Senryu Tsubame 川柳つばめ吟社: July

Air conditioner


s summer hit its peak, I thought that “air conditioner” as a topic would arouse a lot of ideas. And I was right. There were a number of good ones, and all were very imaginative and evoked a sense of summer. I must say, however, that all of the poems that placed were all by women. Now, this is great and all, but this is the 21st century. Women shouldn’t have a lock on poetry. C’mon you guys! Let’s crank up those creative juices!

A reminder of the rankings: the best eight poems are chosen and given a rank. The rankings in Japanese are: 天 ten (heaven), 地 chi (earth), 人 jin (man) and 五客 gokyaku (five guests–honorable mentions). However, since there were so few submissions, I will limit the honorable mentions to three 三客. The following are this month’s ranking. The other poems are listed in order of receipt.

thighs fused to vinyl
even the cat is panting
U-haul’s AC dead

by msbLiss

First impression: Good one. Technical foul: None. Poet’s Remark: *sigh* as a teacher i must protest the lack of direction-following and give smacks all around. Anyway~ this is dedicated to my suckass 8 hour drive~ Comments: Didn’t I provide links to previous posts that explained senryu? Hmm… Nicely done, despite your whining… hehehehhe, just kidding. Anyway, the image is great, and illustrates our dependence on a cool environment in our modern world. The U-haul underscores modernity, reflecting how we often must move around in this busy world–the cat particularly reflects pulling up roots and moving to a new place. Geez, someone would think that you do a lot of creative writing…

dripping sweat and brine,
sea waves, while zephyr exhales,
air conditioned beach.

by those_days

First impression: Nature’s AC. Technical foul: None. Poet’s Remark: hmm…i hope the message gets across..i just have this urge to spell it out, simple as it may be. i guess i know how directors feel now. these aren’t the same two senryu i wrote before, but very similar. Comments: In contrast to msbLiss, this poem suggests that air conditioning is not limited to modern techonology, but to our imagination as well. The image of someone working at see–perhaps a fisherman sweating–but enjoying a moment of pleasure as the sea breeze “exhales” and cools him off.

Frozen food labels
become popular reading —
grocery store in June.

by LaMangust

First impression: Let’s go shopping! Technical foul: None. Poet’s Remark: too vague? dunno if it’s quite senryu… the poems we wrote for 111 were easier. i’m a greedy poet – more syllables means i can use better words. it’s good for me to have to compress my thoughts once in a while though… Comments: Man, if you would have used July instead of June, I would have had a hard time deciding between yours and msbLiss’. The image is perfect for air conditioning despite the absence of he word: a customer lingering in front of the forzen food section pretending to read the label when in reality he is just enjoying the coolness that the freezer provides.

Cool as glacier ice,
More welcome than a lover:
Hum for me, Air-con!!!

by SleepingCutie

First impression: I lost to an AC?!? Technical foul: None. Poet’s Remark: I hope the abbreviation of air-con for air conditioner is acceptable, Sensei. =) But this topic has me yearning for an air conditioner of my own!!! Hope you’re keeping cool. ^^ Comments: Yes I’m keeping cool, and air-con is fine, as it is the word used in Japanese for air conditioner. The image is of a young lady in front of an air conditioner, perhaps cooling herself not just from the heat, but from the heat created by a lover. The contrast is stark, and the use of “glacier ice” suggests that the heat felt from the lover is not a passionate heat but one caused by anger, as perhaps the lover, too, was icy. This is not a typical senryu, but the diction was interesting enough to garner a sankyaku placing.

Summer heat requires
Blast from air conditioner
Freeze raging hormones

by bane_vixen

First impression: Need to exercise! Technical foul: None Poet’s Remark: I don’t think it came out as I had planned, but you get what I mean. Summer heat is not only caused by the angle of insolation and the distance of the earth from the sun. And “requires” is two syllables, not three. I checked =) Comments: I didn’t have to check, hehehehe… Anyway, this is similar to Sleeping cuties, but perhaps a bit more direct. A young lady–dare I say a Vixen–tries to cool herself off as hormones rage while she is in “summer heat”. Are you shopping? Hehehehe.

