Poetry or prose?
No one knows.

Shan’t waffle,
’tis awful.

Shan’t coddle,
’tis twaddle.

I can’t say it faster:
it’s an utter disaster.

By smidgen or headful
it’s really quite dreadful.

Said firstly or lastly,
it’s slapdash and ghastly.

It’s florid
and horrid.

Not melodious;
simply odious.

It can’t be forgotten;
it’s rotten.

About as much charm
as a cattle farm.

At present
it’s unpleasant.

You either sinned
or broke wind.

Not wonderful;
it’s blunderful.

So cliché-ridden
it ought to be forbidden.

The God-awful truth?
Like pulling a tooth.

Verse will be neater
when minding the meter.

Edgar’s raven sitting sullen pondering from the chamber door
sadly squawks, and I quoth: “’Tis blather, nothing more.”

Call the muses, and hail the graces
to hear the free verse saga of this lady’s shoe laces.

This poem’s about as narrow
as William Carlos Williams’s wheelbarrow.

Too much stray natter;
not enough gray matter.

Your near rhyminal
Is almost criminal.

Crammed full
of pulled wool
and one scoop
of bull poop.

You’ve learned the first rule of art:
the idea is the easy part.

I can’t get past one niggling distraction:
“you’re,” not “your,” is the “you are” contraction.

May I say with some latitude:
you have the right attitude.



Geoffrey Smagacz writes from South Carolina and Mexico. A collection of his fiction, published under the title of A Waste of Shame and Other Sad Tales of the Appalachian Foothills (Wiseblood Books, 2013), won the 2014 Independent Publisher gold medal for Best Mid-Atlantic Regional Fiction. His rhymed and metered poetry has also been published in various literary magazines and e-zines, including 14 by 14 and Dappled Things.

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10 Responses

  1. Peter Austin

    Nicely done! You neatly nail those,

    whose poetry is made
    of hokum, I’m afraid

  2. Joseph S. Salemi

    Here’s a letter of acceptance that a lucky poet might get from the editors of Poetry magazine:

    Your poetry sucks
    And we’ll pay you big bucks.

  3. Monty

    It was all a bit humdrum to me; exacerbated by the author inventing a word to rhyme with ‘criminal’.

      • Monty

        Well, it would only’ve been one more of numerous other forced and contrived rhymes. And yet, there’s a way of conveying exactly the same sense using the queen’s English:
        ‘Your usage of near rhyme
        Is almost a clear crime.’

    • Anonymous Smith

      Monty, I’m going to start a rumor;
      you may not have a sense of humor.

      • Monty

        Given your use of the words “may not”, would that indicate that you’re not quite sure whether I have or haven’t? I would’ve thought that shielding yourself behind Mr Anon – as you have – might’ve afforded you a sense of bravery to just come right out with “Monty, you haven’t got . . “: but maybe you’re just trying to be diplomatic.

        I, on the other hand, am not one who’s known for diplomacy. I’ve always generally linked ‘diplomacy’ to ‘false politeness’: and I’ve always linked ‘false politeness’ to ‘disingenuousness’; hence I’ve always found it a lot easier and uncomplicated to just (as the saying goes) ‘say it as I see it’. I don’t say that in a self-congratulatory way; I say it in a selfish way. We all know that speaking one’s mind will always ruffle the feathers of some (maybe yours), but I don’t care for those people, nor their feathers. I care only for keeping my own mind clear and uncomplicated . . hence the selfishness! Speaking one’s mind affords clarity of mind. It eliminates things festering in the mind.

        I ask you to keep that in mind when I assure you that my criticism of the above offerings was in no way due to a lack of ‘sense of humour’. I readily admit that my sense of humour is never stimulated by the obvious: the everyday: the mundane: the normal.. and I found the above to be all of those things.

        From what I’ve seen, the SCP is the most high-class poetry website in North America, and as such I’ve grown accustomed to its ‘humorous’ poetry to also be of the highest class (from the likes of Ms Foreman and Ms Bryant), and in general it never fails to stimulate and nourish my sense of humour. But on this occasion it simply didn’t! And I simply said so!

        Although I could’ve said a lot more, I kept my initial comment to just one sentence. I felt that was enough. But now I’ve been pushed, I’m willing to disclose further why I wasn’t stimulated by the above:
        a/ More than half of the couplets bore no relevance whatsover to “literary reviews”, and could’ve been attributed to any and every aspect of the human existence.
        b/ Many of the couplets were just a mish-mash of words meaninglessly thrown together in order to achieve two rhyming words.
        c/ The strength and validity of some of the couplets was no more than the ‘Roses are red/Violets are blue’ variety.
        d/ The aforementioned ‘invention’ of a word to achieve a rhyme is, in my mind, nothing short of preposterous.

        Of the 25 couplets, I found only numbers 1, 16, 17, 18, 20, 23, 24 to be relevant to the purported subject: and, indeed, they WERE undoubtedly humorous. But the rest . . filler! And filler in poetry will never appeal to my sense of humour, or my sense of anything. Hence, whoever you are, I ask that you step out from behind Mr Anon and ask yourself the following question: ‘Does speaking one’s mind necessarily indicate no sense of humour?’ I hope you find the right answer.

  4. C.B. Anderson


    There is probably not one among us who, at one time or another, has not deserved at least one of your sententious reviews.


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