WINNER of the Terrible Poetry Contest 4/14/2022

The challenge was to write a free-verse poem on bad driving, compliments of last contest’s winner, Matt! So, at long last, who was the ‘best’ at ‘worst?’

Bad Driver

by Frank

I told my shrink that the cops brought me here because of my bad driving and he said I had no record of ever driving a car in my life and I told him, not car, spaceship, S-P-A-C-E-S-H-I-P, and he said I had no spaceship and wasn’t an alien because my DNA test, D-N-A, showed I’m human enough and I told him, well, then why am I in that padded cell and he said I wasn’t in any cell and I asked him if he was trying to drive me crazy and if he was he wasn’t doing a good job of it and then he said I was brought in because I was scaring the neighborhood kids and the judge assigned me to him and I told him that I had a lot of fun turning my head 360 degrees like an owl and he said I couldn’t do stuff like that and I asked him whether he ever saw me and he said no and so I asked him if he wanted to see me turn my head 360 degrees and he said, “Sure, Marvin, go ahead turn your head 360 degrees like an own, go on show me” and so I turned my head 360 degrees like an owl and he called the exorcist.

This poem is in imitation of Gerald Stern’s American Sonnets. There “sonnets” have no rhyme nor meter (and often no sense that I could detect). They are all one sentence long allowing the reader to put in line breaks or not. I would call them terrible American sonnets, but he won some award for them and they are occasionally entertaining.

—–

Congratulations, Frank! You are the most terrible poet! Let me know the type of poem and theme for the next two weeks.

I was AMAZED at the poems this week. AMAZED! Way to make my highly-prestigious judging difficult, everyone. The poems were terrible, plus they were terrible -making fun of a typical free verse, adding a twist or two, using humor or surprise, and adding in cliché poetic elements.
I think Frank’s stood out after all that because of his unique form. How annoying, really. You said Gerald Stern “won some award;” well, now you have.

Don’t stop there, though. Go ahead and enjoy the others:

First Time on the Highway!

by trentpmcd

the flowers of spring
and the newly green grass
animals frolicking
after the long winter
I smile as I wonder
how did I get here
to this little slice
of paradise
the torn-up turf
gives a clue
as does the broken windshield
oh, the joy
of freedom
did I tell you
I received my drivers license
yesterday?

—–

Untitled

by Richmond Road

When we start
It is odd
Is it not?
That the pause in the flow
Might somehow show
A teasing hint
Of thought so deep
Of thinking, not sinking
into sleep
An inner confusion
Leading to the illusion
Of footsteps
well trod
But just rot
Pretending to be art

—–

Untitled

by Dumbestblogger

Steering wheel
Gas pedal
Brake
I’m not sure which is which
I prefer abstract philosophical principles
To hard-headed empiricism
Those colored lights they put over the intersections are really pretty

—–

Road Ragin’

by Gr8bigfun

Driving down the road 🛣️
Minding my own business
When buddy flips me the bird 🦜
I know free verse don’t rhyme
But this guy’s a real turd 💩
With my ego now bruised
My brain explodes 💥
And my senses go blind
What’s this clown’s 🤡
Problem anyway
Step on the gas ⛽
I weave through the rush
My window recessed 🪟
As I pull up to your ride
I start waving my fist 👊
Rhyme a curse at the lady inside
Don’t call the cops 🚓
That’s not meant for you

I got the wrong car 🚗
Mistaken identity I swear
I’m totally raging 🤬
As I punch it again
Blast past a school bus 🚌
This rhyming is insane
I catch a glimpse 👀
As you make the left
I race through the turn 🏎️
And ‘round the bend
Caught in my web 🕸
️The thrill of pursuit gone
What do I do now ❓
I take a deep breath and
In a moment of zen ☯️
My road rage does pass
I rhyme one last time ⌚
And realise, I’m the real ass!

—–

THE BIRD

by Matt

Your blinker
is on
Still…
Oh
How much
Slower must I
go to get
You off
My
Ass!
Veins they but protrude
Shades of red flush my face
Cut me off
The hell ?
Holy
Shit a
Spider in front of
my face!
Smash Boom
Crash
not me, thankfully
we is stuck
behind rubber
neckers but you, you!!!
Pass everyone by on
the
shoulder yield
does not
mean
stop
every single one of y’all
gets the bird!

