Stasis Unfurls: Nine Haiku

Abstract image of three-point line, courtesy of author

By Jacob Brunner

“What must this people have suffered, that they might become thus beautiful?” – Nietzsche

“There is no breakthrough without breakage” – Norman O. Brown


Ball is life, never

Clean in time. Watch it dance there

As stasis unfurls[1]


“The emptier the

Can, the louder the rattle”[2]

No—more room to grow


Pain = funny

See: tears for brother, father,[3]

The milkshake graveyard[4]


Bent wrists[5] make friendly

Bounces. There’s no luck in ball

Signed, Ghosts of Design


Remember, salt cures

Now pull from your briefcase one

Zinkoff salami[6]


One theory: Kawhi

is a cyborg trained to kill

Deeper: he’s depressed[7]


Time wounds all heels. See:

Coach metamorphose into

An old grizzly bear[8]


Kawhi Finds the Rim’s

Event Horizon[9]: Point of

Blackest No-Return


Spoon v. painting: “James”

Flies, I die dunking on kids

Tell me, which is which?[10]

[1] Kawhi Leonard’s series-winning shot bounced on the rim four times before falling in.

[2] Benjamin Franklin. I invoke this aphorism re: Joel Embiid’s bravado, but with a more hopeful construal.

[3] After the Sixers’ playoff exit, Embiid was seen weeping on the court and in the locker room tunnel. This showed, behind the clowning, the depth of his humanity. People forget that Embiid nearly quit basketball after his younger brother’s tragic death at 13.

[4] “Chick-Fil-A, it’s about a $200 or $220 tab … road trips, anytime we get on a plane, I have to get Chick-Fil-A … Joel specifically has his four cookies and cream milkshakes he requests” – Landry Shamet describing his rookie hazing rituals.

[5] Proper follow-through of the shooter’s wrist increases accuracy. This is both a rejection of providence and a defense of agency.

[6] My Great Uncle and longtime Sixers announcer David Zinkoff always carried a briefcase full of salamis from my grandfather’s deli. The lore of his salami gifts spread far and wide; players from opposing teams would check in at the scorer’s table and say, “Hey, Zink, how ‘bout a salami?”

[7] Hat tip to Nora Sandman for this alternate theory.


[9] The threshold around a black hole where the escape velocity surpasses the speed of light.

[10] I spent the hours before game 7 wandering the Barnes, struck by its egalitarian curatorial spirit. I was particularly moved by a spoon mounted next to a painting, collapsing the distinction between folk and high art. That distinction parallels the one between the NBA and streetball: Jimmy “James” Butler dominating on a turned ankle vs. me nearly spraining my ankle in the schoolyard.

Jacob Brunner is a musician, writer, and playground artist living in Philadelphia. His poetry and translations have been published in Cousin, Chimpanzine, and Doublespeak. He has produced music independently as Strawberry Hands since 2006, while also contributing to records by Weyes Blood, Mike Bruno, et al. His most recent LP Peace Isn’t Luck (Rarities 2009-2017) and others are available at He has a forthcoming live EP and a new full-length  slated for release in early 2019.