Haiku Jujitsu

Alibi'S 13Th Annual Haiku Contest

Steven Robert Allen
12 min read
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Hard to believe this is the Alibi's 13th haiku contest, isn't it? Geez, time sure does fly. This test of bite-size poetic wit has been around as long as our venerable paper itself, and like the paper its popularity and prestige keeps growing, kind of like a pungent blue fungus on a fine Danish cheese.

As it happens, this was a particularly lucky year for haiku. We received tons and tons of the stuff from as far away as Romania and Australia, believe it or not, and the quality, in our humble opinion, was better than ever. (Thanks to our food editor, Gwyneth Doland, and calendars editor, Laura Marrich, for helping me with the judging.)

Congratulations to all those who made it into the paper, and I'd like to extend my personal gratitude to everyone who participated. An extra triple back flip of Olympic thanks to all our many sponsors. This year, as you'll soon see, the prizes for our lucky winners are bigger and better than ever.

And now, drum roll please … the victors and honorables in the Alibi's 13th Annual Haiku Contest. To paraphrase Basho, the great 17th century Japanese haikuist, “Y'all done good.”

Best Traditional Haiku

Yes, even in our youth-is-everything, give-me-newness-or-give-me-death culture, many of us still like to leave a little room for good ol' fashioned tradition. Chris Dixon's striking portrait of two dogs running through the snow is the unanimous champion this year, although Vaile Moldovan's lyrical haiku, penned and delivered all the way from Bucharest, Romania, was a close second.

For his efforts, Dixon will receive a $50 gift certificate to Ta Lin (230 Louisiana SE, 268-0206), Albuquerque's most extensive Asian market. If you haven't already, stop by the store's unbelievable new complex at the corner of Central and Louisiana. As if that weren't enough, Dixon will also receive a coveted Alibi T-shirt along with a scrumptious three-ounce can of Armour® potted meat. Yum!


Two black dogs chasing

Scents through the white snow, pause, to

Hear icicles melt.

—Chris Dixon

Honorable Mentions

A lit hermitage …

the chrysanthemums borrow

light from the full moon

—Vasile Moldovan

Sudden, in the night,

A loud splash. Silence before,

And silence after.

—Richard M. Fye

a low crescent moon

like a well-bent banana

ready for peeling

—Richard Bodner

still hour, unseen birds

sun falling on hands, ink, page

mouse in quick cat's mouth

—Julia Ragen

my old blackbelt in

haiku fell off, now i watch

morning glories grow.

—Julia Ragen

The road led to a

winter desert without tracks—

panic at sunset

—Andrew Wice

His love also died

The day the final blossom

fell off of the tree

—Janel Goodman

Best Albuquerque Haiku

We've used this category several times over the last couple years. In general, we prefer haiku that celebrate the many virtues of our lovely high desert city. This year, though, we decided to bestow Pamela Menter with the prize for accurately summing up one of the curious features of our native driving style.

Menter will receive two passes to the Outpost Performance Space (210 Yale SE,268-0044), good through Oct. 15, where she and a friend can catch a world-class performance by some of the biggest names in the musical universe. She'll also receive a collectible Alibi T-shirt along with a single packet of Bigelow® brand “Cozy Chamomile” herbal tea.


No need to signal.

Why should you exert yourself?

I can read your mind.

—Pamela Menter

Honorable Mentions

The cement grid cracks.

Cloudy kingdoms steal the heat.

Mutant insects writhe.

—Rich Latta

Oh Albuquerque

Please take care of Karissa

She's a fair skinned girl.

—Karissa Dunbar

Whore of the desert

An enticing Jezebel

Luring all to come

—M. A. Dougherty

Best Cryptozoological Haiku

At least one entrant didn't seem to know what the word cryptozoological means. Have you considered investing in a dictionary, buddy? Some of the best entries in this category came from sixth graders in Brian Tregembo's English class at Sandia Prep—Maxx Grummer, Lorenzo C. Baca and Harry Hampden-Smith. Thanks, gents!

In the end, Katie Hoff's Chupacabra haiku was impossible to resist. (Keep your goats indoors!) Hoff receives four passes to Albuquerque's palace of independent film, the Guild Cinema (3405 Central NE, 255-1848). She'll also receive a stylish Alibi T-shirt along with an unused pair of genuine wood chopsticks.


