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June 29, 2005

Yo, Wocky Jivvy, Wergle Flomp—
Posted by Teresa at 04:00 PM *

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:

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. …

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.

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,
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.

Josh Jasper:

this is the song of miriam abacha
the spammer

miriam is a widower
of some vizeer or wazoo
in darkest africa
and she claims
that her son
had absconded with
thirty large
after her old man
got sent to sing sing

that was a long time ago
and one must not be
surprised if miriam
has forgotten some of her
more regal manners

archy

Larry Brennan:

This Is Just To Say

I deleted
the spam
that was in
the inbox

and which
you were probably
reading
as poetry

forgive me
they were meritricious
so false
and so bold

Virge:

Scammily-spammily Miriam Abacha,
Widow of former
Nigerian chief,

Seeks your assistance to Pseudofiducially
Hold thirty mil for her
Family’s relief.

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.
Comments on Yo, Wocky Jivvy, Wergle Flomp--:
#1 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 06:31 PM:

I get about 100 of those a day in my various emails.

#2 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 06:32 PM:

Who knew there were so many poets in Nigeria?

#3 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 06:33 PM:

Lots of former first lady poets.

I bet there is a society...

#4 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 06:35 PM:

> nothing else pretending to be poetry has ever
> been rejected by Poetry.com.

I'm trying to figure out how a person would put that on their resume. Would it be listed under "hobbies" or "career achievements"?

#5 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 06:35 PM:

The Nigerian Former First Ladies Society for the Appreciation of Verse, Free and Otherwise--not as exclusive as you might think.

#6 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 06:38 PM:

I am awed. A work of genius. I didn't even know you were from Nigeria.

#7 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 06:42 PM:

A report on a Poetry.com convention.

And ... for this year's convention, here are their Big Name Guests, to Give A False Air of Legitimacy:

Pulitzer Prize Winner W.D. Snodgrass and Academy of American Poets Past Chancellor David Wagoner to Award $20,000.00 Grand Prize to Poet of the Year at the ISP Convention in Washington, DC!

More for the Wall of Shame:

Grace Cavalieri
Allen Ginsberg Award

Herbert Woodward Martin
Mellon Poetry Prize

Fleda Brown
Delaware Poet Laureate

If those folks have actually agreed to attend, they should be ashamed of themselves. If their names are being used without their knowledge and consent, someone should let them know.

#8 ::: Mrs.TD ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 06:51 PM:

You know, your poem reads very nicely, with all those sonorous names, and the repeated financial statements and continuing implicit and even incoherent requests. As a poem it becomes a comment on the nature of trust, on fictionalization of identity, on the anonymity of the internet, on our aspirations to riches, on the deeply commercial nature of so many human transactions even when they pretend to be otherwise. No wonder they wouldn't publish it.

#9 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 07:00 PM:

The reason you didn't get accepted is because it doesn't rhyme:

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 Abog
the late Head of State of Nigerian militaria.

I am presently in distress
and under house arrest
while my son Mohammed is undergoing trial
in Oputa Panel Lagos and Abudial,
this Panel was set up by the present civilian file

My son is presently detained in prison custody.
The government has frozen all accounts of our family,
seized our buildings at Abuja Federal capital territory,
at the same time auctioned our remaining properties.
To save the family
from total bankruptcy
I have managed to remove one million times Thirty
in US Dollars.

Now THAT is sheer poetry.

#10 ::: The Real Mrs. Miriam Abacha ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 07:05 PM:

I am so awed! You've captured the sense of my urgency and predicament perfectly. I don't believe a biographical poem has so deeply touched my heart before, and I can only hope that it goes on to touch millions of others' hearts. Thank you so much for taking my life and recreating it in such an artistic manner. My life will never be the same again -- all because you wrote this poem. You truly are the artist that I have sought after for all my life.

#11 ::: Anna ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 07:28 PM:

That is a thing of beauty. Thank you!

#12 ::: Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 08:21 PM:

Wow. I salute you, too, in the name of the deity of your choice! (And they say there's nothing new under the sun... ...hah!)

#13 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 08:28 PM:

Those amused by this might also watch Ze Frank's very funny short movie, "Request".

#14 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 08:30 PM:

So are we going to see you in the lineup of the Lady Poetesses from Hell at Minicon one of these years?

#15 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 08:37 PM:
> nothing else pretending to be poetry has ever > been rejected by Poetry.com.

I'm trying to figure out how a person would put that on their resume. Would it be listed under "hobbies" or "career achievements"?


It would be under "Awards Won."
#16 ::: Steve Glover ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 08:55 PM:

Ah. but did they reject it, or was it their spam filter?

#17 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 09:11 PM:

Dear The Real Mrs. Miriam Abacha,

You misspelled "truely."

Signed,
A Fan

#18 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 09:12 PM:

I now salute you in the name of Ghod,
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.

#19 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 09:21 PM:

> Ze Frank's very funny short movie, "Request".

