“A Few Haiku (36)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

(#211)

the empty cistern
my poetry garden dies
in this wordless drought

…..

(#212)

that cur depression
skulks on the periphery
hyper-vigilant

…..

(#213)

thoughts bereft of words
prisoners inside my head
silent penitence

…..

(#214)

desiccated soul
slakes its thirst from murky meres
roams my sunless mind

…..

(#215)

mental exhaustion
I can no longer pretend
everything is fine

…..

(#216)

parts of me have died
that no one will ever know
nor will ever mourn

56 thoughts on ““A Few Haiku (36)”

    1. Thanks, David. I’m struggling with some things at the moment. Trying to work through them. It’s been so hard to think, much less write, lately. Thanks for your concern. It means a lot to me. “Lance the wound, purge the poison,” right? πŸ™‚

      Liked by 6 people

    1. Thanks, Jeff. It’s been awhile since I posted any poetry. I suppose this stuff had to come out one way or another. Spring cleaning, perhaps? Sorting through some old boxes of dark junk in the attic, you could say. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Peggy, for such a beautiful comment I’m grateful for your kindness and compassion. WordPress has some wonderful folks who are so supportive. I truly appreciate it. πŸ™‚

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    1. Thanks so much, Grace. I’ve been out of it for a while, just lying low, not posting or commenting, just ensconced in my cocoon. I’ve missed the interactions with the wonderful people here such as yourself who are always so kind and encouraging. I go through periods where my depression rages and it’s about all I can do to just hunker down for a while. I’m so grateful for your kindness, my friend. Thanks a bunch. πŸ™‚

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      1. So glad to hear from you, my friend. Sorry you are experiencing a rough time right now. Sending you tons of love , peace and brightness. I hope you leave your cocoon soon. You are very missed. Much love to you.πŸ’•πŸ™πŸ’•

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Michelle. I’m getting by, I suppose. My depression is always there, but now and then it rears its hideous head and barks at me for a while, you know? I have to retreat for a bit and wait it out. Writing about it helps, as does counseling. My poetry in general always seems to be sad or depressing. The tears of my soul, I suppose. Anyway, I always appreciate your comments and kindness. Thanks so much. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks. I appreciate your kindness and encouragement. I’ve been dealing with major depression all my life. It’s always there, but sometimes it becomes unbearable and I just have to hunker down for a time. I’ve learned a lot over eleven years of therapy, but it looks like this is a marathon rather than a sprint, so there will be times when things get worse. I truly appreciate your kind words. It means a lot to me to know there are such wonderful people in this world. Thank you so much. πŸ™‚

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  1. These are wonderful pieces, revealing struggle in its entirety. Mike how’ve you been? I’ve missed you my friend. I was even worried and took to your contact page to send an inquiry message on your status but it didn’t work, so i just left a message on your previous post. I’m so happy to see you back, buddy! πŸ€—

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey, Lamittan, mi amigo. I saw and replied to your comment on another of my posts. I don’t know why the Contact page didn’t function properly (another wonderful blogger friend reached me that way). I just hit a wall recently and needed to stop everything for a while. My mind has been empty, devoid of inspiration and words, and my tap was dry. I worry when this occurs because I have experience with writer’s block–I once went twenty years without writing anything, so it’s always a fear of mine when the tank empties. The depression is a life-long companion, a guest who won’t leave, as it were, and I find myself in these dark places periodically where nothing seem to matter anymore and everything is bleak and hopeless. My counselor recommended I try writing a sort of “purge poem” to unclog the drains. I penned a piece a few days ago, just venting about things, and it was really negative and self-berating, but it was important to try to determine what was causing the block (it boils down to self-esteem issues, problems I face on a daily basis, a sense of hopelessness and powerlessness to “change the world” with my words, etc.). I won’t publish that piece–it was too harsh on myself–but I wanted to see if I could squeeze out a few haiku/senryu to see what might happen. These are dark, for sure, but it was a relief to put some words together. Words are like Legos–when you put them together, you can create beautiful things, but when you step on them bare-footed, they can hurt like crazy, you know? πŸ˜€ Anyway, it’s a day-to-day thing for me. At my age, I know there’s no magic pill to cure my depression or other problems. Management is the only option. Thanks so much, my friend, for thinking of me and reaching out. I truly appreciate you, Lamittan. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh I understand you, man. Depression can sometimes be harrying and horrible. I just pray you manage it. And yes, writing helps. Just keep posting and engaging with us here please. Even if it is a single poem or photo or just a quote, whatever comes into your mind, just give it to us. I find it relieving when I write and when I read. And you just said you stopped writing for 20years! That was quite a long time, sir!! Oh i just pray it won’t happen to you again. Your works are much-needed, by me – to speak for myself. They inspire my creativity and teach me certain values of living. Imagine it! We’re like worlds apart physically, yet your works and presence touch me so much that I can feel your absence. Welcome back, buddy. You’re one of the best in this community. πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸ‘

