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 V.14 No.36 | September 8 - 14, 2005 

Feature

Haiku-ku-ka-choo

The Alibi's 14th Annual Haiku Contest

As summer heads for the highway with its slimy pink tail tucked between its trembling legs, Albuquerqueans have several causes for consolation. The soul-crushing heat is finally over. The brats are finally back in school. The giant watery brown serpent that winds through the center of our city will soon be rimmed with bright golden cottonwoods. Best of all, though, you're holding the Alibi's annual haiku contest in your hands, and that's reason enough to celebrate.
The talent on display this year is almost as mind-boggling as the vast quantity of entries we received from all over the country, with a few coming in from foreign lands. I hope you enjoy reading the winners and honorable mentions half as much as we enjoyed judging the contest. Special Alibi Haiku Command Unit 56-1A—made up of Christie Chisholm, Jessica Cassyle Carr, Laura Marrich and myself—labored for several agonizing days over the submissions. I think you'll be pleased with the results, and if you aren't, then whining, as usual, will get you nowhere.
Finally, special thanks to Bookworks (4022 Rio Grande NW, 344-8139), the District (Fourth Street and Copper, 243-0003), Ralli's (Fourth Street and Central, 243-1093) and the Guild Cinema (3405 Central NE, 255-1848) for sponsoring this year's contest.

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Feature

Best Traditional Haiku

A couple more Republican presidential administrations, and there won't be any more nature worth haikuing about. So enjoy it while it lasts! Grand Imperial Mistress of Haiku Gail Miller gets a $25 gift certificate to Bookworks, a $20 certificate to the District and two passes to the Guild Cinema for a haiku that I suppose could best be labeled neotraditional. Whatever you call it, it's a beauty.

Winner
The rain falls in code—
Wet spidery penmanship
That demands cracking.
—Gail Miller

Honorable Mentions
An empty can glides
Across shattered asphalt lots
Eight pigeons take flight
—Susan Cummings

Over bleached salt flats
Ten blackbirds flapping north change
To a tar-smoke cloud
—Carol Moscrip

Strands of green kelp, locked
In late tide's rock pool, bracelet
Arms of a red star
—Carol Moscrip

A leaf falls, twig snaps
I think about winter air
Frogs freezing in mud
—Shelby Anderson

Oranges tossed upon
A river after New Year:
Souls or good fortune?
—Leslie McMurtry

Late frost fingers pinch
Buds, plump like ladies' bottoms,
Blue where pink belongs.
—Janet S. Harris

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Feature

Best Albuquerque Haiku

Albuquerque has a reputation for being a gritty, down and dirty sort of town—just the sort of town, in other words, to inspire delectable haiku. Rhoda Kunin tells us that, to be fully appreciated, her winning haiku must be recited in the accent of a Transylvanian vampire. She wins a $40 certificate to Ralli's and two passes to the Guild Cinema.

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Feature

Best Haiku About Why You Hate Your Job

I suppose it's to be expected that the only cheerful haiku we received in this category came from unemployed poets. Working can suck. No doubt about it. Hell, even I know that, and I work at the Alibi, which is a crazy, fun-park, merry-go-round of unadulterated orgiastic bliss compared to most jobs out there. (I once got a foot rub and wrote an article about it. You call that work? Please.) John L. Orman's grotesque haiku wins hands down (yeah, pun intended). He gets a $40 certificate to the District and two passes to the Guild Cinema.

Winner
Crank up wood chipper—
Full day of hacking up bark.
Blood! Look ma, no hands!
—John L. Orman

Honorable Mention
Telephones scream like
Wailing children with flashing
fluorescent light bones
—Amanda Rich

Smells bad I'm greasy
My boss is a fat weenie
I hate Schnitzelhut
—Diego Murray

When you work down in
the bowels of the brown earth—
dark, deep shit happens.
—John L. Orman

For me to hate my
Job would require me to seek
Gainful employment.
—MF Ward

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Feature

Best Haiku About Fish Sticks

What is it about the humble fish stick that's capable of inspiring such a lyrical outpouring of insight into the human experience? Honestly, I'm not quite sure. All you've got to do is wave a thawed finger of breaded substandard fish in front of mediocre poets and suddenly they're spouting rapid-fire liquid verse like Shakespeare on amphetamines. Go figure. Gail Miller wins a $40 certificate to Ralli's and two passes to the Guild Cinema. We don't know what the heck her haiku means, but we love it anyway. Sue us.