When he says "three", he puts up six fingers, and I nearly split a gut. Sometimes it's the little things that are freaking hilarious.

#20 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 09:39 PM:

this is the song
of miriam abacha
the spammer

miriam is a widower
of some vizeer or wazoo
in darkest africa
and she claims
that her son
had absconded with
thirty large
after her old man
got sent to sing sing

that was a long time ago
and one must not be
surprised if miriam
has forgotten some of her
more regal manners

archy

#21 ::: Janeyolen ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 09:50 PM:

WOW! Lots of time on certain persons hands. I especially love the sonnet, Big Jim. (Though the archie's not bad either.)

Jane

#22 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 09:58 PM:

This Is Just To Say

I deleted
the spam
that was in
the inbox

and which
you were probably
reading
as poetry

forgive me
they were meritricious
so false
and so bold

#23 ::: James J Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 10:03 PM:

Congratulations, Teresa. You are the wind beneath my vestigial wings, if not the finger I sliced a big chunk out of at work this afternoon. Your poesy has improved my mood almost as much as the Vicodin. Thank you.

#24 ::: JamesG ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 10:41 PM:

I know this is hard to believe, but I received an e-mail from poetry.com just a couple of weeks ago. I posted it on my blog for all to see. Of course, I had to give the post a name that captured the joy I felt at being nominated for "Poet of the Year 2005". I called it: Is that a Fin in the Water?


I HATE scammers with a passion. If only there were some way for them to be identified quickly, tied to a stake in a public place and let their victims each take a swing at them with a two week old salami roll. You, know not so much for the pain, but for the humiliation of being smacked with salami.

#25 ::: JamesG ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 10:42 PM:

OOPs! I jacked up the link on that. sorry... it was just supposed to be just over the title of the post.

#26 ::: Virge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 10:57 PM:

Pitting scams against scams--delightful, Teresa.


Scammily-spammily
Miriam Abacha,
Widow of former
Nigerian chief,

Seeks your assistance to
Pseudofiducially
Hold thirty mil for her
Family's relief.

(I hope a dactylic pronunciation of "Abacha" isn't too much of a stretch. I've no idea how it should be pronounced.)

#27 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 11:04 PM:

hey, Mrs. TD.

#28 ::: Liz Lawley ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 11:27 PM:

If you haven't seen Ze Frank's dramatic rendition along the same lines, it's well worth watching.

#29 ::: Dave ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 12:56 AM:

There was an old widow from Africa
Who wanted some cash to take back with her
She brewed up a scam
And sent out some spam
That garnered a cache quite spectacular

#30 ::: Madeline Ferwerda ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 01:08 AM:

Summer, but my son
is imprisoned. 30 mil
Brings light to us all.

#31 ::: Nancy Hanger ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 01:43 AM:

The double dactyls, Virge, were brilliant. Made my evening!

The entire exercise of bad poetry puts me in mind of a teaching colleague during one summer I spent in Ireland as a student teacher of recalcitrant A-level students who needed summer school. This gentleman decided to write some Vogon poetry (Hitchhiker had just come out). He gave up after: "Oh green lump, why art thou? / How, green lump, how how how?" but would not stop rehearsing possible lines for the next two months. The rest of the teachers and I ended up forcing him to eat fresh head-cheese to shut him up.

#32 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 02:23 AM:

To god I swear, it's all quite real:
My son's in stir. I've large amounts
What he has stolen. You can steal
As well as us, so here's the deal:
Just specify your bank accounts.
To god I swear, it's all quite real -
The late Abacha had a feel
For dosh. The oil in flowing founts
What he has stolen! You can steal,
As he did. Slippery as eel,
Was he; now renders his accounts
To god. I swear, it's all quite real -
It's thirty million, under seal,
But if I move, I must renounce
What he has stolen! You can steal
It. Hear, oh hear, my sad appeal:
Just email me your bank accounts.
To god I swear, it's all quite real:
What he has stolen, you can steal.



#33 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 04:51 AM:

Wow, Teresa. I already knew that you rock, but this...this is sheer genius. Reading your poem left me rocking back and forth, clutching my sides, red-faced. Best laugh I've had all year, maybe all century. Brilliant.

#34 ::: Jean Rogers ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 05:23 AM:

Oh bliss! Oh, joy!

#35 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 05:48 AM:

Got online with my 419
Got online with my 419
My 419

Well I saved up my naira and I bided my time
Pony up pony up 419
And I went off to anon.penet.fi
Pony up pony up 419
Where I would mass-mail my 419
419, 419
Pony up pony up pony up 419

No one can find my site
No one can extradite my 419
419, 419

When I say the money's dirty marks will fall in line
Pony up pony up 419
It's simply the pick of the latest crimes
Pony up pony up 419
My avaricious semi-vicious Spanish Prisoner 419
419, 419, 419, 419

Pushin' this crap now
I'M IN ALL CAPS NOW 419

#36 ::: Janeyolen ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 07:05 AM:

Hmmmm--there's a point-of-purchase small-sized book here for some smart publisher called something like
Nigerian and Other Scams: A Book of Poetry.