—–

Untitled

by Tangental

My driving is perfection.
I know this because I drive a Ford Cliche,
And have one aim when behind the wheel:
to remove the worst driver in the world,
Arthur Goode, from Britain’s roads.
In my car, I am perfection,
I am the enemy of the Goode.

—–

Bad Driving

by Michael B. Fishman

For, I say; fore.
Out of my way for I am a bad driver.
Four violent torso twists, the club a blur of polished wood, and the ball barely moves

but my back hurts.
For what it’s worth –

to toot my own horn –

I’ll say that I’m not bad with
irons,
or putters,
but drivers,

I am a bad driver.

Drivers are the chink in my Armour bologna Cracker Crunchers
lunch with a Butterfinger candy bar fun size dessert armor.

I ate at an Italian restaurant, name now forgotten, and I was so taken with the bombolotti, that squat little powerhouse noodle that expertly trapped the slightly sweet sauce and diced onion and, I think?

Parmigiano or pecorina cheese as a culinary captive to caress my …

my…

no provincialism here: my slobbering mouth. So I had to

compliment the chef directly.

I drove myself, chest first, proudly displaying my all’Amatriciana sauce stained shiny Sahara sand satin shirt to the kitchen,

but,

before
I
could
say anything:

The chef, garbed in his winter jacket,

for it was
winter whence
we
met, met
me
at the door and said:

“I cannot unlock my car door”.

I, taken aback, said: “Why not?”

He said, “I have gnocchi.”

I drove him home. I only exceeded the speed limit once,
very briefly,
to make a light.

—–

Poor Parking Parable

by Obbverse

What a dazzlingly bright sizzler of a triple digit day
It was down at the Crucible Mall
What a joy it was to be beneath cloudless azure skies
In a Midnight Blue Horizon
With no fu…nctioning air-conditioning
Not a park to be found within spitting distance
Of the Mall’s shady walls
Nary a one
Thanks to one selfish bas- parker
who had left two half spaces on either side
Of the fat-wheeled Ford F150 parked athwart the middle line
Of the only two miserably designated Disabled car parks
Lolling In his F150 sat
A fat-as slack faced cowboy
Hairy mitt draped on the wheel
Cab wreathed in vape smoke
He paused but for a second to chug down his Bud
Before leaping down agilely and
Lightly-
Lightly for such a heavy gutted hombre-
Onto the asphalt
Belched heavily
And strode back into the Booze Barn
For ‘nother nourishing six-pack
No Disabled card on view
Nope, not right nor fair but…

Never mind.

After parking way out back in the back of beyond
Out in the furthest and farthest
Rarely traversed reaches of the car park
Far from the Mall and the madding crowd
I gamely sweated my way across
The shimmering tacky asphalt
Trekking towards the far-off
Sliding doored cold comfort of
Krogers
My journey through Hades proved to be well worth it though!
Oh
So gratifying it was to see our invalid invalid
Looking fair fit to be tied
Getting roughly cuffed and arrested by someone
Healthily buffed and in a well-stuffed XL black uniform
And
As a bonus
Our cow-poke’s big-as truck getting all
Set to be towed
I joined in with the surrounding crowd
Easing in beside
A finely groomed and elegantly dressed elderly gent
‘Another ass who believes it’s his right to use not just one
But two Disabled parks’ he offered
Eyes hard as tempered steel
‘It’s rare to see such justice playing out before our eyes’
I croaked agreeably in my parched cracked voice
Seems all about us most folks agreed
And as the baddest example
Of good driving I’d seen in quite a while
Was hauled away
Everyone enthusiastically yet oddly waved him ta-ta’s
All with both hands
But sans fingers
‘Cept for middle digits
I bade the elderly gent a hearty good day
And walked
away
He went gladly off on his way
His wheelchairs wheels
Making one Hell of a deep impression along the
Fords flanks
Which made for quite the racket too
But everyone in the vicinity
Who should have witnessed this
Had to have been deaf-finately handicapped

If not deaf, blissfully, smilingly unaware.

—–

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Thank you, everyone! Come back to learn the next two weeks’ prompt.

Frank: Here’s your badge you can post as proof of your poetic mastery:

terrible-poetry-contest

©2022 The poets, and their respective poems.

