A Small Protest

“Won’t!” The small face scrunches.

Father sighs. “I’d let you go like this, Arnie, but-”

“No no no!”

“Arrrnie,” Father begins, his tone less calm, “Daddy‘s wearing-”

“Daddy’s fart face!” A small tongue protrudes from the small mouth.

Father straightens. He takes a small arm in a big hand and marches small legs up big stairs. “That’s enough, young man! We do not stick our tongues out or call names.”

“Fart. face. Fart. face,” Arnie gasps at each stair.

“Now,” Father concludes, setting him at the top. “You’ll sit in Timeout, then you will put your pants on!”

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Enacted for Carrot Ranch‘s prompt: protest

January 16, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a protest story. It can be about a protest, or you can investigate the word and expand the idea. Who is protesting, where, and why? Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by January 21, 2019. Use the comment section to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

 

Photo Credit: Marcus Neto

©2020 Chelsea Owens

The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Howdy, young’uns. This here be the Terrible Poetry Contest. We been hostin’ y’all fer 55 rounds now.

If’n yer not sure a’ yerself, click here. Bad poetry’s about as tricky as kissin’ an ornery donkey that may jest be yer mother-in-law.

Here are yer ‘pecifics:

  1. I hear tell the Topic‘s a folk song ’bout heaven. You done heard ’bout “The Big Rock Candy Mountain?” Sing me where yer moun’ain is an’ where you’d be.
  2. I ain’t got all day, so’s a good verse an’ chorus’ll do me fer Length.
  3. And then there’s that Rhymin‘ business. You go’n ahead and do it if’n it’s there in yer heaven.
  4. I say to Make it terrible. Me an’ my boys will ‘termine to add you to our Mulligan Stew soon’s we hear it sung.
  5. Now, son: yer idea a’ the hereafter may just include some things more sensitive types shouldn’a read. Keep things under the PG belt, if’n you can.

You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (January 24, 2020) to submit a poem.

Use the form b’low to keep things a secret.

To share all ’round, go ‘head an’ post in those there comments. Let the judge know if’n you don’ see a pingback after sundown.

Y’all have fun now, ya hear!

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Photo credit:
Marko Mudrinic

WINNER of the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

The hour’s late, so I won’t hold you in suspense any longer.

This week there’s a three-way tie for winner:

Winter Wonderland (not)

by Anne Howkins

In the bleak midwinter,
The garden’s never looked minter.
The snow all pristine clean and white,
Until the dog answered a call of nature.
Nobody wants to go snow-balling
Where the cur’s been peeing.

The snow lays all deep and uneven
Stopping all the folks from leaving.
There’s no feeling quite as unpleasant
As ice filling up your boots
And stockings
When you’re scraping the path.

Ice cold wind makes us all moan,
Our gloved hands can’t text or make phone calls.
Don’t talk to me about ice-skating,
When you’re an hour or more
From the emergency room.

Dad forgot to check the pipes’ lagging,
And when the temperature is arising,
And when the ice is a-melting
The house will be flooded.
The boiler’ll be broken
And you’ll probably get pneumonia.

—–

Winter Terribleness

by Michael B. Fishman

If I were in the cussing mood I’d have a lot to say about winter.
But I’m not in that mood so I’ll just call it win-TURD.
I am in a Pinwheel cookie mood.
You ever had one of those?
If you have then you knows –

-just how good that marshmallow is on that cookie base
with the rich, creamy chocolate covering the face.

And when you eat them not a creature is stirring and wh

—–

Frigid French Philologies (a descort)

by Rob Stroud

Shards of bleak winter gestate day after day.
The citric cannonade gurgled melodies of complacency.
Echinodermata rides again.

Hagar was not so Horrible.
Beware 48°52.6′S 123°23.6′W.
Fini.
A Galapagos penguin reads about tobacco.

Captain Kirk sings the National Anthem.
Angkor longed to visit Tenochtitlán.
Sheepish wolves.
From lofty Mount Olympus descended Odin.

Soon comes the summer of our discontent.

—–

Congratulations, Anne, Fishman, and Rob! You are the most terrible poets of the week!

After my first read-through, I entertained the thought of declaring everyone a winner. I laughed, cringed, and cried. Then, I decided I couldn’t duck my responsibility. I looked more closely. Anne’s poem rhymes enough to make us think the occurrences may have been intentional, mis-meters enough to raise eyebrows, and definitely contains a terrible subject. Michael’s does the same, in a very different and more cringe-worthy way (and, might I add, kudos to him for rising to the challenge of a half-word at the end). Rob’s poem is hilarious to me; probably because he’s such a proper and educated writer, so the end result is what I’d imagine he might shout out in the middle of the night during a restless slumber.