Workman would probably love it. TNH why not pitch it?

Jane

#37 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 07:09 AM:

My name is Craig Shergold
A dying nine-year-old
A record for cards sent I plead.

I'm long since in Guinness,
My op was a success,
I'm well now yet still the spam reads...

#38 ::: JamesG ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 08:15 AM:

Thanks for correcting my blunder.

#39 ::: Mike ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 08:33 AM:

Are you going to enlarge yourself there?
Generic Viagra and discounted Cialis
Lonely housewives at webcams you stare
Add to your penis at least one to three inches

#40 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 10:07 AM:

I am the merry widow of Nigeria's former president,
My son has been arrested and in prison he is resident,
I never would approach you if it wasn't for one incident:
They've frozen all our bank accounts, we cannot touch a single cent!
The bad police are watching me and all my movements they resent,
Send details of your bank account, I'll send one trusted dissident,
I know that I can trust an honest guy like you to implement
My cunning plan to stash away three million bucks for ten percent!

#41 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 10:10 AM:

I send my e-mails flying
To the west and to the east
Any way now, any day now
My cash will be released

#42 ::: Tiel Jackson ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 11:08 AM:

oh. oh, my aching ribs.

#43 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 11:15 AM:

Valves
Of China
Valves
Industrial
Valves
For purchase
Valves
Discounted
Valves
Black Market

#44 ::: Rose Fox ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 11:18 AM:

anon.penet.fi lives! Thanks for all those Usenet-spam memories, Mr. Ford.

#45 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 11:21 AM:

I just had to clean my screen after laughing too hard brought on a fit of coughing.

For writers, it's the ultimate accolade: involuntary expulsion of bodily fluids by the reader.

#46 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 11:50 AM:

Jo, that was NOT work safe. Here I am, supposed to be working on end of the fiscal year spreadsheets, and I am giggling fit to beat the band. Thank you!

#47 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 12:47 PM:

E-Bay E-Bay E-Bay E-Bay
We must close out your account --
Please verify amount

You owe us, account number,
(Give your password as well)
And then things will be swell!

***

Pay Pal,
Oh please don't forget us!
If only you'd let us
Update your current account.

Pay Pal,
The virtual winds blow,
We just need your info
So you can follow your cart!


(I'm guessing at what those spams actually say, since I delete them so fast.)


#48 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 12:48 PM:

Wow. I'm so flattered to have been chosen as an example. I always feel dwarfed by the genius of everyone else here. I figure I'll share some intentionally bad homage this time.

The Spammer.

By 3dg4R 4113n p03

Once upon a net surf nightly, as I googled far and widely.
Through many a lost page with error four oh four.
While I grepped, clicking and pointing, there came an email.
"Tis some spammer" I muttered "wants to enlarge my penis by two inches or more"

Ah, distinctly I remember that bleak, eternal September.
Each pointless flame war left it's mark. Made usenet a bore.
Eagerly I sought geek motherload ; vainly I had sought to download from my files surcease of sorrow, sorrow for the lost h4X0
For the l33t coder whom the n00bs name h4X0r,
Email lost forevermore.

And the sharp and discordant wailing of each login handshake thrilled me---filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
"'Tis some spammer posing as paypal at my inbox file, late viagra salesman or real estate scam
This it is, and nothing more."

Presently my inbox grew fuller; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said Miriam, "or madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is, I was fleeing, and so honestly you were looking, and so humbly I am sending, bank information for thirty million, taken from Nigeria.
Help me access and I'll share, ten percent. Nothing more"

--

There. I think it's horrible. I hope you agree.

#49 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 12:49 PM:

Actual spam received today:

I am James Harold, we are a group of business enterpreneurs who deal on raw materials and export into America/Canada/Europe and Asia.
We are searching for representatives who can help us establish a medium of getting to our costumers in America/Canada/Europe and Asia as well as making payments through you to us.

What I can't figure out is what kind of costumes a collective intelligence needs.

#50 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 01:01 PM:

Jo, I have just one thing to say:

She knows that she can trust an honest guy like he to implement
Her cunning plan to stash away three million bucks for ten percent!

[vamps until Jo is ready to start her next verse]

#51 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 01:34 PM:

For some reason, my brain initially started hearing the G&S one TTTO "I Am the Rose of Sharon", a madrigal tune I heard entirely too much of while in college. The frightening thing is, it worked.

#52 ::: Kevin Andrew Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 02:04 PM:

I'll admit I once started to set one of Mrs. Abacha's missives into rhyme, but shelved it.

But in the vein....


"Pop-Tarts"

"Click on me!" they all entreat you
while you surf the web, exploring.
Naked virgins want to meet you!

Sirenlike, again they greet you--
webcam gorgons, eyes adoring--
"Click on me!" they all entreat you.

