Needles and Tears


needles and tears

the only bright sparks of life

below rotting skylines


crime trampled so thin

it learns to grin like an x-ray


he rents a stool

where the cheap signals are loud

waiting hunched, bewildered


nothing is so tactful

as a stalker’s tactful hate


on stage she shows

a blonde aura of solemn marble,

a glazed closeness


lonely masks are hung up

she whispers to non-entities


their blood squirms –

her heart has small hands, clutching

silent assassins


he sees bloody particles

of the moon and howling beds


fuelled full of goodbyes,

all love tastes of questions –

he sees no remedy


he stands with the scattered rhythms

of a dying man’s heels


lurching from the bar

he greets the carcass of the night

under creeping stars


shadows excuse excuses

where night’s coiled to a cold trap


collar turned up,

her breath makes cryptic ghosts

as winter kissed her mouth


she whistles, unsuspecting

though stray dogs hear his fists clench


in puddles and piss

in sour struggles, they meet –

like the last dregs of sex


passers-by pass them by

in the trivial night


then look askance

where roses of powder-burns

draw circusing flies


This poem was written for Carpe Diem Ghost Writer #36, Haiku Noir, in which Jen of Blog It Or Lose It asked us to write a “haiku noir”, inspired by Raymond Chandler. This is another great prompt hosted by Chèvrefeuille at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai and all of the poems in the link-up can be read here. Although I wrote this as a direct response to the prompt I haven’t added it to the link-up since, having got carried away, I realise I went in a slightly different direction to “haiku that explores the darker parts of nature – nature at the dirty edges of humanity.” Ah well, you gotta go where the inspiration takes you, right 🙂


7 thoughts on “Needles and Tears

  1. I was wondering why you weren’t at the linkup — but really, you ought to reconsider, because it’s brilliant. Take this part, for instance — “collar turned up, / her breath makes cryptic ghosts / as winter kissed her mouth” — a moment of beauty amid the horror. And I was really impressed with “stray dogs hear his fists clench”. Your “solo renga” makes me think of a stalker’s evening, condensed into a slide show. I’m trying to decide who “snuffed it” — can make a case for either of them. Anyway you look at it, though, it’s really very good.

    • Okey doke, it’s added to the link-up 🙂 One of my pet peeves is when people ride completely roughshod over a prompt. I mean, I like to see the prompt attacked from different angles but unless there’s a valid connection it just seems kind of rude, y’know?

      It wasn’t until I’d finished writing and re-read the post that I noticed the emphasis on “the darker parts of nature” and thought “hmm pretty much skipped that,,,” But as long as the Guest Writer thinks it fits, that’s fine 😉

      Glad you enjoyed it. The dog and the puddles I think came from reading an interesting post of Chèvrefeuille’s, Passing Through, where he talked about imagining the scene of the haiku.

      • I know what you mean. There are people who look at the prompt and say, “whatever”, and write things completely off-the-wall. This wasn’t completely about nature but I did see connections and it was done really well. 🙂

    • Yes, the challenge was to hint at enough of a narrative to keep up the momentum. So, I’m pleased if it seems to have worked in that regard. Thanks, Bjorn.

  2. Yep, I certainly got carried away a little – coming from writing fiction to haiku, all Jen’s talk about Raymond Chandler started me thinking in terms of plot, I suppose 🙂

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