WINNER of the Third Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Oh, my freakin’ hailstones! I haven’t laughed this much since the last time I was able to watch a comedy without children interrupting. So -yeah, years.

You guys did SO WELL writing terrible haiku! Please believe me that the winner was a really really really really really tough decision.

And it was:

Appalling falling snowflakes

by Bruce Goodman

The falling snow’s a
floccinaucinihili-
pilification.

Bruce actually wrote eight entries for this contest. Be sure to read the rest of his stanzas that follow this one (below). Bruce has entered every contest so far, but his poems were just too good to win.

Congratulations, at last, Bruce. You really made me cringe -especially because I had to count syllables for floccinaucinihilipilification. This is, in fact, a word. It means ‘the action or habit of estimating something as worthless.’ Touché.

Bruce Goodman is The Most Terrible Poet of the Week.

For the rest of you: wow. If I could award prizes after first place, I wouldn’t even go that far down. I wanted to award 1.1 place and 1.2 place and such; the terribleness was that close of a contest! I just loved the terrible adjectives; the horrible descriptors; and the no-good, very bad subject matters.

For your reading pleasure, then, here are the close contenders in order of when they were submitted:

It’s snowing on the eucalypts aka gums

by Bruce Goodman

Snow is falling down
like toothpaste on a toothbrush.
Shame I have no teeth.

—–

Falling Snow

by Ruth Scribbles

The falling snow is
Falling and falling and down
Fifty miles an hour

—–

Appalling falling snowflakes

by Bruce Goodman

The falling snow’s a
floccinaucinihili-
pilification.

It is all fluffy;
soft as the down on a dead
duckling that’s all stiff.

We made a snowman
and used our frozen dead cat
for the snowman’s hat.

We used grandma’s skull
for our snowman’s head; the same
for Autumn’s scarecrow.

She has a skull for
all seasons, has dead granny.
(We took the brains out).

In Spring it sprouts seeds,
and in Summer we use it
for a cricket ball.

Fa la la la la
Appalling falling snowflakes
Fa la la la la.

—–

Untitled piece

by Violet Lentz

tropical island temptress
so heartless- so cold
she wept tears of falling snow

—–

They Scold:

by Jon

Cold are the undead
The flakey white stuff is snow
falling on zombies

—–

Untitled piece

by Michael Fishburn

I’m watchin’ snow fall.
Snow is rain, but frozen, yup –
and it really sucks.

Untitled piece

by Michael Fishburn

Hope the snow keeps up.
Really? Why would you want that?
Then it won’t come down!

—–

Untitled piece

by Geoff Le Pard

why does snow always fall?
it never stumbles and rights itself
before moving on

—–

FALLING SNOW

by FRANKLY

Ugly miry wet
Embalming souls with icebergs
To die frozenly

—–

SNOWY NOSE

by Babbitman

White stuff, look at it;
it’s all over the place but
it ain’t cocaine, mate

—–

Untitled piece

by Jessica Peterson

Come on in; boots off
Where did all my carrots go?
Go warm up your hands

Don’t be shy! Come back tomorrow and enter next week’s contest!!

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Skinwalkers, XLIII

Crude as Nathan’s rented outfit might have been compared to the skins used by Caill, Stone, and Pul, it served its masking purposes well. More than once, he felt enough of a burning stare from the three executives to elicit a rise in body temperature. Nathan’s normal epidermis, he was certain, was flushing and sweating. Not that he’d rented the cheapest skin possible, of course. Otherwise, the sweating alone would have ruined any adhesion and left him looking like a melted candle.

Nathan couldn’t help but picture such an image under the red glow of the inpracticum lab lights, the tenaciously trusting glances of the workers, and the ever-present scrutiny of the three in charge.

Still, the group assigned beneath him was skilled. He felt grateful to the state of the current job market for that, although not for much else. Once equipped with new supplies for the task, Workers A-F crafted with a rushed efficiency that surprised and pleased him. He felt his natural intellect and past education surfacing from a half planetcycle’s disuse, barely keeping up with the flying fingers, tools, and computer-generated figures before him.

A lesser man might have recoiled from the challenge. A lesser man might have considered leaving the room at the first sign of a dark, enclosed space and the expectation of impossibility. Nathan Reed was never a lesser man.

