Fifteen Haiku For A Drinking Day, by Danny Moran

When I think of this poem I see the floorboards in my attic at my home in Prestwich, which is where I used to drink. It’s like I’m flat on my face, literally, which was almost the case. I could hardly have been more lost to alcoholism. I’ve always written but by that time I could scarcely manage a paragraph. This was as much as I could produce and it was a lifeline. I had an old notebook and I began to write a haiku for each page. Eventually I realised I was trying to tell the story of a day captured in precise moments, the way haiku does, but also with that slightly wry sense which the old Japanese haiku have.   

After I got better I finished it off, so it was written half drunk and half sober. I went to John G Hall’s legendary Haiku Club in Withington and that really helped me to shape the poem. The seventeen syllables thing is old hat, of course. Japanese syllables are much shorter than English ones so the method doesn’t really translate. Jack Kerouac was instrumental in jettisoning the syllables thing. I’ve always been into the old Japanese haiku about the frog jumping into the pond and how the splash is like perception in the mind. I think this poem is a way of responding to that, and what a mess you can get in if you’re down the newsagents first thing in the morning, waiting for them to open up so you can buy a litre bottle of cider to stave off the chest pains. I tried to make it suitably post modern – in the eleventh haiku the poem throws up over itself. Danny Moran

2018 11 25 Glass
Glass Danny Moran

Fifteen Haiku For A Drinking Day

by Danny Moran

dark room  

the old pipe 

slowly ticking

joint, back step

leaves riffling 

in suburban trees

the ghost heart 

birdhouse splintering 

in a vice


the first drop 

cold answer 

in the throat

drinking whisky 

litter burning  

in a brazier

on the internet 

loud cries become 

suddenly ridiculous


on the nod 

slow death 

of a rung bell


the gas fire 

in your room 

my love


the boy 

makes happen 

the kiss


on the tongue 

the bad taste 

of rotting verse


in the bowl 

today's fountain 

of broken syllables


sitting thinking  

nothing solid 

never finished


forcing poison 

sadness craves 

what the stomach detests


on the internet 

loud cries become 

suddenly nothing


at dream's door 


in forgotten breath

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