Haiku Archives: Caesar at the Rubicon

It was long thought by historians that Julius Caesar had epilepsy. However, modern medical experts believe it is more likely that he suffered a series of mini-strokes over the course of several years.
Accounts from Caesar’s doctors reveal that nightmarish hallucinations haunted him during these episodes.
It was recorded that Caesar suffered such an episode as he stood at the banks of the Rubicon River. He collapsed into the water and had to be pulled to safety by his bodyguards.
When his head cleared, Caesar told a confidant that he had witnessed a ghostly woman rise from the water. She warned him not to bring his army across the Rubicon.
Hallucination or not, it was good advice. At the time, Caesar was considered an enemy of Rome. Bringing his army across the Rubicon boundary could only be viewed as treason.
Of course, Caesar ultimately decided to press forward – an act that plunged Rome into civil war. General Pompey, who had been charged with protecting Rome, proved to be no match for Caesar and his battle-hardened legions.
After defeating Pompey, Caesar became an all-powerful dictator who was regarded as a deity. Even with ultimate power and mind-boggling riches, he must have known his days were numbered. The political currents in Rome were powerful enough to sweep anyone away – even a god on Earth.
In the years leading up his assassination, Caesar was mired in a deep depression and a constant state of paranoia. The troubling hallucinations persisted, and I can only wonder if Caesar ever regretted crossing the Rubicon that fateful day.


strange apparition

rises from the Rubicon –

even Caesar balks

Haiku Archives: Tardigrades


Tardigrades, commonly called water bears, are eight-legged microscopic animals. They are among the most resilient lifeforms on Earth. They can survive massive doses of radiation, pressure that exceeds that of the deepest ocean trenches, years of dehydration, and a temperature range of minus 200 Celsius to 149 Celsius. Low Earth orbit experiments have demonstrated that some species of tardigrade can survive for days while exposed to the vacuum of space.

Despite our best efforts, humans could never destroy the Earth enough to render the tardigrade extinct. Perhaps at some point in the distant future, some highly evolved descendant of the tardigrade will happen upon our ruined civilization and tsk-tsk us for our recklessness.


tardigrades basking

in the anemic light of

nuclear winter




Haiku Archives: Snake Eyes

I’ve been to Las Vegas once when I was a young man. I played Texas Hold’em my first night there, and finally walked away from the poker table with an extra $200 in my pocket.

Right before I left the casino, I decided it would be a good idea to bolster my profits at the craps table. After about fifteen minutes, my hard-won earnings had dwindled down considerably. Finally, it was my turn to roll, and I wagered the last of my chips. I rolled a two – an outcome that is also known as snake eyes because the two dots just kind of stare upward from the table like beady little eyes. The odds of that outcome are 1/36, and it results in a loss for the shooter.

Oh well. Easy come, easy go. I went outside onto the main drag, and a guy I didn’t know walked right up to me and said, “See that?”

“See what?” I had to ask.

He pointed in an upward direction and said, “You can tell how your luck’s gonna go if you watch the sky at night. It’s my night tonight.” He took a $100 chip from the Bellagio out of his pocket and held it up. “That’s all the money I got left in the world.”

“Maybe you should just cash it in and buy some groceries,” I suggested.

“It’s too late for that. I’m gonna let it all ride tonight,” he said as he walked away.

“Huh,” I said, looking up into the night sky. All I could see was a neon haze.

I made it a point to look for that guy whenever I was out on the Strip, but I never saw him again. Sometimes I still wonder how his luck turned out that night. I imagine it didn’t turn out well, but you never know. Anyway, I wrote a haiku about the experience. Enjoy.



fortunes coalesce

in the gaudy neon haze –

snake eyes pierce my soul