WINNER of the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

The results of this contest are going to be delayed every time; until my children start free, public babysitting at the end of this month. Sorry.

I won’t make you wait any longer. This week’s winner is:

Darling Maisie

by Bruce Goodman

I can’t say I’m that crazy
About Maisie
And when I’ve had a few things get a bit hazy
Anyway, before very long she’ll hopefully be pushing up a daisy
Or two.

Almost inevitably she has to be regarded
As a favourite relative and not discarded
Because if I say otherwise I’ll get bombarded
And cursed and I can ill afford to be unguarded
In the matter.

There’s very little in Maisie’s life that I approve
But she’s fabulously rich and my lot is likely to get improved
Thus I’m feeling behoved
To love her and hope she dies soon, overfed and boozed;
My darling third cousin twice removed!

Congratulations, Daisy -I mean, Bruce! You are the most terrible poet of the week!

I really had difficulty narrowing things down. I think everyone did well at mis-matching meter, misspelling or misusing words, and tweaking rhyming patterns where they ought not to be tweaked. Bruce’s entry won by merit of it sounding the worst when I read them all aloud. Vocalizing helped me catch the true spirit of his terrible meter, and dub him the most terrible poet of them all (this week).

Good work to everyone! Here are the runners-up:

A Tribute to my once favourite brother

by Deb Whittam

We were brothers (political license here)
Who challenged the stars to duels
With the words we wrote.

We were comrades (more political license)
Who downed Guinness, ok perhaps not Guinness but its … political license …
As we coloured the sunset with our crayons.

We were amigos (Like the three amigos but my chest is hairier.)
Who took the wrong turn, not that I was navigating, hey Charles,
Then built mountains for astronauts to scale.

We were all we needed, just us, you know, you and me, two is better than one, ain’t it grand to be a duo and not in a band,
Who composed melodies that sent
Wayward angels into raptures of delight.

We were all of this and then,
My brother over the seas (Ok not technically my brother but political license and all that jazz)
You had the gall to beat me and now you are just a stop sign I will tear down and stomp on while pretending it’s your head.

—–

Auntie M

by Ruth Scribbles

Bless her heart
She’s just old
And loves to scold

Surveying the kingdom
Nothing is pleasant
No good words spoken
Especially about peasants

Leaves are trash
Unmade beds are a mess
Perfection is the name of the game
Otherwise out of the will
You’ll be unnamed

I fear she will live forever
And ever and ever
The one thing she didn’t perfect
Was how to undo the defect
Of living so long

And so goes my song
Oh my darling Auntie M
You are loved
With all your foibles
Oh my darling Auntie M

—–

Untitled piece

by Kytwright

My gran’s budgie ate Trill, he chewed up the seeds with a will,

He was imaginatively called Budgie Boy,

a mirror with a bell was his favorite toy,

which seemed to give him joy.

But when you opened the cage door,

he’d fly out and mess on the floor.

Then gran to no avail,

would try to coax him from the curtain rail,

my grandma’s budgie, who ate Trill.

—–

The Bongo Bingo Poet Beat

by Peregrine Arc

Oh! My dear old Uncle Mingo
How he loved playing his Bingo.
Russian Roulette in retirement with all his savings
Soon became his weekly misbehaving.

One fine day he died and was broke;
His lawyer gathered us around the table at the woke
“Nothing’s left, nothing at all;
And you owe me $3500 for telling you all.”

And now Uncle Mingo’s dead, it’s true;
I’m at his funeral, dressed in blue.
And when we turned from the grave
“Bingo!” was heard, shouted out by the knave.

—–

Uncle Fred and the Things He Ded

by Charles

From when I was young, ‘til when I’m dead
I’ll always remember Uncle Fred
When I was just a fresh-faced kid
He told me all the things he did
He climbed all mountains and fought all wars
He visited every nation’s shores
He had several PhDs
All attained with relative ease
He said he could do most anything
And even taught a pig to sing
My esteem for the man could not be higher
A brilliant man and accomplished liar

—–

Thanks for playing!! Come back in about 12 hours for next week’s prompt.

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Bruce: D. Wallace Peach created this graphic that you can use (if you want) for a badge of honor as the winner:

The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Welcome to Terrible Poetry Contest #36!

Need a bit of guidance? Read my basic outline here. This is the sort of contest only undertaken by the satirical at heart, by the artists who know that starving is a silly way to be.