        Liked by 1 person

    2. It’s such a humbling honor to know my writing and photography inspire you. Needless to say, I feel the same way about your writing. Thanks, my friend, for your words of support and encouragement. I truly am deeply humbled. I agree with you–it’s such a strange and unique thing to have a bond with someone half a world a way, different continent, country and culture, through the magic of writing. I’m thankful for this bond. I’ll remember to do my best to keep current with posting, even if it’s something small. I’m amazed at this WP community. Such kindness among strangers, such acceptance and encouragement and support, and friendships for the making. Thanks, Lamittan. WordPress is a better place for your presence. πŸ™‚ *tips cap*

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      1. You’re most welcome, dear Mike. And thank you too for always showing kindness. Your words have reached the deep of my soul and left a mark of gratitude and love. You’re a great person and I will always remember you in this great community. And you’re right, people here, though located in faraway places, are as close as a family. I’m glad we feel the same about this. Thank you again and have a wonderful week ahead, my friend. 😊

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  2. You’ve been on my mind so I came on here tonight to see how you’re doing. Thank you for expressing how you’re feeling so beautifully. What came to mind is “you need to feel it to heal it” and you’re doing that beautifully. Thanks for turning the poison into poetry. You’re not alone ❀️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much, Melissa. “You need to feel it to heal it” is such an apt take on things. I tend to be emotionally numb in many ways due to a lot of things in my past, and I find myself slipping into these murky meres of mine when I’m unable or unwilling to “feel” what’s going on in my head. I’ve had some bad reactions in the past to uncovering trauma (PTSD treatment using EMDR therapy) and it’s scary to try to feel with my heart what’s going on in my mind, you know? The pain can be soul-crushing. So, things hit a wall now and then and I must focus on feeing things again, not just thinking about them. I feel frustrated that at my age, and with eleven years of therapy under my belt, I still don’t have life figured out, but that’s just me being hard on myself. Self-care and self-compassion are things I must keep working on, and writing–feeling–things is a good way of dealing with them. I’m honestly humbled by your concern and I want you to know how much it means to me. Your kindness is a wonderful balm, and I appreciate your words so much. Thanks again. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hi Mike – sorry for my delayed response, just now seeing your reply… I can relate so much to how you’re feeling and what you’ve been through. It’s not always easy to navigate the dense energies of the human experience and I understand about PTSD and wanting to sometimes jump out of our bodies to get away from the pain. Just remember to breathe deeply and trust in the perfection of the design that on some level our souls are responsible for. We’ll get through this and one day look back and wonder why it all seemed so challenging. ❀️

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Thanks, Melissa, for your wise words of support and encouragement. I truly appreciate you and your kindness. It means a lot to me. and I’m very grateful. Thanks so much. πŸ™‚

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    1. Thanks, Filipa. I welcome your kindness with an open heart. I appreciate your support so much. Writing really does help, even if what makes it to paper or screen is painful and sorrowful. Thanks so much for shining your light of compassion my way. It truly means a lot to me. πŸ™‚

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  3. Reading these again and again because I cannot seem to pick the one that I can relate to the most. These are special, Mike. It may sound a little morbid as these could be coming from a painful place, but the beauty and power in these words is undeniable. Your words are magic! May you feel better soon. Take care.

