Poetry

Shitty Poetry Month: Week Three

Week 3 of April’s Shitty Poetry Month presents some truly inspired awfulness from Ada Hoffmann, Geoffrey A. Landis, J.Y.T. Kennedy, Brett Savory and Daniel Parker Lee, and Kari Maaren!

Featured Book Challenge: All of the poems this week were inspired by a ChiZine Publications book series. Can you name the title(s)? Share the correct book title(s) on the ChiZine Publications Facebook Page and enter for a chance to win the ebook of this week’s featured book, plus its prequel (hint, hint)!

(If you're not on Facebook, feel free to leave your winning guess in the comments below!)

Let the good shit be yours!

Ada Hoffmann

. . . Because Why the Hell Not

Dead hands know endless patience. Fall,
the kata, same as spring.
No shift of weight; no rush of breath.
You'll never hear a thing.

(Until they make a sharp-eyed lady
scream in Aisle Thirteen.)

Dead lips don't thirst; dead hearts don't fear
the widow-making foam.
There's only gold and war (and brains)
wherever dead ships roam.

(They're pillaging the freezer!
Get Security on the phone.)

And it's yo, ho, ho, me boys!
Shamble like the brave!—
And it's sharp, swift, shadowed
In the silence of the grave—

(And it's up to us to mop
The bloody mess the zombies made.)

Geoffrey A. Landis. Ode to My Lover's Small Intestine

O, whilst lesser poets exclaim in ecstasy rhapsodie
about the other organs, declaiming dactyls dedicated to the
loveliness of their beloved's eyelashes, or the delicate flutter
of the heart, yet, I must extol...

Shitty Poetry Month: Week Two

It’s Week 2 of April’s Shitty Poetry Month! Enjoy the terrible musings of Robert Runte, Matt Moore, Stephen Graham Jones, Michael Matheson, and Michèle Laframboise.

Featured Book Challenge: Are YOU a shitty Poet? Prove it! Go to the ChiZine Publications Facebook Page and SHARE your own short-shitty poem, and enter a chance to win this week’s featured book Goldenland Past Dark and last week’s featured book The Inner City!

Robert Runte The Beginning Poet

When'er I read
I feel the need
an epic to compose.
But all my verse
could not be worse
at least, so I suppose.

Fully symbolic,
though not meloncolic,
great images abound.
With little prescription
and tight description—
my poems still run aground.

Generally speaking,
I should be seeking
a better type of rhyme:
I'm not adverse
to free blank verse,
at least not all the time.

Completely serious
(with nothing spurious)
my feelings to reveal,
I often find
the thoughts behind
I still somehow conceal.

When I'm amused
I'm still confused
o'er imagery and scan.
I wonder whether
I could do better?
I think, I hope I can.

Matt Moore "i am the flower"

heartless
people of the
CITY
trodding
upon the
FLOWER
pushing
up, up through the
CRACKS
of the
uneven sidewalk

live, beautiful flower

remind
us there is
BEAUTY
all around
even in the
COLD
hearts of cities
of people
of society...

April is Shitty Poetry Month

Welcome to the 2nd Annual Shitty Poetry Month!

While it's National Poetry Month elsewhere in the world, here at ChiZine, we'd like to acknowledge all the terrible poems that spam the interwebs, grace greeting cards, and make you want to shoot yourself at open mic nights, especially after they run out of gin.

That's why we started SPoM! To revel in the glory of the (badly) written word, to make T.S. Eliot, Shakespeare and Anne Sexton turn in their graves.

Starting April 1st, we will post a brand new shitty poem each weekday. At the end of the week, you'll have the weekend to vote for your favourite bad poem. The winner of that week will be announced on the Monday.

At the end of the month, the four finalists will be pitted against each other in a pitched battle to the death, with a winner voted in by you, Gentle Readers.

Happy reading, and may the good shit be with you!

Shitty Poetry Month: Week One

Three great authors, three shitty poems! Let us know which one you think is the worst! Follow the ChiZine Publications Facebook Page for full details.

A. The Greatest Story Ever Told

The Penguin chick bursts from the shell
His fetal bed has served him well
But now the newborn bird will rest
Within his windswept, treetop nest.

Oh penguin child, oh fledgling fair
Stay snuggled in your jungle lair
And when your mother comes to rest
You'll suckle at her feathered breast

Heed not the snarl, fear not the roar
The beasties on the forest floor
You need not fear death's gnashing jaws
Or felines with extended claws

Ring out your cry! Sing out your note!
Like gobbets from the drunkard's throat!
Oh Penguin, King of Birds To Be,
Sing out from your Acacia Tree!

Your soaring, graceful Penguin Glide
Doth make me feel so good inside
So fly! And kingly bird, bestow
Your guano on us, far below.

B. Untitled

Wanna be a rocket driver.
Wanna ftl the stars,
plant my foot on all the planets,
even Jupiter and Mars

Want to be warped every morning,
rearrange my cells and such.
Find my kneecap near my elbow,
have my tongue hear all I touch.

C. Ph'nglui Mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh Wgah'nagl Fhtagn (inspired by the works of H.P.Lovecraft)

Monstrous squamous, rugose cones
Oozing from the endless dark.
Blasphemously twisted bones
Moldering in caverns stark.

A loathesome madness turns my brain.
An oozing form insinuates
Its eldritch, foetid, fungoid stain
Through hell’s unmentionable...

A Spell for Scrying Mirror Gremlins

Find a bird
crushed by a car or window
and sprinkle water on it daily
until it grows to the size of a
grudge. Hang it
on a string around your neck.

