Ku Me!

The Alibi 'S 15 Th Annual Haiku Contest

Steven Robert Allen
9 min read
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I know what you’re thinking: How is it possible that the Alibi is already hosting its 15 th Annual Haiku Contest? This is some kind of sham, right? No, ma’am. No sham.

Our first haiku contest occurred in the autumn of 1992. The paper was called NuCity back then. In those days, I’m told, our little weekly was handwritten on papyrus scrolls and distributed around town by donkey. It seems so long ago. Years passed and …

like a seed planted
in fertile soil, the haiku
contest grew and grew

… until eventually it became the towering, fruit-bearing tree it is today. I’ve been judging the contest since 1999, and I’ve got to say it’s my favorite of all our many annual events. People adore this contest. We get entries from all over the world, and we get more and more of them every year.

This year, I felt like I was drowning in a seismic wave of haiku. I paddled for days and never seemed to reach the end of it. Eventually, I did make it through, of course, and I think you’ll be amazed by this year’s selections.

Thanks to everyone who entered, especially all the students who participated. As always, some of the very best entries came from kids who you’d think would be too young to even know what haiku is.

I’m also indebted to the folks who helped me judge this monster: Amy Dalness, Marisa Demarco, Laura Marrich, Christie Chisholm and Devin D. O’Leary.

Last, but far from least, I’d like to thank our sponsors: Sushi Gen (5210 San Mateo NE, #B, 830-0131) and Guild Cinema (3405 Central NE, 255-1848). Winners in each category will receive a $20 gift certificate to Sushi Gen, two free passes to the Guild and a highly prized, hand-tooled, red plastic Alibi bottle opener. Congratulations to you all.

All right. Enough babbling. On to the haiku.

Best Traditional Haiku

This is by far the hardest category, but it’s also the one that carries the greatest honor for the victor. Competition was brutal this year, but Glazebrook’s simple, pure entry won us over.


a dead butterfly
plastered on your car window;
the wings clap like hands
— Holly Glazebrook

Honorable Mentions

Though crushed in the mud
I see the tin can still goes
on advertising.
— Brian Haney

Quails bopping along,
amongst purple desert sage,
happy floppy heads.
— Megan Clemence

golden green spring fowl
begging for cantaloupe seeds
preys on brown cockroach
— Melissa Brenner

rattle and shake, then
loud thump on ground green and wet
apples are ready
— Tarra Hassin

Best Albuquerque Haiku

Here’s a pretty little haiku about our beloved Burque. As always, we tended to favor haiku that have something nice to say about our fine town. Asolas captured better than anyone the alluring mystique of our high desert home.


Monsoons in the hills.
Acequias frothing with
adobe cocoa.
— James Asolas

Honorable Mentions

my heels are cracking
my nose bleeding, the desert
steals back its water
— Dottie Webb

!Orale Burque!
Why you gotta be like that?
Ehhh, see how you are!
— Matthew Villegas

Jesus on the dash
will not increase the odds of
your survival, dude
— Misti Rainwater-Lites

Marty Chavez may
Make things better in this town.
But he’s still a jerk.
— Luann Wolfe

Howling coyotes
bring out the southworst in me
no salt on the rim
— Jay Lasko

Best Haiku About the Beverage of Your Choice

I think next year we’re going to have a Haiku Master prize for whoever hands in the largest quantity of exceptional haiku. Every year, there always seems to be someone who offers up a half dozen beauties. If we’d had such a prize this year, we would’ve given it to Dottie Webb. This was one of her best.


the lemon wedge floats
face down — big lady in a
bright, yellow swimsuit
— Dottie Webb

Honorable Mentions

The morning becomes
afternoon leaving nothing
but a coffee ring.
— Brian Haney

Beverage of choice?
A tall glass of water, please.
Hold the arsenic.
— John Standish

five cherries in Coke
seven ice cubes all afloat
five and dime special
— Paula Singleton

Cheap Mexican beer
Not really from Mexico
Ask a Mexican
— Dan Otero

“Boba, Baby”
I sucked the balls up
the enormous straw he gave.
Such passion in fruit.
— Carol McCants

thought fondly of you
(also spilled coffee in lap)
burning in my loins
— Celeste Richmond

Best Stinky Haiku

The Alibi
staff knows all about putrid stenches. Just give the alley behind our office a whiff next time you take a field trip Downtown. (But please don’t loiter there. That would creep us out.) We received a lot of good entries for this one, but none matched the lyrical force of Andria Solis’ stinky little poem.


Open fridge belches;
olfactory enigmas
hang like angry ghosts
— Andria Solis

Honorable Mentions

“Stinky Peanut”
She is so stinky.
Kitty so soft and pretty.
Her name is Peanut.
— Emma Vanderhule (age 11)

“Stuffy rich formal Zombie dinner in the state of Texas where everyone consumes
and consumes … and consumes”
Toasting stinky flesh
Bar B Que and good whiskey
I’ll take your rib … eye
— Clay Thomas

Dribbling ammonia,
a yellow stench fries the air.
He’s peed on the rim.
— Dottie Webb

I find a carrot
I think it is 6 years old
crippled up and black.
— Luna Olavarria Gallegos

Best Haiku with an Absurdly Long Title

Much like George W. Bush’s ineptitude, we got some titles in this category that seemed to be boundless and unmeasurable. Unfortunately, we didn’t judge this category purely on the amount of verbiage a haikuist could cram into the title. We wanted a title that was long and
good. Mr. Wright’s little 5-7-5 fit both bills.