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    1. Thanks so much, Aaysid. Sometimes pain is an inspiration like no other. For me, it seems nothing really cobbles the words together in my head like pain and sorrow do. Sorrowful haiku and senryu are like tears. They’re droplets of pain that fall on the page and splatter in unique patterns. When I’m feeling like I can’t think, let alone write, it’s haiku and senryu that have served to help me get things out of my head. I think the brevity of this format is what causes it to cut so deeply at times, those quick dagger-like jabs into the heart and soul. And no worries about any notion of morbidity–I understand what you mean and I can find beauty in painful poetry, too (Sylvia Plath is my favorite poet, and her work is brutally painful at times). I appreciate your kind words so much. It means a lot to me to know you find something worthwhile in what I write and that my words may resonate with you. And thanks for the kind well wishes. I’m sorry I’ve been absent and have missed a few of your recent posts, but I’ll get to them and I look forward to reading them. Thanks again, my friend. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s a beautiful description of senryu and haiku, Mike. Sylvia Plath is one of my favourites too. I read her poetry collection, Ariel, last year and I couldn’t get it out of my head for a few days. No worries about missing the posts, Mike. I truly appreciate your feedback on my posts, but I fully understand that when we are doing whatever we need to do to fix things, everything else can wait. Looking forward to your posts as well. 😊

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  4. β€˜mental exhaustion
    I can no longer pretend
    everything is fine’
    I’m going through this now along with physical exhaustion. It is terrible. And the last one is my personal anthem. Sorrow is beautiful when you put it into words, Mike. Bravo!πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry to hear you’re going through this as well, Terveen. It really is terrible. I’m pulling for you from across the sea, halfway around the world, sending you hope just as other WordPress folks have sent to me. You’re not alone. I’ve been trying to put on a happy face for a long time and it doesn’t last for me. The paint fades, the elastic string snaps and the mask falls off and all that’s left is sorrow. I hope you can find a way to recharge and regroup. I’m glad my painful writing comes across in beautiful form to you. I, too, see a strange, poignant beauty in sorrow, and I think it’s the unvarnished tears of the heart and soul. We may have pain no one will ever know or understand, but we also have the sun, the moon, the trees, the sea, and friends who listen and lift us up when we’re down. You have a friend in Colorado, USA who’s sending you warmth and light today (free of charge! Yay!). Here’s hoping both of us find our ways again. Thanks for your kindness as always, Terveen. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your words are priceless, Mike. I can’t thank you enough for them. And wishing, praying, and hoping that you are able to gather the scattered pieces and push forward with passion, excitement, faith, belief, joy, tears, and much needed moments of reflection and contemplation. There’s a gal rooting for you here in India. And she knows that you are going to overcome all your difficulties and pour your soul into the beautiful words that spill from your heart and mind. We’ve got this and that’s what makes us who we are. Crazy and invincible. Haha! Waiting for more posts from you. πŸ™‚

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    2. Many thanks, Terveen. Your kindness knows no bounds. I suppose you’re correct: our sorrows and imperfections make us who we are. I’ve heard it said that our cracks allow the light to shine in, but perhaps those cracks also allow or own light to shine out onto other people. I appreciate you, and it’s good to know someone understands. Thanks so much, my friend. This community is such a good place to be. Stay strong and keep writing! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I do resonate with you on this and I’m glad you are putting out on words, they are the best place to let it all out and be ourselves, a place to free our burdens. This is a piece where one struggles and the battle is fought within themself but I am sure there is a light out there to shine through. Take care my friend, you are loved by all of us and I am thrilled to read your post. πŸ™‚