Pop-up pop-tarts spawn, repeat-you
can't escape--they're still imploring:
Naked virgins want to meet you.

Cyber-sluts! You click Delete. You
watch another rise, restoring.
"Click on me!" they all entreat you.

Russian farmgirls? Free! We'll treat you!
Live? With donkeys! Watch their whoring!
Naked virgins want to meet you....

At last the cyber-houris beat you,
paradise beyond ignoring.
"Click on me!" they all entreat you.
Naked virgins want to meet you!

#53 ::: Shmuel ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 02:27 PM:

To the spammers, to make much of time

Gather ye patsies while ye may,
When they are new to 'Netting:
The babe on AOL today
Some wisdom will be getting.

Today they'll send their passwords out
To every passing spammer
They will not feel a moment's doubt
Or note the faulty grammar.

That age is best when first they land,
When they are clueless newbies
Entranced by urban legends and
The camgirls showing boobies.

But soon they learn the tragic score,
And thenceforth will remember.
That would be it, but then come more!
God bless the long September.

#54 ::: Akycha ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 03:13 PM:

A longtime reader cannot resist:

Tell me where, or in what land
Is Mrs. Miriam Abacha
A general's widow bold, who planned
Against insurgents in Nigeria?
She pled for my account, contrived
to save her funds, just a mere
Thirty million; yet what arrived?
But where are the snows of yester-year?

#55 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 04:48 PM:

Man oh man, are you guys missing out! Especially you rhymers! For only a small investment, pprofessional musicians can set your poems to music and supply you with copies of the finished disc! You could have a hit record!

http://www.songpoemmusic.com/shark.htm

#56 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 05:01 PM:

Josh, do you want me to put linebreaks into the Poe pastiche?

#57 ::: Mrs. Miriam Abacha ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 06:21 PM:

Dearest,

I have been thinking all day how I could thank you for your wonderful expression of my deeply-held feelings. I wanted to let you know that I have decided to send a copy of your beautiful poem to all of my friends, and ask them to pass them on to their friends, mentioning your name so that in the name of the almighty God all the world may know the kindness of your heart.

Also, may I offer you the humble gift of Ten Percent of the sum of $30,000,000 that my late husband kept in our family safe?

With my mostly heartfelt sincere thanks,
Mrs. Miriam Abacha a Widow, late wife of the former Federal Republic of Nigeria.

#58 ::: REM ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 06:39 PM:

paypal told

him:he couldn't
believe it(jenna

told him;he
wouldn't believe
it)low

fee
certainly told
him,and washington
(yes

scam)
mutual;
and even
(believe it
or

not)you
told him:i told
him; we told hm
(he didn't believe it,no

sir)it took
a nigerianized bit of
the old tenth
just for you
sell; to get into his head:to tell
him

#59 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 07:16 PM:

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a rich Nigerian widow is in need of trustworthy assistance, in order to transfer her wealth to a place of safety.


#60 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 07:32 PM:

Every time you send a mail, I buy a little.
Every time you send a mail, I ask why a little;
Why the Gods above me,
Told you where to go;
And why a crook like me
Is the one you want to know.

When your mail makes such an offer.
Thirty millions, in my coffers.
Why on earth you trust me,
To keep for you that dough,
When I just know I'm going
To depart for Acapulco.

When you mail,
There's such a feel of fools about it.
I can feel a scam somewhere
When I start to think about it.
There's no con trick finer
But hos strange the change
From the chef to the diner,
Every time you mail,
From Nigeria.

#61 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 07:54 PM:

Teresa: If you want to. I couldn't get it to work.

#62 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 08:13 PM:

I offer you this easy way to earn an honest bob,
For an honest fellow it's a wuick and easy job.

Now it's a job, you will agree,
Is for a man of noted honesty;
I've thirty million pounds, you see,
Left by my deceased husband.

I married him, Twenty-oh-three,
And he was so impressed by me,
I'm sitting here with babies three,
Left by my deceased husband.

In his profession he worked hard,
And he'd never stop.
He crept and crawled assiduously,
And rose right to the top.

A blushing bride, I looked divine;
My husband, he was doing fine.
Until the censor cut this line.
Now he's my deceased husband.

The in-laws claim I didn't get
Too where the legal limit's set,
So the standard's not been met,
To be my deceased husband.

The Judge, I know him very well.
I know how much his assets swell.
But he wants to buy what I won't sell,
I love my deceased husband.

But in my profession I have learned,
And I'll always know,
Where to find an honest man,
And just what makes him go.

Dear friend, I know that I must trust
A man like you, or else I'm bust.
I've thirty million pounds that's just
From my deceased husband.

[Performs solo on banjo-ukelele]

#63 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 08:20 PM:

My boyfriend isn't home
why dont you surf on over
I'm here all alone
and my webcam's getting warmer

#64 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 08:28 PM:

Okay, after this one I gotta check out. It's just too much fun. (And mild apologies for reminding everybody of this song.)

