The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest 2/29 – 3/6/2020

Welcome to the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest #61!

Every week, I include a link to a brief outline on how to write terrible poems. A few contests back, however, Doug Jacquier enlightened me as to the existence of one Ern Malley.

Ern was the pen name of two poets who thought a certain poetry publication (Angry Penguins) published crap. To prove their point, they constructed bad poetry and submitted the lot. According to the Wikipedia page, “enraptured by the poetry, [the editors] devoted the next issue of Angry Penguins to Malley, hailing him as a genius. The hoax was revealed soon after, resulting in a cause célèbre and the humiliation of Harris [a co-editor], who was put on trial, convicted and fined for publishing the poems on the grounds that they contained obscene content. Angry Penguins folded in 1946.”

So here are the specifics for this week:

  1. The Topic DOES NOT MATTER. The construction does; for, you are to construct a poem in the same way ‘Ern Malley’ did:
    “Their writing style, as they described it, was to write down the first thing that came into their heads, lifting words and phrases from the Concise Oxford Dictionary, a Collected Shakespeare, and a Dictionary of Quotations: ‘We opened books at random, choosing a word or phrase haphazardly. We made lists of these and wove them in nonsensical sentences. We misquoted and made false allusions. We deliberately perpetrated bad verse, and selected awkward rhymes from a Ripman’s Rhyming Dictionary.’ They also included many bits of their own poetry, though in a deliberately disjointed manner (Wikipedia).”
    Take random lines from stories, from Shakespeare, from quotes, from the dictionary, and from you. See what nonsensical brilliance ensues.
  2. Keep the Length around 250 words or fewer.
  3. This is likely to end up free verse, so don’t worry about rhyming.
  4. In fact, I doubt you’ll have to try very hard to make it terrible. Just try to get James McAuley and Harold Stewart (AKA Ern Malley) to sit up from their angelic rest and applaud your literary brilliance.
  5. Keep the rating PG-13 or cleaner.

You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (March 6) to submit a poem.

Use the form below if you want to be anonymous for a week.

If not, and for a more social experience, include your poem or a link to it in the comments. Check in if you use a pingback and it doesn’t show up in a day.

Have fun!


Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

53 thoughts on “The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest 2/29 – 3/6/2020

  1. I could not possibly miss the chance to mix Shakespearean quotes with the theme song from ‘Mr Ed’. Who could?

    “Beware the Ides of March, my dear
    With feelings foul for you I fear
    Beware the frauds, the fools, the fakes
    When light through yonder window breaks
    The Ides they come and come what may
    Compare thee to a summer’s day
    Though no such day will yet prevent
    The winter of our discontent

    There will be blood, you may be sure
    Cry havoc! Let slip the dogs of war!
    And there within the maelstrom see
    Lord! What fools these mortals be
    Lend me your ears. Allay you’re fears
    The rider of the storm, he nears
    My kingdom for a bloody horse
    For a horse is a horse. Of course. Of course.”

    Liked by 5 people

  2. I’ll kick things off this week and do my best to invoke Ern’s spirit (or beer if that’s all that’s left).

    Ern Malley Incarnate (Vegan Options Available)

    ‘Now is the winter of our wet cement’
    quoth Lucy in her sty with diamonds in her silk-purse ears.
    Meanwhile, in a battlefield far, far, away, Dicky Three hunched his back,
    despairing at the sward strewn with sordid, sworded bodies in his path
    and cried ‘A hearse, a hearse, my kingdom for a hearse’.
    Hearing nothing but the sounds of silence he bellowed
    ‘Unleash the dogs of war. Out, damn-ed Spot and yes, you, Fido,
    and you, frumious Bandersnatch.
    And let no-one ask who let the dogs out.’
    But alas, alack, the dud plan of attack now needed a patsy stone.
    He roared so all could hear,
    “Cry ‘Harry (and Meghan), England and Boy George’ ”
    and hied himself to the tintantabulation of the belfry of Notre Dame.
    Thus it was left to the immoral bard, TS (George) Eliot to record,
    on a cold, bright day whan that Aprill with his shoures soote
    and the clock was striking thirteen,
    “This is the way the world ends,
    not with a banger but a Wimpy burger.”