Just Bad. And the Driving is, Too.

Oft I venture
down
The road but
then there’s some idiot
On her phone

Oh.
thats a him
I think

who Cares the point
is
That person’s putting on makeup and drifting and just picked up a cell phone and then cut off a semi
and
Honked
at
all of
us.

And I’m supposed to be the stereotypical bad driver
On acc
ount of being
a woman
and Utahrn.

©2022 Chel Owens

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com. It’s funny how we all do this now, when we really shouldn’t.

Ah. Terrible Poetry is always so cathartic.

The Terrible Poetry Contest 4/2/22

Welcome to the biweekly Terrible Poetry Contest!

Did you know that everyone writes terrible poetry? Even bonafide, published, worshipped ‘poets’ write terrible poetry. Don’t worry; none of us is that famous (I think). We’re in it for the notoriety. Wanna join in but aren’t sure how to let it all go? Try reading my tips, here.

Here are the specifics for this contest:

  1. Matt won it all last round, and says we’ll write on the Theme of bad driving, free-verse style. Free verse is defined as “nonmetrical, nonrhyming lines that closely follow the natural rhythms of speech” (Poetry Foundation). Basically, you’re freewheeling it and trying to sound artsy doing so.
  2. You’re the driver; you choose the Length.
  3. Traditional free verse poetry does not Rhyme. You take that where you wish.
  4. Just make it terrible! Take the pedal to the medal on a collision course so awful you drive Ms. Daisy crazy.
  5. Rating: PG-13 or cleaner. I’ve seen you drive.

You have till 8:00 a.m. MDT on Thursday, April 14 to submit a poem.

Use the form below if you want to be anonymous for a week. It hasn’t gone through unless you see a message saying it has.

For a more social experience, include your poem or a link to it in the comments. Please alert me if your pingback or poem does not show up within a day.

The winner gains bragging rights, a badge, and the option to choose the next iteration’s topic and type of poem.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

—–

©2022 Chel Owens

Hallowe’en Serial: 3rd Night

Continued from #2.

Carol noticed nothing, the image of a few bent window blinds storing itself cozily into her subconscious as she listened to her new favorite radio station.

♫ “You hate your boss at your job…” 

She sang along, though she didn’t hate her boss. Her boss was her husband. They were happily married, and had been for twenty-two years this November. No kids, of course. Carl hadn’t -well, maybe it really was Carol’s fault as he had suggested.

Miss Tight Skirts was expecting, probably from some discount store clerk. That’s where she got the ugly decorations from. Ugly decorations that could move…

No. Carol pushed the thought from her mind. Ceramics didn’t move, desks didn’t move, blinds didn’t -a black sedan pulled out into her lane and she had to jerk the steering wheel sharply to avoid impact. They honked at her and sped away into the night.

Her breathing almost matched her rapid heartbeat. This was the second time in one day she’d been scared enough to worry for her health. She tried to drive straight as she slowed her panicked breaths. Now, what had she been thinking about? Things looking at her?

♪ “Well, if you hear somebody knocking on your door / If you see something crawling across the floor / Baby, it’ll be me and I’ll be looking for you” ♪

Carol hadn’t heard the song; it sounded old, but still good. Catchy. Jerry Lee Lewis, perhaps… Her mother had kept a record.

Just then, a bright pair of headlights entered the road at her left side and she swerved to avoid yet another collision. “What is with the maniacs tonight?” she wondered aloud. She glanced over to at least glare at the driver. She couldn’t see anyone, so faced forward instead. Her mind did a double-take and she looked back.

No one.

It’s probably just a really short man or his seat’s set back really far, she told herself. The night was cloudy, too. The road was dark. She was tired. The driverless car drove off.

Carol slowed and turned onto her own suburban street, noting the tacky inflatable jack o’lanterns and grim reapers and Charlie Browns on her neighbors’ lawns. She’d forgotten Halloween was coming -in just one night, she realized. She’d have to pick up some candy and watch all the children. All the sweet children she’d never had to dress for Halloween nor take trick-or-treating.

Sighing, she drove up to their house. It was dark. Carl often forgot to leave the lights on for her, but he was never to bed this early. She opened the garage door and stopped in the driveway, engine idling.

Carl’s car was not there. The garage was as empty as a tomb.

