Since we’re all so busy with Hanukkah and Christmas and Solstice and Grinching and trying to deal with an unholy amount of unsolicited gift catalogs that are even now building up in a perfect, critical-mass metaphor for the stress of the season, I thought it was the right time to hold another poetry contest.
This one is easy.
1. Take one of the myriad holiday songs—sacred or secular—that have been bombarding most of us since November 23rd—Jingle Bell Rocks, The Christmas Song, the Dreidel Song, Ma’Oz Tzur, Silent Night, O Come All Ye Faithful, whatever you happen to have stuck in your head.
2. Go read Indy Clause’s guest post on writing
good bad poetry doggerel.
3. Make up your own lyrics. You don’t have to use the whole song, just a verse or two will do.
On the First Day of Hanukkah, my dreidel won for me . . .
O Little Town of Boston, Mass., how doth thy muggers glean . . .
Jingle Bells, Batman smells . . .
You get the point. It doesn’t have to be funny, but most of ’em seem to turn out that way.
4. Post the results in the comments of this post—or e-mail it to me, if you want to keep your efforts anonymous or if you’re incapable of writing a clean(ish)* song to save your life (or you aren’t sure), using the address in the upper left corner of your screen, there.
If you accept this challenge, your name will be added to the Pink Cowgirl Hat of Win and may very well be selected to win . . . wait for it . . . Yes! the Mug of Your Choice from Cafe Press,** which, if you’re just tuning in, is my go-to prize because a) they ship anywhere; b) the selection is insane; and c) who can’t use a mug?
Please include the title of the source song, please—though I’m sure we won’t have any trouble recognizing yours.
And since I would never ask you do to anything I wouldn’t try at least once, here’s my effort.
This started out weird and got . . . weirder, as these things apparently do . . .
‘Twas the Cat Before Christmas
(with heartfelt apologies to Clement C. Moore or Henry Livingston, Jr., depending)
‘Twas the cat before Christmas who tore through the house,
Jumped on my bed, and spat up a large mouse
On the dress I’d laid out on the duvet with care,
Delighted to have something special to wear.
I pitched out the pieces of corpse I could find,
While visions of Black Death danced through my mind.
Then I scrubbed at the stain and snarled at the scamp
Who yawned and curled up on the rug for a nap.
When out on the drive there arose a small noise
Which was more than enough to disturb the cat’s poise.
He flew like a flash, the window to fill,
Tore up the curtains and threw up on the sill.
I thought that his fur like the new-fallen snow
Gave no sign of the devil’s heart hidden below—
When what to my horrified eyes should appear
But my date’s Chevrolet! Oh, crap, he was here!
With a blasphemous curse, I jammed on my hose quick
And checked the mouse stain—seltzer sure does the trick!
More rapid than models, I zipped up my dress
And realized my hair and my house were a mess!
Now brushing, now cleaning —“Stop prancing, you clown!
Quit tripping me, furball! You’ll make me fall down!”
At the top of the stair I could hear my date call.
“I’m coming!” I said, as I dashed down the hall.
As wet leaves in a gutter pile up in a lump,
And then overbalance and fall with a thump,
So as the door opened, my heart likewise fell
My date had been drinking—again—by the smell.
His eyes, they were bleary, his face had a shine
It was clear he’d been having a whale of a time.
I called the night off—his mouth curled in a sneer.
He called me a name, and I backed up in fear.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard four thumping paws
The skidding and scraping of sharp little claws.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Out onto the porch, the cat came with a bound.
He was dressed all in white, from his head to his foot,
But you could tell that his temper was brimstone and soot.
That bundle of hellcat leapt on that drunk’s back
And he looked like St. Vengeance, poised to attack.
Though he’d puffed himself up like a ‘vangelist’s wig
I was worried about him—he wasn’t that big!
But a flash of a fang and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He yowled not a word, but went straight to his work,
And shredded the shirt off that asshattish jerk
As my cat laid down havoc with teeth and with toes,
I pulled back and punched the guy right in the nose.
He fell off the porch, through his schnozz gave a whistle,
But the cat landed clear, like the down of a thistle.
I hugged him and said, as the rat gave a scream,
“Happy Christmas, sweet boy—and a bowlful of cream!”
If I, the avowed non-poet, can manage this while watching Leverage last night,*** then I’m sure you can work wonders in a week.
You have until Tuesday, December 18th, at midnight CST (that’s Chicago time) to get it to me. If you have any questions—about this contest—ask and I’ll make up the answers.
Go create something fabulously wrong! And Happy Chrishanukwanzmadanfestivus!
*Sly innuendo is accepted and encouraged. But this space isn’t really the place for blatant non-innuendo—my parents and co-workers read this blog and I brag on my kids, here. It would be weird.
**Or an equivalent gift card, if you don’t wish to give me your real name or postal address. Don’t worry about hurting my feelings over this—your privacy is important.
***I missed my new curfew by fifteen minutes, but I still managed an hour and a half more sleep than usual, so I’m not too upset. Baby steps!