The 17th mini-contest was held in April 2012. This mini-contest asked contestants to write a small piece of “doggerel”—narrative rhyming poetry with no redeeming literary or technical value (yet not outright bad poetry, which is something else entirely).
We set a maximum of eight lines and 75 words, and suggested a few rhyming schemes (ABAB, AABB, etc.) A couple of people threw us a curveball by sending in a limerick. The co-publishers had a long debate and decide to allow those entries, because while they clearly weren’t what we had in mind, we hadn’t set out any rule against them. Besides, limericks are generally considered narrative poetry of no literary value, which is what we had in mind.
We received 58 entries. Three won cash prizes and four won honorable mention. Here are our winners, then our honorable mentions, then a judge’s entry.
Third Place ($5) by Debra Daumier (new to OTP)
You are not as beautiful as you think
And also your intellect is far from superior
Even when dolled out in silks and mink
Compared to me, you will always be inferior
Your purpose in life is to wait on me hand and foot
To make me the center of your life
Because as your cat I don’t give a hoot
That you are also a mother and a wife!
Second Place ($10) by Caroline Zarlengo Sposto (last seen in mini-contests #14 and #16)
Observing locals through a veil
we browse the curios on sale
while bleating like a herd of sheep
about how things are really cheap.
We buy copies of serapes,
talavera from Sierra,
Bid “Ahh-dee-yos!” and “Grah-see-us!”
then blithely board the tourist bus.
First Place ($15) by Sharilynn La May (new to OTP)
Those boobs you oft flaunted in our faces
The biggest tits ever in tenth grade class
Dear, what happened to those giant places
Now that golden youth has long ago passed?
Gravity pulled at your prize possessions.
Which reach down to your wider waist today.
They no longer brag or stand at attention.
Me, I stayed tiny, but firm all the way.
Honorable Mentions (no money, just fame)
Four other entries scored highly enough to earn honorable mentions.
Now life can be fun when you’re on a run
and happiness makes you her own.
But then she walks away and leaves you to play
Here’s a word to the wise: when you realize
that this life ain’t all skittles and beer
Just put up with the shit when it’s hardtack and spit
Soon enough, we’ll all be out of here.
(by Mary Whitsell)
A gal who could travel through time
had a passion for cannibal crime
’til she learned that her dinner
had previously been her
(and harvested still in her prime.)
(by David Sklar)
Cleaning my purse in a ladies’ room stall
I flushed reams of paper with no shame at all.
Calling cards, business cards, food cards galore.
Old grocery coupons: some pre- Gulf War.
An ATM, hotel and old gas receipt,
A cobbler’s claim ticket, a Yahtzee score sheet.
And when I was done with my business in there,
I opened the door, feeling lighter than air.
(by Jane Elkin)
It used to be a special treat
the shoe store that would scan my feet
in chambers with an X-ray beam
to show my bones in murky green.
Now I’m old and have big feet
a side effect that’s not so sweet.
Don’t call me Bozo or I’ll frown.
My name is The Fluorescent Clown.
(by Sandy Stert Benjamin)
Now It’s Our Turn
As is no longer usual, a couple of our judges wanted to participate, too. So…
(Editor’s notes: “chokey” is archaic British slang for jail. Ryoki really is the name of one of our cats.)
Oh, Loki and Cokie
(Roberts, I say)
Are sitting in chokey
With my cat Ryoki
For stealing some gnocchi
From a VA Tech Hokie
And making too pokey
(by Bethany Granger)
Lovely leaves of green and bark of brown,
The tree gave little birdies room to sit
Until the loggers came and cut it down.
Now paper rolls, I wipe my ass with it.
(by guest judge Bryce Albertson)
Congratulations to the winners and our sincere thanks to everyone who entered the mini-contest.