Bad poetry in 7th grade is like the plague; it sweeps inevitably through (probably related to poor hygiene) and takes a monstrous toll; the survivors recover, bury the dead, and try to face life once again. This heinous sheet of notebook paper should have been buried to prevent future outbreaks, but my mother kept it, possibly as a tool to convince some future boy she didn’t like to stop dating me. Why, Mother? Why?
I had no idea this paper was in my own possession until I happened to sift through a small box of unsorted odds and ends in a closet last week. I pulled it out and nearly choked when I read the pair of poems I’d written there. I raced downstairs to declaim them to my family in ponderous, anguished tones:
His wings, gray and silver
propel him quickly
to the leaf. A great shadow
came over him. A tremendous
beak scooped him up and
carried him into dizzy
heights, then dropped him
fluttering, fluttering to the
ground. He fell on the leaf
and quietly died. The moth.
He bounded over the brush
with ease. Animals watching with
respect, awe and fear. His great
antlers brush against the spring
leaves. He goes bounding, bounding
into the distance, pausing once
only for water at a stream,
his reflection shining in the
sun. A shot rang out,
and he jerked and slowed
his pace. Another shot. He
staggered and fell to the ground,
and quietly died.
The Husband (stunned): That’s… beautiful, Honey. Oh, my God. It’s easy to see how you turned into such a great writer.
The Maker (puzzled): What’s that about, Mom?
Me: DEATH, son. It’s about DEATH. I’m sure I won an award, if there was one.
The Ice (incredulous): You got a prize for that?
The Husband: What the hell is with all the “fluttering, fluttering” and the “bounding, bounding?” Is that some kinda theme? Good gawd, that’s awful.
Me: You people just don’t understand.
You may consider the Deadly Death Duo above my entry in the Bad Bad Poetry Contest, which I hereby inaugurate. Some other friends have graciously contributed their own Bad Bad Poetry as well, and I hope you will give them the attention and startled whoops they deserve.
At the bottom of the post you’ll find a poll where you can cast your vote for the winning BBP entry. And please take a moment to post your comments, snarks, praise, and wisecracks; it’s all about the fame and glory for us here. Bring it on.
Bad Bad Poetry Contest Entry #2: Sonja Foust
Sonja Foust (@SonjaFoust) has been a bad bad poet for most of her life, but started writing irreverent poetic spoofs of the classics in college under the stresses of obtaining an English Literature degree. Her works include “The Lady Whines a Lot (with apologies to Alfred, Lord Tennyson)” and far more limericks than strictly prudent. In her other, non-poetic life, Sonja is a romance author. You can visit her at http://sonjafoust.com!
THE DIFFERENT INDIFFERENT (apologies to John Donne)
I can love both wheat and white;
That which the oven melts, and that served slightly chilled;
That which needs provolone, and that with pickles dilled;
That which is deep fat fried, or which is lite;
That with tuna, and that with meat;
That which delights with peppers’ heat,
And that which has honeyéd mustard sweet;
Sandwiches many, I will gladly eat.
Will no other food content me?
Will it not serve to eat a burger, or whatever?
Or have I so, on bread and meat, become fixated ever?
Or doth a fear of foods so new torment me?
Oh, sandwiches are good, I know.
I eat them because it is so.
Rob me, and bind me up, and be my foe,
But do not take my sandwiches from me,
Or make me eat each new food that you do see.
Subway heard me sigh this song,
And by marketing scheme, big moola, it swore
If I would write it down, and then make the poém a whore
To sell, commercialled, to the fast-food throng.
I said, “Hell yes! Some four or three
Or even two hundred will be
Enough to ’stablish a bargain with me.”
I did not tell them that mere sandwich whole,
Or even a half sandwich would have bought my soul.
Bad Bad Poetry Contest Entry #3: Doc Blob
@DocBlob contributed this lovely bad bad poem. He says: I wrote this poem with a good friend in high school when we were probably in 10th grade. We got onto a kick of writing stupid, abstract, or just silly poems to pass time during chemistry/biology/english/everyotherclass. I probably have a book full of similar stuff back at home. My old youth group pastor forwarded this one to me on Facebook a few weeks ago when he found it lying around the house. Must have been a very strange gift we gave him for Christmas…
Candies and nuts, candies and nuts
it sure isn’t Christmas without lots of nuts
Nuts of all kinds and candies too.