“Set your matrix, and prepare to relocate,” he announced after a half-tick. All but E were finished; E close enough to move within a jiff. Five expectant, redlit faces lifted to his, joined by the sixth after a pause. “You will move across and up, with the exception of the back position,” he said. Raising his voice for the benefit of his judges, he continued, “When directed, A will move to B, B to C, C to D, D to E, E to F, and F down to A. The success of your creation will be judged by the one who comes after you.”

He stopped to allow them to think on this. Not wishing to obliterate a necessary amount of teamwork, he added, “The ease and exactness with which you craft your portion will result in six working samples within the same space that mediocre teams make only one.”

The rotating model of a dermal matrix floated above the front of the room. Nathan stepped below it. Still holding the tablet Stone had given him at Caill’s direction, Nathan swiped the display to show the next step. Colored demonstrations of cell and vessel integration replaced the first step over his head. “Are there any unfamiliar with this process?”

His gaze locked briefly with each worker. Each face returned a similar expression of cool experience, though A and E also glanced at the large display or at Caill. He made a mental note to watch D’s reaction to E’s work after the switch. One faulty cog would make for complete failure, but he knew no better way to expose a trap set for new applicants.

“If your current matrix is set, rise and move to where you were directed.”

 

Continued from Skinwalkers, XLII.

Oh My Flippin’ Heck!

Lately, I’ve been thinking about swearing in literature. I’m concerned about whether the exclusion of cussing in my written words might be seen as inauthentic or inaccurate.

As writers, we need to convince our audience that a scene happens. The characters are real, even if they can conjure a blue flame or fly on a dragon. The character conversations also need to sound humanoid so that readers follow it.

You may be wondering what the big deal is, since I probably talk or listen to talking all the time. Right? Well, the ‘big deal’ is that I am not around a lot of colorful language. A lesser-known fact about the LDS peoples I am part of is that they/we don’t swear. I kid you not.

In overhearing a group of teenagers at McDonald’s the other day, I heard plenty of, “I know right”‘s and “What the heck?”s but nothing stronger.

My children will sometimes pop out a, “Holy crap!” (surely picked up from their father), and said paternal figure sometimes gives me a reprimanding look.

When I type or say, “Gosh dang it!” I really say it. There was even a point in my life at which I could count on one hand the number of times I swore. Then I turned 15….

In my mind, I take the high road. Classic literature and timeless works also do not contain much in the way of low-class utterances (Mark Twain aside), particularly those aimed at the children’s market. The books I enjoy most have little cursing, plus only allusions to sex or violence instead of First-Person Agony.

Do you, the other writers out there, feel swearing is necessary? Can two people have an adult conversation without it?

 

Think about it and let me know. Meanwhile, here is my Week in Review:
Wednesday, November 21: The Truth About the Holidays, my crotchety old lady post, plus a weekly review.
Thursday, November 22: Happy Thanksgiving!
Friday, November 23: Winner of The Second Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest announced. Congratulations, Babbitman.
Saturday, November 24: Beginning of The Third Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest (please enter!).
Also, Everyone Feels This Way?, a ‘poem’ about social anxiety.
Sunday, November 25: Re-blogged the announcement about Susanna Leonard Hill’s children’s holiday story contest.
Monday, November 26: Wilhelmina Winters, Seventy-Three,
and Don’t Look a Gift Horse in the Price Tag over at my motherhood site.
Tuesday, November 27: Inspirational Quote by Stephen Black. He’s a mean old miser humble, inspired person who is mean mean mean has great thoughts and observations.
Wednesday, November 28: This post. 🙂

Wilhelmina Winters, Seventy-Three

“You’re grouchy,” Wil said, ever tactful.

Jakob grunted in response and shuffled over to the gurgling and clunking coffee maker. He stared at it, perhaps encouraging it to succeed with positive thoughts. Wil suspected he was trying to focus and knew the barely-functioning machine would aid that process.

“When’d ya start it?” he growled. He turned a scraggy, bloodshot face to squint at Wil.

“She’s only just,” Cynthia called from the couch. She cleared her throat and swallowed with a deliberate, slow motion. “Why don’t you have some food first, in case it doesn’t pull through this morning?”

Jakob rewarded his mother’s tease with a sigh, with a slight side lift of his mouth. Keeping his eye on Wil, he said, “Depends on if I can eat the food.”

“Uh!” Wil put a hand on her hip. “I’ll have you know that these eggs are perfect!” Just in case, Wil glanced down to check that she’d remembered to turn off the stove beneath their pan.