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Lost in translation

    (My wonderful poem was first translated by Google into Malay, then into Persian, and finally back into English.)

    I hid lunch for a word –
    Where did you go? Oh!
    Quo Vadis? I say horse height,
    above a saddle basket, is a pile of flowers and frozen marshes.
    Look at what is in your favour
    (not the silent bridge behind);
    there are things where you are, but things are set up
    when the tiger burns brightly

    not! What a beautiful bird!
    You’re not the one to beat
    more than the moon puzzle.
    You are a greedy-pants of unbridled surreptitiousness
    like a pig in search of its mother.
    Bacon I told you! Bacon! Everyone bacon!
    Do not hold back your sucking finger.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Yo Ho

    Yo Ho, ’tis a South pirate’s love for be
    My love, your series, Doug breaks over
    And love knows no quarrel which it does not already conquer love roads and toads
    Be still. Be free. And dear, don’t forget to pee-
    -r over the clouds, covers, counters and flights
    Of fancy love be, come come and hasten away
    For the Opera vegan hits noon today
    But what yonder light is that?
    Why bloody hell, I forgot to pay the electric bill.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. They murder with a kiss.

    Our lightless fire
    This love is fair with keen appetite
    Our magical hyperbole
    We avoid and clean in the scullery
    Of faint stale smells of beer
    Sanctified by an ancient skull
    Seized, penetrated by anguish
    Fever of the jaguar
    In its charm,
    Possessed much, blood-faced
    Fairer than myself,
    No wonder on the summer’s day
    Plucked in each verse, red for shame,
    Desire is cold, bridled by Webster’s obsession with death
    With a text that clutches and folds,
    Anguish, anguish in the flesh
    For I am myself here in the flesh
    (And not hemorrhoids).
    To stroke on one’s cheek,
    As I on the opposite shore will be
    Devoured by heavenly distilling flowers,
    Tangled in pale delight
    Like crimson shame, Et tu Brute?
    Our roads diverged for better ones
    Than ourselves because it would never make a difference
    Existing letting this dream begin,
    I come, I see
    And then be immodest,
    Oh, they murder with a kiss
    Shaking in whispers.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Absolutely stunning, Lucy. A pure channeling of Ern. Especially with this passage.:
      ‘Desire is cold, bridled by Webster’s obsession with death
      With a text that clutches and folds,
      Anguish, anguish in the flesh
      For I am myself here in the flesh
      (And not hemorrhoids).’

      As the immortal Mr Malley would have said, and did say, in his poem, In the Year 1943:
      ‘There is a moment when the pelvis
      Explodes like a grenade. I
      Who have lived in the shadow that each act
      Casts on the next act now emerge
      As loyal as the thistle that in session
      Puffs its full seed upon the indicative air.
      I have split the infinite. Beyond is anything.’

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Okay. So much for editing!

    Protruding stomachs
    In a Danish forest
    Hairy as this covering
    A sworn enemy of the giant race
    Jack blew a mighty horn
    The giant awoke
    Understandably irritated
    And killed him on the spot
    A very hazardous task
    Not equally spread numerically
    Such strenuous activities
    Led to fatigue and rest periods
    And practical jokes of ill-repute

    Liked by 3 people

  7. my take :

    Her feelings at the moment are quite complex

    Not Once did Eddie ever interfere

    Fred made a good Psychopath

    Maude was swept out to sea

    But Stephen was always even

    A decapitation ensues

    Don’t just sit there like dopes !

    Evil must suffer defeat

    Hold up. A bubble machine ?

    Questioned Stephen who was always even

    He deduced and stated “Me no wear pants. It feels guuuuuuuud.”

    Law is a bottomless pit, it is a cormorant, a harpy that devours everything!

    Liked by 2 people

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