A blog devoted mainly to haiku and senryu and to thoughts about, and inspired by, haiku and senryu.

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Location: New York, New York

Haiku is to poetry as espresso is to coffee.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

hard times

hard times
the car salesman's
missing tooth

[Originally published at temps libre. After drafting this, I wrote a variation, which I've posted below. When Serge Tome, the editor, requested permission to publish "hard times," I passed on the variation as well, leaving it up to him to decide which he preferred. He went for "hard times." Here's the variation. I'd be glad to know which you prefer.]

used cars
the salesman's
missing tooth


Blogger gautami tripathy said...

The first one hits hard. The varriation is mellowed. Thats how I felt.

I like both, in different ways.

1:27 AM  
Blogger John McDonald said...

this is the one for me Bill (he's becoming a bit dilapidated like his used cars)

1:28 AM  
Blogger Ken Wagner said...

I prefer the second, but, as Gautami mentions, the first opens strong. Both are great.

2:25 AM  
Blogger Magyar said...

_Bill, I dislike being wordy here, but sometimes I >cannot escape< my failures:
_I see a vast difference between Statesmen and (all) Politicians;
_I place "Used Car Salesmen" and Politicians in the same basket;
_In either case, I need to sense what is "missing," and not become mesmerized by their rhetoric.
_I like the variated senryu.

With my apologies for this clutter,

8:25 AM  
Blogger Gene Murtha said...

ouch! Things are not good Bill.

Oh, I finally got around to adding
some blogs on my page, hope that you do not mind the traffic.

9:02 AM  
Blogger Devika said...

I liked both -- the first one more

and second too, makes sense -- depends on the times I go through :)

Hope this has nothing to do with you, Bill :)


9:09 AM  
Blogger polona said...

i feel the first one has a harder and more direct impact. but i like the second one just as well...

9:36 AM  
Blogger Tikkis said...

Somehow I prefer #1, and because you already made one variation, I cannot stop myself trying one more:

the car salesman's
missing tooth --
hard times

I should like L1 going to car salesman, OK; nothing interesting?, but L2: oh, missing tooth!
and then L3.


In Finnish perhaps this way (#1)
kovat ajat --
puuttuu hammas

käytettyjä autoja --
puuttuu hammas

(Hmn, not bad.)

12:21 PM  
Blogger Masago said...

I prefer the 2nd one. The 1st may be "telling" too much.

8:13 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

Great comments. The issues raised are precisely those that went through my mind as I was drafting and revising. Pat and I bought a new car in November, and I noticed the salesman's missing tooth. It occurred to me later that making him a used car salesman might lend added resonance. At the moment, I admit to a slight preference for "used cars." Pat joins serge and several of you in preferring "hard times," which certainly has the advantage of timeliness. Thanks for your responses.

11:18 AM  
Blogger Pat Paulk said...

I bet it was gold and he needed money to pay the rent. A missing tooth and used car salesman make a perfect match. Love 'em both.

9:28 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

Thanks, Pat.

6:47 PM  
Blogger jem said...

I think the 'hard times' has more cohesion perhaps, more story. But the 'used cars' is fun too, although a bit creepy to me as it suggests perhaps that his tooth is now being used by someone else.

Thanks for sharing the process, the way one line totally changes the context.

5:30 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

Thanks, jem, for your thoughtful response.

8:26 AM  
Blogger nzflutterby said...

They both have an entirely different feel. Both valid.

The first makes a comment about the hard times and doesn't seem to say any more although I liked it better at first.

The second - you wonder how he got his missing tooth - did he rub someone the wrong way? You also have more feel of the immediacy of the moment. Noticing his missing tooth as he smiiles like salesmen do, a flawed smile. Also, noticing this more than his sales pitch perhaps.

Therefore I really like the second one because it opens out.

12:54 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

Thanks for the thoughtful comment, NZF. A pleasure to make your acquaintance.

8:45 AM  
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6:01 AM  

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