Winner
In his wax canoe
Fish Stick glides through polar ice
While Eskimos weep.
—Gail Miller

Honorable Mention
A fish stick is like
A British man: pasty white
With a crusty shell.
—Erin Barringer

Nomenclature is
Not my specialty, but they're
Neither fish nor sticks
—Malcolm Murray

I hate the sweet ooze
that comes out of burnt fish sticks.
What the hell is it?
—Steve Murray

Went to the river
Dropped my line in the water
No fish sticks in there
—Alan Petitt

I wonder if fish
Ever thought of human sticks?
Or is that just gross?
—Leslie McMurtry

From sea to the mold
Ocean-going lollipops
More stick than a fish
—Stephen Davis

A lot of fish sticks
Going to eat all of them
Not going to share
—Ashley Encinias

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Feature

Best Haiku Using the Most Letters of the Alphabet

We got a lot of variations on the old "the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dogs" chestnut from high school typing class. Good golly, you people are lazy. Come on—this is a literary contest. We're looking for some freakin' originality, people. Leslie Rottach's haiku packed the most punch. (I think I'm going to rename my band Expunge the Jackal.) She wins a $40 certificate to the District and two passes to the Guild Cinema.

Winner
Vote counts fade from view
Zoos require mob rule they say
Expunge the jackal!
—Leslie Rottach

Honorable Mentions
Tchaikovsky zeppelin
Black xylophone quail jumper
A raw Dresden fugue
—Randy Stogsdill and Abby Dozier

Jacques' xylophone shack.
Crazy markdowns! Free french fries.
Save big at "Le Shack."
—Sue McGilpin

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Feature

Best Haiku About the War in Iraq

I sure hope I'm wrong about this, but it looks like we're in for a long bloody haul that will only result in a lot more hatred toward our nation and make our country a lot less safe from terrorists. Nice work, George. Sue McGilpin encapsulated the situation best. For that, she gets a $40 certificate to Ralli's and two passes to the Guild Cinema.

Winner
Perennial lies
Spiral from the highest branch.
Deciduous Bush.
—Sue McGilpin

Honorable Mention
To fight about what
Half wants to happen and half
Do not; it's called war
—Lauren Henn (sixth grader, Sandia Prep)

Children's corpses rot
In calculated rubble.
No child left behind?
—Sue McGilpin

Waging war for oil:
Making the rich get richer
While the poor get killed.
—Tommi Lin Tejeda

We lied to invade,
Now we are stuck in Iraq!
Will we lie to leave?
—Erica Kretzmann

Bombed cemetery
Near Mosul: churning the bones
Of murdered infants
—Ron Reed

Wreck Iraq for fun.
Like the father, like the son
Buy oil and sell guns.
—Steve Bishop

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Feature

Best Haiku About Your First Sexual Experience

This category seemed harmless enough when we first thought of it. Somehow, though, it ended up being enormously disturbing. Perhaps the most disturbing haiku of all was Liz' winning entry. For her creeped-out honesty, she'll receive a $40 certificate to the District and two passes to the Guild Cinema.

Winner
He bought me ice cream
Like a dentist treating me
For being so still
—Liz

Honorable Mentions
We discovered each
Other like strange lands—we saw,
We conquered; he came.
—Erin M. Daughtrey

Dumb and sweet, we were
amateurs softly cruising
Past virginity.
—MF Ward

VW Bus
Passion on high, brain on low
Baby on the way
—Stephen Davis

Fear—not of the dark—
But of the Virgin Mary
Being real pissed off.
—Linda Olen

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Feature

Best Alibi Haiku

Tell us what you think of us in 17 syllables. No, really, we want to know. Don't hold back. Don't kiss our butts. We're much less insecure than we might seem. We got heaping hymns of praise along with plenty of haiku scorn. Steve Bishop seemed to best capture the essence of the Alibi, so he gets the prize, a $40 certificate to Ralli's and two passes to the Guild Cinema. (By the way, who's Dennis D. O'Leary? That name sure sounds familiar.)

