Musical Haiku Essay on the Theme of Snow and Consciousness

Currently, my favorite thing about the snow is that my dog loves it, and her favorite thing is when I make her a snowball, throw it, and it dissipates into the rest of the snow as it lands: a Very Good Puppy Mystery, and also a way I am teaching her about being-in-the-world and consciousness.

I am unearthing this one from the Very Good Haiku page, both so that it does not get lost in the sands of that experiment being over, and because it’s been about a year since my oldest friend in Chicago’s husband took his own life. He became the eighth person I’ve known to die by suicide or overdose in as many years (almost always in the winter), so I stayed up all night kind of processing it by crowd-sourcing songs people love about snow on Twitter and composing haiku of specific memories they have related to the song or my own thoughts and reflections if they did not supply one. What I wanted people to take away from these pieces is the feeling of being a part of something even though we were isolated in quarantine winter and absolutely abysmal sociopolitical and economic situations, as well as a sense that their lives matter, and that their memories are sacred–and unfortunately, the only place so many people we have loved live now. I also uncovered a photograph of the “memories are sacred” graffiti one haiku mentions, so I have updated this piece with photographic evidence of the best street art I have ever seen, before it got blasted off. Here it is out here on its own two feet for second pandemic winter, something I definitely did not anticipate.


If you have desired

to be buried with your love

then, I guess: you know.

First time listening

after his death, wondering

about his last snow.

Desperate backdrop

of NOR’EASTERS every week

for a month: JANDEK!!!!!!!!

Riding the M train,

two feet of snow drifts sideways.

Everything: copper.

Drums fall like strong snow:

tragedy and comedy,

“love you ’til the end.”

Note: This last line is what I *hear* in the chorus, not the actual lyrics. Most of the geniuses we love seem to die early of self-inflicted wounds.

Staring out windows

with my daughter, wondering

about what went wrong.

A night off, drawn out

by tavern fellowship’s glow–

egos checked in snow.

Love songs of: change, self,

the fathers who weren’t around,

those who held our truth.

A Minnesotan

locates this in Seattle,

a plow-less wasteland.

Very few Black folks

have composed songs about snow–


Note: Yes, please worship at the altar of that Galaxie 500 into Run the Jewels transition.

Grooving and dreaming,

consciousness unclarified,

making joyful noise.

Got fired on Thursday

from the CD/game exchange

where they paid in DISCS!

Sweet psilocybin

pyramid-shaped chocolates


Age 10, MTV’s

gorgeous music goddesses!!


Moving to Richmond

from NYC, I wonder

if the snow falls here?

Once a heckler yelled:

“PLAY THE SAD ONE!!!”–and he laughed,

laughed so fuckin’ hard!!!

Kate Bush is truly

snow’s greatest champion and

sonic cheerleader.

Very Important Note: I am the second greatest.

Perfectly captures

heavy snow on gigantic

pines from my window.

The best street art here

was blasted off: “MEMORIES

ARE SACRED,” it said.

Bascule bridge over South Branch Chicago River on Cermak Road, taken in 2016.

Fresh blizzard, downtown

Chapel Hill, empty campus

on repeat with plants.

Walking and singing

towards work, in the coldest

and wettest weather.

(English translation:)
A stick, a stone
It's the end of the road
It's the rest of a stump
It's a little alone

It's a sliver of glass
It is life, it's the sun
It is night, it is death
It's a trap, it's a gun

The oak when it blooms
A fox in the brush
A knot in the wood
The song of a thrush

The wood of the wind
A cliff, a fall
A scratch, a lump
It is nothing at all

It's the wind blowing free
It's the end of the slope
It's a beam, it's a void
It's a hunch, it's a hope

And the river bank talks
Of the waters of March
It's the end of the strain
The joy in your heart

The foot, the ground
The flesh and the bone
The beat of the road
A slingshot's stone

A fish, a flash
A silvery glow
A fight, a bet
The range of a bow

The bed of the well
The end of the line
The dismay in the face
It's a loss, it's a find

A spear, a spike
A point, a nail
A drip, a drop
The end of the tale

A truckload of bricks
In the soft morning light
The shot of a gun
In the dead of the night

A mile, a must
A thrust, a bump
It's a girl, it's a rhyme
It's a cold, it's the mumps

The plan of the house
The body in bed
And the car that got stuck
It's the mud, it's the mud

Afloat, adrift
A flight, a wing
A hawk, a quail
The promise of spring

And the riverbank talks
Of the waters of March
It's the promise of life
It's the joy in your heart

A stick, a stone
It's the end of the road
It's the rest of a stump
It's a little alone

A snake, a stick
It is John, it is Joe
It's a thorn in your hand
And a cut in your toe

A point, a grain
A bee, a bite
A blink, a buzzard
A sudden stroke of night

A pin, a needle
A sting, a pain
A snail, a riddle
A wasp, a stain

A pass in the mountains
A horse and a mule
In the distance the shelves
Rode three shadows of blue

And the riverbank talks
Of the waters of March
It's the promise of life
In your heart, in your heart

A stick, a stone
The end of the road
The rest of a stump
A lonesome road

A sliver of glass
A life, the sun
A knife, a death
The end of the run

And the riverbank talks
Of the waters of March
It's the end of all strain
It's the joy in your heart


Much adored by my

dead lover–February

was too long and hard.

A civil war in

the people we most need here:

everyone loses.

Always reminds me

of early winter, teenaged,

Chicago’s North Shore.

Note: All haikus composed from human memories relating to snow and sound, mostly sourced via Twitter!



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