Chip MacGregor

May 11, 2008

And the winner is…


So today is my birthday — I hit the big Five-Oh, and I’m celebrating by holding my nose and pouring over all the really bad poetry that faithful readers have sent to my 2008 Bad Poetry Contest. My friends took me to J.K. O’Donnel’s Irish Pub for some inspiration, so let me offer some quick thoughts…

-Most of you really suck at this. I mean, really. You’re great sports for taking part, of course, but you need to know that poetry is not in your future. Trust me on this.

-A few rose above the badness and actually had nice rhymes and good images. You were immediately disqualified. (My son Colin sent in a 28-liner that actually rhymed and offered the image of "this violent reek in my nose hair." Sorry, son, but to craft truly BAD poetry you’d have skipped the rhyme and focused more on the cat poo.)

-Why is it that limericks make us smile? And why is it that nobody can really take a limerick seriously? I mean, Shakespeare never wrote limericks, did he? ("Forsooth and anon from Nantucket…")

-When will bad poets realize that rhyming couplets get really annoying after the first two lines? Egad. Once I got by the lines like "Happy Birthday Chipperoo, You are really full of poo," I wanted to smack the author with a stick. (Take note, Paulette Harris: "Happy birthday to you, woo woo woo" is not actually a "poem" it’s more like a "bad idea.")

-While I’m at it, when will poets realize that most haiku is awful? I mean, the faux depth is laughable. Just creating the dumbest haiku imaginable will probably put you into the Poetry Hall of Fame.

-I’d like to point out that Kelly Klepfer offered us a rap. A RAP! Kelly will be mistaken for a rapper the day after PEOPLE Magazine names me to their list of "50 Sexiest Men." White people cannot rap, Dawg, no matter how many eminem CD’s you own. More on this subject later.

– I’d also like to point out that I had to disqualify my own daughter, Molly MacGregor, for bringing up Ralph Nader during an election season. See rule 48b(6). Oh, and I disqualfied Jim Rubart just on principle, for being a Washington Husky. (I’m an Oregon Duck, Jim. Wake up, man. The Huskies went 1 and 10 last year.)

-Though she didn’t win, it’s clear that Pam Halter has a nice way with words: "she smooshes us up and stuffs us down her baby’s throats." Lovely. Truly bad. And M.L. Eqatin offered some great deep thoughts on the role of meter that, well, helped me to see you were in the spirit of things. And Tiffany Colter’s Ode to Casserole, while too cutesy to win, still was awful. I salute you. One more: Ashley Weis penned something really foul: "Oh speak into my ear, what’s that I hear? The owl, the owl, Mr. Rowel." Um… Mr. Rowel? He was your sophomore English teacher, and this is how you pay him back, by sticking him into a bad poetry contest? Nice work!

Okay, so it’s on to the winners!

HONORABLE MENTION must go to John Robinson, who apparently was mixing his prescriptions again. Your "Monkey In a Cage" is genuinely wretched. You’re a pro at this. And Janet’s ode to "Little Debbie" brought a smile to my face. Wonderfully bad. A Forward’s use of "Obama, Osama, Oprah, Yo Mama" was an exceptionally rotten use of rhyme.

WORST HAIKU: An easy choice. Robert Treskillard sent this bit of deepfulness:

Walk on marshmallows
Or run fingers through the mud
That is not banjo

Yeah, bay-bee! Now THAT is bad poetry!

This year’s WORST IMAGE ribbon goes to Linda Shab’s Snot Bubbles and Tears, which left me reaching for a kleenex…

Snot Bubbles and Tears…
Where are you?
My phone doesn’t ring
The doorbell doesn’t chime.
My lips can’t sing.
I’m a mime.
Just a mime.
But my heart cries out!
The snot bubbles ooze from the chambers.
They mix with my tears –
Enough to drown me.
But that’s probably what you want….
I thought we had something special.
But I guess I was wrong.
So wrong.
What will I do now?
I’ll sit in sorrow
Until tomorrow.
Then I’ll get up and move on
With my empty life.
If the snot bubbles and tears don’t drown me first.

Wow. As bad poetry goes, that is a winner.

THE WORST REFLECTION ON LIFE AWARD goes to Alison Morrow in a landslide. I won’t share the whole thing, but any poem that offers the first few lines as "I, Yes I, I and not you, or u" reveals the true reflectivosity needed in a bad poet. You’re my hero, Alison. What a deep thinker.