El Chupacabra,

Leave my cabrito alone.

He's too small for you!

—Katie Hoff

Honorable Mentions

Noise under my bed

so I look down and see a

pair of glowing eyes

—Maxx Grummer

Laugh it up, but once

They thought the celocanth was

apocryphal, too.

—Katie Hoff

Today at Four Hills

I saw Big Foot playing golf.

He got a bogey.

—Lorenzo C. Baca

Big Foot is swimming

He is doing the backstroke

He came in first place.

—Harry Hampden-Smith

Best Haiku To Gently Let Your Neighbors Know You Can Hear Them Doing It

Have you ever had this problem? Yeah, right, if only you were so lucky. Anyway, if you ever do happen to be presented with this quintessentially urban dilemma, just give Ann Sanabria a call. She seems to have a lot of experience. For her helpful advice, she'll receive a $20 gift certificate to Ned's Downtown (407 Central NW, 243-0364) along with two passes to the Guild Cinema, a cute-as-all-heck Alibi T-shirt and an adorable plastic devil figurine.


Look, beds are on sale

at Sears. Maybe you can find

one that doesn't squeak.

—Ann Sanabria

Honorable Mentions

Howdy hi, neighbors!

A 10 from the Russian judge!

Keep up the good work!

—Jeff Kunin

Well, what do you know,

I just found an oil can.

Hey, you should keep it!

—Ann Sanabria

Man, am I tired.

I didn't sleep much last night.

Neither did you, eh?

—Ann Sanabria

It's cool you don't care

That I hear you watching porn.

You don't watch porn? Oh.

—Phil Askenazy

Best Election 2004 Haiku

Whew! Tensions are running high. You people really let loose on this one. In the end, our panel of judges opted, as they so often do, for an infantile personal attack rather than a sophisticated political analysis. I've got to say, though, that Saidhbhin Kelley's haiku made us laugh our butts right off. (Once again, we also especially enjoyed entries from three young haikuists in Brian Tregembo's sixth grade English class—Michael David Womble, Shane P. Briley and Nicole Stanasolovich.)

Kelley will receive a signed copy of Amy Goodman's book The Exception to the Rulers: Exposing Oily Politicians, War Profiteers, and The Media That Love Them, donated by Bookworks (4022 Rio Grande NW, 344-8139), one of Albuquerque's very finest independent bookstores. Kelley also gets a VHS copy of the Media Education Foundation's new documentary, Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear and the Selling of American Empire, along with a politically provocative Alibi T-shirt and a defaced portrait of George and Laura Bush.

Tell me those aren't great prizes. Come on, I dare ya.


George Bush's head is

Scary. It reminds me of

A large potato.

—Saidhbhin Kelley

Honorable Mentions

How has the Bible

become Bush's own weapon

of mass destruction?

—Bob Rakoczy

Condoleeza Rice …

your oil tanker is sinking.

You staying onboard?

—Teresa Eberth

I never discuss

religion or politics …

God knows they don't mix.

—Lacey Bingham

Vote for President

Bush. He is a good person.

Please please vote for him.

—Michael David Womble

Bush is a nutcase.

He is obsessed with oil.

Kerry smiles too much.

—Shane P. Briley

Which one to vote for

Bush or Kerry or Nader

Please don't flip a coin

—Nicole Stanasolovich

Big dope from Texas

Who's always on vacation:

Take four more years off.

—Hope Eckert

Best End Of The Affair Haiku

I know, I know—it hurts. Thankfully, the Alibi is here for you, to ease the sorrow of a romance crushed beneath the boot heel of destiny. Lacey Bingham, our winner, can ease away her post love affair blues with a one hour massage from ace masseur master John Wolfe at Knot Works (8220 La Mirada NE, Suite 100, 489-2788). Remember John next time you need to pound to butter the muscle knots created by a particularly irritating ex-lover. Bingham will also receive the loving consolation of an extremely absorbent Alibi T-shirt—perfect for wiping away tears—along with a single unshelled peanut.


You hate perfection.

I hate the way your feet stink.

Go back to your mom.

—Lacey Bingham

Honorable Mentions

Jujitsu woman

throws man down and breaks his arm,

then stomps on his head.

