Monday, July 18, 2005

Too Good to be the Worst

Well, the results of the Tyee's Teen Angst Poetry contest are in - and the verdict is...

"We really enjoyed the poem and the backstory. But I'm afraid your poem was too good to be the worst."

Well, there you have it - my shot at poetic fame, gone down in fiery flames. Or should that read...

My shot
At poetic fame
Gone down in flames

However, just because the good people of British Columbia won't get to read my poetry doesn't mean that I can deprive my faithful cadre of demented devotees. Here's my entry:

“And My Eyes See the Darkness” was written sometime during the first semester of the 1984-85 school year, which for me was the first half of grade ten; I would have been 14. I was attending Leduc Composite High School in Alberta, and like many a so-called gifted child, I felt alone all the time and wrote vile poetry about my loneliness. This particular poem was written in the wake of an editorial I’d written for the school newspaper; I lambasted “leather jacket-wearing hooligans” for disrupting a school dance. At the time, I was awash in self-righteousness, but it didn’t take long for a certain young lady I had my eye on to teach me a pointed lesson about tolerance; who was I to insult an entire clique because of the actions of one or two bad apples?

Of course, even after realizing in my heart that I was wrong, I was still stubborn enough to refuse to write a retraction. So I was pretty unpopular for a few weeks. Didn’t get the girl, either; after setting me straight, she was content to ignore me for the rest of our time in high school.

Here’s the poem:

And my Eyes See the Darkness

What does a young man do
When exiled by friends, enemies
And neutrals alike?
When I try to explain or even
Offer a greeting,
I find
I am talking to statues,
Cold and merciless.
They can talk amongst themselves,
But I am an alien; an outcast
They pretend they do not know my language.
I am cast out of every public and
Private Place;
Forced, finally, to a remote set of stairs
Where no one will
See Me
Hear Me
Talk to me.

And my eyes see the darkness.

* * *
Well, there you have it. Frankly, I can't believe I lost - how much worse can it get? Go visit The Tyee to find out.


Liam J. said...

I will attempt to find, at home, the worst piece of poetry ever written. If I find it, I'll post it here and you'll see what bad poetry is all about.

Leslie said...

Verse than Bad!

Too bad, Earl, but you "winning" this contest might be a dubious distinction indeed. And, unfortunately, teen-angst poetry gets much, much worse -- your lines were actually pretty thoughtful, especially compared to some of the "verse" I've had to evaluate for admission to the writing programs. If The Tyee runs a contest like this again in the future, there are a few student writers who should win hands down.

Fun for the experience just the same, I hope! Cheers!

Liam J. said...

Here it is.

No Matter by Liam Johnstone

The candle burns
You don't notice
Nearly a year
And nothing.
I've told you
You don't care.
I tried to make you see
No matter.
The candle isn't heavy.
I'll hold it.
Nothing better to do.
A chance for a way out
But I can't see past the flame
Of the candle.
I'm blinded by its light but
No matter.
All I can see is you.
You don't care.
Oh well, the candle isn't heavy.
You find someone.
The candle's getting shorter.
You fall for him.
I get burned.
The candle falls.
I'm free.
I find someone.
Burning wax, just a memory.
She rejects me.
You lose him.
Faded memories regain clarity.
Misread intentions.
No matter.
Oh, a candle.
I'll hold it.
It's not heavy.
Nothing better to do.

Worst. Poem. Ever.

susan_rn92 said...

Fret not, at least one British Columbian has read your poetry.

Susan, Port Coquitlam