Smackdown at the First-Ever Muni Haiku Battle!


Photo by Robert Powell

Three poets gathered at Clarion Alley to throw down their hottest Muni haikus against the reigning champion on Saturday night. About 200 of you witnessed the spectacle of the first-ever Muni Haiku Battle at Lit Crawl. Who took home the prize?

The Muni Haiku Battle is styled after the famed “Dirty Haiku Battle” at Tourettes Without Regrets in Oakland, where emcees battle it out with their best odes in 17 syllables. Tourettes Without Regrets host Jamie Dewolf (below) was our referee, pitting three writers against Caitlin Gill, the nine-time Dirty Haiku champion.


Photo by BerDerp

First up for the challenge was Will Reisman, transportation reporter with the San Francisco Examiner. You might know him as the author of the Examiner’s Man vs Muni series, where he attempts to outrun or outwalk every Muni line. Unsurprisingly, he takes Muni all the time but has somehow managed only once to witness someone throwing up on the bus.


Photo by BerDerp

Our next brave poet was Anna Pulley, the arts and culture editor at SF Weekly. Her dead-pan haikus cracked up even Caitlin.


Photo by Robert Powell

Here’s one of Anna’s gems:

My policy hasn’t
changed. You could always
enter through my “back door.”

Ah. Every Muni Diaries show is a fun, family-friendly event!

Our third contestant was the dapper James Nestor, whose ensemble earned compliments even from our host. James is the author of Get High Now (Without Drugs) and the upcoming Deep: A Sea Odyssey.


Photo by Robert Powell

What you might not know is that James is also one hell of a haiku writer. Like this one:

Why you feel for change
Young man? You have paid the fare
Corduroy boner

We were still reeling from the visual at the final battle between James and Caitlin.


Photo by BerDerp

The crowd was revved for both performers, but only one can take home the first ever Muni Haiku Battle trophy.


Photo by Robert Powell

And…Mr. James Nestor is the winner of the evening!


Photo by BerDerp

Our audience judges awarded him the first-ever Muni Haiku Trophy, which we had painstakingly made earlier Saturday morning with some items that you might find on the floor on Muni. Take a look.


Photo by BerDerp

Yes, those are sunflower seeds and a magnum condom (brand new!). We tried to glue a chicken bone on the trophy too but decided that it might be a little too disgusting for our poets.

A big thank you to Litquake for giving us the perfect backdrop for a super-local-flavor event, and to everyone who came to see the battle at Clarion Alley. We’ll have videos of the battle for you later this week.

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