Sep 18  |  Haikus: From Me All The Way To You

Posted by , September 18th, 2014 at 11:29AM    

Laura racing in Boulder, CO Credit: Kevin Batchelor

Laura racing in Boulder, CO Credit: Kevin Batchelor

Seeing as how I’m midway through a graduate degree in poetry (really? what are you going to do with that?!), Rousculp & White at Speedvagen here decided it would only be to all of our best interests to combine the awesome worlds of cyclocross and poetry. I couldn’t agree more. As a result, throughout the season I’ll be posting cyclocross related/inspired poems, mostly in the form and/or experimental phase and/or permutations of the haiku.

Generally speaking, haiku usually arrives in its most well-known form of 5-7-5, with the numbers referring to the amount of syllables in each line of the poem. The so-called essence of haiku is “cutting,” which is often represented by the juxtaposition of two images or ideas and a kireji (“cutting word”) between them. An indication of season is also another essential of haiku. There’s more, of course, and haiku can spin off in any number of directions; for all intents and purposes here, however, we’re going wild with this. And by wild I mean experimental and against the grain, I mean counterculture and grit; I mean ‘cross.

Haiku is often typecast and pocketed as the peaceful, calm form of the poetry world. How nice. My aim is to show you its more feral moments, how it can be the perfect partner to ‘cross, and how it can, literally, play in the mud with the best of them. 

Cyclocross meet haiku. Haiku meet cyclocross. It’s the bell lap—shall we?

To begin: a translation of the badass Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827)

       Writing shit about new snow

       for the rich

       is not art.

Tell us how you really feel, Issa.

See? Haiku, and the individuals who write it, can subvert and be more subtly subversive than you might assume.

The following consists of four haikus (& their titles, as indicated with italics) strung together to create one experimental haiku strand. To note: line spacing can be awkward on WordPress; the following, more or less, reflects the form of the haiku as it was intended, minus proper line spacing.

To the man clad in spandex, you know who you are—

meet me: on the edge
of 5th / I’m a mess
dressed in fresh lime peels, precious
metal & $$$$$

dollar bill to my teeth & a flush
tongue to your calves / quads
pedaled into pear bulge steep’d
in sunrust & damp

with your cloudboom laughter,
slingshot through beard thick
& head back eyes flinging: rock
-ets, copper & dusk

hotfoot to bolt, chest heave & your
haunch like what beneath
spandex lucence, hips that flick
me on—demount this


  1. Pavement turns to mud
    Leaves fade gold Rain falls hard
    Lungs burn Shut up legs!

    In honor of Jens.

    Comment by David chapman — September 18, 2014 @ 2:10 pm    

  2. Yes. I love when we create & in turn that ignites another to create.

    Comment by Laura Winberry — September 18, 2014 @ 2:15 pm    

  3. Tire grips – GO. Knob slips –
    Fall. Thud. Get up. Check. Fix. Run.
    Try again next lap.

    Comment by Paul — October 3, 2014 @ 2:11 pm    

  4. I love hotfoot to bolt. There is the tension of the race, the change of direction in text and context and underlying energy from many front. I think you may have just open my eyes to haikus. Thank you Laura!

    Comment by Justin Smirk — October 9, 2014 @ 2:24 am    

  5. Thanks for playing, Paul! And, Justin: YES. That makes me smile. Especially because poetry is important and radical in more ways than we realize. To hear that someone might have just opened an eye to some corner of poetry (of art) is amazing, and, part of why I create. Also, way to critically describe your sense of the poem itself.

    I’ll have another poem up soon… for now, I’m at Poetry Camp!

    Comment by Laura Winberry — October 9, 2014 @ 8:20 am    

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