Saturday, June 6, 2009

Measuring Haikus, When I Was Robbed At Gunpoint

Here are two true stories, one on poetry and the other really happened, almost as I say.

Measuring Haikus

A haiku is twisted
From the braids of the master
Without him knowing.

No other measure
Is possible here or else
Planets will collide.

January 7, 2009 2:45 PM


Maybe this robbery happened exactly as I wrote it if you get creative about who left the store. There was no one in the store but me and the two people pulling the armed robbery. I had been keeping an empty store for a little while when they came in. They did indeed go to the back of the store and then come up. I was stuck in a much smaller than usual space because the owners were remodeling the counter area and had built this temp counter outside the original counter.

The robbers were two black kids, one of whom had some sort of nickel plated .38 or something like that. Because it was nickel plated it looked like a toy to me. But the bullets in the revolver were big fat lead things. They took the whole cash drawer and split quickly. That pleased me because it was time for the police to just show up and the last thing I wanted was the cops to come with me at the front end of a pistol. After they had gone I started to worry that the police or the store owners might think I set it up somehow or stole the drawer myself.

This all happened in a 7-Eleven on the graveyard shift, a family business in Santa Clara, Ca. This job worked for me so well I was somewhat tempted to stay with them and throw in with the business. The son had an idea for an easy money store in Santa Cruz. The daughter thought she liked me, and almost took me from the woman I eventually married. But I could tell the kids were in reaction to the parents and I couldn't really trust anything they thought they were going to do. They all loved me though, because I was trustworthy and real help. If you have ever been a franchiser like that, you will know it is not easy to get real help at that kind of pay.

Why I was working there is a whole other complicated story, involving drugs and stuff like that.

When I Was Robbed At Gunpoint

I stood behind it,
This temporary counter
With a register
Ringing your sale up
When a couple guys came in,
Went to the back aisle,
That's where the beer is.

You left with your bag.

That's when they came up to me,
Then one pulled his piece,
"Gimme all you got".
That's it, what he said to me,
"Gimme all you got".

January 12, 2009 10:00 AM


  1. Love the haiku.

    Gimme all you got....(cuz I ain't got nothin left.)



  2. Christopher, I'm looking forward to browsing through your website, thanks to Rachel! -- Sidney

  3. When my son was in college, he experienced a similar robbery, only he was bound and gagged by a regular customer who flashed a gun and kept saying, "Now, promise you won't tell them who did this." Because he knew the guy was wigged out, he just did what he said until he left, then he unbound himself and called the police. Needless to say, ole Mom was a little jumpy of his working there...

  4.'ve been peeking behind the curtains again.

    Sidney welcome. Feel free to wander in and out.

    Karen, it is just the territory of 7-Eleven Land. Or any of that sort of store. They are close by and attract the neighborhood. And what is really sad, there is no possible way under normal operating conditions that there can be much of a take to be had from a robbery. It's a sucker's hit. The risk so far outweighs the reward that no self respecting criminal would ever touch the job. That means who you have robbing this sort of store are the very people you described as robbing your son. The half wounded. The true dregs of our system. The ones who have no chance.

    Or as in my case, you have those so crazy that they go on sprees, becaues you have to rob several a night to make a decent living. I don't recall knowing whether they got caught, but I do remember that they had hit more than one that night.

  5. There's something in the repetition of the line, Gimme all you got, that nails this one. There was nothing else to say. There was no explanation. Never is.

  6. I know Erin, it happens in my poetry from time to time. I have no idea how that decision gets made. The poem makes it, I guess, but I have no idea how. Repitition like that is one of the bigger mysteries. There are several facets which I swear are not my doing, not in any conscious way, even though writing is more conscious than most of the stuff I do. That repetition is one of those things.

  7. I just thought of a funny! My first meeting ever...the serenity prayer flag I was sitting under fell on my head!

    I kid you not....


  8. Michelle, That's a good memory to keep. There's some kind of wierd message in that somewhere.

    Ghost, I did omit the part where they shot me dead. I thought that might be too heavy.

  9. Wonderful haiku! I'm wanting to twist it into something new, something with those boys in it, boys playing at being adults playing at being irresponsible boys. And the master, finding poetry in it all.

  10. Wow! Rachel. I wonder if I can do that too.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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