NO FEE WERGLE FLOMP HUMOR POETRY CONTEST, GENEROUS AWARDS

The Good Housewife*

at sunrise with its schmears of
cream cheese clouds against the
quince-colored morning light,
Mrs. Goldberg is out of bed ~
a military tactician in war-time,
no dust-bunny is safe, every
grease spot is enzyme-bombed,
the wash thrashed by machine,
then hung or folded, put in place,
her windows wiped, her floors scrubbed
and woe betide wee crawling creatures,
so intent is Mrs. G on genocide

© 2014, Jamie Dedes 

* My losing poem from last year.



ANNOUNCED TODAY: “Our 18th annual Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest welcomes your entry through April 1. There’s no fee to enter. Jendi Reiter will judge, assisted by Lauren Singer Ledoux. We’ll award $2,250 in prizes. The top winner will receive $1,000 plus a one-year gift certificate from our co-sponsor, Duotrope (a $50 value). The 12 best poems will be published on our website.

“This contest welcomes published and unpublished work. Your poem may have up to 250 lines. One poem only, please. Submit online via Submittable.”


ABOUT

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Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. I currently run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded.  I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers. My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation PressThe Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman. My poetry was recently read by Northern California actor Richard Lingua for Poetry Woodshed, Belfast Community Radio. I was featured in a lengthy interview on the Creative Nexus Radio Show where I was dubbed “Poetry Champion.”


The BeZine: Waging the Peace, An Interfaith Exploration featuring Fr. Daniel Sormani, Rev. Benjamin Meyers, and the Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi among others

“What if our religion was each other. If our practice was our life. If prayer, our words. What if the temple was the Earth. If forests were our church. If holy water–the rivers, lakes, and ocean. What if meditation was our relationships. If the teacher was life. If wisdom was self-knowledge. If love was the center of our being.” Ganga White, teacher and exponent of Yoga and founder of White Lotus, a Yoga center and retreat house in Santa Barbara, CA

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.” Lucille Clifton

FOR LITERATE CATS AND THEIR HUMANS

Grandkitty Dahlia reads The Efinitive Anthology of Distinguished Feline Verse

Grandkitty Dahlia reads The Definitive Anthology of Distinguished Feline Verse

“Was this the puss that munched a thousand mice
And napped atop the towers of Ilium? ….”
excerpt from Mephistopheles by Christopher Marlow’s Cat

In Xanadu did Kubla Kat A splendid sofa-bed decree With silken cushions soft and fat A perfect feline habitat

“In Xanadu did Kubla Kat
A splendid sofa-bed decree
With silken cushions soft and fat
A perfect feline habitat…”
excerpt from Kula Kat by Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Cat

Henry Beard’s Poetry for Cats, The Definitive Anthology of Distinguished Feline Verseis a must for literate cats and their humans, especially if said humans love cats as much as they love poetry. Beard does a fine job with his parodies, keeping the meter and rhyme of original poem and capturing the idiosyncrasies of cats in the way that only someone who lives with them and loves them could. The book is dedicated to Serafina – “il miglior gatto” – the best catThat says it all, doesn’t it?

“And though your human sweetly calls his pet
Or rants and raves until his face is blue,
do not go peaceable to that damn vet,
Hide, hide, when your appointment time is set.”
excerpt from Do Not Go Peaceable to That Damn Vet by Dylan Thomas’s Cat

The book includes some forty parodies of poems by poets of renown including Chaucer, Donne, Blake, Shelley, Kilmer, Ransom, Nash and Ginsberg and three she-poets: Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Emily Dickenson and Gertrude Stein.

The elders among us will remember American humorist Henry Beard (b. 1945) as one of the founders of National Lampoon.  His other books include French for Cats, A Cat’s Night Before Christmas, A Dogs’s Night Before Christmas and Zen for CatsBeard wrote humorously about Latin, Golf,Lord of the Rings, political figures, and other topics. His Amazon page is HERE.