Like I said, though, I’d have crowned you all victors. Read and enjoy:

Untitled piece

by Trent P. McDonald

Oh bloody hell
I slipped and fell
My bum feels bruised
You’d think I’d get used
To stupid New Hampshire winter
Damn, an icicle splinter
In my behind
I need to see if I can find
Just a bit of color
Not this bland view that’s duller
Than a black and white photo of the bruise
On my caboose
If I can be so bold
I really hate the cold!

—–

BRRR…

by Matt Snyder

its cloudy cloudy and cold it is
Swept up and under the deep dark dank chill of the absence of light
All I see is what you see, what you see is far from me as we waver uncontrollably from the bitter
The bitter bitter white
Depressed and withered from the bitter bitter
Hardly a stutter from your cold brittle lips
Chapped and muffled and our layers of clothes bundled tight
Like Randy in a Christmas Story, we are all very much as it seems, a sight
Like the bitter bitter air we see in breath
Bleak midwinter blues
Our hue of death

—–

Squeak Mouse

by Bruce Goodman

I seem to be undergoing a process of shivication
which is no cause for celebration.
Outside the weather is extremely bleak
– did I just hear a mouse squeak?
wee, sleeket, cowran, tim’rous beastie –
and inside it’s no better because I’m shivering.

I have no wood for my fire
so I think I’ll burn my auntie;
I think I’ll burn my auntie.
Fa la la la la this will be no Silent Day
– the smell of burning mutton won’t go away –
put another leg on the fire Auntie May.

—–

A Certain Type of Warmth

by tiredhamster

A flooding
Of silent whiteness
Appears within this glassy window.
But something burns
Inside, hotter
Than any truth. I remember
When we used to go
Out into the snow. I would
Shiver and shake, but you braved
Those knife-like winds.
You wanted to build snowmen
And snow castles and tiny
Snow worlds to rule over.
But now this world is without
You. Just
Flat and damp. And the snow
piling atop.

—–

Cold Stuff

by Bryntin

the snow rains down
like sparkling frozen water
difficult to drive on
if it doesn’t instantly meltdown

the slipperiness of the road now
that is cover’d o’er with snow
makes it much more likely
to skid and hit a cow

the temperature gauge has binged
to register minus 3 centigrade
that’s 26.6 Fahrenheit
if you’re not metrically skinned

but this is what it’s like
driving the middle of the winter
you can’t see the road through the screen, so
probably safer to mountain bike

it’s not all bad of course,
there’s snowmen with snowballs
and really cold air
that can make your throat go hoarse

—–

Let There Be Light

by Peregrine Arc

I don’t mind the cold or that white stuff they call snow
What I mind is the lack of light, if it’s forty days in a row.
Something kicks in, some hibernational urge
And I find myself laying in bed
Snoring a symphonic dirge

—–

An Alaskan Winter

by Violet Lentz

There’s nothing bleak about midwinter in Alaska
Nothing bare denuded or exposed
Nothing unsheltered unprotected or unshielded
Every piercing raw stinging second of it
Glimmers and glows glistens and glitters
With a resplendency rival to that of a sun

A sun who would rather sink and simper
just below the line of the horizon,
than harm one hoar frost hair
on an Alaskan winter’s crystalline head.

—–

In the Bleak Midwinter

by Joanne the Geek

It’s the bleak midwinter

cold winds are blowing

snow is falling, everyone

is miserable and frozen –

but not me

here in the southern hemisphere

it’s summer and I’m in short shorts

and a close fitting tank top

sitting out in the hot sun

getting tanned

and I think of you all up there

in the frozen north

cold and miserable

and I smile at the thought of you –

because I am an arsehole.

—–

A Bleak MidWhat

by Ruth Scribbles

Twas January in Texas
And all though the house
The AC was running
And it was cloudy and raining

Last week we had snow flurries
And temps in the thirties
Then up the thermometer zoomed
And gave us the sixties

The children all cried
Cause the snow didn’t stick
Where is winter?
They cried

The adults wondered too
And sagely said
“it’s Texas you sillies”
Get used to it

So others get blizzards
And we go to Dairy Queen
And order blizzards
To freeze our tongues
And fatten our bellies

Maybe this year or next
Who knows
And that is the story of our bleak MidWhat!

—–

Untitled piece

by Gary

Boy it’s bleeding bleak

Low chance of me doing a streak

Every day it rains

An everybody complains

Keep hoping for some snow

More chance of seeing Marilyn Monroe

In every lane and field

Dreaded mud congealed

Wind so strong

It blows over King Kong

No chance of seeing the sun

This is no bloody fun

Every day is exactly the same

Redonculous Boris that’s whose to blame

—–

God bleakly ignoring midwinter

by Doug Jacquier

The bleak midwinter arrived in

the middle of winter

and it was bleak.

