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3 Lines of Kerouac at a Time

My favorite works by Jack Kerouac are his haiku. He famously said this about haiku:

The American Haiku is not exactly the Japanese Haiku. The Japanese Haiku is strictly disciplined to seventeen syllables but since the language structure is different I don’t think American Haikus (short three-line poems intended to be completely packed with Void of Whole) should worry about syllables because American speech is something again…bursting to pop.

Above all, a Haiku must be very simple and free of all poetic trickery and make a little picture and yet be as airy and graceful as a Vivaldi Pastorella.

So while his haiku don’t adhere to the requirements of the Japanese form, they are delightful nonetheless, and they do pop. (Also, many seem to reference cats, if you’re into that sort of thing.)

Early morning yellow flowers,
thinking about
the drunkards of Mexico.

No telegram today
only more leaves

Holding up my
purring cat to the moon
I sighed.

All day long
wearing a hat
that wasn’t on my head.

Snap your finger
stop the world –
rain falls harder.

Every cat in Kyoto
can see through the fog.

Useless, useless,
the heavy rain
Driving into the sea.

The moon had
a cat’s mustache
For a second.

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