Let me state my domicile and name
You can read these links that prove that both of them existed somewhere
I'm sure you understand the game
I've got secret news to share
And let me tell you why you should care

There was this person, now he's dead
And he left a pile of unspent funds from bust developments here,
Why don't we split the cash instead?
Sir or Ma'am, it's all a cinch to do

Shouldn't take a lot to get the swag to you
Couple hundred bucks and access to accounts should really do
We got big bucks in Nigeria
Gonna take some time to lubricate a couple palms, ooh

All the risk in the deal is mine
It's not like you're the widow of some old dictator, you know
Just a little help and we'll be fine
Please don't worry about my illness and all those rebels, oh, no
I must downsize my burdened soul
And your website tells me you're the one

Barely takes a dime to get this dough to you
Wire-transfer me a grand and PIN and that'll do
We got big bucks in Nigeria
All we need's some grease to get the project on the rails, ooh

Sani, hon, I'm comin' to join you

All I need's a little trust to endow you
Just a couple pieces of ID and then we're through
We got big bucks in Nigeria
We got big bucks in Nigeria
[repeat 40,000 times]

#65 ::: Andy Hickmott ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 11:21 PM:

Triginta magna cano, Nigeriae cito ab oris
Americam fatuo fuga Abachaeque venit
rationes, ...

#66 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 11:45 PM:

Dear God, not satisfied with medieval stanza forms, we have those who are competent in Latin verse! And they said scholarship was dead.

(My personal belief is that it has moved house from the campi and taken up a virtual residency. But that's just plain silly.)

#67 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 12:34 AM:

Josh, I see what you mean. And Mike, I see that that was irresistible. Dave, I'm as impressed as you are, so Andy, take a bow.

I forget: were you around for the discussion of how that can be sung to "The Stars and Stripes Forever"?

#68 ::: Dawn O ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 04:14 AM:

De-lurking to ask, did you all study poetry at this University?

#69 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 04:35 AM:

My brain insisted I start this one but refuses to finish it, but maybe someone will get a grin anyhow:

Oh inbox! my inbox! your fearful list of spam,
Has filled up every megabyte with endless types of scam,
So many ads, they come in scads, the lies so promising,
While I delete the mass of mail it just is not ceasing;
But Oh mail! Mail! Mail!
Oh electrons glowing blue,
When I check my mail again,
More spam do I accrue.

#70 ::: Del Cotter ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 05:35 AM:

"I am the very widow of the late dictator General..."

(oh bum, Jo Walton was too quick for me)

Miriam Abacha
Sends felicitations at ya
She has three mil for you in cash
If you can help her move her stash

#71 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 07:48 AM:

TNH: For writers, it's the ultimate accolade: involuntary expulsion of bodily fluids by the reader.

And yet blood from the eyeballs continues to get a bad rap. I'm just saying.

#72 ::: Michael ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 10:19 AM:

Comedy is cruel. The goal of all comedy is to cause beverages to shoot out of the noses of innocent victims.

This is why comedy clubs have two drink minimums.

Yep, I was a victim while reading this thread.

#73 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 11:58 AM:

What's our count now on poetic forms? Help me with this.

Greg London: Do you want that first one to count? IMO, you did better later.

Jim Macdonald: Shakespearean sonnet
Josh Jasper: Don Marquis/archy
Larry Brennan: William Carlos Williams
Virge: double dactyl
Dave Fried: limerick
Madeleine Ferwerda: haiku
Dave Luckett: what is that form?
Mike Ford: Beach Boys, "409"
Niall McAuley: "My name is Yon Yonson..."
Mike Leung: Is that something specific, or were you just having fun semi-rhyming "Cialis" and "inches"?
Jo Walton: Gilbert & Sullivan, "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General"
Erik Nelson: The Band, "I Shall Be Released"


Okay, it's someone else's turn now.

#74 ::: language hat ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 12:15 PM:

But first Mrs. Miriam Abacha came, our friend Mrs. Miriam Abacha,
Pitiful spirit. And I cried in hurried speech:
"Mrs. Miriam Abacha, how art thou come to this dark coast?
"Cam'st thou afoot, outstripping seamen?"
     And she in heavy speech:
"Ill fate and the present civilian regime. I slept in Kano State of Nigeria.
"My son Mohammed is undergoing trial in Oputa Panel Lagos and Abuja.
"But thou, O reader, I bid remember me, in distress and under house arrest,
"Receive this money, secure this money fast, you will be well compensate:
"A man of fortune, with Thirty million US Dollars to come.
"My daughter will provide all necessary details."

#75 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 12:19 PM:

Aha! Ezra Pound!

#76 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 12:22 PM:

It's a spammer,
It's a spammer,
It's a spammer on the net,
How I wish it gone forever,
Stinking spammer leave the net.

It was the vilest rotten spammail,
Selling drugs and pushing scams,
Full of Trojans and with boojums,
Stinking spammer go to jail.

#77 ::: Tiel Jackson ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 12:23 PM:

How about a villanelle?

