I can’t believe I keep forgetting to mention this, but some months ago I actually managed to come up with a poem so bad that the International Library of Poetry, to which I submitted it, neither declared it to be a semifinalist in one of their contests, nor offered to publish it in one of their pricey yet unreadable anthologies.
Accomplishing this feat has been the aim of the people who maintain the Wocky Jivvy website. In their many attempts, they’ve come up with some truly remarkable entries—“My Cat Has Fleas,” “Walking with the Man,” “Dawn of a New Eve,” “Flubblebop,” “Yew Gotta Larf,” etc.—but as far as I know, they’ve never received the rejection they covet.How did I do it? It was easy, once I hit upon the right approach. Here’s a slightly reconstructed version of my entry:
Okay, so I cheated. Kind of. But it worked. And as far as I know, nothing else pretending to be poetry has ever been rejected by Poetry.com.
I am Mrs. Miriam Abacha a Widow
I salute you in the name of the most high God. I was the former first lady Federal Republic of Nigeria, married to
late General Sani Abacha the late Nigerian military Head of State.
I am presently in distress and under house arrest while
my son Mohammed is undergoing trial in Oputa Panel Lagos
and Abuja, this Panel was set up by the present civilian regime.
My son is presently detained in prison custody. The government has frozen all our family accounts, all
our buildings at Abuja Federal capital territory was seized
at the same time auctioned our remaining properties.
To save the family from total bankruptcy I have managed
to remove the sum of Thirty million US Dollars
( $ 30 .000.000.00 )
cash through covert means. This was only money kept by my late husband in our family safe at Kano State of Nigeria.
It was deposited in, an under cover security firm outside Nigeria,
but a neighboring country. I want you to receive this money
and pay into your account for the family safety.
Immediately, my daughter will proceed to meet with you because she is the only one that has free movement,
the men are monitored by the security Agents. You
will be well compensate for assisting me secure this money fast
before it is located by the Nigerian Government Agents.
Contact me immediately with my E-mail address so that
I can forward to you all necessary details. …
Addendum: In the comment thread, far better poets than I have been getting into the act:James D. Macdonald:
I now salute you in the name of Ghod,Josh Jasper:
I who a piteous widow must complain.
My son, my joy, arrested by a squad —
And in far Lagos he shall soon be slain.
The cash for his defense my husband hid
(I mean the late Abacha, even he),
I cannot use; for unjust laws forbid
That my funds can now be released to me.
There’s thirty millions that I cannot touch
But I can send to you, a man I trust:
O heed a widow’s prayer; your sleeve I clutch!
Relying on your kindness now I must
Request the number of your bank account.
I swear you’ll gain a very great amount.
this is the song of miriam abacha
miriam is a widower
of some vizeer or wazoo
in darkest africa
and she claims
that her son
had absconded with
after her old man
got sent to sing sing
that was a long time agoarchy
and one must not be
surprised if miriam
has forgotten some of her
more regal manners
This Is Just To Say
that was in
and whichforgive me
you were probably
they were meritricious
and so bold
Update: It’s now Thursday morning, and there are a further half-dozen poems on this theme in the comment thread. Do have a look.
Scammily-spammily Miriam Abacha,
Widow of former
Seeks your assistance to Pseudofiducially
Hold thirty mil for her