Not moor bleak;

more bleak than that.

The wind was keen,

not in that American neat way

nor like mustard,

but sharp

and bleak

because it was midwinter.

I watched it being bleak midwinter

but I don’t think God did.

—–

Thank you all for playing along!! Come back tomorrow around 10 a.m. MST for next week’s theme.

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

©2020 The respective authors, and their poems

Throwback Thursday: How to Write Poetry

I’ve been asked for feedback on poetry a few times, a task I found amusing since I’d begged others for the same in the past. Art is very subjective. Art is also only so when the majority of people agree, when it takes skill, and when it’s not someone peeing in jar and taking a picture of it.

On that note, please enjoy my informative blog post on how to write poetry, first published October 1, 2017.

A Muse, The Blues, Some Clues -AKA How to Write Poetry

 

Lo! What light, what cackling sun
Burns your eyes?
It laughs as you run;
Jumping, grasping, to
Catch the poem…

If you thought that was bad, you were right. I literally wrote that without any thought, direction, or meter. I took about fifteen seconds.

Don’t get me wrong -sometimes people like that crap. Sometimes the Crap Off the Cuff really isn’t bad. However, poetry is just like any other crafted item: the more practice you have at your skill, the better anything you make will be.
Translation: those who are experts can write a decent impromptu poem, and the stuff they worked longer on is even better.

So, *ahem.* Let’s stop mucking about and finally jump into A Few Steps for Writing Poetry:

1. Don’t.
Seriously, there are already a lot of good poets out there who have already written your idea in a better way. Thanks to Google, you can probably find it.
There are also a lot of terrible poets who have murdered your idea and now it’s bleeding by the side of the road begging people to stop clicking that they Like it.

2. Still determined? Good! You’ve passed the first test: that of true motivation for verse. I feel that motivation, a muse, hangover, emotional distress, late-night deadlines -whatever your name is for it- are vital to writing a poem.
Even if you don’t have a clear subject or good structure, the sheer determination to express what you feel will squeeze something out.

3. Actual Guidelines
So… there is this type of meter I poked fun at initially. It’s called free verse. Let me tell you, from my extremely limited experience, that freely versing can be a BAD idea. It’s the commando version of creative writing, and needs a brave, strong, experienced writer to handle it.
My recommendation, therefore, is to follow a meter. No, you don’t have to go full-out iambic pentameter. Only do so if you wish to be counting on your fingers and looking up rhymes for “depressed” all evening.
A good start is to come up with a few lines in your mind, then count the syllables (and pattern of stress/non-stress) and roughly follow that for the remaining lines.

4. Stress and Non-stress
Really quickly: this is where we put the emphasis on our words when we speak. I threw it in here because I mentioned it in the previous step, and you might be scratching your head over it.
Sometimes, I write a poem and there is one line that is really bugging me. Usually, it’s because I followed my syllable count, but did not follow normal speech rules of emphasis.
Because of that, the syllable count is actually off. Readers (including you) will do a mental glottal stop to be able to stress the words where we are accustomed to.

5. To Rhyme, or Not Some Thyme?
This one is up to you. I mostly rhyme for mine, every other line.
The length of each line and how often you rhyme (every single ending word, halfway through, every other, or randomly) will determine whether your poem feels like a poem, Dr. Seuss, or a rap song.
Keep in mind that even Seuss mixed things up a bit. One of my favorite stanzas in The Cat in the Hat is:

So, as fast as I could,
I went after my net.
And I said, “With my net
I can get them I bet.
I bet, with my net,
I can get those Things yet!”*

Try it; it’s fun to read through.

6. Word Choice
Let’s say you want to emote about love and loss of said love. You are going to make us all feel something different than affection if you literally use the word “love” more than about three times. Sometimes, my limit is even one.
This is where your friend, Mr. Thesaurus, comes in. I mentioned this in my How to Not Suck at Writing rant as well, because it’s really important.
Let’s say you’re not that into synonyms. Too much woooorrrrkkk.
You will sound way more mysterious and intelligent if you do it. Like, “I loved and lost and lost my love” could become “Adored, then absent; Carelessly cherished.”

7. More Word Choice
Poetry is all about obscurity. Even when it’s a straightforward tale of a path diverging in the forest, everyone still says the poem is about something deeper.
So, use your new thesaural friend to obfuscate your terms, or make the simple description of your plush tiger on the shelf sound like it represents your childhood memories of being abandoned.

8. Practice and Preparedness
This goes for anything, but especially creative writing.
Read other poets, and copy their style. Keep a notebook to jot down random lines that come to you on the train. Try, try, try again. Everything you read and write will give you experience.

