Hockey Haiku: The Essential Collection

Hockey Haiku: The Essential Collection

by John Poch, Chad Davidson

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The greatest collection of hockey-related poetry this or any house has ever published, and a watershed moment in American letters.

Hockey haiku is the most rarefied of the haiku genres, and it represents the perfect union of graceful brutality, ordered chaos, and the blood that courses through our veins...and onto the ice.



The greatest collection of hockey-related poetry this or any house has ever published, and a watershed moment in American letters.

Hockey haiku is the most rarefied of the haiku genres, and it represents the perfect union of graceful brutality, ordered chaos, and the blood that courses through our veins...and onto the ice.

Hockey Haiku: The Essential Collection is full of poems that embody to perfection hockey's unique harmony of beauty and violence. For example:
Zamboni bumper:
Don't laugh---It crushed the leg of
the Little Leaguer.

And it turns to the questions we as a hockey society are reluctant to answer:

Conflict--How can I
pledge my allegiance to two
national anthems?

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Irreverent. Nevertheless, essential."—Doug Halcomb, Hockey Ministries International

"I think I can say without fear of contradiction that the hockey haikuist Pat Scluney taught me everything I know about physical violence and verbal restraint. That his work is now preserved in Hockey Haiku is a literary event of fastidious brutality. Though I got a free copy, I'll buy many more for my friends, who will laugh delightedly well beyond their allotted number of syllables, just as I did."—Robert Olen Butler, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

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Hockey Haiku

The Essential Collection

By John Poch, Chad Davidson

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2006 John Poch and Chad Davidson
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-0791-0


The Nature of the Game:
Random Cudgelings,
Dekeings, and Other Customs


If I had a dime
for each of their broken bones,
I'd invest in dimes.

Black fly on the pond
suddenly a black comet.
Thank you, Jumbo-Tron!

Hockey banning fights?
Who came up with this winner?
Let's cudgel his brains.

What's a two-line pass?
The referee looks tired, old.
Duh. The puck. Two lines.

Vote Wayne Gretzky for
President! In Canada
for Prime Minister!

O Canada. O,
water freezes. Centigrade.
O, it's hockey time.

I deke you, deke you.
In the crease, I deke you, you
who look sorrowful.

Though I shall deke back.
And the deked shall inherit
all this open ice.

It is not easy
to deke on the ice, unless
you are a deker.

The ref calls icing.
Everyone is dumbfounded.
There's ice everywhere.

Poor Canucks. Rich Yanks.
Expensive hockey tickets
go south. Winter geese.

Stiff cross-check — you fall
face down — Narcissus on ice.
Bloody reflection.

There's something about
swatting your goalie's shin pads
postwarm-ups — Luck thuds.

Conflict — How can I
pledge my allegiance to two
national anthems?

Five-minute major.
They score. The box remains full.

Illegal high stick?
Think again. It's in the net.
Legal high sticking.

Don't let the pink ice
fool you. This goon's lagoon ain't
for Barbies. That's blood.

There's no such thing as
wind chill to Canadians,
true fans of the game.

Shorthanded goals hurt
so good. So handy, when down:
these outnumbered ones.

We ate ice! That's what
we did before squirt bottles!
Sweat-drenched skate-shaved ice!

We thought these front row
seats were going to be great.
A hard Zen lesson.

What does my girlfriend
think when I bang the glass
oh so violently?

The old leper joke:
face-off in the corner. Win
the puck and save face.

We didn't make the
play-offs. Indeed, April is
the cruelest month.

Fans are good and bad.
For instance, it's bad to fan
the open slap shot.

Why such dreams, such hope
when they pull the goalie at
the end? They still lose.

The empty-net goal —
taking candy from babies:
sad, sweet, sometimes sour.

Berserk hockey dads
have different agendas
Coach has a shiner.

vans never had it this good:
air-brushed goalie masks.

Another hat trick:
It's all business in the front,
party in the back.

Coast to coast, butter
on toast. But the breakaway
is eaten with jam.

What is the sound of
one stick slapping? The red light
shines; people clapping.

I cut my teeth on
roller hockey, but I broke
my teeth on the ice.

Bored at the bar or
in the family game room?
Air hockey will do.

In curling, maybe
all that sweeping helps prepare
the ice for hockey?

Some claim curling is
Canada's national sport.
Curling. What. Ever.

Women's field hockey
and men's lacrosse both lack ice,
Men's lacrosse lacks men.


Pindaric Haiku:
From Acne to Acme

Eddie Belfour drinks.
Eddie Belfour drinks too much,
Eddie Belfour drinks.

Bob Gainey is gone.
One by one the Stars go out.
Hitchcock cocks his neck.

Little Modano,
top shelf for the cookie jar.
Hungry Modano.

Biscuit on his stick
predates a goal by seconds —
spittle on Hull's lip.