—Debby Potter (zoologist and black belt in Judo)

Let me get this straight

You forgot you were married

For the last six weeks …

—Katie Hoff

you're really nice

but you bore me more than you

could possibly know

—Gabrielle Johansen

After he used up

my whole new tube of toothpaste,

he left, with fresh breath.

—Maggie Siebert

People were watching.

“If you kiss me on the lips,”

he said, “I'll kill you.”

—Chuck Reuben

Finished, finito!

Take a hike, get lost, vamoose!

Leave me alone! Scram!

—Ann Sanabria

Best Grammatically Incorrect Haiku

Ah, the stark poetry of unabashed grammatical butchery. Hassan Antar gets the prize in this category for his surprisingly lyrical—dare I say Beckett-esque—haiku. Not that he needs it, but Hassan will receive a copy of Lynne Truss' recent bestseller, Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. He'll also get two passes to the Guild, an Alibi T-shirt and a copy of the Sept. 6 issue of Weekly World News, “America's Extreme Magazine,” featuring the first interview with Elvis Presley since 1977, for his reading pleasure.

Does our generosity no no bounds?


sometimes wish i could

turn me into a stone an throw

me at somebody

—Hassan Antar

Honorable Mentions

Me & Herb went to

the Backwards Zoo. They ain't got

dirbs or gankaroos!

—Nancy Cross

Look it me, do I

give a skint skunk's stinky butt

'bout gramatical?

—Laura Green

qwantum mihcanics?

buncha hi-fo-lootin poop

far as eye can see

—Colin Donoghue

Alibi haikus

Be witty little ditties,

Thanks to all of yous.

—Jeff Kunin

It bug's me so, when

people use apostrophe's

wrong in sentence's

—Andrew M. Fabry

Best Miscellaneous Haiku

Miscellaneous might just be our favorite category. It's where all the homeless immigrant haiku—those tired, poor, yearning-to-be-free haiku—end up, the ones that were kicked out of their homelands because they've got bad breath or funny haircuts. It's freak central over here in the miscellaneous department, let me tell you, but, hey, this is the Alibi. We're nothing if not freaky, and we embrace all kinds.

Hassan Antar again takes home the blue ribbon for his clever little haiku ditty. He'll get a $25 gift certificate to the Sushi King (118 Central SW, 842-5099), the delicious, relatively new Downtown eatery located right next to the movie theater. Hassan will also receive two passes to the Guild, a miscellaneous Alibi T-shirt and a plastic fast-food-style packet of sweet relish (great on wieners).


laughin' an' cryin'

same time devil's ticklin' me

o god make him stop

—Hassan Antar

Honorable Mentions

Sick for many years

Now—my old white shirts hang in

the closet like ghosts.

—Richard M. Fye

If I could own a

Dinosaur, I'd feed it plump

And juicy babies.

—Saidhbhin Kelley

Chowtown seeks Straight Dope,

I'm Alibisexual.

Are you my Reel World?

—Sue McGilpin

My brain roams the plains.

Sometimes it never comes back.

I never find it.

—Nicole Stanasolovich

Jesus Christ nightlight.

I turn you on and await


—Nick Tauro Jr.

Read the Alibi,

The best damn paper in town

Doesn't cost a dime.

—Todd Eddy

Life's about good friends,

Laughter, killing hitchhikers,

And watching sunsets.

—David Blankenbaker

Weekly Alibi

Everything you need to know

Plus lots of sex ads!

—Wilhelm Sanchez III

Best Haiku Incorporating As Many Of The Other Eight Alibi 2004 Haiku Categories As Humanly Possible

This was by far our most challenging category this year, so it's surprising how many haikuists lived up to that challenge. The unanimous winner was Jay Lee. Other people used more categories, but no one combined them more cleverly than Lee. For his efforts, he'll get two passes to the Outpost, an Alibi T-shirt and a yummy pack of Bubblicious® “Island Squeeze” bubble gum. Happy chewing!


Note slid under door:

“Mister Bush and your Yeti,

Please keep it down, please.”

—Jay Lee

Honorable Mentions

The knew nighted states

Done lost its duh mock raw see

Pea pull must wake up

—Vyktorya de la Paz

Too loud, Howard Dean

I hearing your Sasquatch scream

Now there's someone else.

—Phil Askenazy

Bush, you screwed us and


us, now say goodbye

—Hope Eckert

Albuquerque ain't

Your X-rated movie set.

We vote platonic

—Laura Franich

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