Poetry for Cats is well-crafted and just plain fun, relief in a world that is forever dishing up strife and stress. No spewing hairballs on this one. Dahlia gave it a paws-up and her humans – my son and daughter-in-law – loved it too. It makes a sweet gift, which it was in this case.

13550802017232

Thanks to Embarcadero Jack for photographing Dahlia reading. (What can I say?  Grandkitty is a very smart cat.)


ABOUT

Testimonials

Disclosure

Facebook

Twitter

Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. I currently run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded.  I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers. My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation PressThe Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman. My poetry was recently read by Northern California actor Richard Lingua for Poetry Woodshed, Belfast Community Radio. I was featured in a lengthy interview on the Creative Nexus Radio Show where I was dubbed “Poetry Champion.”


The BeZine: Waging the Peace, An Interfaith Exploration featuring Fr. Daniel Sormani, Rev. Benjamin Meyers, and the Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi among others

“What if our religion was each other. If our practice was our life. If prayer, our words. What if the temple was the Earth. If forests were our church. If holy water–the rivers, lakes, and ocean. What if meditation was our relationships. If the teacher was life. If wisdom was self-knowledge. If love was the center of our being.” Ganga White, teacher and exponent of Yoga and founder of White Lotus, a Yoga center and retreat house in Santa Barbara, CA

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.” Lucille Clifton

LITERARY CAT: FEAR AND LOATHING BY HUNTER S. THOMCAT

10171815_772930856050697_1409395107752009146_n-1Literary cats: As with all cats, you just have to love them.

Unknown-7“We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold. I remember saying something like ‘I feel a bit lightheaded; maybe you should drive…’ And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, which was going about a hundred miles an hour with the top down to Las Vegas. And a voice was screaming: ‘Holy Jesus! What are these goddamn animals?'” Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (A Savage Journey into the Heart of the American Dream) by Hunter S. Thompson (1937-2005), American Journalist  (gonzo journalism) and writer

cat, impfilp.com

 


ABOUT

Testimonials

Disclosure

Facebook

Twitter

Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. I currently run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded.  I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers. My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation PressThe Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman. My poetry was recently read by Northern California actor Richard Lingua for Poetry Woodshed, Belfast Community Radio. I was featured in a lengthy interview on the Creative Nexus Radio Show where I was dubbed “Poetry Champion.”


The BeZine: Waging the Peace, An Interfaith Exploration featuring Fr. Daniel Sormani, Rev. Benjamin Meyers, and the Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi among others

“What if our religion was each other. If our practice was our life. If prayer, our words. What if the temple was the Earth. If forests were our church. If holy water–the rivers, lakes, and ocean. What if meditation was our relationships. If the teacher was life. If wisdom was self-knowledge. If love was the center of our being.” Ganga White, teacher and exponent of Yoga and founder of White Lotus, a Yoga center and retreat house in Santa Barbara, CA

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.” Lucille Clifton

“How to Ruin Good (Even Great) Music” by our resident skeptic, James R. Cowles


Note: This was originally published in Beguine Again, the sister site to The BeZine. James is a member of The BeZine core team. / J.D.

Actually, the title should be “How to Ruin the Experience of Listening to Good (Even Great) Music,” but that was too long. I suppose one could argue that the experience of listening to good music, as far as the listener is concerned, is the music. But let’s not quibble about ontology. In any case, I know at least two ways of forever ruining both the music and the experience thereof. Please understand: in what follows, for anyone who loves music, as I do, these are practices to be avoided at all cost if you love good music, especially great music … or just music, period. Please understand, also, that I did not avoid these practices, and so much – not all, but much – good, even great, music is now forever accompanied inside my skull by a parallel sound track of the “music-as-ruined”. I cannot hear one without hearing the other. So I am not an example to be emulated. On the contrary, I am a counter-example, or an anti-example, to be avoided. Anyway … with those caveats here goes … in order to avoid ruining (the experience of listening to) music …

o Never watch Warner Brothers cartoons, especially Bug Bunny cartoons, from the “classical” years of the 1960s.