Detroit's new savior:
Cujo's mojo in the pipes.
Hasek can't hack it.

Terror in the crease,
sacrificing teeth for goals:
Philly's John LeClair.

Valerie Bure,
tell me, if you know: What will
stop Pavel Bure?

Mario Lemieux,
are there French doppelgängers?
Yes, they are all Claudes.

This next line rocks you:
Nikolai Khabibulin.
That last line rocked you.

Coach Dave Tippett said:
"Guerins are not born on trees."
Arnotts aren't either.

Offense or defense.
Blue line, high crease, everywhere:
Sergei Federov.

Metamorphic freak:
Blackhawk, Shark, Star, now a Leaf,
Eddie the Eagle.

What is in a name?
Ron Tugnutt or Dick Trickle?

Another shutout?
Is he really second string?
You tugging my nut?

Pimpled recklessness:
a winger with bad acne —
it's Langenbrunner.

See Craig McTavish.
See Craig McTavish's hair:
helmetless, feathered.

Modano's cute face:
a figure skating partner?
Arnott checks your dream.

Brett Hull thinks he can
skate on dry ice. He does: with
his Red Wings rising.

Hasek and Hatcher?
What is up with the Hs?
Happy Hull has help.

O Donald Brasheer,
Flying face first into glass:
Love yourself, your face.

Old pint-sized Blackhawk,
Liquored up, dressed up: off ice
Fleury flaps his lips.

During the game, it's
Jagr: Master. Afterwards,
it's Jagermeister.

Modano's so cute
I want to throw roses on
the ice. But I don't.

I swear! Foiled again.
H-E-double hockey sticks.
Satan's in the crease.

The penalty box
ultimate. Satan on ice.
Dante would be proud.

Aging Rangers brat —
Concussion-laden Canuck —
Lindros out again.

King with concussions
became headstrong new head coach —
Alas, Granato.

Bad midlife mullet.
Chewing gum won't restore youth.
Barry Melrose: Why?

Can't muss it up, Messier's
hair, and all those hats
doffed to the bald ice.

Lang, turn the light low
and play her some Barry White.
Unmask her goalie.

Hockey without fights.
Belfour without a stiff drink.
Screw your Lady Byng!

Eddie Belfour swills,
pees Boston Bruins yellow
in a holding cell.

Gretzky, hockey stick
preslap shot: a goalie's grim
reaper, scythe held high.

Gordy Howe's weapon?
A wooden stick sweet on ice:
cherry pop-sickle.

Bad Dallas cliché:
"Falling Stars." Make a wish for
burned-out Modano.

Even with the blue
mask blocking, Belfour's eyes are
Arctic iceberg blue.

It's Jason Priestley!
It's Celebrity Hockey!
No, Jason Priestley!

Wayne Gretzky's 3-D
Hockey doesn't quite capture
His 4-D hockey.

Hockey mask thriller:
Are you Jason Voorhees or
Mike Ricci? Scary.

His doughy face jars,
but still the Avalanche fall
for him: Foote fetish.

Walter and Phyllis
Gretzky, I wanted to say:
thanks for Wayne Gretzky.


Intermission & Stoppage:
(Including Guesswork Regarding
Arena Urinals)

Hotdogs clog the throat.
Beer's plastic chalice held high
It's intermission.

Molsen Ice, Bud Light.
The long, faithless pilgrimage
to the urinal.

Zamboni bumper:
Don't laugh — It crushed the leg of
the Little Leaguer.

We score, and then this
music: Duh dum duh dum duh
dum duh duuuh dum. HEY!

This beer is good, ay?
Golden colour, nice flavour:
Canadiens can't spell.

Come on feel the noise.
Bored fans wait for the face-off.
Song interrupted.

Did you sneak in a
can of beer or are you just
happy to see me?

Was Vanilla Ice
a loser? Yes, but ... stoppage
airs "Ice, Ice, Baby"

Dumb intermission
games, while the team four-down gets
a vulgar earful.


The Standings,
Mascot Mockery and Veneration

Ubi sunt Canucks.
Winnipeg went far away.
A coyote yips.

Bottom of the league,
the Thrashers thrash in the muck.
Their logo is weak.

What kind of mascot
is a freaking maple leaf?
Scratchy, doomed to fall.

I'm a Maple Leaf!
Fear my blue fall, my scratchy
edge! I could blind you.

Florida Panthers:
O the briefest dynasty.
Those rats were silly.

Los Angeles Kings
rule nothing but the basement.
Los Angeles Queens.

Los Angeles Kings
are in the cellar again,
should invest in wine.

Question, Toronto:
I understand the leaf, but
why blue? Cold up there?

Who is farthest South?
As far as the standings go,
Florida Panthers.

I don't know if it's
a pleasing idea to have
the Ducks win the cup.

