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activism in haikus

May 8, 2012

This weekend I was invited to share a story about activism as part of a fundraiser for the Open the Cages Tour. (Please, feel free to donate—you will support an important documentary, Maximum Tolerated Dose, and help bring some important demos to many US primate research centers).

I decided that a story about activism should be a collective story, as activism is collective in nature, so I treated it like organizing a protest. I came up with the parameters for the project and I asked people to join. I decided on a haiku, as it forces big ideas into concise spaces. A haiku consists of 17 syllables, broken up into three lines. It goes like this:

A haiku has five
syllables, then seven,
then another five.

I asked for one last minute when I was panicked wouldn’t get the others on time (which I did), and hers came in too late for me to add it. So we will warm up with that one and then you can read the piece preformed at the fundraiser. Please see the footnotes for author names and links to the amazing organizations of which they are a part.

One of the most awesome parts of the night was when I met Matt Gauck and saw his tattoo in homage to the haiku.

Inspiring changes.
What is the most effective?
Those that come from love.[1]

OH…and then there is the awesome Haiku that got lost in the shuffle and didn’t get put in because I messed up!

Raw nerves set against
The pound of domination.
Must “be like water”[1.5]

Part 1: The Challenge

To do: Open cages,
open records. Liberate
slave bodies and minds.[2]

Liberate beagles
from the depths of hell, expose
vivisection fraud[3]

your coat is bullshit
animals are not fabric
don’t make me get up[4]

killing a mouse made
your breath fresher than ever!
why would that bug me?[4]

why yes I do like
animals better than you
any more questions bro[4]

Part 2: The Solution

It is quite simple;
animals should fly and run,
set free as can be.[5]

will to live in tact,
the knowledge in their sad eyes
animals are us[6]

I speak out for them
They hurt, feel, love just like me
Their freedom is mine[7]

Fifty five billion
The number is so large when
I am only one[8]

Twenty-six thousand
The number of chickens killed
Writing this haiku[8]

Our hearts are heavy
We have chosen to see it
Must love each other[8]

Broken hearts renewed
When symbolism turns to
Concrete resistance[9]

Part 3: The Solution

Can writing books be,
enough to make people change?
misplaced my body…[10]

Facebook: friend or foe?
We love it, the feds troll it
Be smart about posts[11]

Megaphones, matches,
new laws, research, protest, bricks.
Support all the tools[12]

we have many tools
but prison is all they have
to use against us[13]

Those enslaved count on
your voice and actions. We must
organize and fight![14]

[1] Leigh Chantel, Viva La Vegan

[1.5] Dylan Powell, The Vegan Police

[2] Ryan Shapiro, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology

[3] Gary Smith, The Thinking Vegan

[4] Jennai Bundock, Weak.Lungs/Big.Heartbeat

[5] Amanda Schemkes, Action for Animals

[6] Jasmin Singer, Our Hen House

[7] Becky W.

[8] Vasile Stanescu, Rodopi, Critical Animal Studies Book Series

[9]Gary Serignese, South Florida Smash HLS

[10]Richard Twine

[11]Tim H.

[12] vegina

[13] Michelle Martinez

[14]Ghazal Tajalli, South Florida Smash HLS

4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 8, 2012 8:42 pm

    Grammar police has to critique “will to live in tact” – should that be “intact,” or does it mean a will to live in some state of diplomacy? I assume “intact,” as in, entire, whole.

  2. jillianmckee permalink
    June 13, 2012 6:56 am


    I have a quick question about your blog, do you think you could email me?


    • May 19, 2013 4:09 pm

      Hi Jillian, It is a year later but i am just seeing this now (So sorry!). I can email you but I am unsure of your email address. Feel free to email me:


  1. Exploring Animal Activism in Haikus  | Our Hen House

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