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THF Monthly Kukai Voting Ballot July 2020

This month’s theme:
social justice

Voting for The Haiku Foundation Monthly Kukai

Shortly after the conclusion of the submission period, an anonymous ballot comprising all submitted poems on that month’s theme will be posted to Troutswirl (The Haiku Foundation blog) on the THF site. Any reader of this ballot is eligible to vote for their favorite poems at this time. A voter may vote for up to five (5) poems per theme. A top vote will receive 5 points, a second-place vote 4 points, a third-place vote 3 points, a fourth-place vote 2 points, and a fifth-place vote 1 point.

Please use the Kukai voting form below to enter your selections, and then press Submit to cast your votes. No other votes will be recognized or honored. All votes must be signed (that is, no “anonymous” votes will be accepted, and the Submit button will not be available until both Name and Email fields are filled in), and no poet may vote for his or her own work. No commentary upon the poems will be accepted or published. Votes will be accepted from the appearance of the ballot on the 18th of that month through midnight of the 24th of that month. Readers may vote only once per ballot. Administrators of the kukai are ineligible to vote.

The Ballot

1a little boy
washed up on foreign shores
. . . all lives matter
2a river enters a river gender neutral
3a single drop
slides down her hot cheek
– food bank line
4another lockdown morning
more new bird songs –
other lives matter
violation of their rights
a fallen beehive.
6Big problems to solve
Our plates often piled too high,
Sacrifice required
the shadows between
8black clouds rolling . . .
the light over the raised hands
above the masked faces
9bowing together
to the wild wind
leaves of grass
open to the sky . . .
11city beggar
the faded tattoo
only skin deep
12closed poppy
I re-examine
my blind I
13coloured maid’s lower pay
for not being a white male
did god make us equal ?
14constantly changing
the migration paths –
passive-aggressive moon
15cookies and lemonade . . .
children ask us to pay what we can for
Black Lives Matter
16corona springtime
opens old discrepancies
to new awareness
17counting the spikes
of his barbed wire tattoo –
so many lost years
18court room . . .
how white the shirt
of the rapist
19court room . . .
the new shape
of an old bruise
20crowded protest . . .
a single child
holds his own hand
21deprived area
the rubbish bins
22double rainbow
she counts out
six shrimp each
23equal rights:
the same penumbral
lunar eclipse
24even in full sunlight . . . always too dark
25falling statues the gravity of conscience
26feeding the pigeons
off his bread wedge
the beggar in the corner
legal and not
blaring squad car
28first day of school
the teacher cuts an apple
into twelve parts
29five star restaurant –
scribbled on the man’s sign
“Money for food, please”
30food desert
the last banana
sliced four ways
31food kitchen
black beans, white rice
served together
the lines
on her face
33forgone vows, flesh fuels
hatred of misconstrued truths
burn the past anew
34free education –
girls get
a new laptop
35from the hilltop camp
the stuffed chair lands
upside down
36he ignores them
marching on television
not his problem
37his eyes
in constant motion
black jogger
38honour killing
the stuffing spills out
of the tattered doll
39hot summer nights
the dream that refuses
to let me sleep
40in the beach’s midday sun
the tourist sweats –
the vendor too
41in the classroom –
sharing the globe
with a refugee
42in the colored drawings,
children’s nightmares
Scenes of the “favela”
43in the holy land
all are welcome
but the oppressed ones
showers of Sinter Klaas peppernuts
everywhere in Holland
45kohl lined eyes
grandma still can’t see
black is beautiful
46little boy
carrying his sign
let me live
47lockdown lifted –
vowing to murder
the cereal browser
48many people
many races
One family
49marine layer
     dry coughs from
   the homeless camp
50marshy land……..
                                       withered teak leaves –
                                       beneath, creeping cobra
51maybe I need him tomorrow sunbeam in a jar
52mercy me
everyone deserves
the blue sky
53misty morning
the babel of office cleaners
at the end of their shift
no longer counting
the zeroes
55monsoon shower . . .
my goldfish from a bowl
back to the pond
56Mountain laurel and
dogwood blooming – bloodstain teardrops on every white petal
57my fist
old and white but raised
with yours
58national anthem
a white cop takes a knee
on a black man’s neck
59nature holds the key
to equal opportunities –
all flowers bloom
autistic lives denied
61night school the lingering weight of gunny sacks
62no longer guarding
the defunct statue –
dead-headed iris
63no sticks or stones
hate graffiti
hits the target
64not (just) a frozen water: (ice)
65old man’s blood weeps red
passing badges look away
now the world sees all
66older cars
filled with all their possessions
         children and dogs
67on a gator’s back an egret preens midday sun
68pass the file
midday meals –
69patriot statue
a bronze head
rolls to a stop
how social  change
spans lifetimes
71Privilege is blind.
Disparity encircles.
Justice is amiss.
72racism –
the child draws a white rose
with a black pencil
73rapist challenges
his death sentence
she dies a hundred times each day
74refugee camp
a family shares
their last injera
75refugee shelter
a few little boys invoke
all the Marvel heroes
a fallen bough
let’s go snail
77rich or poor
we need to understand
this earth is shared
78right field
we all view the same game
through the chain link fence
79seahorse moon
the way he is left
holding the babies
80She works fifteen hours
on her feet – Starbucks, Walgreens –
and smiles all day long.
81sidewalk poppies the stains that won’t fade
82sleep won’t come –
winter rain on the roof
of my car
83social injustice . . .
the cure must start
with me
84social justice
in the Eurasian jay’s pupil
85social justice
keynote speaker’s talk
shapes the mask
86social Justice –
through the needle hole
only the elephant
87songbirds mute
as eyes probe for their nest –
they dare not protest
88survival technique –
a woman gorging with dogs
from a garbage dump.
89tears in eyes
the refugee girl wipes
the cloud
91the crowding
potted on the deck
black petunias
92the hateful
of the knee is a new noose
93the homeless man
strokes the poster model
chilling breeze
94The hot dog vendor.
(Make me one with everything.)
The panhandler.
95the ICE cream man
handing out
96the parent bird
feeds each open mouth
enough, so simple
97through a hole
in the pocket – the narcan
I never used
98through razor wire
the refugee boy’s
thin shadow
99thrown out of the palace
by his son –
the land grabber
100toasting with wine
from the same hand
man and mosquito
101tribal man
each foot in a puddle
under a scorching sun
102urban summer
no child should pray
for less thirst
103voter fraud –
I plead guilty
to impostor syndrome
104waiting room TV
the protest for social justice
running on mute
105wheat field
this black child grew up
don’t shoot
106when weeds
can be proud
to not be roses
to not be weeds
107white privilege
at the bird feeder
albino squirrel
108Who made the call
About man walking in peace
Then shot on the back
109winding river –
bridges are better
than walls
110Zero Discrimination Day
the broadcast assistant hums
“Black or white”