“Ha!” He turned to stare at the coffee maker again.

Wil decided to not let him off so easily. “Who was it who burned a few grilled cheese sandwiches Friday night? Hmmm?”

Jakob ignored the gibe.

Who will we have to get a smoke alarm for now, Jakob?”

He continued staring, continued to keep his back to Wil.

She edged closer. “You can’t say anything about my cooking anymore, Mister!” Close enough to poke his arm, she did so. “Mister…. Mister Reagan-lover!” More quickly than Wil thought possible with his sluggish actions of earlier, her brother grabbed at her and pulled her into a gentle but firm headlock. “Gah!” she squealed. “Lemme out, Jake!”

“Jakob…,” their mother warned from the couch.

“Don’t worry, Ma, I’m just giving my dear, old, nosy sister a hug.” He squeezed a bit tighter and leaned down to Wil’s ear. “Aren’t I, Minnie?”

“Ugh!” Wil slapped at his arm and side without much effect. “Go brush your teeth!”

Jakob laughed. “Noogie first!” His right hand knuckles dug into the top of her head before his left arm released her at last. “Think I’ll have some cereal; maybe brush later.”

Wil rubbed at the sore spot atop her head as he clunked around the cupboard getting a bowl. “Brothers!”

“If you two are finished bonding,” Cynthia said, “Would you mind bringing me some of those excellent scrambled eggs with a bit of ham and some toast?”

Wil turned to her mother and caught her favorite smile. “Of course, Mom.”

 

Continued from Seventy-Two.
Keep reading to Seventy-Four.

FREE Contest: Third Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Good Saturday morning, everyone. I hope your Thanksgiving went well (if you are in America) or that you at least enjoyed all the food items that were on sale.

Today I’d like to give a brief lecture about haiku. When I was in elementary school, we were told that a haiku was three lines of poetry with a distinct syllable pattern: 5-7-5. I had to laugh at Google’s definition because it listed that syllable rule as the first definition; then, for the second, ‘an English imitation of this.’

People murder haiku all the time because it is not simply a matter of syllables. It needs a feeling, ‘cutting’ (kiru), and a season reference (kigo) often pulled from a list (saijiki) as well. Heck -the syllable thing is more of a pattern of on and may even have 11 total. Thank you, Wikipedia, for setting us straight.

Given that, and the fact that people completely fail to pull these elements into haiku, this next week’s contest ought to be simplisticly easy for everyone to ‘win’ at.

If you still need some pointers on what ‘terrible’ means, read my wonderful blog post, How To Write Terrible Poetry, and dive right in:

  1. The topic is falling snow.
  2. All poems submitted need to be haiku. Let’s keep it awful and insist on 5-7-5 English syllables (yes, I really want you to follow this rule).
  3. Haiku traditionally does not rhyme, but you can make us all scream if you insist it does.
  4. And remember: the poem needs to be terrible. Japanese poet-masters who understand English ought to be rolling in their graves, digging themselves out by their fingernails, and coming to wag a zombie-like scolding finger at you in your sleep.
  5. Keep it PG-Rated.

Think you can do it? You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (November 30, 2018) to submit.

Post your poem or the specific link to it in the comments.

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WINNER of the Second Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Winner

(What? Did you think I was going to keep you in suspense?)

THE SOUR GRAPES OF WRATH

by Babbitman

There are green ones
And red ones
But sometimes they are so dark that they are pretty much
Black
Oh, so black.
And dark.
Like my heart.
Since you’ve been gone.
You peeled grapes for me.
Which was jolly nice
Because
I really didn’t like the skins
Which
Used to get stuck in my teeth
In the gaps
And underneath
My tongue.
Somehow. Don’t ask me how.
I’m not a dentist.
And now the skins
Are giving me grief again.
Such grief.
Beyond belief.
And they’re not very sweet.
I would have said bitter
And thrown them in the litter
bin
But actually they’re probably really
Just sour.
Like my mood.
Unpleasant food.
And it’s because of you.
That I’m sour.
Like these grapes.
And I hate
You.
So there.

I had a really difficult time choosing a winner. I had to flip a four-sided coin to determine who got it. Yes, a four-sided coin is a thing. Yes, that means that the more-than-four entries were still too pretty. Get more angst, guys.