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    1. Thanks so much, Daphny. You’re right–sometimes we need to release our pain, and written words are the perfect instrument for doing so. When I struggle with writer’s block, it’s usually because of negative feelings about myself that have risen to the surface again and clogged up everything.; Sometimes it takes a hard plunging to get through the mess, you know? I’m stunned at the outpouring of kindness in response to these six little haiku… I was just trying to find my way to the light again, and suddenly I find myself surrounded by the best people imaginable, expressing concern and love and encouragement. I’m not accustomed to this, but it feels really good. This community is amazing, and it’s because of people like you and others who have replied here. Thanks so much, my friend, for your kindness. You all have made an indelible impact on my life. I appreciate you, Daphny. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This community is indeed amazing and filled with lots of great people with a very kind heart. Aww.. It is a great pleasure of mine my friend, I’m glad to have met great souls as you.
        So did you Mike, you’ve had a great impact in mine as well πŸ€—

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  6. such a wonderful compilation Mike. Life has it’s struggles and we’re all feeling it now as well. It permeates some of my days and I plow through like we all do. Love your haiku’s expressed so raw and honestly/ πŸ’–

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    1. Thanks a bunch, Cindy. I agree–this is a really harsh time for everyone, and honestly, national and world events are part of the reason I’ve struggled so much lately. There are so many things going wrong and I feel powerless to effect any positive change. I think any writer has a secret (or perhaps not so secret) desire to change the world with words, and when that doesn’t happen, the sense of failure and futility can be overwhelming. In my case, I tend to look at the mountain as a whole–as one enormous obstacle–rather than taking one step at a time to mount its summit. Words can have a positive effect in ways we can’t comprehend when we write them. Of course, there’s the personal issues I face everyday that contribute to the darkness of depression, and now and then I just need to hunker down for a while in silence. These haiku are raw and unpleasant but there’s a therapeutic element in lancing wounds to drain the poison. Depression really, really sucks. I’m glad I have some words to use to fight it, and I’m grateful for the people in this community who care so much for a random fellow in Colorado who writes painful haiku. Thanks so much, Cindy. I really appreciate you and your kindness. πŸ™‚

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      1. Oh Mike it is my pleasure and I so much appreciate your open and honest heart in expression and truth. I think people would be fooling themselves if they didn’t register how what’s happening in the world is affecting them. It’s palpable and we can’t push it under the rug. While we can know the deeper meaning and truth this is not ok and everyone deals with their coping methods differently. It’s so sad and I have a hard time too.
        I’m so happy you are sharing your truth and it is helping. You have a lot of gits and your work is touching. Thanks for sharing your wonderful haikus. They are sad but I so agree with you, releasing the hold on you makes so much better and healing. I salute your your honest and courageous work and going inside and releasing it. πŸ’–πŸ’–

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  7. Mike, thank you for the honest and beautiful expression of your thoughts and feelings in these haiku . For me, the last haiku captured the sense of total aloneness I sometimes feel in a way nothing else I’ve ever read has and paradoxically, since reading it I feel less alone.

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    1. Thanks so much, Joan. These were painful to write, but sometimes it feels as though I have no choice–I simply must get these feelings out of my head and heart. I think the brevity of the haiku/senryu format really helps to distill the feelings down to their most basic essence, and makes the excision of pain more surgical and precise (and helps it hurt less). That last one…yes, it really does have such a profoundly lonely feel to it. So much of life is deeply personal, and no one ever knows everything that’s in our hearts, so when parts of us die, they die in silence and solitude and we can be left feeling alone and abandoned. Sometimes it’s even impossible to articulate the loss or why it hurts so much. I’m so sorry you’ve felt these emotions, too, and at the same time, I’m heartened by the fact that reading this one left you feeling less alone. We all share a kinship through our hidden pain, and expressing our deepest thoughts can help us feel that basic human bond with one another. Your kind words mean so much to me, Joan. Thanks for such a nice comment, and know you’re not alone. πŸ™‚

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    1. You’re too kind, Saima. πŸ™‚ I can’t tell you how wonderful your comment makes me feel. These six haiku were difficult to write, but they’ve shown me there are people who care. I appreciate you so much. Your support is invaluable to me. Thank you so much. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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