Bricolage, Shmicolage – Haikubes will change your life


Dear reader, I am very excited! Thanks to a generous friend, I am now in possession of the secret at the heart of modern (and postmodern) poetry composition : Haikubes !

Take an oddly proscribed set of words, print them on the faces of 61 dice-like cubes (giving each cube one blank face into the bargain), use two extra cubes to produce a writing prompt (e.g. ‘a tirade about’….’my family’), shake, stir, compose in the time-honoured 5-7-5 format, et voila !

For years I have puzzled at my inability to produce work with the opaque, gnomic quality I see everywhere in journals and award-winning collections. Now I know I am not a failure, I simply lacked the correct tools. Happy days! My future is suddenly assured.

First Forays

Here are my favourites from my adventures in Haikubes so far. I have removed the writing prompt information for each poem as I think this satisfyingly increases the obscurity level.

Your fantasy screwed.
Thunder calls over a dead
body : stay inside

This journey home looks
smooth. I travel as a wise
biting finger point.

My god eats his charm.
His smooth lurid cheeks must love
the precious surface.

Pluck what the flock left,
that mouthful of sweet, spat leaves
we shape sleep behind.

Dead moonlight dripping
right into your livid room,
we switch promises.

Before your sour nerve
slips behind you  I switch it
for full, wise watching.

One brother happy ;
next dancing. My empty hand
a return of peace.

She sang her doctor :
Waste, et cetera…
Window too, please. There.

A following grace
Light under the swimming pool
We, last of many

All the way and then some

I even did a sequence where I attempted to use every Haikube. They get sillier as the sequence goes on and the pool of available words shrinks. At the end I had four words left, which I made into a three word poem with a one word title at the end.

Haikube exhaust sequence

It looks logical,
his science of ritual.
Desperate spiral.

Clever stick torture
leaves me flying home ugly,
lips under water

Screwed, I consume peace,
mouthing a villain moonlight;
revolting the heart

He hoped to shiver
through our wild candy surface.
Fortune slips. Sleep, baby.

Cover smooth fortune
with slimy et cetera.
Who sang next ?


Next generation

And then, my five year old went beyond us all: ‘I’m going to compose a nothing poem, mummy’. And he made a robot shape out of the blank faces of nine Haikubes. Is that the ultimate embodiment of ‘the failure to mean’, or what ? Clearly time to pass the baton and stand well back. Oh, and he called it ‘Robot 1’.


But have you considered …?

Don’t think I haven’t noticed that some of the above works are actually quite interesting. This post is not entirely satirical in intent. But am I really the author of these poems, and are they really literature ?? We need a few footnotes to deal with that one (and at least one mention each of Ern Malley and Bricolage).

Language Warning

I should also give a heads-up to any readers considering purchasing their own secret poetry career supercharge weapon….I mean…box of Haikubes, that some of the words are quite filthy. The game is clearly designed to be played between wine time and bedtime. For a further discussion of this aspect of Haikubes, see here.

Your Turn

Whatever their literary and theoretical status, I think we can all agree that Haikubes are fun. Why not try composing your own, and leave them in the comments below ?