“It isn’t about reading the words [with books]; it’s about reading the smell, which wafts from the pages in a cloud of dust and wood pulp. It might smell expensive and well bound, or it might smell of tissue-thin paper and blurred two-color prints, or of fifty years unread in the home of a tobacco-smoking old man. Books can smell of cheap thrills or painstaking scholarship, of literary weight or unsolved mysteries.”
“Your sadness doesn’t make you less of a human being. In fact, it makes you more. More expansive. More connected. Painfully beautiful. Raw. Open. Completely alive.”
–Panache Desai, Discovering Your Soul Signature: A 33-Day Path to Purpose, Passion & Joy
“I like the night. Without the dark, we’d never see stars.”
–Stephenie Meyer, Twilight
There’s no need to hold your breath any longer. At long last and after much deliberation, this week’s winner is:
I didn’t think I’d ever do this a second time, but these were FANTASTIC! I felt like a kid in a candy shop, surrounded by 12 of the best truffle varieties and asked to choose my favorite.
The twists of Shakespeare are exquisite! The quotes from books, made to imitate free-verse, are divine! Your terrible additions are delectable! Well done! Well done!
Mr. Ed and Terrible Poetry
“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.”
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.”
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.
Superb Tentricles of the Thoughtless Glory
The clouds feel very out.
The dramaturgy master mediates his own
Universe into the comic, but askew.
Father’s earth illuminatingly
Not. It’s the voluntary course of pristine parallels
Of other directions. However, to stars, some part
Of the universe fled.
Cleave the empty
Atmosphere. Time important, sure, but chemically not
The very mass business of solely atomical gentlemen.
Forbidden, we exploded the galaxy, and slept without ears.
The actually answered room
Parallels chemically. Shakespeare’s not the me
In once we were. The life that literalizes to recognize
These facts sees the ambiguous floorboards.
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.
Ern Malley by Ern Malley
by Deb Whittam
It was a night when the planets
Breathed from the wastes of the Tartarean heart.
Where the urchins pick their nose in the sun
Inattentive, suborned, betrayed, and shiftless.
The elephant motifs contorted on admonitory walls,
A Chinese landscape-roll.
A splash – white foam in the dark!
Where the striped fish moved at will.
Perfidy & Discontinuity
To be or not
to be? Or to remain
in this perfidious purgatory?
Clearly I am over-optioned.
A sad, angry sun spews its
from a giggling azure sky —
beckoning me thither.
O! But then a voice
emanating from deep within
the Earth’s inner core through
the Gutenberg and Mohorovičić Discontinuities
all the way up through the planet’s toasty crust
(that makes one’s hair curl if consumed)
to my ears, which
I choose to ignore.
And we wonder why the penguins
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.
Hoaxes And Angry Penguins
by Ellen Best
Beneath is The Sacrilege of mixing Rebecca Hilare Belloc With WH Auden.
Stop the clocks cut off the telephone.
Prevent the dog barking
With a juicy bone.
A trick that everyone abhors
In little girls is slamming doors.
Silence the piano
With a muffled drum.
Slap that girl on the bum.
Bring out the coffin
Let the mourners come.
She would deliberately go
Slam the door like billy-ho.
To make her uncle Jacob start
She wasn’t really bad at heart.
He was my north my South
East and West.
My working week
My Sunday rest.
The funeral sermon
(Which was long
And followed by
a sacred song)
I thought love
Her greasy small hand
Missing these four years
Proprietor of the playhouse
Ivan the terrible
Joined longhorn herds
Sang out to his team
One brief nod
Seemed thin and sour
It didn’t matter
Get on the horse
*Most phrases taken randomly from the book I’m reading for book club this month “News of the World,” by Paulette Jiles
In a Danish forest
Hairy as this covering
A sworn enemy of the giant race
Jack blew a mighty horn
The giant awoke
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
EVEN STEPHEN WAS A NUT-CRUNCHING EGGHEAD
by Matt Snyder
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!
And, as a bonus by Ellen Best:
My Poetic explanation of The Great Austrailian Literrary Hoax.
A Sister wrote of her brothers passing
She sent his poetry for an editor to peruse
Not knowing the lot was a terrible ruse.
The Penguins were angry, who was the culprit
The Catholic church roared from the pulpit.
It bought down the wrath of the literary giant
When the hoax was revealed they became silent.
They had penned a collection of modernist rhyme
They made up a sister and gave him not much time.
Duplicitously they staged Ern’s demise, Graves disease
Both James McAuley and and Harold Stewart did freeze,
When eventually Ern Malley became more famous than they
His literary prowess like the phoenix raises its head still today.
Thank you all for the wonderful, terrible poetry. These are incredibly clever and hilarious. Come back tomorrow for next week’s prompt, around 10 a.m. MST.
Everyone: Here’s a badge you can post as proof of your poetic mastery:
©2020 The poets, and their respective poems.
Welcome to the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest #61!
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:
- 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.
- Keep the Length around 250 words or fewer.
- This is likely to end up free verse, so don’t worry about rhyming.
- 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.
- 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.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
“Too late, I found, you can’t wait to become perfect. You got to go out and fall down and get up with everybody else.”
-Charles Halloway in Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
“There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.”
Paine, Albert Bigelow. Mark Twain, A Biography: The Personal and Literary Life of Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Source).