Our MOST CREATIVE BAD POEM was no doubt developed after a bad migraine by Lisa Samson, who wrote a love ditty that went, in part,

Or maybe if we were on a base 8
System and a quarter
Was worth twenty cents,
And we were each worth ten
Cents! You left me and it makes
No cents!

Have you ever known anyone to craft a love poem around a base 8 numerical system? Me neither. Thank God.

This year’s coveted CLEARLY ON DRUGS WHILE WRITING award goes to your favorite traditional tale-teller, Hajid Kirduz Mesechnohech, who gave us this bit o’ badness:

Rejection is like the salt from lake Mizzri
(imagine here strumming and goatsounds)
rubbed on a wounded and festersome foot,
which was stung by barbed cockroach of Aldu-Haziz.
The roach snuck into your sandal the day
when you planned to set out for new lunar feast
wearing your favored red-tasseled hat

Amen to THAT, Hajid! Your poem had all the sweetness of the secretions of the she-goat as it is rubbed on the festersome foot. And Ducktales is sure to be interested in the movie rights.

Okay, SECOND RUNNER UP goes to Fred Gippler for his truly awful poem, No, It Is Not My Bagel:

she sang lustily.
Why. Dreams. Memories. Fred Savage, star of Television’s "The Wonder Years". A blue snow cone from May, 1977. Dreams again. Dinosaurs. Dreams one more time. Again; dreams.
I hate your grandma–and. AND? AAAANNNDDDD!?!?!?!

And it is not my bagel, she sang, falling backwards into a future of stale tacos and unclosable milk jugs.

Let’s face it, there’s just something deeply stupid about that poem. Not just run-of-the-mill stupid, but in-your-face-disgrace sort of stupid. Love it! Exactly what I needed to see in bad poetry.

The FIRST RUNNER UP, who is very important, since if our champion cannot represent us on some random blogs that nobody ever visits, the FIRST RUNNER UP will be expected to take her place and pretend to be sober, goes to Darcie Gudger, for sending in these words:

Bad poetry.
Like, really, really bad.
Airplanes buzz around my cranium –
….with tootsie roll thoughts.

Poet laureates.
Say lor-ee-ates in the containium.
I mean continuum.

Free the monkeys!
I mean it!

Now THERE is a woman who understands the meaning of genuinely bad poetry. She offers bad rhymes, bad images, and even some mindless, off-topic shouts from the political left. Yes! THANK YOU for understanding what we’re doing here.

And THE WINNER, THE GRAND CHAMPION, THE BAD POET LAUREATE FOR 2008, is none other than Holly MacGregor (um…she really is no relation to "Molly MacGregor," except through marriage). Stay with me before rolling your eyes. First, this is a real poem she wrote. No kidding. Granted, she was a sophomore in a Christian high school at the time, but still — it reeks of true badness. And second, she admitted to the world that she actually wrote this — and then she SAVED it since high school. I thought about giving her the award on bravery alone. But third, I have it on good authority that she actually once performed this in a classroom. Which leads me to reiterate a point I made earlier: White people can’t rap. Especially someone like Holly, who doesn’t exactly exude "street cred," since she is roughly as white as a trout’s belly and is going to school to be an aesthetist (which, you’ve got to admit, is not your normal job for a rap artist…you down wi’ dat?).  Here is her poem:

Dr. Jesus
I’m feeling ill
How about you give me
A salvation pill?

He said to me
that very day
with me in your life
you’ll be A-OKAY!

I need a Christ Transfusion
Pump his blood into my veins
Take out the old
And make me new again
Give him my life
So he can take the reins!

Dr. Jesus
I feeling well
That pill you gave me
Sure is Swell!

Okay, so she’s married to my son, and I love her dearly. But Holly, that rap is horrid. Bad lyrics, stupid images, lack of depth… all the qualities we look for in bad poetry, and the reason you are our BAD POETRY CHAMPION OF 2008. Your prize is a genuine copy of Does God Speak Through Cats?, a self-published book that, frankly, I don’t want any more. So it’s yours, you lucky girl!

Thanks to everyone who contributed. Next year I hope to have even more great prizes I don’t want, so I’ll give them to someone else.

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