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Per Verse

Haikus are the bonsai trees of observation. They've been a way of writing for at least 3,000 years. Old school. Free style, but not free form. The usual structure is 17 syllables on three lines: five-seven-five. Like this:

Put down that dildo!

By order of Skip Rimsza!

No sex after one!

Not exactly a reverent vision of nature, I grant you, but a haiku nonetheless.

The above verse was inspired by a prudish flurry of local and state sex laws, including one upheld by a federal judge last week that requires all-nude clubs, escort services and adult bookstores such as Castle Boutique to close at the same time as bars.

Speaking of cock rings . . .

. . . one year after state voters made raising gamecocks illegal, the feathers -- and severed legs -- still fly, most weekend nights, at two Phoenix arenas. The blood sport crowd is a seething collage of vatos, urban caballeros, Filipinos, and old white men, many of them combat veterans. Bets are placed in three languages.

Battle of roosters

Blood-splattered bulbs on bare wire.

Blades wiped clean with limes.

Last November, Sheriff Joke issued a press release to the effect that confiscated gamecocks would be served to county prisoners under his care. Never mind that one of the pretexts for making cockfighting illegal was that breeders supposedly pump their birds full of steroids and illegal stimulants. Or that rooster meat is so tough it must be slow-cooked, and so lean it's a waste of time.

Arpaio is a publicity fiend. Ditto his deputy dawg, Dave Hendershott. When James Saville was arrested July 9 for allegedly plotting to assassinate Arpaio, a TV news crew was invited to tape the bust. Hendershott swaggered it up for the cameras, carrying a pistol long after Saville was taken into custody.

Hey, Arpaio's bitch --

Your Glock's just a prop

Where's your mirror shades?

Source material is ubiquitous in a haiku state of mind. The words seek you, grasshopper.

At a playoff game:

I'm a New York fan.

You got a problem with that?

Huh, Diamondbacks boy?

During a heavy-metal concert:

Ozzfest '99

Ten thousand howling Hessians.

Going off the rails.

At the doctor's office:

My HMO sucks

Time to go to Nogales

More fun, no co-pay.

The line inside a convenience store:

Circle K tweaker

Fiddling silver nose ring

Asks for Sominex.

A corner crack shack:

Maryvale tract home

Hands move like hungry spiders.

Searching the carpet.

Sixth race at the track:

Phoenix Greyhound Park

Boxed quinela, four dog.

Run, Chick Magnet, run!

A warehouse party:

Rave kids, high on X

Dancing, glow sticks in the air

Should be home in bed.

A rumor:

New Year's Eve, Mill Ave.

Reunion show headliners . . .

Toad the Wet Blossom!

A press release:

Dan Quayle drops out of . . .

Wait -- how many syllables?

I can't comprehend.

A central Phoenix parking lot:

Taco Sahuayo.

Carne asada, open late.

Better than McD's.

Shopping on 16th Street:

One strip mall, two stores:

"Guns R Us" and "Postal Plus"

Bought a gat and stamps.

In a mad-dog stare:

Mr. Gangbanger.

Packin' steel, keepin' it real.

Don't you dis me, man.

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And a glorified algae pond:

$100 million

Tempe Town fakey-lakey

"Thanks," say mosquitoes.

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