There's 30 million dollars in my bank.
I am a widow, under house arrest.
Take 10 percent with all my grateful thanks.

Before our family fortunes cruelly sank,
My husband was a general, powerful, the best.
There's 30 million dollars in my bank.

My son's arrested. They will make him walk the plank.
I assure you this is truth and not a jest.
Take 10 percent with all my grateful thanks.

My daughter left, 'fore all the loopholes shrank
She'll come to meet you, whene'er we think is best.
There's 30 million dollars in my bank.

Your account number here___ Fill in the blank.
The money I will transfer, egg to nest.
Take 10 percent with all my grateful thanks.

You may think that I am crook or crank,
But heed the family Abacha's sincere request!
There's 30 million dollars in my bank.
Take 10 percent with all my grateful thanks.

#78 ::: Andy Wilton ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 12:31 PM:

COMMENT SPAM

Oh, I've got the software you're seeking for less,
A webcam that shows my posterior,
And three million bucks - send your e-mail address!
(signed) Miriam A. of Nigeria

#79 ::: Paul Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 12:56 PM:

Even real spammers are being inspired by this thread. Here's an extract from "Winner", which arrived in my inbox this week:

Your prize award
has been insured
in your name
and is ready for claim.

I admit I added the line breaks.

#80 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 01:13 PM:

The Abacha Disaster
Beautiful Oil Pipeline Bridge of the Silv'ry Niger!
Alas! I am very sorry to hear
That Abacha's life has succumbed to fate
On the eighth day of June in 1998,
And now he's remember'd as Abacha "the late."

'Twas at some undetermined time in the day,
And Abacha's entourage had all gone away,
And old cronies came to town,
And the generals seem'd to frown,
And the Demon of politics seem'd to say-
"I'll make Abacha drop dead today."
When they arrived at the Abuja Sheraton
The flunkies' and medicine men's hearts weren't hurtin',
But the news brought terrific worry,
Which made them leave town in a hurry,
And the widow Maryam with fear would say-
"One of those guys killed Abacha that day."
But from Ogbomosho to Calamar Bay,
Nigerians did loud and angry bray,
And shook the central authority of Abacha's state,
Who then died in June of 1998,
And now he's remember'd as Abacha "the late."

As soon as the catastrophe came to be known
The alarm from mouth to mouth was blown,
And the cry rang out all o'er the town,
Good Heavens! General Abacha fell down,
And won't have any more visits from Senator Braun,
Or the Pope, or be going to Sierra Leone,
Which made Maryam fear she might be assaulted,
Because billions of dollars were locked up in Swiss vaults when
That disaster happen'd in June of 1998,
So that now he's remember'd as Abacha "the late."

It must have been an awful sight,
To witness in the harsh sunlight,
While human rights activists did laugh, and generals did bray,
Along the muddy banks of the Silv'ry Niger,
And about thirty unreachable millions no one did care.
I must now conclude my letter
By telling you fearlessly no one knows you better,
That you won't abscond with more than ten percent of the legal tender,
At least sensible sources say you are a go-getter,
If you will give me each of your bank account numbers,
As a sensible man you will not blunder,
For the larger we our fortunes do build,
The less chance we have of being killed.

#81 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 02:20 PM:

TNH: You left out REM's take on e. e. cummings.

#82 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 04:12 PM:

Tiel: Good, But Kevin Andrew Murphy already did Villanelle.

Have I missed it, or has nobody tried Sestina?

#83 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 04:12 PM:


Open up your email,
See the slimy spammer trail,
As the spammers keep spamming the Net.

Subject lines that say "Hi,"
Or push phony stock to buy,
As the spammers keep spamming the Net.

And it's virus-check time before you hit the deck,
Update your software ev'ry day,
Or else you'll be infested to infinity
By the spammers all spamming the Net!

#84 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 04:42 PM:

Robert, I didn't leave it out. I just didn't list it yet. *Someone else* could continue compiling the list where I left off ...

#85 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 04:45 PM:

And Del Cotter nailed the clerihew.

#86 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 05:01 PM:

(Smacks forehead.) Dave Luckett's is also a villanelle; he just didn't break it out into 3/3/3/3/3/4 stanzas. No wonder it's been making my brain itch.

#87 ::: HP ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 05:19 PM:

Miss Abacha regrets she's unable to bank today, madam.
Miss Abacha regrets she's unable to bank today.
For they struck her husband down,
And imprisoned her only son, madam.
Miss Abacha regrets she's unable to bank today.

When she woke up and found that her savings were locked down tight, madam,
She ran to her safe and socked 30 mil away.
With the help of your bank account,
You'll secure yourself a fractional amount, madam,
Miss Abacha regrets she's unable to bank today.

#88 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 06:07 PM:

Not poetry, perhaps, but definitely poetic justice:

http://www.geocities.com/steerp1ke/David_Ehi.html

It's been around for a while, but why should Miriam Abacha get all the fun?

