Senryu


A senryu is a three-line unrhymed Japanese poem, structurally similar to the haiku, but treating human nature, usually ironically or satirically.  (Haiku are about sunsets and landscapes, for which, in the West, we have a limited tolerance.)


She’s like a good book:
One is avid but in a
Hurry to finish.


Life is where you can’t
Believe what your friends tell you
About your haircut.


Men prefer women’s
Bodies to their souls because
They change more slowly.


Poems are like farts:
Other people’s stink; one’s own
Have subtle perfume.


Going to the loo
At a party is like death:
No one misses you.


Was it Heraclitus
Who said you never
Get the same haircut twice?


My skills as a thief            
Have enabled me to steal
What belongs to me.


The library of
The inner self publishes
No glib synopsis.


So obscene in the
Strainer of biography,
The warm cheap detail.


The pointlessness of
Principles: to keep you from
Behaving badly.


Too frivolous, we
Are betrayed by our depths; too
Deep and we get bored.


Human risk, wretched
Human purity: nothing
Unsubtractable.


At least life is brief.
It holds your face in the shit
And then lets you go.


The moment we use
The word “vision” we are no
Longer persuaded.


Fifty-three years old
And I made it without kil-
Ling anybody.


Chaos eats outward
At the compact order in
The heart of chaos.


My daemon uses me
To read every book
I can get my hands on.


My vulgarity
Is all that stands between me
And my suicide.


Desperate thoughts, from the
Outside so beautiful, so
Ugly from within.


It was the poets
Who invented God, after
Which they swallowed him.


The avant-garde is
Founded on the fairy tale
That art moves forward.


Who has not changed channels
In belief that the
Broadcaster felt the blow?


I think of Homer
Or Shakespeare and I want to
Weep.  And some women.


Naiveté and
Cynicism: pups in the
Same noisy litter.


The laughing gods weren’t
Conscious of being gods.  That’s
How we got caught here.


Consciousness grazes,
A random velvet sweeping
Animal muzzle.


We seek the poet
Who’s right all the time, but who
Could bear to find him?


Like your own children,
You try to make artists in-
To yourself, and can’t.


With an adequate
Stomachic one has no need
Of philosophy.


The moment we have
A feeling it has always
Been exactly so.


We cannot transcend
Or identify ourselves.
Something prevents it.


What is poetry
But poverty?—the will in
Tight circumstances.


The serpent holds to
His lines, shouldering through the
Maze of his pattern.


Very pretty.  But
Imagine having to feel
That way all the time!


Oh, my fuck-eat-drink-
Swim-sleep-write-feel machine, do
Not abandon me!


The humiliating
Message: you can’t think
The thought that put you here.


Seducible high
Spirits meld with statements and
Are contradicted.


“Hah!” I shouted.  “I
Exist!”  “That,” said the uni-
Verse, “is your problem.”


Confession of a
Claustrophobic: character-
Ize life and I scream!


He descended into
Hell to write these things.
And it ain’t over yet.


Also by Robert MacLean:
Mortal Coil: A Comedy of Corpses at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon FR, Amazon DE, AmazonIT, AmazonES;
The President's Palm Reader: A Washington Comedy at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon FR, Amazon DE, AmazonIT, AmazonES;
and the Toby books: 
Foreign Matter at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon FR, Amazon DE, AmazonIT, AmazonES and Smashwords; 
Total Moisture at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon FR, Amazon DE, AmazonIT, AmazonES and Smashwords; 
The Cad at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon FR, Amazon DE, AmazonIT, AmazonES and Smashwords; and
Will You Please Fuck Off? at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon FR, Amazon DE, AmazonIT, AmazonES and Smashwords.

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