Continued at #4.

Who’s Driving?

md-duran-628463-unsplash

I was supremely confident as a child that I could drive a car. All I needed, I’d say, was the green flag from the government for seven-year-olds to operate a vehicle and I’d be off!

Oh, I had experience: My parents occasionally allowed me sit-on-their-lap steering privileges home from church on Sundays. And at fifteenish, I pulled a few turns unassisted in that same church parking lot.

Man, I was set!

By the age of nearly-sixteen, however, shift got real. My mother may have realized this, as I was enrolled in Driver’s Education at school and had grown tall enough to look her in the eye. One day she took me to a quiet neighborhood side street, steered herself for the worst, and told me we could switch places.

Even on the best of days (as in, post-op heavily-medicated) my mother does not handle other people driving. When my annoyingly patient and meticulous father is navigating the roads at a rate that would put a sloth to sleep, she’s frantically kicking the floor of the passenger side in phantom braking actions.

Turning the wheel fully over to me is on my mother’s list of Bravest Things She’s Ever Done.

For my part, I was counting on my first time driving as heading the list of Epic Life Adventures or Most Awesome Experiences Ever. Right? Instead, as I sat in front of the wheel completely on my own, I was gripped with terror. The awesome power of everything I was now in charge of washed over me and my mind blanked. My foot convulsed at the pedals the same way it did when I tried to navigate a sewing machine. The wheel was strangely hyper-sensitive. All of the cars parked calmly at the sides of the street were trying to leap out in front of me.

“I thought you knew how to drive!” My mother screamed as we jerked along and sashayed from right to left.

I thought I did, too, I told myself. I felt sad, confused, surprised, and hopeless. We pulled over and returned to our former roles. My confident plans of self-dependency and road freedomness dissolved forever. Maybe we should’ve used an automatic.

Luckily, my driving actually improved from there. I throw that out, in case anyone has determined to never set wheels on pavement when I’m out and about.

This morning, however, I was thinking about life. Specifically, if at all, I was pondering on my decades-long feeling of directionless discontent.

I kept thinking, Who’s driving, anyway?

I have been a stay-at-home mother for thirteen years, ever since being fired in the first trimester of my first pregnancy. I have felt motivated some days more than others. Lately, however, my life has felt completely out of my hands. My children cannot legally drive (yet), but I’ve put them and my husband in the front seat, crawled back over Cheerio crumbs and Hot Wheels cars to the dirty back of the car, and wondered why I keep getting car sick.

And yet, I don’t move.

What do I do?

Well… I pretend to be useful. I hand around a few snacks, break up fights, give the pretense of modeling good behavior, and pick up loose wrappers now and then. Oh, and sometimes I tell the person steering exactly what’s wrong with his driving.

As the tension in the car rises, I withdraw to less activity. I tell myself I am not sleepy when the suns sets over our dented hood, intentionally tiring myself to a state of drunken drowsiness when that same sun rises over that same hood. I eat the bad car snacks. I forget to shower at camp sites. I wonder why the floor cannot stay clean even though I’m snapping at everyone to please pick up your garbage!

Who’s driving, anyway?

Shortly after that first, fateful day at fifteen when my mother gave me full control, I attended the driving portion of Driver’s Ed at school. Perhaps because I was the tallest female, our instructor picked me for the first turn. I don’t learn well by going first; I’m an observer.

The rest of our small group piled into the small sedan, buckled for safety, and waited for me to start the engine. I gulped. I adjusted everything I could think to adjust: seatbelt, steering, seat, side mirrors, rearview mirror, headrest. We’d been walked through this in instructional videos during class, and I was determined to get all the steps right. Then, ignition -with foot on brake pedal, of course. My hands flew to 10 and 2 like boot camp soldiers. I looked forward through the windshield, and waited for whatever hell the instructor at my elbow would direct me through.

My turn didn’t last long then, either. Another boy in the class took over after a few blocks and did marvelously. He drove better than the instructor! It turned out that he’d been allowed to man tractors on his grandfather’s farm since thirteen years old. Cheater.

Who’s driving? Floats through my mind when I wake up and get ready for the children’s day. They need to dress for school, eat breakfast, sit up at the table, not punch their brothers, pick up their shoes, do their homework, eat right, not talk back, feel loved, and then understand that I am a person and I love their father and our relationship is the most important of all.