How can I explain the significance to you
What kind of nuts do we find all about
Red ones and green ones and blue nuts, no doubt.
Deep I reach into a stocking with hope
Not to find eggs, flour, ear wax, or soap
Nor pickles or hairballs or cigarette butts
I hope to find only…candies and nuts.
Bad Bad Poetry Contest Entry #4 and #5: Jeff Puckett
Jeff didn’t send me any information with which to enlighten you about his entry, preferring instead to let the simple words of these two haiku stand on their own.
Oh witchy woman.
Can’t see the moon in your eyes,
but you do fly high.
* * * * *
Inspires, as we drive o’er
Seven Bridges Road.
Bad Bad Poetry Contest Entry #6 and #7: Jessica Commins
Jessica Commins, @Renewabelle on Twitter (and JessiBelle on Facebook), spent the ’90s battling air thieves in Orlando, Florida, where most of her awesomely bad poetry was crafted. She has read Plath’s Bell Jar more times than is socially acceptable and someday hopes to beat her all-time high score of 12,656,290 on the pinball game, “No Good Gofers.”
Jess sent me three marvelously awful poems and told me I could choose one, but since I have a pair of poems as my own entry, I decided to post two of hers and let you Dear Reader enjoy them in all their glory. Keep in mind they were originally written in glitter pen. And the second one was written to be a song. Which she actually performed once or twice. This is fun, isn’t it?
The vanity of my hunger is suffocating, stronger by the minute.
I could live off the stimulants of starvation for so long.
Blackened berries and pitted cherries, how does the sweetened wind blow?
With ammunition and politicians eating yellow snow.
They won’t kill the mockingbird, just blow up his tree.
A burning martyr for the day.
How does one know everything?
Conspiring minds want to advise a slip into the infinite symphony…
Blind are the eyes of the lover. Tripled are those of a genius.
The battered romantic nomadically searches for an invisible median.
To find a reason to believe, yet know.
To hold their heart in a bag of pepper and laugh.
To find the strength to lose the muscle.
To find herself again…
When songs become dated, I feel like a record that’s aged.
I skip over tracks but always sound better on stage.
The fuzz, it dilutes. The needle induces the strain.
Is it pain that is present, or is it just dust in the grooves?
My sleeve’s worn and tattered, not like it matters to you.
Waiting for your favorite line, the one you sing all the time.
I wrote it, but it was never mine.
Spinning, you play me. Side B, you make me sing it all back to you.
The best thing about records is the way that they smell when they’re new.
The tracks hold a shelf life, but someday they’re tired and through.
I waited to date me, never wanted to rate me.
I thought I could make myself new.
But you keep on waiting for your line. The one you sing all the time.
I wrote it, but it was never mine. Oh no, it was never mine.
The line you sing all the time, was always written for you.
(not dated, but it had to be sometime around 1999 or 2000)
Bad Bad Poetry Contest Entry #8: Hugh Hollowell
Not to be left out, Hugh Hollowell, a man of few words, swiftly emailed this entry to me as soon as the call went out. I present it here for your consideration.
Was a cat.
Bad Bad Poetry Contest Anti-Entry #9: Sine Botchen
Actually, this next one isn’t BBP, so I’m not including it in the voting below. I’m sharing it with you as a reward for suffering through all the rest of our poems, and you must be sure and send a tweet out to @mx4789 (as he’s known on Twitter) or leave a comment on the photo of this poem on Flickr and tell him how this is way better than unicorns with rainbow-colored manes.
Sine sez: This was a “poem” I wrote in either 1st or 2nd grade and probably the only (and last) time I ever voluntarily did anything resembling school work (writing and all) that wasn’t 1.) mandatory and, 2.) actually school work. I remember sitting at the big old desk in my brother’s and my room and laboring at this for what seemed like hours. I even attempted to write the first line in cursive (which I cropped out in the photo) but mistakenly joined all the words together in one big “run on” sentence.
As my hiar blows in the wind
it flys behind me so long and shiny it sparkels
so brit the color of snow is it and its my hiar
Okay friends and neighbors, it’s your turn to support the rest of us in our agony. Vote and comment!