And the winner is…
We’ve been working diligently (translation: “occasionally looking up from my glass of Guinness and my P.G. Wodehouse novel”) to study the entrants in this year’s Bad Poetry Contest. As usual, it’s tough to pick a winner because, in the immortal words of Mark Twain, “badness is a state of mind.” (Okay, that wasn’t really Mark Twain. I think it was a British rapper who goes by the genuinely stupid moniker “Badness.” But it sounds better if I quote someone literary.)
Anyway, we read through all that badness. We got things like “The Arab Sprummer” and someone named Longbottom talking about holding hands with Shakespeare while the daffodils became “a candy shop for bumblebees.” We even got a rapper offering us this gentle bit o’ badness:
i finna shoot somebody
i finna pull the trigga
and turn to my homies and say
hey how you doin
is it gonna rain
That’s right — there’s no bad rhyme like a rappin’ bad rhyme! But not a winner. Coming in second place (which, as I’m sure you know from watching beauty pageants, is important because if our champion is unable to uphold the Official Standards of Badness, the second place guy has to buy drinks for everyone) is Ben, who offered this total stinker:
A Fruit Soliloquy
by Ben Erlichman
Alas, the moose, she has taken my bananas
And I can hear the sound of the wailing wind no longer.
Whatever shall I do? How can I reclaim
What has been taken from me?
It is as if my very soul cries out
In hopes for some relief, some comfort,
Some fresh produce to make me regular once again.
I beseech you; a mere kiwi would suffice to fill my needs!
Even a raisin would do more good than harm!
And yet, If I had but one raisin,
I would surely turn to madness
Because I would have but one raisin––no more, no less.
And so I die here, upon this Neanderthal,
Whose rugged knapsack bore me some rest throughout my journey.
Alas, I am slain by the evil of the populace
And through the malice of the Dole Fruit company.
To that we can only say, “Goodbye! And good riddance!”
And our champ — the 2012 Bad Poetry Wiener, who wins a copy of The Lady Gagy Style Bible, goes to Fifi McGruder for a great take on goats as a metaphor for life, so long as the goats are deep and meaningful goats (who bleat, at least in Fifi’s world o’ wackiness). Here’s the champ in all its glory — make sure to stay to the end, so you catch the jump from “thoughtful yet stupid” to “impassioned and even stupider.” Fifi, we salute you as our champion!
To waddle with the gooses,
One must wade with the whales.
To climb Mount Nevus,
One must flourish with the goats.
Ancient beasts of knowledge,
All-knowing bearers of the wisdom of the world.
Hope. Anger. Love.
Written in the soles of the mountain-dwellers themselves,
Stringent in their hairs.
Hollow lives of a hollow world.
Love love and happiness
Overtaking the masses
Overtaking the soul,
… in the breath of the hurdling beasts
… in their smacking hoofs and limber limbs.
Holiness complete on the mountain.
Contemplation complete in the whim.
Ascension assured in the gaiety.
Bleat. Bleat now! Before the day is done. Before the dawn
turns to gray. It is not too late. Huddled masses. Hoofs. Hollers. Hope. Bleat
before the clock strikes one. The tolling bell of ending desire. Doom.
Doom of the bleating ones.
Now THAT, my friends, is bad poetry. Thanks to everyone who participated! Fifi, Lady Gaga is on her way. Let me know if her meat dress is made of goat.
Thanks for the hearty laugh….And to all you rotten poets out there- Bravo and Encore!
Nicely done, Ben!!! I knew there was a reason I trusted you with critiquing my writing!
Then again, I’m still not published….
Seriously, though, that was a lot of fun. Thanks for putting that on, Chip. Good work Ben, and congrats Fifi.
I am honored and humbled to take second place. It’s a win on multiple levels–first, that my poetry is not the WORST, and second, that it was still bad enough to get some real recognition. This is sooooo going on my writing resume and in my next book proposal.
If you see that Moose, let me know. I want my bananas back.
Chip, any chance we’ll get these all published in a book someday? I’d buy one.
A book of bad poetry? Now THERE’S an idea for me to take to another agent, Ben!