Haiku 54-57/100

surprised to write this
I never thought I’d survive
the apocalypse

silk spun from midnight
devouring whole planets

waking is sleeping
time is a Moebius loop
happy unending

insect scientists
analyze cell phone footage
of the asteroid


Haiku 53/100


Haiku 41-52/100

sparse conifer trees
reflected in clear water
Canadian Shield

Sunday morning bus
empty of summer noises
leaves the beach behind

bikes twist and swirl
like leaves on morning breezes
crowded summer streets

warm summer breath blows
a whisper into my ear
a forgotten name

a shriek from the sky —
two hawks dancing in the sun
battle or ballet?

dented SUV
crumpled blue motorcycle
evidence gathered

enough pictures now
putting down the camera
basking in summer

oh, if there were only words
I could hold my joy

cattails sway gently
mottled sunlight on the marsh
water striders dance

chickadees flutter
chipmunks dart through hollow logs
far cicada sings

lemon-lime snow cone
remembering that summer
we used to share them

postcards and pendants
images of summertime
for sale in the shop

100 Haikus in 100 Days – the halfway point

Here I am at day 50 of my personal 100 Haikus in 100 Days challenge. I’m a little bit behind on the haiku itself, having just posted number 40, but I have plenty of time to catch up. I’ve also learned to carry a notebook and pen around with me to write down lines and images that come to mind. I had almost a dozen haiku fragments tapped into my phone before the thing slowed to a crawl and started getting hot as this phone tends to do when it’s time to clear it with a factory reset. I was so annoyed at the phone itself that I forgot there was stuff I was working on in there.

But I’ll get back on track soon enough. Not only have I been spending the last few weeks writing haiku poetry, I’ve been reading some as well. I started with Harold G. Henderson’s (what I am assuming to be) classic collection of Japanese haiku translations, An Introduction to Haiku. This was a good, quick entry into the origins and history of haiku, made fascinating by the realization of how ingrained poetry in general and haiku specifically is to Japanese culture.

What I’ve been enjoying most, though, are the issues of Scifaikuest I’ve bought over the past few years and never got around to reading. I’d never given much time to science fiction poetry before, and I’m finding myself amazed at the possibilities. It’s something I’m going to explore further.

As for my haiku, I realize that much of what I’ve been writing is kind of hackneyed, meeting the bare-minimum definition of haiku by doing little more than jamming words into a 5-7-5-syllable pattern. But it does feel good to be writing again. I’ve got a few more haiku books on my list, including collections, histories and how-tos. As I progress, I’d like to move into a more “modern” style of haiku writing with less emphasis on the syllable count and more focus on creating powerful images with minimal words. Thanks for taking this journey with me.

Haiku 40/100

a hard lesson learned

recreating lost haiku

is impossible

Haiku 39/100

haikus in progress
forgotten on my smartphone —

factory reset!

Shaving the best for… ah, forget it.

I was going through my archives today and ran into this little gem from 2003. The piece is titled, “The Luxury of Shaving,” and it was for the program guide for a trade show called New You (I have another article from that publication in my portfolio here). I remember this one being fun to write. My interviewees were happy to talk to me, people who loved their jobs. That’s always refreshing. Looking back on it, there’s no way I’d be able to write this article today without getting into the whole body-shaving phenomenon that’s sweeping the industry now.

According to archaeologists, men have shaved their faces for about 20,000 years. For much of that time, men had a simple choice to make before applying the shark tooth, flint blade or razor to their faces: soap or no soap.

Frank B. Shields changed the course of history when, in 1920, he invented Barbasol – the first “brushless shaving cream” to hit the market.

“Barbasol is one of the most recognized names in the shave industry,” says Janis Morgan, product manager at Perio Inc., current owners of Barbasol. “Since it went into the aerosol can, the formula has stayed pretty much the same.”

Shaving cream in an aerosol can was introduced in the 1950s. It would be over 20 years before shave gels, the next big thing in shaving, would come along to challenge the shave cream market.

Fast forward to the 21st century. A look at any department store, salon, or catalogue finds the once-simple shaving market evolving to a new level.

“There is a whole range of new products that men are looking for,” Ross Barclay says. Mr. Barclay is the proprietor of The Trafalgar Shop (www.trafalgarshop.com), an online store specializing in high-quality men’s grooming products. “They want natural products, a variety of fragrances, different styles of packaging, and they also have an eclectic selection.”

Mr. Barclay says that the most important factor in driving this new market is that men are starting to let a little luxury into their lives.

“Overhauling the shaving routine, which most men do every day, is a natural and straightforward place to start,” he says. “With a badger hair shaving brush, a British shaving cream and a few minutes of peace and quiet, it’s possible for a man to match the type of enjoyment women have been getting from things like facials or manicures.”

Brands such as Nivea and Neutrogena, enjoyed by women for years, have recently released skin care and shaving products for men. This is not only seen as proof that the market for luxury men’s shaving products has reached the mainstream, but it has also worked to raise awareness of other brands that may be hard to find.

“When a man tries one different product, he’ll usually start looking for others,” says Mr. Barclay. “A man may start with a heavily-advertised product and enjoy it, which will make him all the more likely to seek out and find similar manufacturers without advertising budgets.”

The growth of these higher-end shaving lines has not gone unnoticed by stalwarts such as Barbasol. A lot of boys grew up watching their dads work the foam from those rusty-bottomed cans into their faces before a shave, and Ms. Morgan says her company will use that brand recognition to expand its own line.

“I don’t know how soon that will be, but you’re always looking at what’s out there, what people are concerned with,” she says.

Still, there is room in the market for those who prefer to stick to tradition.

“Classic shave creams is a declining category,” says Ms. Morgan. “We are the only brand that is growing in sales in a declining category, which is amazing.”