AC turned up high
Blasting iced air as I type
Perfect summer day

by ChiisanaHoshi

First impression: Xanga addict! Technical foul: None. Poet’s Remark: I decided to take a shot at this, but I’m not sure if it’s exactly prize-winning material. I had in mind my typical summer day–me blasting the central air as I typed away on the computer. I wanted to put the word computer in there, but it didn’t fit =\. Comments: Ah, the image of today’s young person: It’s summer, and we should all be outside playing in the sun, but instead, we are inside typing away on Xanga–or some other idle activity on the computer–in a chilly room, and this constitutes… *gulp* a perfect day. Not that I would disagree, but I’m pushing 50…

his feet tread the track
while the sweat on his brow chants

air conditioner

by zhuzhu

First impression: Workout! Technical foul: None. Comments: Nice imagery. But I have a treadmill in the basement and my mind rarely chants “air conditioner” because a treadmill is usually indoors where there already is an AC… unless I’m misreading “tread the track.” Could you be refering to running around an outdoor track? A bit more honing would improve it. Since senryu is a snapshot of life, clarity is high on the requirement list.

夏になり エアコンつけて 素っ裸
Trans: summer comes / I turn on the AC / stark naked

by fooky11

First impression: Vivid, maybe too much… Technical foul: It’s supposed to be in English. Comments: Actually, this would be a pretty funny poem at my father’s salon. It is, perhaps, a bit too personal. I am no prude, but I rarely lie naked in front of an air conditioner. I get naked instead when there is no air conditioner. Of course, I could be wrong. How many of you do or don’t get naked before the almight AC?

air conditioner
a foreign thing here, warm?
oh how i miss you……..

by eechim

First impression: Far from home? Technical foul: None. Comments: Indeed, but this works only because I know you live in Switzerland. The senryu must present an element–situation, emotion–that is universal, readily understood by most readers. Also, I’m not clear about what you are missing. Warmth or the air conditioner… But the verse is good as an attempt to express nostalgia. Keep it up.

Wearing a tanktop
But the AC is blasting
Gives me hard nipples

by imahima

First impression: Too sexy. Technical foul: None. Comments: I do like the imagery. No, no, no, I’m not pervert… well, not usually, um, sometimes… but the truth is that the cool air will make the nipples stand out and and visible through the flimsy material of a tanktop. Hubba hubba. Do women do this on purpose to drive men crazy? You guys are just too mean… Anyway, I commented on this poem in depth to provide an example of how to approach a senryu. Click here to read the entry.

AC illusions,
like an igloo in Cancun;
my house in summer

by SweetLilV

First impression: Melting! Technical foul: None. Comments: Like Eechim’s poem, this works for me because I know where you live. If I didn’t, it would be harder to understand. But please, I mean really… do you live in a flat in NY where an AC is an illusion? Wow, must be sticky and muggy! I like the “igloo in Cancun” imagery… wait! you’ve been to Cancun, but you don’t have an AC? Hmm, somethings wrong with this picture…

Air Conditioner
Alaska I need to pee

by No1watching

First impression: Funny. Technical foul: Lack syllables in last line. Poet’s Remark: how i hate AC … it’s only because i get cold easily.. and yes, it does make me want to pee. Comments: Y’know, the imagery is really good. Air conditioner and Alaska both evoke cold images, and the reaction is often to want to pee, but perhaps with no restroom readily available, one starts the “I-wanna-pee” two-step. Watch for your grammar and be sure to maintain the syllable count–5-7-5. It would have been nice to know why you couldn’t go to that bathroom and had to dance. These are the elements that would add to the poem and make it even better.