“The Time I Rode a Bike on the Middle Bar Between the Seat and Handlebars While Standing Up with No Hands Swerving to the Side Then Flying in the Air and Falling Down Breaking My Wrist”
Flying on rubber:
A stop, a drop, a snapping,
Flying home in pain.
— Zackery Wright

Honorable Mentions

“Ain’t No Party Like Zombie Party ’Cause Zombie Party Don’t Stop (Unless of Course Someone Shows Up and Chops the Heads Off of All the Participants)”
Living dead party
I bring beer they want flesh though
Zombie beer bong fun
— Clay Thomas

“The day I visited Earth and attempted to integrate into a large forest community touting the name ‘The Family of Holy Freedom,’ where, for reasons still unclear to me, I was turned away after a brief interview with a man who called himself ‘Greg, The Custodian of God’s Depository.’”
“To join us,” they said,
“release Earthly possessions!”
I said I had none.
— Elizabeth S. Patrick

“The Autobiography of a Southwestern Scientist on Central Avenue After Examining High-Velocity Projectile Mucus Recently Blasted From a Best Friend’s Uncovered Sneeze, Spattered Across His Drink of Choice, With the Vile Words ‘I Don’t Vote’ Still Ringing From Some Miscellaneous Stinker on a Rather Traditional Looking Bar Stool”
Hu-chu counts two but
this haiku has just enough
room to say bless you
— Allen C. Jones

Best Haiku About the Upcoming General Election

Go to the supermarket and choose among 15 brands of dental floss. Go the the voting booth and choose between two measly parties. What is this crap?


Hating your choices?
Too guilt-ridden to not vote?
Don’t kick the machine!
— Lacey Bingham

Honorable Mentions

“No Outlet”
Many megaphones
Each one coded differently
Everyone argues
— Nathan Jackson

It’s that happy time
When our candidates fling shit
But forget to duck!
— Teresa Eberth

Best Autobiographical Haiku

Albuquerque High School student Brendan Slattery can thank his lucky stars that the Alibi
editorial staff stopped maturing at around the age of 13. Yes, it’s true — we love haiku about barfing!


Life is a fun ride
You can barf all o’er the place
And you’ll still be stoked
— Brendon Slattery

Honorable Mentions

Don’t forget, writes mom
on the back of a letter.
Postage just went up.
— Dottie Webb

Best Science Haiku

Lanza’s winner was one of the most popular in the whole contest. We’re thinking of making T-shirts. It’s also nice to see our old friend Bob Rakoczy back in the paper.


“Semantics … in … SPACE”
A meteorite
is only called by that name
when it’s on the ground.
— Nina Lanza

Honorable Mentions

Pluto’s now a dwarf?
Solar system may not care–
Mercury, you’re next.
— Ron Reed

Don’t throw stones in crowds.
What goes up must come on down.
Gravity can kill.
— Bob Rakoczy

Men, please understand
that when you touch a woman
your hands should be clean
— Erika Stueck

I sit watching my
Grandpa stare at the iPod
“Where’s the power cord?”
— Conor Hopper-Brooks

Best Excessively Punctuated Haiku

This was a tough one. We must’ve gotten 800 variations on the haiku I’ve included as honorable mentions. These were the best of that tired bunch. Jeff Kunin, thankfully, got jiggy with this puppy. For his innovation, he takes home the crown.


What?? Me, work?!? =:-o That’d
Be, like … well … *!?@#! lame! =<( I'd rather
Be I.M.’ing, dude!! =<)
— Jeff Kunin

Honorable Mentions

Ah! exclamation
point! comma, semi-colon;
dash–& period.
— Ricardo Zee Bodster

exclaim! question? pause,
(enclose) [again] “quote” include:
side note* and; period.
— Jedrek Lamb

Best Miscellaneous Haiku

Whew! Last category. I think I’m suffering from haiku poisoning. Medic! Veteran slam poetry funny man Tony Santiago takes home the giant cheese in our classic grab-bag category. I included a bunch of fantastic haiku from Sandia Prep students as honorable mentions. Gotta love those crazy kids.


Burning the flag is
wrong, but undercooking the
flag is even worse.
— Tony Santiago

Honorable Mentions

I walked down the street
and tripped over a toy duck
I hate that toy duck
— Stephen Wade (Sandia Prep, 6 th grader)

“My Sister Plays the Trumpet”
Blaring high notes soar
from bell, oiled golden hymn to
Sousa, Ellington.
— Leslie McMurtry

“Shakespeare Meets Basho”
Shall I compare thee
to a classical sonnet
thou art much shorter
— Allen C. Jones

“State Quarter”
Pregnant Teenager
Stands next to a lowrider
In Española
— Sandy Adondakis

Did anyone note
our new area code is
haiku formula
— Sabra Jane Basler

“My Alibi”
As alternative
Weeklies go, I kinda like
Cynical hipsters
— Wendy Wildflower

E equals your hair
on a pillow, your mouth on mine
breathless, squared, now
— Danny Solis

The loud cuckoo clock
Interrupted my dreaming
Why? Cuckoo clock, why?
— Courtney Eker (Sandia Prep, 6 th grader)

“The Strange-Looking Dog in Albuquerque at an Hour to Dusk”
A black dog, blue eyes
No tail and only three legs
Loves to climb ladders
— Mark O. Holmen
(Sandia Prep, 6 th grader)

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