I don't know what forms of poetry Lovecraft indulged in, nor how to write a Lovecraftian 419 poem. Alas.

That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And for strange aeons, ever spam may fly

Hmpf.

#89 ::: Mike ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 06:10 PM:

Simon and Garfunkel, Scarborough Fair

Doctor's prescription isn't needed to buy
Generic Viagra and discounted Cialis
Keep your girlfriend's hand roaming your thigh
Add to your length at least one to three inches

(line still works with a little modesty)

#90 ::: Mike ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 06:34 PM:

Chat with a college girl from her dorm room
Generic Viagra and discounted Cialis
She's really a guy, his friends call him Lou
Add to your length at least one to three inches

#91 ::: Jackmormon ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 07:23 PM:

A Pantoum.

We are sending this curtesy email
To you because irregularities
In your account have emerged. Do not fail
To fill in the form shown (with niceties)

To you because irregularities
Will block your PayPal account. Scroll down please
To fill in the form shown (with niceties):
One quick email, and no or low fees!

We'll block your PayPal account. Scroll down please.
It's easy t'unlock your PayPal account:
One quick email, and no or low fees,
Credit card number, and limit amount.

It's easy t'unlock your PayPal account!
The customer care team wants you to send
Credit card number, and limit amount
To Janice, Jack, Jill, and all of your friends

The customer care team wants you to send
Money, money, money, money, money
To Janice, Jack, Jill, and all of their friends
Spamming and scamming for dollars. Money!

#92 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 08:29 PM:

Somebody should get Jim Henley over here. I was going to suggest asking him for a pantoum since I know he's done them but somebody beat him to it. Maybe he could do the sestina. I've tried those and they're hard. But I bet Jim could do it...

MKK

#93 ::: Shmuel ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 08:39 PM:

Well, somebody has to do a triolet...

Thirty million I will send
And we can split the take.
If you will help me out, my friend,
Thirty million I will send.
A rule or two we'll have to bend
But there's a lot at stake:
Thirty million I will send
And we can split the take.

#94 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 09:20 PM:

Of the Japanese;

Madam Miriam
lady of Nigeria
please help get money
will give you ten percent of
thirty mil if you will aid

#95 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 09:49 PM:

TO A PATSY

Hail to thee, dear stranger!
     I beg you for aid--
We're in direst danger,
     And offer you a trade
For your assistance o'er the barricade.

A general was my dearest,
     Ere the people slew him,
And now you are the nearest
     Hope we have to do him
Honor as we seek to live on through him.

Thirty million dollars
     He hid before the slaughter,
And though Nigeria hollers
     And the flames grow hotter
'Round my prison home, I send my daughter.

Give me your bank number,
     And I'll wire the cash
To you whilst you slumber,
     Then you give the stash
To her: our family fortune 'scapes the crash.

Yours, a cool three million
     If we fool the watcher;
I'll become Brazillian,
     Just give us the "Roger"--
Very truly yours, Miriam Abacha.

#96 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 09:55 PM:

A tribute to Li Po's "Drinking Alone By Moonlight"

A pill of blue for manhood no longer in flower
I stroke alone, for no girl is near
Clutching my vaseline, I peer at the bright monitor
That girl on the porn site, and IRC make for a threesome
The girl on IRC alas, won't hot chat
Listless, the porn site has no new updates
I must make merry, before the Viagra wears off
I clutch and type, and soon, I am spent
One handed, I typed, as the porn flew by
When I'm not so horny, we three look pathetic
When I'm hard again, I don't think about it
I close my monitor now. 35 and living with my parents
I fear they're on to me
Still, something drives me to this great river of porn.
---

God, that was horrific. Someone stop me before I defile another work of genius.

#97 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 10:08 PM:

HP has taken off on "Miss Otis Regrets [She's Unable to Lunch Today]" (which adds an interesting thought: what if Miriam really did off Sani?).

But we're both baffled by Mike's "Let me state my domicile and name" -- talk about brain itch! Somebody please reference?

#98 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 10:31 PM:

I believe Andy Wilton's little gem is à la Dorothy Parker.

#99 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 11:19 PM:

To Her Coy American Correspondent
by Mrs. Miriam Abacha, a Widow

Had we but world enough, and time
This coyness, friend, would be no crime.
You would sit down and think which way
To spend your First World cash outlay
Thou by the Ogun River's tide
Invest; while I, then at the side
Of my son, now detained, surmount
The freezing of my bank account;
And you should, if you please, peruse
My plea, which you may think a ruse.
Your Thirty Million bucks should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow
An hundred years should go to praise
Your Google stocks, in long arrays
Two hundred to those homes assessed
Their prices California's best;
An age at least to praise your gold
Those futures never undersold.
For, by the Most High God, your wise
And noble gift shall gain this prize.

For at my back I always hear
Lagotian soldiers, hurrying near.
My husband, former General
Abacha, evil hands did fell--
But not before he moved our cash
Into a secret offshore stash;
Which you may, if you please, retrieve
And thus the Government deceive.
And I, in God's name, you entreat,
To go and with my daughter meet.

