

short term community, on this plane

cooperating and behaving just enough

tens of thousands of pounds of humanity

go here to there and then off

white shirt, fun professional socks

done with work on plane

now winning or losing his phone game

returning, victorious or defeated

my high value is high paying

could work so many fewer hours

but the confidence it takes

to say you deserve it!


I did plight my troth

didn’t know I “pledged my truth”

but that’s what I did

this person knows me

loyal, despite my defects,

I should try harder

Independence Day

do they just hate our freedom?

or that we hate them?

If I were a tree
It would help me be stately
To know all trees die

Icy Civic skids
Muffled, comfy, in control
All’s well with the world

If I lose my mind

And can’t remember at all

I may arrive late

The older I get

I learn “I am what I am”

But feel free to change

Much of our wisdom

Is spent on understanding

What loved ones just meant

When I die, it’s yours

It was given to me too

Nobody owns it

Does Superman feel

A gentle, loving caress?

He must feel the pain, too

Ants don’t learn to build

if not perfect, it won’t work

only success lasts

Old men all too loud

To be heard above the roar

In this greasy spoon

Eighty five thousand

Thoughts per day go through my head

Which are the real me?

I am me in part

By how we are together

I am in context

I hear what you said

But my ears are connected

To my fragile mind

Saturday morning

Quick stroll to bacon and eggs

Catch up on podcasts

Greek, Cuban, Deli
Indian, Chinese, Veggie
Faves on desert isle

Hammer in a nail
there are other solutions
ways to connect stuff

what do chipmunks think?
my house is their country club
and I’m intruding?

Big bright cardinal
Slumming at our bird feeder
Now off to elsewhere

what has life taught me?

epitaph for future gens

“I’m rubber, you’re glue”

It’s work to keep up
with old friends who knew you when,

know how you got here

Within the silence
bedrock, where one can touch down

what’s false dissipates

Naked audience
That method is unnerving

Keep your shirts on, please!

my dream vacation

Grand Rapids in goal free state

many hours to futz

new law: president

must speak in 5-7-5

“tremendous disast!”

You banged my cart, sir!

how about some eye contact?

You’ll see I exist.

What to do today?

so Earth’s in a better place

than when I woke up

bird protects its nest
swoops down, pecks back of my head
nature runs afoul

Why are folks my age

Appearing to look so old?

Like my grandparents!

Swiftly flow the days

this little girl I carried

we both think we’re young

Befriend young people

To see they’re not killing me

Why would that help them?

Shoving rocks uphill

How happy was Sisyphus?

Yay, I did it!! oops

the planet knows not

how we have afflicted it

still lives, dies, evolves

Dear amygdala:

Why can’t you calm the fuck down?

Everything is fine!

your child takes a chance
to create a healthy world

it’s ok to brag

Guy ground stumps, made holes

Said “fill w 6 bags topsoil”

Perfect fit! Genius!

Will I scream like that?

When I tell a long story

when old, at Kelly’s?

Humans reaching out

To not kill, plus be charming

Ants have it easy

No need to suffer
performance anxiety
if you don’t perform

Family business

Easy, if love and trust rule

If not, follow rules

In reality

Monday’s not worse than Friday

They are both not real

Talking to people

less dementia/ suicide

“how was your day, dear?”

Laying Zach to rest

Village gathers to love him

Blessed memory

How do free and brave

Elect such uptight cowards!?

Throw/ vote the bums out!!

How my job is done

By 40 other people

Mixed love and learning

It was impolite

So I minded my manners,

didn’t kill Hitler

Which world do you choose?
– let us reason together
– Sit down and shut up

Two score with one wife
Through poor, sick, worse, plus cherish
Wins best friend forev

I heard you read these
So let me thank you, Patty
For undying love

Wedding machiah
Tribes unite to affirm them
Good golly! Mrs!

One hundred degrees

MoviePass, a/c, mindless,

Good for what ails ya

Perfect weather day

To meditate butt naked

Gentle breeze from fan

Longevity genes

could mean I’ll survive until

my shit’s together!

Your title is great

What are you entitled to?

How did you earn it?

After waterfall

That excellent Chinese place

Middle of nowhere

busy work schedule

met in three different cafes

bottomless network

Life is staycation
I can’t get away from me
here I am again

No brave without fear

I’ll be brave about my fear

and not fear my brave

I Yam What I Yam

but past performance doesn’t

guarantee future

When I’m feeling good

I don’t care that you’re so loud

Even so, shut up!

when you’re a stranger

it’s not that people are strange

maybe it’s your breath

Everyone who’s died

Has discovered what happens

If anything does

My humble life goal

Is to mind my own business

I am not your judge

 I’d like to believe‬
‪That the sane will inherit‬
‪Our crazy planet‬

Nobody’s going

to punch my freaking lights out
so I can relax

Bought myself air buds
2 taps brings Siri and pause
Makes them worth one fifty nine

too many squirrels!

running right under my wheels

“thin my stupid herd!”

such friendly cashiers
chatting up customers with

10 items or less

used my precious time

feedback to cafe owner

no reply: messed up!



“A prince among his pals, we hate to see him go”

Said classmates at Jamaica High School in 1937

What experience did the yearbook committee have

Of that man I loved, years later?

Where did he get that feeling of invulnerability

That gave him the freedom to answer Yes!

To the classic shoplifter’s threatening question

“Are you calling me a thief??

Where did he get the entrepreneurial verve

To leave the safety of his father in law’s

Wholesale bedding and bath store

To buy in to an unknown cousin’s childrenswear store?

What affection might he have ever had

For the woman who he made my mother

And though they lacked chemistry

Stuck it out till they were both diminished

That man coached me with simple truths

That were profound and real for him:

First be a mensch / Cheap is dear /

If they bought only what they came for, who needs you?

Gone 6 years, finally memories predate his dementia

His determination to be the one who makes the sale

Follow the money, but deliver the goods

Simplicity is rich, he was richer than he knew.

Our world has never been

in such a predicament,

you think, until you realize

that since the beginning, some A-hole

ran some country; and their drunken effects

alter your life, inflicting in ways that seem so real

You, here, now, hurt by bitter, savage, miserly

honchos, royals, brethren of old

Still you have good days and bad

still, you’ve made something of yourself

despite the world resisting your success

despite your own mind, another despotic force

You went beyond, making your home safe

you risked a reliable, plodding path

you dragged yourself to where you were needed

and jumped in (first planning, then jumping)

So now, from whatever your height or depth

how will you alter lives?

what does your name on the door do to help?

what business is it, of yours, to add to the good?

Ira Bryck 12/19/18