Here are the specifics for this week:

  1. Topic: A tribute to your ‘favorite’ relative. We all have them: that maternal aunt who means well, that grandfather who keeps asking when you’re going to make something of yourself, that sister who’s so successful you just want to bless her heart.
  2. Length is totally up to you, but I prefer short. Grandma probably does too, Dearie.
  3. Rhyming is optional. You do what feels right to you, like that time you were with what’s-his-face -remember? That didn’t end well, now did it? -Of course, your relationships usually don’t turn out for the best. I was just telling your mother, the other day, that…
  4. Speaking of, I’m sure your mother would have something to tell her bridge club if you made it terrible. We wouldn’t want yet another Christmas where I only have your collection of Star Wars toys to share in the family newsletter, now would we?
  5. Let’s not shock your relatives, unless cementing your status as a Black Sheep is your thing. PG-13 or classier is fine.

You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (August 2) 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.

Have fun!

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Photo credit:
Ashwin Vaswani

Is Mental Illness Something We Get From Our Ancestors?

Recently over at The Bipolar Writer Longname Blog, James wrote an article asking if mental illness were a genetic thing. After reviewing some mental health history in his family, he noted opinions that professionals have on the matter. He asked curious questions, including: “Knowing that Bipolar disorder might be something that can affect other people within my own blood makes me wary of the future. The big question becomes, could I pass this on to my own children?

His article garnered a sizeable amount of traffic. Like, 206 ‘likes.’

I, in turn, was surprised. Flabbergasted. Flummoxed, Astounded. Etc. Is this even a question? Why is it a question?

I do not wonder if mental conditions are genetic. I look at myself and see my grandfather’s anger, my mother’s nose, the potential of cancer because of a grandmother, and a few sources of depression, anxiety, and addictive behaviors.

I assume that everyone feels this way about his family that came before, but maybe he does not.

Then again, this knowledge might be due to my upbringing. I’ve mentioned before that I am LDS and was raised that way. One (of many wonderful) quirk(s) is that we really know our family history. No joke. I know who my grandparents are/were on both sides. Further, I know my grandparents’ parents. If I want to, I can go on the computer and research my grandparents’ grandparents’ grandparents. I can often find a picture and who they married and where they are buried.

Sorry if I weirded anyone out. I bring up my ancestor voyeurism in speculation of its impact on my belief in heredity. Since I am perfectly comfortable knowing my progenitors and since I see similarities in features and behaviors, I therefore feel perfectly comfortable associating mental illnesses as yet another genetic trait.

True, there are some cases where Great-great-great-great Grandpa Bob may have been a little off because of those times his younger brother dropped a hobby horse on his head. Hopefully there are historical notations for aberrations like that.

Overall, however, I see serious mental illness as hereditary a trait as red hair and freckles. Or height and intelligence. Or photoptarmosis and liking black licorice.

Do you think so, too? Why or why not?

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—————-

Short, sweet; here’s what I did this week:
Wednesday, April 17: Moved with history in “There is Hope in the Flame of Notre Dame.

Thursday, April 18: “The Cure for Depression: Follow a Daily Routine,” another suggestion in a series originally posted over at The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog.

Friday, April 19: Nothing! Absolutely nothing!

Saturday, April 20: Responded to P’Arc’s post about her pen name with “A Chelsea by Any Other Name Would Still be Sarcastic.

Sunday, April 21: Wrote “Behind the Blogger Tag Thingamajig” in answer to P’Arc’s nomination.

Monday, April 22: Re-blogged Jennie‘s story about teaching.

Tuesday, April 23: “Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety-One.”

Wednesday, April 24: Today.

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “Raise Strong, Independent Daughters AND Mothers,” and a poem titled “Good Morning!

I received my first and last paycheck from Kids are the Worst. It was fun while it lasted and I hope they contact me again once things settle down.

***REMEMBER TO ENTER THIS (TWO) WEEK’S POETRY CONTEST!!***

 

Photo Credit:
Rod Long

Ascension

Girl

She lightly licked her pointer finger, her pink stub of a tongue barely flicking out. Holding it aloft in imitation of her grandfather’s memory, she scrunched her miniature features in serious concentration. She pulled the small finger and fist back to her body. Looking determinedly solemn, she nodded to the setting sun.

She glanced down to her other hand; its grip tightened reflexively, pulling purple plastic wrinkles tightly toward it. Purple streamers of plastic rustled in anticipation.

Stooping, she used her licked-finger hand to scramble a spool into its too-small palm. Looping curves of cheap string threatened to come away between her fingers. Regardless, her grip was certain.

She stared ahead. Taking in the moment, her grandfather had called it. She breathed deeply in, raising her tiny shoulders up to her ears to ensure it was the deepest moment-taking-in possible.

Her breath came out dramatically, lowering her shoulders and entire upper half clumsily. She paused. Then, she ran.

Dandelion spores scattered, grass blades bent, and a languishing dog yawned near its park bench owner. Her stubby legs drove her rapidly down and up the small rising knolls of the field, convincing her of an immense speed.

