How precious and rare
to be born in a human body
even angels lust.

Pain is a flower
most folks pull from their garden
thinking it common

Miracles do not blossom
in the intense heat
of skepticism.

Some pain is torture.
Some, pleasure.  The difference?
How I ask for it.

A rose with no thorns
is a teacher with no truth
a bowl with no food.

Inside every rock
a silent Buddha waiting
for the stone carver.

On the Canyon’s rim
feeling a strange urge to leap,
wife holding my hand.

If you smell ozone
and your hair stands on end
move away from the edge.

We’ve gone far enough
when the loudest sound is
a horsefly buzzing.

Resting in backseat
dirty clothes for my pillow
million-dollar view.

One bottle of beer.
Cold macaroni and cheese.
I miss my girlfriend.

No time to shower?
Relax.  Just take your clothes off.
I will lick you clean.

An empty stomach
knows no love. Hold your dreams close.
A hope sandwich. Eat.

Don’t feel sorry for me.
Yeah, I could have been something.
Became someone instead.

Do you have the time?
I don’t.  Give me some of yours.
I’ll pay you back later.

If airplanes used leaves
instead of two silver wings
then Fall would be Flight.

Wake up. Brush my teeth.
Go to work. Fight. Collect my pay.
Come home. Eat. Sleep. Dream.

Eyes brimming with joy.
Promises in your arms. Heart
like a credit card.

Delicious Pearls

Selections from a new collection of romantic haiku.

Deep in the moist earth
all the bright flowers of spring
already exist.

Silky winter air.
Invisible cloud. Perfume.
Never know her name.

The fruit fears falling
because it does not listen
to the seed inside.

Black pen?  Or blue?  Both.
Today I recall great pain
and bruise these pages.

You gossip and say
nothing.  You remain silent
and say everything.

Now we drink champagne.
Soon, we will drink each other
and stay drunk for years.

A delicious pearl
rests in cradle between thighs.
The ocean is deep.


POET’S NOTE: Technically, most of these poems are Senriyu, not Haiku.  A Senriyu is any poem of 17 syllables.  A traditional Haiku is not only short, but also includes a reference to Nature, the season, and some hint of time passing.  In Japanese, Haiku are often much shorter than 17 syllables, as they use rhythm rather than syllables as their measure. –CEE

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CHARLES EKABHUMI ELLIK is a poet, artist, husband, student and teacher of Classical Tantrik Hatha Yoga. He is the Youth Programs Director for Yoga Mandala in Berkeley, CA., where he also teaches adult classes and displays paintings. A former Options Broker, he quit finance to produce poetry events full-time in 1999, when his team of poets won the National Poetry Slam. Co-founder of the Berzerkeley Poetry Slam, poets he coached have since won numerous national and regional titles. In 2007, he became the national Head 2 Head Haiku champion, and in 2009 he chaired the Home City Committee of the Individual World Poetry Slam. He has performed and taught in numerous theaters, universities, bars, and living rooms across North America and Britain. His poems and artworks have appeared in several publications. In 2010 he retired from producing poetry events to focus on producing sacred art and teaching. When not writing, painting, or practicing Yoga, he can be found in his garden learning directly from nature.

Tux photo by Betsy Gomez. Headshot by Nancy Rothstein.

9 responses to “Haikus”

  1. Jessica Blau says:

    Great poems Charles–I especially like cold mac and cheese one!

  2. Zara Potts says:

    Simply gorgeous.

  3. Judy Prince says:

    Charles, you knocked me out with these:

    “How precious and rare
    to be born in a human body
    even angels lust.

    Pain is a flower
    most folks pull from their garden
    thinking it common

    Miracles do not blossom
    in the intense heat
    of skepticism.

    Some pain is torture.
    Some, pleasure. The difference?
    How I ask for it.

    A rose with no thorns
    is a teacher with no truth
    a bowl with no food.

    Inside every rock
    a silent Buddha waiting
    for the stone carver.

    On the Canyon’s rim
    feeling a strange urge to leap,
    wife holding my hand.

    If you smell ozone
    and your hair stands on end
    move away from the edge.

    We’ve gone far enough
    when the loudest sound is
    a horsefly buzzing.

    Resting in backseat
    dirty clothes for my pillow
    million-dollar view.

    One bottle of beer.
    Cold macaroni and cheese.
    I miss my girlfriend.

    No time to shower?
    Relax. Just take your clothes off.
    I will lick you clean.”

    ——–

    Hard- and joy-won wisdoms from a master!

    Welcome to TNB, and continue to enlighten us; we love it!

  4. Kobbler says:

    Oh score. My favorite things: Berkeley Poetry Slam and TNB. This is rad.

  5. Jude says:

    Just lovely.

  6. Quite inspiring, Charles. I definitely wouldn’t want to go head to head with you in a haiku slam. Peace.

  7. milo martin says:

    Charles
    if brevity is the soul of wit
    you are the outer soul from within…

    and from one grisled poetry organizer
    to another
    thank you for all that you have done
    to elevate OUR art
    to help to assemble a bona fide rebirth
    in the late 20th/early 21st Century…

    a Namaste bow to you, brother…
    truly,
    Milo

  8. Gloria says:

    My favorites here are the canyon’s edge and the horsefly. Really beautiful.

  9. Trey says:

    My favorite was:

    The fruit fears falling
    because it does not listen
    to the seed inside.

    Beautiful encapsulation of the fear and promise of change.

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