Turn off the lights in your bathroom
and utter your own name
once for each time
you have sinned against
expectation. Open the steaming tap
and let the glass
glaze until you see the dark spirits
that have been stretching you out
in front of yourself
like a dog's tired tongue.
Watch them wear you, puff
your belly, chew your hair,
stuff sacs of venom
under your eyes.

In a low whisper, tell yourself
this is the work of inhuman forces,
of elves, of dead birds
and albatrosses. Repeat
until you believe it, until your face
sours like a bruise
under the mirror’s hard skin.

Glass, Redux

She glistened, arms strained,
Ash and powder and grime
Fire from the glory hole
On her face, reflected in her sweat

I watched her work
Turning the long pipe
Squeezing the wet paper
Shaping the thin, delicate neck

And wondered what it would be like
Her supple hands. My bare skin
Squeezing. Shaping. Moving.
Soft mouth covering mine.

She gathered new glass over old,
Twisting the molten honey
Rounding the form until
Lips closed tight on the pipe.

That night, in the moonlit shadows
We met. Her hands white-hot. Firm.
Skilled. Knowing. Touching.
Two merged into one.

Her eyes in the darkness,
Smiling at me. Pulling me down.
Her warm mouth. Her soft flesh.
Her blade cold in my neck.

Glass, the colour of skim milk
Opal-white. A kiss of blue.
He asked how it got that way.
She smiled, said,
Fresh bone ash in the batch.

This poem is presented in remembrance of Robyn Harrington.

ms & mr frankenstein

Scarpino and I had this thing
going upstairs in a downtown house
he dismantled the skylight first I
mean a thing with an old wroughtiron fence he got
from a contractor for the armature
commission he said
that’s what he said
built up past the TV antennalandlord
picking up Pittsburgh yelling Get that thing down!
NEXT WEEK says Scarpino don’t ask how welding
letting fly
rust jets and paint curlicues
into a black stick man NOW
says Scarpino EPOXY MASKING TAPE and ARTEFACTS
MAN OF THE CENTURY!!! MADE ON THE PREMISES!!!gluing
cuphandles dented percolator baskets
potlids nonreturnable bottles
twisted tinties coffeemill-wheels
cracked dollsheads rundown alarmclocks
paperclips shoelaces nailpolish-brushes
typewriter keys
that made 1/2 a leg

and the night I spent hacking him out of the epoxy
gave the thing most of a pair of overalls & a jockstrap
we still had
lampshades windowblinds
cornpoppers shishkebab-skewers knifesharpeners
bent forks axehandles beercans shavingcream containers

Scarpino wild with welding gluing winding
till we got what looked like 2/3 of
Ozymandias King of Kings
and I begged, Scarpino, don’t you think enough – and he
BELOVED gave me an abstract kiss could have
got more juice out of a Rodin marble DARLING
WE MUST SCROUNGE AND SCAVENGE
he always talked like that

IT IS ART DEAREST HEART!!
if it had been January he could have gone to hell

but what with night youth and the May moon
I mined the dumps for paintscrapers andirons winecorks
tin funnels paperweights runningshoes raingauges
dull hacksaws sprung springs bicyclespokes tenpenny nails
gum erasers...

The Black Watch

The Black Watch ghosts between the hills
on silent horses whose hooves
stir no dust on the bone-dry road.

Beneath their thatched roofs villagers cower,
wrap themselves in their own shadows;
rub ash in their eyes to hide the tell-tale shine

as they shudder under beds of straw.
Young mothers clutch their newborns close:
a babe who can’t be silent may be silenced.

Those still cursed with scraps of Talent
cut their childrens’ fingertips
and draw blooded sygils above their doors;

beg friendly demons to fade their homes
into the dark, whisper unwanteds away.
But somewhere, the Watch will knock.
The door unlock, creak wide.

Which home will give shelter
to the Black Watch on this night?
Whose house hold a smiling family
of bones come morning?

The Aviary

The snow makes no sound as it covers the dome like gauze and insulates it—so you leave it there. You spread the last fresh straws and wonder how much longer 'til you’re found. At night you dream you’ve drowned.

The birds like the snow (judging from the changing pitch of their caws) better than the sky it hides: red and crowned with black clouds. A parrot gnaws your finger. You check the feed and pause—was that an engine or a landslide? Is someone else around? Nobody ever comes.

You remember the far-off noises you’d taken for saws, then your husband still and staring on the ground, the sky gone mad. You stole the grain, supposing no more laws. It’s not much, but it’s something:

you’ve saved the birds. So far, anyway, from radiation, from starving, from the predators that come around less and less often. The silent constant snow is your applause.

A Brief History of Night, Before Sleep

We started the bonfires
When the sun went down
We told stories, earth-crop-stories, circled ’round the flames
Even though we knew about each other’s days
Turned our backs to the night
But peered across, over shoulders
Watching each the other ’til the sun came up.

In the winter we sang
To drown out the wind
In the summer we swam
To keep our eyes from the sky
Stars are seductive because they’re safe harbour
Give them names: give them shapes
Or they’ll sing you away.

Night smells: it smells like wild
and green, and newborn dew hatching
and hooves on grass.
Night smells like the fancies and flutters of trees
We clogged noses with woodsmoke
We stopped ears with words.
Still they charmed away our young ones, never seen again.
Some say they left dancing
I don’t know if that’s true.

So sleep was a blessing:
It plugged up the ears,
The eyes with dreaming; it shouted down the stars
It stymied the predators who hunt the beats of your heart
And the night was not frightening, but for the smell
Of newborn dew hatching that lingered in your nose
So soft and feather-gentle it made one weep.

Let your head grow heavy;
Just close your eyes.
Don’t look, and don’t dare breathe.

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