Surreal sharks circling
above the ice. Only in

Blues and Blue Jackets.
Both lackluster teams this year.
Why do I feel sad?

What's so Wild about
Minnesota? Ten thousand
lakes fill up with tears.

Tampa Bay Lightning,
Carolina Hurricanes.
Summer conditions?

It was the best ice
when the Stars won. When they lost,
it was the worst ice.

Ice-cold ice. Hotdog.
Hockey game in June, Phoenix
rising from the smog.

Penguin (Canada)
rejection slip. Did they want
more Penguins or Leafs?

Cowboy poetry
can't round up the majesty:
Lubbock Cotton Kings.

Buffalo Sabres
have a buffalo mascot,
no sword. This is Zen.

Lowercase won't do.

Buoyant Mighty Ducks
are worthy adversaries
of the lithe Penguins.


Metahockey Haiku:
Are You Marty Turco?

Haiku hockey. One
mid-ice man. At either end
two shorter goalies.

In hockey, we say,
"the ice," which is to say, ice
transcends space-time stuff.

Is the puck awkward
to you or is it just me?
Are you Marty Turco?

A hockey stick is
the L plucked from the word "pluck."
What's left should be struck.

O hockey haiku:
He who made the lamb made thee,
our hockey haiku.

Heretofore unseen:
Anabaptist Pacifists
in hockey haiku.

She says, "Bull Hockey!"
Euphemisms are just not
what they used to be.

Speaking Japanese,
we would know that hokku means
wet rice, and hockey.

Three lines in haiku
hockey. The stick my brute pen.
I jones for winter.

Two skates diverged in
a crowded crease, and that has
made all the difference.

Huffy Henry hid
the puck. Uncheckable, he
was uncheckable.

I heard a fly buzz.
Or that Philly Flyer Burke
just concussed my head.

About suffering
they were never wrong: old guys
stuck in the minors.

She sang beyond the
genius of the ice. She sang
both national anthems.

Much depends upon
a Red Wing glazed with Duck blood
after fisticuffs.

I knew a woman.
When Mike Modano sighed, she
would sigh back at him.

Men at forty learn
to close softly the lockers
they won't come back to.

All the new thinking
is about hockey haiku.
Like the old thinking.

Hockey haiku, then
volleyball villanelle.
Next? Limerick deluge.

Eddie Belfour drinks.
Virgil Suarez writes too much.
Eddie Belfour drinks.

Let us go then, you
and I, as the home team is
just stinking it up.

Lydwina, Patron
Saint of Skaters, do you pray
for Mike Modano?

5-7-5? Check
Bludgeoned pencil, bleeding eyes?
Hockey haiku? Check.

The Hockey Haiku:
This panel seeks to define
the hockey haiku.

O Richard Howard,
be my verse coach, my sensei,
my own Kurt Russell.

Stick and glove hover
at the goalie's sides. He is
vertical haiku.

My home page is set:
I will hack your face!

Lady Byng is kind
of cruel. Cruel and kind,
she asks for martyrs.

I was of two minds:
The prechecked, unbloodied one,
and the foul other.


The Lockout and Season's Return:
Heroic Homeric Hockey Haiku,
Including Invocation of the Muses

X-box irony.
My hockey game just froze up,
Like the NHL!

Comedy of Errors.
Much Ado About Nothing.
No hockey, Shakespeare.

You sat and watched me
as I sat and pined for games
meager as a puck.

Under the hardwood
of basketball arenas,
ice quietly waits.

Ugliest hat trick
is the reason no season:
the salary cap.

Dude, where's my hockey?
Ashton Kutcher stars in this
tragic comedy.

No pen or skate will
scribble any haiku or
hockey this season.

Lockout or strike? What's
the difference to a fan
jonesing for goons.

Who owns my wordplay?
The hockey haiku lockout.
Writer's block of ice.

Halfway through last year,
hockeyless, I lost it. Hell,
the season on ice.

Rage, sing Goddess, of
Peleus' son, Achilles,
or hockey season.

Speak, Muse, of the Wild,
Islander, Ranger, returned
to home ice. Face-off!


Excerpted from Hockey Haiku by John Poch, Chad Davidson. Copyright © 2006 John Poch and Chad Davidson. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

JOHN POCH is poetry editor of the journal 32 Poems Magazine and teaches at Texas Tech University.

CHAD DAVIDSON is an assistant professor of English at the University of West Georgia.

JOHN POCH is poetry editor of the journal 32 Poems Magazine and teaches at Texas Tech University.

CHAD DAVIDSON is Lecturer in Creative Writing and Literature at University of West Georgia (USA). He is the author of Consolation Miracle (Southern Illinois UP, 2003), winner of the Crab Orchard Prize in Poetry, and has published essays, translations, creative nonfiction, and poems in such journals as AGNI, The Paris Review, Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Writer's Chronicle, and others.

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