A Year in Haiku: The Emotional Arcs of 2022

I haven’t had the time or energy to finish the chapter of Infrared Isolation I’ve been working on, so I decided to collect the highlights of my daily haiku from last year. They’re more of a way to do some daily journaling than a proper attempt to employ the traditional poetry format, but the following poems are representative of the year I had, each one of them named after the day I wrote it. It’s kind of funny, but looking back through my collection of thoughts and feelings without context, I can’t remember what about a quarter of them are referencing. It’s nice to see that my pursuit of a simple, quick emotional expression has done just as good a job of managing my general anxiety as journaling did, but without all of the frequently frustrating and depressing details attached to it. Now I can look back at what I wrote and not worry about being reminded of specific troubles. Instead, I can focus on reviewing the emotional arcs of my life over the course of 2022.

This is far from a complete list, since I wrote three hundred seventy-six of these and am only showing twenty-eight, but they do a pretty good job of transcibing the emotional peaks and valleys of my year. I’m not sure if they’re going to make as much sense to anyone else as they make to me without a degree of explanation and context that I’m not willing to provide, but I tried to pick only the poems that could stand on their own.

Scattered thoughts collect
In the deepest pits and pools
Of my tired mind.

Softly falling flakes
Decorate the salted earth.
Winter lingers on.

I’m doing my best.
Is that still enough these days,
Or do I need more?

My identity
Is an unanswered question
I still ask myself.

A quiet murmur
Insisting you get it right.
Spring winds in bare trees.

Words echo empty
Of all their supposed meaning,
Yet you keep talking.

My mask is flawless.
Even adults mistake it
For my real visage.

I expect nothing
And still I’m disappointed.
The ode of my life.

The ticking clock beats
Against the indifferent
Chest of normalcy

My heart aches for things
I don’t have the words to name
But know I’m missing.

I have awoken
From a dream of somewhere else
I wished I could stay

What do I owe to
Someone who would deny me
My identity?

Everything’s the same–
Laughter, jokes, and warm coffee–
But nothing’s the same.

I can feel the weight
Of this moment in my life,
But not what it means.

Sometimes I wonder
Why I bother doing this?
Will it be worth it?

I can feel myself
Connect to something bigger
And it feels like love.

Grief takes a moment–
One moment that never ends–
To upturn your life.

Waffling, I joke
About food prepared poorly:
Cut tension with mirth.

Warm sun, quiet hum–
I wish I could be care free–
Soft breeze, shady trees.

“All but the waiting”
As I tell myself to breathe
While counting hours.

It shattered my heart
To see someone so ignored
The way that I was.

Summer has returned
As Fall’s cold gives way to heat.
What is happening?

I pace through my day
With measured steps and intent.
Precision and care.

My community,
Something I took for granted,
Is drifting apart.

I’m only insane
If I expect the results
To be different.

Maybe I’m insane
If I still repeat myself
This much anyway.

I laugh through my mask
And tell the made-up stories
That I wish were true.

I’m afraid of change.
I make jokes and excuses,
But I know the truth.

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