Contemporary WB cartoons are probably mostly OK. But cartoons from WB during that earlier, “classical” era are deadly. For example, you will never be able to hear “pure” Wagner again. Instead, overlaying the sound track of, e.g., The Flight of the Valkyrie, you will ever after hear

Kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit! kill-the-wabbit1  

Which is hardly the same thing, and least of all “music to invade Poland by”.

Nor will Rossini escape. Instead, The Barber of Seville will be dogged by the alternative Bugs Bunny libretto of The Rabbit of Seville:

Come into my shop,

Let me trim your mop,

Let me shave your crop …  

Daintily, daintily!  

Caaa-aa-aa-n’t you see that I’m much sweeter?

III-III-III’m your little seniorita!

You-uu-uu-uu look like my kinda guy,

Let me loosen your tie,

And I will sing for you!

This aria is followed by Bugs’s four-footed massage of Elmer Fudd’s scalp, performed to Rossini’s Barber score, which is guaranteed to cause potentially catastrophic laundry problems, especially when you see an actual performance of Barber in a grand opera house, because, even as you watch the performance onstage, you will be seeing and hearing the parallel Bugs-Elmer version of Barber in your mind’s eye and ear. In fact, you cannot avoid seeing and hearing the Bugs-Elmer parallel. Barring a case of acute and profound amnesia or aphasia, The Barber of Seville will henceforth be lost to you.

th And speaking of Rossini, we can write off The William Tell Overture right now for reasons having nothing to do with WB because of its close and unavoidable association with the Lone Ranger. But Warner Brothers compounded this pernicious variant of déjà vu in a cartoon about a little flea nesting on the back of a Doberman pinscher. Along toward the end, the flea drives the dog to such distraction that the Doberman starts galloping hither and yon in desperation, hoping to dislodge his tiny tormenter … whereupon the little flea, riding the dog like “LR” rode Silver, shouts out Hi-yo, Doberman! Now, every time I hear Rossini’s stirring Overture, I not only think of the Lone Ranger, but in place of the Ranger’s iconic cry, I hear the flea’s Alvin-the-Chipmunk-like voice shouting Hi-yo, Doberman!  And so … “another one bites the dust”.

o Never read Mad magazine from the 1960s era.  

I grew up with Mad. I still read it from time to time. Call it a guilty pleasure, if you will. But the contemporary version is musically harmless compared to the “classical” Mad of the ‘60s, which was positively lethal, not to classical or baroque music, but to music that was “classical” within the context of US popular culture, e.g., show tunes, movie music, Christmas carols, etc.

Consider the beloved song “The Street Where You Live” from My Fair Lady … which Mad transposed from the key of Pygmalion-like romantic love to that of nuclear terror with:

I have often walked down your street before,

But there once was pavement underneath my feet before;

Now as I walk by I see rubble fly.

Boy it’s rough on the street where you live!  

People stop and stare.

They don’t worry me

Got lead underwear, and I am safe as safe can be

All the air is filled with radioactivity 

Boy it’s rough on the street where you live My-Fair-Lady-my-fair-lady-10457205-1024-768  

Or think of that wonderful song from the 1920s by Gene Donaldson and George Whiting, “My Blue Heaven,” which Mad warped into an anthem of nuclear apocalypse entitled “My Blue Shelter”:

Whenever I hear an H-bomb is near

I hurry to my blue shelter. 

A hole in the floor, a six inch lead door

Will lead you to my blue shelter.  

A lovely place

Without a trace

Of coming doom!

A cozy place that’s nestled

Where the H-bombs boom!  

Just Molly and me!

Let’s see … that makes three!

We’re happy in my blue shelter!

Even Christmas carols were not sacred, least of all Hark! The Herald Angels Sing. Mad took the Star of Bethlehem and replaced it with fireworks:

Boom! The cherry bombs explode

Blowing potholes in the road.

Midget sticks of dynamite,

Sure can give a guy a fright.

One went off by Irving’s mamma.

Poor thing damn near had a trauma.

