Wind Man: Haiku at Work

Wind Man was born as a diversion. 

A joke between friends, trying to figure out a time to meet up for a beer. 

Over the course of five years, it has shifted shape many times: a running gag, a personal challenge to create a poem each day, an ill-advised and short-lived blog, an attempt to learn the form, a furtive compulsion. 

Eventually, a book. 

For me, haiku has become a kind of verbal Instagram — capturing a moment within a defined frame of convention, recorded for an audience that is both intrigued by the image and aware that reality (outside the frame) is messy, entropic, and not picturesque. 

In turn, the act of sequencing haiku for Wind Man has been an exercise in character creation, similar to the way character can be conveyed over a series of Instagram posts.

One of my hopes for this book is that a set of images, in sequence, can create a fictional character for whom ambiguity rules and, through the mundane and the routine, leads back to the meaningful. 

But more importantly, I hope Wind Man offers a reassuring diversion — a pleasant distraction that, if the reader takes a few minutes to step away from email and meetings, becomes a reminder that not everyone is totally content with the corporate pursuit. 

Regardless of what’s shown in the glossy brochure. 

A Listing of First Lines

gray wolves at the door
daylight drips
tweezers pluck gray hairs
layer of cold air
each cloud an aura-
a backhoe shovel
dandelion stems
fumbled quarters, sleet
spit 16 bars hard
revolving front door
voice mail light blinking
coffee spits sideways,
dresses, ponytails,
dyspeptic missive,
update sales reports?
re: scathing email:
writing effective
dropped fresh-pressed khakis,
paperwork sliding
shredders grind paper
without rage, listless,
forehead hits the desk
dreams of jets rolling
clouds inching closer
rocks thrown underhand
carpenter bees’ teeth
listless pups whining,
flying west at noon,
beer, dried beef and cheese
when He wants to talk
rivets strain, flexing
your profile pic says
bedrock. dirt. sand. dust
ripped Velcro, gaping
assistant katie!
sunlight soaks the glass
bind presentations
triple-booked meetings
old projector paints
what is he saying
wrinkled white napkin
hourglass sand dribbles
janitors vacuum
loitering taxi
snow drifts, pale twilight,
endless check-in line
black-flecked cottage cheese,
measure time
pigs wrapped in bacon,
like a fleece blanket
west lobby bathroom
bar stools are mushrooms
someone’s cell number
yellow rectangle
pry a t-shirt from
medicine bottles
hurled a plastic
vinyl siding pops
one ear to the ground
nothing, being not
haze over the sea
eloped in kauai
predawn when snow’s ceased
above grass and fog
thick gray carpet tiles
glass bottle dumpsters
sight already blurred
poppy seed bagels
we’re a captain now!
plastic cups on tap,
rental car return
briefcase at the gate
tipsy businessmen
squeezed into the seat
limited recline
the eagle’s wings spread
soon looking back on
safe to use wifi;
amber hair blusters
twigs drop from branches
the sun parts the clouds
brakes shriek to a halt
from a gnarly limb
stretch toes on the grass
front door propped open
free of the battle
deep breath, shirt rising