To those who entered and did not get first place but were still terrible: great work! I cringed so much I almost stopped laughing out loud.

As to you, Babbitman, the little extra oomph that bumped you up to first (besides winning the imaginary, impossible coin toss) was your random references to things that still managed to make me think of bad poetry clichés. Add that to the terrible meter and line interruptions (present in a few others’ entries) and I nearly had to go get a breath of fresh prose to recover.

So, congratulations! You are the most terrible poet of them all for this week.

Here are the other terrible poetry submissions, in order of when they were submitted:

Sour Grapes

by Bladud Fleas

A bunch of your finest my good woman
if you don’t mind
O, your last lot left me little lips a bit puckered
Nope, no probs! assuredly
Honestly,
I didn’t want them anyhow.

—–

Untitled piece

by Nitin

Those grapes are sour
I cannot reach them
O Alas! O Alas! O Sigh!
Death O Death grows nigh!
And my need grows by
the daily hour
I said, ‘So, the curtain
doesn’t match them drapes,’
And for that this,
This punishment! This poverty!
O Star! O heavens! O clouds!
My freedom! My liberty!
Gone!
Taken and now as I’m tied to these
Bedposts
I writhe! I writhe! I writhe!
Them who said ‘Ginger’s have no soul,’ were talking no myth!
O Alas! O Alas! O beautiful star!

—–

Sour Grapes

by Bladud Fleas

O the grape has a pip you know
known as a seed sometimes
and the sourest grape
has the sourest indeed
one that can even make a grown man’s lips bleed
into a conveniently placed hankerchief
if he has one
not all men carry them these days
the apes
Neanderthals
with their grapey palate
like being stuck on the mouth with a great huge wooden mallet
those grapes.

—–

It Follows

by Jon

Sour grapes
Bitter fruit
Ingratitude
Vomited heavenward
Raining down
Staining, rude
Creasing frown
Crass, crude
Ugly festering
Attitude

—–

Untitled piece

by Bladud Fleas

When I’m lying in my hospital bed
don’t bring me grapes!
O bring me pineapples, melons and avocados instead
and apples red (and strawberries because they’re also red)
And lemons and bananas from the capes
(O and I just remembered raspberries are red too)
bring those
But not more grapes
Can you pull those drapes for me?
That’s better, now I can see
O no, are those for me?
Take
them
away
Come back
another day with some other fruit
or a carrot yeah I really don’t mind vegetables

—–

Untitled piece

by Masercot

I lost the race
but that’s okay because the trophy had a stupid face
and the meager prize purse
was even worse…

—–

Sour Grapes

by Ruth Scribbles

My mommy said

Smile

No sour grapes

Allowed

Why? I said

If I smile

You will see them

on my teeth

Ps. This is terrible Ug

—–

Sour Grapes

by Bruce Goodman

I refuse to obey rules –
especially for bad poetry.
Some might think it’s really cool
to have a rule
but personally I think it’s a load of bull

Some might think this excellent (some might say brilliant)
poem is revenge
for not winning last week’s poetry-that-sux competition.
But I refuse to obey rules
even when I’m driving a car
Ha ha ha

(I would’ve put “sux” at the end of the line but couldn’t think of anything that rhymed with it).

This could be construed as being sour grapes
but the expression “sour grapes” is a cliché.
But hey!
Hang loose.
Bruce
can screw up his face just as well with lemon juice.

—–

Untitled piece

by Fractured Faith Blog

Sour Grapes
Sour Grapes
Oh God
This was a mistake.
Gag my mouth with duct tape
But now it’s too late
I’ve entered the contest
My poem is a right mess.
Sour Grapes
Sour Grapes
Grapes which are not sweet
Are usually sour.
Fin

—–

Untitled piece

by Furious Pockets

“Why am I not married?”
Some complain, and in an attempt to drain the pain, they exclaim,
“It’s caused by a culture of rapes!”
But I know that’s just sour grapes.

I am also terribly sorry for sending this out so late. The oldest and I went out for our traditional ‘Black Friday’ shopping of going to the local Smith’s Food and Drug to get free donuts at 7 a.m. Any other Black Friday-ing is madness.

I’ve come home, recovered a bit, and determined that I ought to use a fat chair next time I’m post-op.

Merry Thanksgiving to you all, and be sure to enter next week’s contest!