No AC at home
I seek AC in my car
In my car, I’m home.

by Simply_Marie

First impression: Do you live in L.A.? Technical foul: None. Poet’s Remark: Not the best eh? But it’s true!!!! AHAHHAHAHHA! Comments: Typical LA girl. “My car is my home.” This would be acceptable as a premise, if not for the repetition. You repeat AC, car, and home twice. These syllables could have gone to other words, which is a shame since the content has a lot of potential… actually, it might be good as a vers on the homeless. Not all senryu has to be “funny”; it can be poignant…

Oh the agony!
On a summer day like this,
My A.C has died.

by onigiri

First impression: Painful heat. Technical foul: None. Poet’s Remark: wow, this is the first time i’ve participated in your senryu poem contests. history in the making! XD And it was hard! that one was my fifth try! Comments: I feel you pain! When the AC dies, we all die! Perhaps, you could have provided a bit more specificity. Why has the AC died? Where are you when it died? Is there an image you can think of that would reflect “the agony” rather than using the word outright? Concentrate on that next time.

air conditioner
destroy the body and mind
heat forges the sword

by pallyatheart

First impression: How martial. Technical foul: None. Comments: I think I understand what you are saying: air conditoining is a creature comfort and makes us all weak. It is the heat–or perhaps the natural cold of winter–that makes us strong. These are good and valid points, but I not sure that these images reflect the essence of the air conditioner… well, maybe it does make us weak… Okay everyone, turn off you AC for one day and lets hone our minds and bodies!

Air Conditioner:
Mankind’s harsh, cold defiance
against summer’s heat.

by SunJun

First impression: Technology to the rescue. Technical foul: None. Comments: The air conditioner provides us with cool air, a comfortable environment, and when it is gone, we get hot, heated, frustrated. So I’m not sure if I would see it as an instrument of “cold defiance” against against the summer heat. And I’m not sure why it would be considered harsh… This might be a bit too cerebral. I think simple is better, like your minor league baseball senryu…

Laughing quietly
I sit beside my vents and
watch sweaty tourists.

by cgran

First impression: Huh? Technical foul: None. Poet’s Remark: Evil maybe, but they do really get on my nerves when I’m in a rush. DC should really have pamphlets on what to do in a metro for those who have no idea. Comments: Like msbLiss and SweetLilV, I get this cuz I know where you are. For those of you who don’t understand, I think cgran is refering to the vents in the DC Metro stations that blow air. While it can get stuffy in the stations, the vents offer a respite while waiting for a train. But I must admit, I rarely try to position myself next to the vent. Instead, I move to the front or back of the platform; fewer people, less stuffy. If you wnt to rag on the tourists, maybe I should make the next topic: escalator. “stand to the right, pass to the left”! Argh! They should have signs!

July in the South–Hot outside, but inside, oh!
Air conditioner!

by CrazyElectron

First impression: Regional. Technical foul: None. Comments: Ah, a nice sentiment for all you Southerners. The humidity is horrendous and unbearable if you are not used to it, so the AC is a gift from the gods. Of course, I lived in Japan for a number of years and it is muggier than VA, so its pretty much a walk in the park for me. Anyway, I’m not sure what constitutes the South. Do all houses in the South–I guess that would include everything from Virginia south to Florida and west to Texas?–have air conditioners? This poem might be too generalized, or too personal…

Kiss me sweetly with
Lips of wintry memories
Air conditioner

by Beckachu3

First impression: How romantic. Technical foul: A split preposition. Comments: The sentiment is interesting–the cool air “kisses” the poet with memories of cooler times, presumably winter. However, I think the verse might be too personal. What memories? The gist of the poem must be understandable by most readers without any commentary. And I must admit, that I’m having trouble with the image of an air conditioner with lips. Do they slober? hehehehe, just kidding…

Here, Heaven is strange
God’s made of wires and the
AC’s His kingdom.

by XanthochromeSum

First impression: Techno-religion Technical foul: None. Comments: This might be the most esoteric of the bunch. Where is “Here”? Heaven? Or “heaven” as professed by a denizen of… where? A place where God is “made of wires”? And his heaven is the air conditioner itself? Hmm… I’m not quite getting it. If someone can figure this out, pleas let me know. Of course, XanthochromeSum, you can explain it too…


You may have noticed that my comments were a bit more critical. But this is to encourage you, not discourage you. Senryu is a great way of painting a picture of our current lives and our society, and I thinnk it is fun try to express our thoughts or our views of today’s world through this medium. I posts take a long time, as you might imagine. I hope you enjoy them. –omigod, I used an emoticon. Ugh!

Here is my requisite submission.

Trying to stay cool
every AC on the block
triggers a blackout

by onigiriman

Topic for August will be posted on the main page sometimes next week.

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