Now, go! Make the world a poetic place.

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens
*from The Cat in the Hat, by Dr. Seuss. All rights and copyrights, etc. apply

Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus (and I’m Adrift in Space)

Gender and sex and such are hot topics, and have been for the past …few thousand years. What -you haven’t heard of Pompeii? Ancient Greece? Today may not be as ‘woke’ and original as people assume, but defining male and female is not a popular place to go.

Yet, there are lines. An obviously major category-maker is one’s sex-defining parts. I can’t use a urinal, and my husband can’t grow a baby.

Dangit.

The differences do not remain within those parameters; but, as I said, these are not recommended waters for sailing. And yet, we all behave as if those differences are in place and are perfectly acceptable. Why?

Could it be that there are female traits? Male traits?

Girls are better students; they’re people-pleasers so they want to be good for their teacher. They’re able to sit still for a task and give it greater detail. They plan well, multi-task well, and improve their appearance well. Girls are good at communication and feelings -including hurting those feelings.

Boys are good at logic and focus; they get the job done and move on. Genetically stronger and hairier, they’re often suited for manual labor. In fact, their mechanically-inclined brains make manual labors easy to complete as well. They’re more physical and less emotional -including a desire to punch it out over talk it over.

But, but, but …exceptions!!

Yes, there are. Ever the square peg in the round hole, I chafe against being placed into any category I appear to be in. I’m sure others feel the same way. However, I wonder if any of them are, like me, living and behaving exactly as our sex is expected to.

Maybe the gray areas have always been, and the female/male attributes are simply a result of gray clusters.

Maybe women do talk more, cry more, and do that excited hand thing when they meet a friend.

Maybe men do talk less, cry less, and shift uncomfortably when their wives do that excited hand thing when they meet.

Why are we so afraid to say so? Do any of you feel the way I do, out in space and ashamed to step into place? What’s so bad about being a woman? What’s so bad about being a man?

—————-

Here’s what I wrote this week:

Wednesday, January 8: “My Other Half,” a post about my husband.

Thursday, January 9: Throwback to “C.S.I.,” a clichĂ© within an enigma within a trope.

Friday, January 10: Let y’all know the winner of the 53rd “Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest:” Matt Snyder. Congratulations!

Saturday, January 11: Announced the 54th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is The Bleak Midwinter. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, January 12: “The Threshold of Their Lives,” in response to Carrot Ranch’s prompt.

Monday, January 13: An inspirational quote by Richard G. Scott.

Tuesday, January 14: “How to Have Kids When You’re Crazy” over at The Bipolar Collaborative Blog.

Also ish: a groggy poem, titled, “Poem?

Wednesdayish, January 15: Today.

I also posted on my motherhood site. I wrote “What C-Section Recovery is Like” and “Fluent Minecraft.

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens; except, of course, for those copyrights owned by almighty Disney.

The Threshold of Their Lives

“Wanna carry me across the threshold?” Her eyes twinkled and her mouth twisted in playful merriment. She knew her 130 lbs outweighed his 118; that her 5′ 8″ exceeded his 5′ 6″.

Then, of course, there was the matter of her dress.

“Sure!” he answered, feigning ignorance to any impediments. He strode forward and pushed the apartment door open.

Like a gallant knight -or its steed- he returned and grasped a hand beneath her fluffed-lace rump; another steadied her sheer-laced back. No more chivalrous a man than he grunted and stalked his steady way forward, laughing bride and all.

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Inspired by Carrot Ranch‘s prompt: a carried wife.

January 9, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a carried wife. Why is she being carried? Who is carrying? Pick a genre if you’d like and craft a memorable character. Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by January 14, 2019. Use the comment section to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

 

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/WJc87MVcDaA

©2020 Chelsea Owens

The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Hello and welcome to the 54th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest!

As always, read some brief instructions on bad poetry here. Being terrible can be tricky, or it can be as simple as tripping on a smooth floor.

Here are the specifics for this week:

  1. The Topic is The Bleak Midwinter. Yes, I know some of you are not experiencing cold weather and do not feel bleak. Maybe come stare out my window for inspiration…
  2. Try for a Length of a standard 3-75.5 words.
  3. Rhyming is wholly up to you.
  4. Make it terrible. I want your poem to force travel agencies to contact your therapist to make appointments for themselves after reading it.
  5. Keep things PG or cleaner. It’s about the bleak midwinter, for heaven’s sake.

You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (January 17, 2020) 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. Please also comment if you linkback but don’t see the notification in the comments within 24 hours.

Have fun!

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This is more scenic than my view.

Photo credit:
Diana Parkhouse