Winner
So very much time,
And so many typewriters.
The monkeys did it.
—Steve Bishop

Honorably Mentions
I do not believe
The semi-nude wrestler is
Not bi-curious.
—Nora Heineman-Fleck

Officer, I swear
I wrote haiku that whole night.
Check the Alibi.
—Malcolm Murray

Eating newspaper?
Want the juiciest stories?
Try the Alibi.
—Devin Hight (Albuquerque High student)

I dream of sleeping
With Dennis D. O'Leary
And wake up screaming
—Kelsey Atherton (Albuquerque High student)

Oh, dear Alibi
Where would I be without you?
Most likely prison.
—Kelsey Atherton (Albuquerque High student)

I missed the last Crawl.
Please, put advertisement near
This Modern World.
—Robert McGoey

Weekly Alibi:
Ignoring my poems since
1992
—Robert McGoey

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Feature

Best Haiku About Why You Fear a Specific Species of Farm Animal

My vote for scariest farm animal is certainly the goat, yet for whatever reason I'm also oddly attracted to our voracious, horned friends in much the same way churchgoing good girls are attracted to big smelly bikers. Oh, goat, you're soooooo bad. My daddy wouldn't like you at all. Elaine Almquist's goat poem was the best entry in a very competitive category. She wins a $40 certificate to Ralli's and two passes to the Guild Cinema.

Winner
When I was a kid
A billy goat ate my belt
And my pants fell down.
—Elaine Almquist

Honorably Mentions
The old horse took my
Fingers between his teeth, held
Tight, licked off the cheese.
—Billy Crews

Oh God! That donkey
Is humping his mom again.
Please, spare the children.
—Suzanne Barteau

Psycho tom turkey
Testosterone poisoning
Has messed up your mind
—Suzanne Barteau

Two-ton hog cornered
A full grown man and ate him
Least that's what I heard
—Amanda Kooser

Bad-ass male turkey,
Running full speed at my junk!
Who wouldn't be scared?
—Roald Dali

Goats I fear the most
They work with the government
To keep taaabs on me
—R. Singleton

What doesn't he know?
Black eyed, sentient sausage.
He judges and shames.
—Gail Miller

A methane build-up,
A lit match. Moo, moo, KABOOM!
Hey, it could happen.
—Bob Sabatini

A goat chewed off my
Pants, I walked home in a great
deal of discomfort
—Chadwick Reinicke (sixth grader, Sandia Prep)

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Feature

Best Miscellaneous Haiku

Ah, miscellaneous. You win us over with your worldliness. You seduce us with your sophistication. You charm us with your wit. Gail Miller won this category, too. (That's got to be some kind of Alibi Haiku Contest record.) For that, she gets a $40 certificate to Ralli's and two passes to the Guild Cinema.

Winner
Oscar Wilde's gravestone
Is frescoed in red lip prints,
Not flowers, but breath.
—Gail Miller

Honorable Mentions
Damn thee, vile haiku:
Syllabic ineptitude,
Poetry's cheap whore.
—Jamie Larkin

This haiku knows it's
A haiku. It wants schnitzel.
It hates being so short.
—Malcolm Murray

If a cat laughed jazz
In a 3 a.m. gin joint,
Would anyone hear?
—Todd Eddy

Butter flies downward
Off the knife towards the floor
Avoiding the toast
—Doug McKinnon

Bum steps in my path
He tries to sell me a watch
Given up on time
—Shelby Anderson

10 sunflower seeds.
100 hungry sparrows.
I don't want to watch.
—Wanda Jerome

Drunken vagabond
Way overdue for a bath
Pays fare in pennies.
—Brian K. Hansen

I know two poems,
One is "the road not taken,"
The other isn't.
—Tony Santiago

The first insect bike
Race, my kitchen's Tour de Ants
Leading ... Ants Armstrong
—Jarrett Stotts (sixth grader, Sandia Prep)

Introducing spoons!
No more messes or ouchies,
Old guys can use them!
—Travis Shepherd (sixth grader, Sandia Prep)

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