Now! Her left arm flung wildly up and behind her shoulder, releasing its purple quarry. The flailing plastic tails flew behind her ungainly man-made bird. They struggled and whipped and bobbed in the erratic running rhythm.

The kite caught, tugging at her right hand and its death-gripped string. She kept moving as fast as she could, nearly outstripping a few passing, drifting butterflies. They floated translucently away, as their sunset meeting was rudely interrupted by the large, purple, flapping object.

No butterfly nor bird ever bobbed and wove such a barely buoyant path before. The purple kite fluttered and flopped obediently. It followed closely behind her pumping legs, her taut string, her stubborn grip.

Let out some string, her grandfather’s gruff voice directed her mind. Stumbling slightly, she loosed some string from the matted bunch inside her clammy hand. The freed clump reached the flapping purple animal tailing her; straightening, liberating, lifting.

She felt the tug of success. Chancing a quick backward glance, she saw her kite rising, rising!

Stop! Her furious toddler-run wobbled to a halt. She immediately turned, releasing yet more string and running it through both hands. That’s it, keep her steady, grandfather complimented.

Orange-red beams from the Westward sun glowed up the bobbing string. The plastic purple kite flew high and sure in the light evening winds. She pulled a few sweat-wiped strands of blonding hair from across her flushed face, immediately re-gripping the twisting, pulling string.

She looked up at her kite. Her whole face smiled.

From a higher vantage point amongst the painted clouds, Grandfather looked down. The glorious rays spread across the entire expanse as he smiled in return.

 

Ascend

Sleep Tight, Continued

Continued from Sleep Tight.

I can only blame my grandfather. “You like antiques,” he’d told me, smiling. He didn’t smile often, so that should have clued me in. He also loved a bargain; to the point of renting the discounted room, that smelled of everything used, if the motel clerk knocked the price down so low that most people would smell a rat. Literally.

“You need somewhere to live for a while,” he’d added. “I won’t even charge you rent till you get back on your feet.” Being my own grandfather, most people would see this as generosity. In my present, stressful circumstances, I think I convinced myself of this as well.

“You like antiques,” I mimicked, as I re-tied the kerchief around my sweating hairline. I checked it in the hallway mirror, which returned a distorted, musty outline of my strained features. I heard Sam yelling outside, but he was calling his brothers to play in the mud pile. It was better than the potentially-poisonous foliage.

I sighed. I would clean the bathroom next.

The bedrooms had made my skin crawl. Well, they’d made it feel like something was crawling on my skin. My hesitant inspection of the bathroom, safely conducted from the doorway, had the added sensation of my stomach reacting. I never could handle mold. That was one reason why I would sleep in the car over the discounted motel room option. Grandpa would say I’d get used to it, but I didn’t. The mold would grow in my mind the way it was surely growing inside the walls, entering the air sacs of my children’s lungs and poisoning them for life.

I not only smelled mold, I could see it. Someone, somewhere along the line (probably another victim of a well-meaning patriarchal relative) had installed more modern plumbing in this room and the kitchen. By the looks of things; that person had cleared the space needed for improvements, installed them, then left them victim to whatever time wished for decades. I assumed that was the reason for the water damage.

Browning spots, circled darkly then fading to the middle, were splashed around the crumbling plaster walls. The floor looked sound, at least. It was filthy like the rest of the house, but whole. There were probably creatures holing up under the sink cabinets, but we weren’t going to fall through to the basement.

I didn’t see the bathtub until I was brave enough to stick my head in farther. It sat very solidly against the door-wall, and the sight of it was the first time I considered a word like haunted. Then, of course, I told myself I was too old to feed my phobias and I’d watched too many scary movies about bathtubs (two, to be precise).

Whenever I saw a free-standing antique tub, I couldn’t help but hyperventilate a little. My mind would detach just slightly from the concrete world at hand and, instead, see hands groping the air above the too-deep water as a murderer shoved a helpless body down into the porcelain depths where no human had strength to prise the ancient stopper from the drain.

Laughing and yelling, the sounds of play, the sunlight bravely glancing in through bubbled glass, all helped to bring me back to the crusted, spotted ground on which the tub sat. “Just a tub,” I told myself. I kept telling myself.

This mantra sustained me through sweeping, dusting, bleaching, and scrubbing. It barely hummed when I first turned on the water, though. “It’s just rust,” I added, for good measure. I impatiently watched the dark liquid splash around the bathtub I’d just sanitized. “Just a tub. It’s just rust.” I told my mind to stop seeing what the water really resembled, even as I couldn’t help but glance over my shoulder or around the room.

Maybe it would have helped me to know they didn’t like the bathroom, either.

Keep reading to Sleep Tight, III.