Yeah, we’ve been seeing a marriage counselor. She’s a good driver.

Who’s driving? My mind recalls the sappy Country Song “Jesus Take the Wheel.” That’s a subject for a few pages all its own, so I’ll summarize with: I may not be in a great place discontentedly backseat driving, but I trust that spot a lot more than the places He might take me.

I know others in a similar state. Their reactions have varied from meekly asking for a turn at steering, to pushing the special Eject button James Bond-style and parachuting irresponsibly to a new adventure.

I’d love to end this personal reflection with a determined statement; a wonderful aphorism on life to pass on. Unfortunately, all I’ve got are chocolate almonds, yesterday’s clothing, and criticisms.

Perhaps you know a good solution? Anything’s better than here.

Maybe.

Wilhelmina Winters: Seventeen

“Mina! Thank heavens!” Mrs. Crandall exclaimed when Wil approached and opened the sliding door. “Your mom’s at the hospital. Lynette took her this morning and I only just got the text.”

Wil was too worried by this sudden announcement to think of tactlessly correcting her neighbor. She knew that her mother would have texted Mrs. Crandall immediately, so she suspected that her lazy neighbor had been lost, as usual, in the wastes of sleeping in and perusing social media.

“Are you taking me to the hospital?” Wil asked, instead. She ignored the sullen disapproval of the car’s other occupants -at least, the ones paying attention to something non-electronic.

In this case, that was Mrs. Crandall’s son, Eric, and their mutual neighbor, Vic. Reagan and Jorge, who lived near their apartment complex, continued finger-swiping their phones as their eyes and ear buds attended the screens.

“I’m afraid I can’t, Mina,” Mrs. Crandall said, making an effort to sound apologetic. She spoke as she eased the old minivan away from the curb, glancing at Wil as she didn’t actually check her blind spot.

Another driver honked, but the effort was wasted on one so immune to courteous driving practices like turn signals or proper traffic queuing.

“I’ve got to get back home,” Mrs. Crandall continued. “I mean, I’ve got to get you all home. I think Jakob’s planning on taking you.”

Wil bit her tongue as she buckled up in the moving vehicle. If she could have gotten home faster without this self-centered neighbor, she would have spoken her mind and walked. Retorts like, “lazy,” “selfish,” and “you know that we don’t have a car…” swirled in her thoughts and quite near to her voice box.

Even if they had an extra car, Jakob wouldn’t be home yet. Plus, he didn’t have driving capabilities. He’d passed the test, of course, but they had all decided that he and Wil couldn’t be added to the insurance yet. So, Jakob had nobly avoided all extra costs and not gotten his license.

Wil gripped at her knees. She hated forced inactivity. She needed to get to her mother as soon as possible, but faced too many barriers. She closed her eyes and tried the deep breathing exercises Cynthia had learned when her troubles starting becoming unbearable again.

Wil’s heart rate and anxiety only increased. She realized the exercises reminded her of the whole problem, and certainly did not calm her or take her mind off her mom.

Luckily, Mrs. Crandall was also a fast driver. They were home in minutes, though seconds felt forever for Wil.

Wil, Reagan, Vic, and Jorge clambered out the sliding door once they pulled into an empty stall. They all headed to their living spaces, Wil in a definite lead. She headed around a building, past a naked tree stuck in the dead, empty soil, then pulled out her key at door 2 of Building 4.

As she scratched a bit at the lock to insert her key, the door was pulled open to reveal Jakob. His harried look was replaced by one of relief, even though Wil’s short scream of surprise also surprised him.

“Let’s go, Wil!” He said earnestly. He grabbed her arm and turned her back toward the way she’d just come. Her backpack swung an erratic arc as she spun, nearly costing Wil her balance. She was so surprised at his intent manner and use of her preferred name, that she stumbled outside again before her mind caught up.

Jakob pulled the door closed and checked the lock. Then, he said, “Hurry!” He ran, hastily following his own advice.

Jakob was heading to the bus stop. She realized this finally, just as she recognized the sound of the bus approaching. This would be a close race!

Galvanized to action, Wil sprang after her step-brother.

 

Continued from Sixteen.
Keep reading to Eighteen.