God, what simple-minded jerks,

We turn loose with fireworks!

cherrybomb_stockimage  Many Christmases, Diane and I go to Victoria, BC, for high tea at the Empress and to hear the wonderful Christmas carolers in the lobby of the hotel. I always light the candle on the table, discreetly genuflect, and utter a silent prayer in English, Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, Sanskrit, Arabic, and High Church Latin to Yahweh, Allah, Odin, Zeus, Athena, and Cthulhu and Lovecraft’s Great Old Ones that the carolers will not perform Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, for fear that I will make a public spectacle of myself by dissolving into gales of helpless, howling laughter from hearing Mad’s parallel sound track in my head.

But the entire fault for the loss of music cannot be laid at the feet of Warner Brothers and Mad magazine. Entire oeuvres of poets have been lost to me, not by WB or Mad, but by a chance passing remark from someone whose name I cannot even now remember. Several years ago, someone – I think it was on a radio talk program – mentioned in a tone of oh-by-the-way breeziness that most of the poetry of Emily Dickinson can be sung to the tune of “The Yellow Rose of Texas”. Well, I give you three guesses – and the first two don’t count – how the following Dickinson poem reads to me now, the one that begins …

Because I could not stop for Death,

He kindly stopped for me.

The carriage held but just ourselves

And Immortality …

 … and, conversely, what poetic text flashes to mind whenever I hear the tune “The Yellow Rose of Texas”.

On a much more somber and sinister level, let us not even reference the slobbering fascist sociopaths who took the heart-breaking tenderness of the second movement of Haydn’s Emperor Quartet (“String Quartet in C-major, Opus 76, No. 3”) and gang-raped it into the jackbooted crudity of “Deutschland Ueber Alles”. One of the advantages, arguably the sole justifying advantage, of being an ex-Christian is that I am under no obligation to forgive such crimes against high culture.

And we shall leave similarly anonymous the company that, back when phone-answering machines used tape, marketed an answering-machine microcassette where some guy with a (seriously, really) beautiful baritone voice sang “Nobody’s home! Nobody’s home!” to the tune of those four iconic notes that begin Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. The effect of that is still enough to make me want to drink a fifth, because now, every time I hear the opening of the first movement of the Fifth Symphony … but … really … need I finish … ?

Kids’ Sunday School songs are no less insidious. There is a little ditty I learned in “kiddie church” when my age was in high single digits whose words fit all-too-perfectly with the first movement of Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik:

One … two-three … the Devil’s after me!

Four … five-six … he’s makin’ me feel sick!

Alle- … alleluia … alleluia … alleluia … ! EineKleineVlFirst_BIG

I once was unwise enough to start Nachtmusik playing from my i-Phone over my car’s Bluetooth system, and honestly thought I was going to have to pull over into a parking lot until I stopped laughing. O Wolfgang! Wolfgang! Meiner beliebte Freund! Es tut mir leid! Ich werde niemals das tun!

beethoven-5th

Ludwig von Beethoven

 But … ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh … GAWD! … It occurs to me that I owe you, my Constant Readers, an apology as well as Wolfgang. I’ve been blithering on about this issue, and you’ve been reading my blitherings … which means that you are now infected! I’m worse than Typhoid Mary! At least Typhoid Mary herself was never sick when she passed the disease on to others. But I’m both sick and infectious. Maybe I’m a musical zombie! Maybe I belong on an AMC TV series called The Walking Tone-Deaf! And I’ve “bitten” you, passing on the Plague! Or maybe I’ve listened to so much Bach, I’m now in a “fugue” state. (Yeah … yeah … OK … awright … apologies awready! … sheesh!)

Please … I beg you … stop reading right now! Forget you saw this post! I’m just so … so … so … so very … sorry!

© 2017, essay, James R. Cowles; header illustration and following two illustrations, Elmer Fudd and archenemy, Bugs Bunny, © Warner Bros; Theatrical release poster for “My Fair Lady original illustration by Bob Peak  Bill Gold and © Warner Bros.; red cherry courtesy of and © of blog.naver; sheet music, Eine Kleine nachtmusick, Wolfgang A Mozart, courtsey of MûsesCore.com; public domain photograph of Ludwig van Beethoven painting by Joseph Karl Stieler (1820)