Alibi V.21 No.37 • Sept 13-19, 2012 


Bidecennial of Bastard Haiku

Julia Minamata

Like any art medium, poetry is a manifestation of the culture that engenders it, and traditional forms can provide an especial understanding of a society’s beliefs.

For instance, the English heroic couplet, with its solid end rhymes, reflects the British values of propriety and order.

The three-lined Italian terza rima stanza (think Dante’s Divine Comedy) highlights the importance of the number three, a celebration of the Holy Trinity.

And haiku, the most economic of forms, conveys a Japanese Buddhist understanding of nature as eternal, with humans as a component but not the star.

Then these forms come to America, where their hard rules are liquefied in our melting pot of freedom before they are deep-fried and super-sized, served on a Styrofoam plate of cultural appropriation.

We here at the Alibi are nothing if not champions of bastard art forms, and really, bastards in general. So, we present to you the winners of the 20th annual Haiku Contest. Thousands of American-style haiku from hundreds of entrants made their way to our special underground poetry lair where each poem was lovingly touched and considered, regardless of its parentage. During this process, a few things became clear:

One: It is almost impossible to write a good erotic haiku but entirely possible to write really very icky ones.

Two: A disturbing number of high school students who were forced to enter the contest don’t know who Mitt Romney is. Because information is so hard to access these days. C’mon, kids! I wore a Mondale button to the third grade. Get it together.

Three: More haiku should be written about early ’90s rap because it cannot NOT be good.

A heartfelt thank you to all who took the time to share your work. Each winner will receive a $20 certificate to ABQ Brew Pub, a $10 certificate to Purple Pink Rhino and a $10 certificate to El Norteño Restaurant. To claim your prize, please go to the Alibi offices at 413 Central NW and do a dance.

Julia Minamata

Winners of Alibi’s 20th Annual Haiku Contest


Oh collect your tears
In the vase by the window—
The spring flowers bloom
—David Naquin

Willow of the Reed
Makes line drawings in Water
Give thanks to the Breeze
—Paula Singleton

Cicadas in trees
will sing their cosmic chorus
then suddenly stop
—Sean Hall

Bath Salts

APD frisking
She just asked for Epsom salts
Grandma at Walgreen's
—Peter B. Ives

When I get hungry
I like a side dish of face
Sprinkled with bath salts
—Pamela Frank

I melt in silence.
The world drifting from the sea,
Is no way to die.
—M. Luke

Mitt Romney

“Romney’s To Do List” 
Places to foreclose:
Sesame Street and Mister
Rogers' Neighborhood.
—John Orman

The Grand Old Party
Puts a lampshade on its head
Empty suit, lights out
—Peter B. Ives

“Anagram Haiku”
Mormen Tim Tromney
Met yom troy trim rote mimer
Yen term more money
—Gloria Hajduk


Clouds form in the west
Baptizing the horizon
In the hue of God
—Michael Kear

Oh, hot, soiled diaper!
Who threw you on the sidewalk?
Maybe Satan's mom.
—Rachel Langer

Spring moth invasion
swatted in bathtub with a
Greenpeace newsletter.
—Beth Cohen

Sci-fi / Fantasy

Arnold's replacement
for Total Recall needs to
—Jordan Ganz

don't colonize Mars
first we fucked up planet Earth
let us rot in place
—Keith Szudarski

What has a Ring of
Power and loves The Hobbit?
This guy! (disappears)
—Chris Chapin


Fat man with a beard
Eats baked beans and cream corn slop             
Out of my body
—Rachel Satz

Yo mom's so metal,
the Four Horsemen are all like,
“Hey girl, need a lift?”
—Jordan Ganz

De End is near, Mon.
Steel drums vibe dat reggae beat.
—Bob Rakoczy


“Young MC Jams, Made Smaller”
A high-class luncheon?
Mass consumption scares ladies
Do not just stand there

Standing on the wall?
The joke’s on you, Poindexter
Do not just stand there
—Mike Lensi

Years now of chronic
Illness - like a ghost, I haunt
My own memories.
 —Richard M. Fye


The sound that triggers
skin to lift like sloe-boned silk:
your voice through poems.
 —Erin M. Daughtrey

long and lonely night
grind myself thinking of you
polka dot panties
—Chloe Makowski

May I please have sex
With your skeleton when you
Are finished with it?
—Kevin WetSpot