Jack kerouac – haikus

Jack Kerouac

American Haiku (Copyright 1959)

“The American Haiku is not exactly the Japanese
Haiku. The Japanese Haiku is strictly disciplined
To seventeen syllables but since the language
Structure is different I don’t think American
Haikus (short three-line poems intended to be
Completely packed with Void of Whole) should worry
About syllables because American speech is
Something again…bursting to pop.

Above all, a Haiku must be very simple and free
Of all poetic trickery and make a little picture
And yet be as airy and graceful as a Vivaldi
Jack Kerouac

Early morning yellow flowers,
Thinking about
The drunkards of Mexico.

No telegram today
Only more leaves

Boy smashing dandelions
With a stick.

Holding up my
Purring cat to the moon
I sighed.

Drunk as a hoot owl,
Writing letters
By thunderstorm.

Empty baseball field
A robin
Hops along the bench.

All day long
Wearing a hat
That wasn’t on my head.

Crossing the football field
Coming home from work –
The lonely businessman.

After the shower
Among the drenched roses
The bird thrashing in the bath.

Snap your finger
Stop the world –
Rain falls harder.

Too dark to read the page
Too cold.

Following each other
My cats stop
When it thunders.

Wash hung out
By moonlight
Friday night in May.

The bottoms of my shoes
Are clean
From walking in the rain.

Glow worm
Sleeping on this flower –
Your light’s on.

The Northport Haiku (Copyright 1964)

Jack Kerouac wrote these haiku in Northport in 1964
At the home of the artist Stanley Twardowicz who was

a good friend of his. Kerouac had been living
In Northport for some time and it is fortunate that
These rare haiku have been recorded and kept. They
Are a section of a larger collection produced at the
Time. They first appeared in the American small
Press magazine STREET Volume 1 number 4 in the
Spring of 1975.

Close your eyes –
Landlord knocking
On the back door.

A quiet Autumn night
and these fools
Are starting to argue

Lonely brickwalls in Detroit
Sunday afternoon
piss call

O for Vermont again –
The barn on an Autumn night

Fiddlydee! –
Another day,
Another something-or-other!

Whatever it is, I quit
– now I’ll let my
breath out –

How many cats they need
around here
For any orgy?

Tonight I’ll lower
my tail –
I’ve seen them around town

In Haikkaido a cat
has no luck

Every cat in Kyoto
can see through the fog.

The birds start singing
But he is in the cat meadows

I’ll climb up a tree
And scratch Katapatafataya

If I go out now,
my paws
will get wet

A car is coming but
the cat knows
It’s not a snake

In London-town cats
can sleep
In the butcher’s doorway.

I should have scratched
that spot before
I started to sleep

Haiku my eyes!
my mother is calling!

Jack Kerouac
Some Western Haiku
From Book of Haiku (Copyright 1968)

Arms folded
to the moon,
Among the cows.

Birds singing
in the dark
– Rainy dawn.

Elephants munching
on grass – loving
Head side by side.

Missing a kick
at the icebox door
It closed anyway.

This July evening,
a large frog
On my door sill.

Catfish fighting for his life,
and winning,
Splashing us all.

Evening coming –
the office girl
Unloosing her scarf.

The low yellow
moon above the
Quiet lamplit house

Shall I say no?

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Jack kerouac – haikus