Kukai Results

On the first day of the following month, results of the tally of the kukai will be announced. The top vote-getters as voted by readers will be posted, along with the number of points each poem tallied, and each poem’s authorship will be revealed at this time. Winners will be invited to select from a list of prizes provided by The Haiku Foundation. The theme for the new month will be announced at the same time, and the process repeated. Poems remain the copyrighted property of their authors, but The Haiku Foundation reserves the right to publish, display and archive all submitted poems for this and other purposes at its discretion.

Congratulations to all our participants!


This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Dear Alan Summers,
    I’m sorry to answer you briefly, but, as I told you, I don’t speak well your native language. It is your right to believe in the precepts of cognitive biology and you „consider that humans are just part of the overall animal collective”.
    There are other theories in the field, just as attractive. People can also be cosmic, religious beings etc and I agree that they must preserve their humanity in all circumstances.
    From the fact that I have expressed an opinion on writing a haiku, you cannot suggest that I love less the animals and plants, that I am an inter-species racist and that I believe that humans are above all other life forms on the planet. It’s too much !
    I agree with the concept of “universal justice” for the human species and co-species on earth, which you use here. I hope you are also thinking about the mineral regnum !
    I enjoy your declared bio-activism, but I have been practicing this for a long time in my world.
    Best regards,
    Dan Iulian

    1. Dear Dan Iulian,
      No worries and thank you for your response. The great thing about haikai poetry, for many, whether readers or writers or both is that we get to look closely, and appreciate all living things.
      I hope you enjoyed my commentary a few years back, as judge of THE IAFOR VLADIMIR DEVIDÉ
      HAIKU AWARD, which forms part of The International Academic Forum (IAFOR) conference each year?
      The International Academic Forum (IAFOR):
      deepest respect,

  2. I „live” in another language and I don’t speak English well enough to make polemic dispute. I use Google translate . I agree with your wikipedia or dictionary definitions (and not only !) for social (in) justice. Indeed, many of the haikus follow the proposed theme of the kukai. However, social justice refers to people, not the animal or plant regnum, in which many haikus are circumscribed. At the limit, we can discover there are in some haikus allusions, aphoristic attempts to the theme, fabulistic (in)justice applied to animals and plants etc. However, haiku is simplicity, par excellence, it does not allow linguistic, metaphysical eccentricities etc ….. here is what I tried to say … I could go on, but I hope you get the idea.

    1. .
      Dear Dan Iulian
      Thank you for your extensive reply, it is deeply appreciated.
      I personally consider that humans are just part of the overall animal collective:
      And so, fascinating aspects, are that many animals are social, and the non-human animals feel empathy, fear, and also persecution from human ‘animals’. Also humans have other animals as pets, and some humans suffer severe mental health illness, and are in turn persecuted if they struggle to look after their ‘pets’.
      I guess we too often think of humans as above all other life forms on the planet, and that only we can give justice and also suffer ‘injustice’.
      I think the covid-19 pandemic has revealed a lot about human selfishness and self-absorption, and also the injustice, direct and indirect, violently thrust onto other animals.
      I think it’s time to both look deeply into social injustice for humans, but extend it to both other animal co-species, and even our non-animal co-species on the small planet.
      a dog all smiles
      can’t wait to say hello
      we talk secretly
      Alan Summers
      From The Letter D is Missing (muri-bun)
      The “Surrealism as Truth series” in association with “the dogs of name.”

    1. Social (in)justice takes many forms: unequal access to food/food deserts; unfair/unavailable housing; victims fleeing violence/war rejected by all; racial inequities; patriarchy; a biased justice system; racial profiling and police bias; unequal access to quality education ….I could go on, but I hope you get the idea. I see many of these themes addressed in a variety of individual ways. Most would qualify as senryu but I don’t think that would disqualify them from addressing the theme.

      1. Peggy’s incredibly useful response reminds me I did a judge’s report on justice for the IAFOR Vladimir Devidé Haiku Award in 2016:
        I did get to hear that people initially struggled with the idea of justice in haiku, although Japanese haiku poets pre-WWII with the New Rising Haiku group etc… have long addressed this issue.
        I hope my judge’s report can help a little?
        warmest regards,
        Alan Summers
        cofounder, Call of the Page

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