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The Truth About the Holidays

A friend of mine explained that her daughter hadn’t quite figured out where she wanted to be because, “Oh, you know -she’s only twenty-two. You remember what you were doing at twenty-two.”

I paused, then answered, “Well… I was giving birth to my first child.”

I’ve tended to hit life stages a bit early: walking, reading, planning world domination, marrying, birthing, buying a house, and experiencing advanced dental problems.

What does this have to do with the holidays? I’m not really that old, and yet I turn into Ebeneezer Scrooge earlier and earlier each Christmas season.

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Instead of feeling happy and festive when I saw a Christmas tree, I felt violated. Spinning inflatable yard ornaments and automated decorations that sang caused me to fear for the future of humanity. Aisles of bright tinsel or Chinese-made ornaments made me sick.

Perhaps I wouldn’t have felt that way if I wasn’t seeing it all in July.

Now that I have, however, I reached and passed my level of tolerance and goodwill to men by October (when workers were hurriedly clearing out all that noxious Halloween stuff on Halloween to hang the Christmas things front and center).

Why do retailers do it?

To be said in my best old, jaded lady voice: It’s all about the money.

Stores make the most money at Christmas. Even if a person doesn’t strictly celebrate the holiday, he will purchase a gift for the people at his job who do. Each of them will purchase something for everyone else. It’s like a tinseled chain letter with actual results.

And, not content with picking a man’s pocket every December the 25th, the retailers have special sale days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Not only that, but they have scooted Black Friday up so far that it’s at the same time most families are celebrating the best holiday there is.

Thanksgiving in America is pure and simple, and stores have not been able to commercialize it beyond table centerpieces and all the groceries one needs for feasting.

For companies that don’t primarily sell food, Thanksgiving’s a wash. They can’t wait to get it out of the way so that mass commercialism can stampede through sealed cardboard shelving in order to get whatever the hot electronics item is that year.

Every year I’ve hoped that The People will stop. I’ve held out for sanity. I’ve assumed that humans will finally show stores that holding a Christmas sale on Thanksgiving is too much. And yet, greed keeps winning. People move the time of their feast in order to head out and spend money as soon as possible.

I guess they really don’t care, since they keep putting their money where the sales are.

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Others might think it’s none of my business what people do on Thanksgiving. It’s their day; let them spend it (literally) how they want. Well, what about the workers at the stores everyone’s frequenting? Did they want to spend Thanksgiving keeping shoppers from punching a cashier?

What about standards? What about bonding with family? What about holding some things as special, or even sacred; removed from the clutching grasp of negative vices and habits?

Back to my old lady voice: People used to care. Families would dress in their Sunday best to go downtown. Neighbors would call on neighbors. No one was open past 9 p.m. and only the doctor was working on Sundays.

I’m not endorsing petticoats and carriages, or even a stop to Christmas sales. I just want a whole, untouched, unmolested Thanksgiving day. I want to enjoy my knitting by the fire while the young’uns play with their stick ball or their jacks. I want to enjoy seeing my children, and their children, and their children.

Thanksgiving needs to be removed from the seeping stain of over-buying commercialism, but that’s not going to happen unless we make it so. I don’t know who we can petition or what official measures we can take, but I do know it’s possible. At the very least, don’t shop on the day. Stay home with your family or friends. Eat. Play games. Bond.

Cyber Monday has better deals, anyway.

 

Re-cap for this week:
Wednesday, November 14: The Importance of Trying Times, a surgery announcement and PSA regarding activity after abdominal incisions; plus a weekly review.
Thursday, November 15: Skinwalkers, XLII.
Friday, November 16: Winner of The First Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest announced. Congratulations, Bladud Fleas.
Saturday, November 17: How-To Write Terrible Poetry and beginning of The Second Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest (please enter).
My article, What’s the Make, Model, and Year of Your Mental Health Struggle? was published at The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog.
Sunday, November 18: Patchwork, a flash fiction for Carrot Ranch inspired by a friend of mine.
Monday, November 19: Convalesced, and released Distracted Momming over at my motherhood site.
Tuesday, November 20: Inspirational Quote by Masercot. He’s a funny guy, but I felt this quote held a deep message.
Wednesday, November 21: This post. 🙂

I do not intend to publish any additions to Wilhelmina Winters or Skinwalkers this week. I’m just too busy with Thanksgiving preparations.

Enjoy your time with family. Please.