#100 ::: Erika ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 11:37 PM:

Behold, a sestina (with small liberties taken in the final three lines):

I greet you with the name of most-high God
I am a widow, bitter Miriam
my name. My husband was a powerful man
and prudent too; there's money in the bank
that would have been enough, were it not seized
and frozen by my family's enemies

There's one yet who's free from these enemies --
My daughter, who I'll send, by grace of God
to come to you, if you find your heart seized
with pity for most bitter Miriam!
Please give her all the details of your bank -
I have heard that you are an honest man.

My husband, Sani, was a clever man
He hid the money from all enemies
there's thirty million in a foreign bank
in US dollars, with their trust in God
that now belong to me, are Miriam's,
the only money that could not be seized

They even took Mohammed! He was seized,
my son, unfairly persecuted man
and taken from his loving Miriam.
Before a panel of his enemies
they'll try him, though I've no faith left in God
he'll be released. My hope's in Kano bank --

I have the means to save him, if your bank
will take the transfer 'ere it can be seized
I beg for you to help us, swear to God
there's profit in it for a helpful man
who'll help me thwart my cruel enemies
and sweeten life for bitter Miriam.

So this my plight, and this is Miriam
who asks you for the details of your bank
to save her from her government enemies
and save the thirty million left unseized
for I have heard you are an honest man
and I salute you in the same of God

And God, who loved the prophet Miriam
will send a man to rescue from the bank
what was not seized, for money fights all enemies

#101 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 11:41 PM:

I think Shmuel's triolet exploits the subtleties of that difficult form better than anything I've seen for a very long time. Bravo!

But isn't this something?: A community of intensely literate people, attuned (very much attuned) to current writing, has immediately turned to strict (and, some would say, archaic) verse forms to lampoon a type of fraud that has burst upon the world only very recently.

I have recently heard learned opinion to the effect that rhyming and metred verse is now ineffective as a vehicle for expression, because it is now alien to the culture. Pshaw, I say.

#102 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 11:51 PM:

Dave Luckett: I have recently heard learned opinion to the effect that rhyming and metred verse is now ineffective as a vehicle for expression, because it is now alien to the culture. Pshaw, I say.

Pshaw, indeed! I seem to recall that most pop songs use meter and rhyme, and some of them even manage to be expressive. Rap anyone? Love it or hate it, it's got undeniable poetic roots and an ummistakable message. I suspect that such music may very well be alien to the culture of learned opinion.

#103 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 03:07 AM:

Hello Faddah
Hello Mammah
I am Miriam
Abachaba
And I'm writing
You this missive
And I hope your mood is not at all dismissive

My late husband
Gentle ruler
Had a people
That were cooler
To his concept
Of morality
And they brought him face to face with his mortality

But before he
Left this green earth
He made plans to
Save his net worth
Thirty million
U.S. greenbacks
For the person with a bank account and a fax

So I'm asking
For assistance
In prolonging
My existence
All I need is
An account there
And if you help, you'll get a ten percent share!

Please reply as
Soon as you can
To get me out
Of this s***can
Send your PIN now
And a quick grand
And what you deserve will soon be there in your hand!

#104 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 04:06 AM:

Dave Luckett: The Nigerian 419 scam isn't really new; as has been noted many times, it's a form of the Spanish Prisoner. Only the details are recent.

#105 ::: Kevin Andrew Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 04:07 AM:

"Madame Abacha"
(to the tune of "Eleanor Rigby")

Oh, look she's sent another email.
Oh, look she's sent another email.

Madame Abacha sends me a note where she says that her husband was killed.
Left 30 mil.
She's a poor widow, writing her notes where she begs for some help with the bank.
Who will she thank?

All the missing millions, where do they all come from?
All the missing millions, where do they all belong?

Oh, look she's sent another email.
Oh, look she's sent another email.

General Sanni died in a coup and was buried along with his bucks.
Who gives a fuck?
Madame Abacha , begging for help from a world that's forgotten her name.
Won't buy her claims.

All the missing millions, where do they all come from?
All the missing millions, where do they all belong?

Oh, look she's sent another email.
Oh, look she's sent another email.

Madame Abacha, writing the words of letter that pleads and entreats...
I press Delete.
Look at her working, sending her spam day and night while she wails and grieves.
Who will believe?

All the missing millions, where do they all come from?
All the missing millions, where do they all belong?

#106 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 04:34 AM:

David Goldfarb: Quite so. I was imprecise. I meant 'a fraud that uses a medium that was only recently invented'.

#107 ::: Virge ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 06:02 AM:

Who lives down in deepest darkest Africa? (Africa)
Who's Nigeria's former premier dame?
Who is under house arrest in Africa?
Miriam Abacha is my name.

When the new regime took all our property,
Froze our funds and would have left us none,
Who put funds aside to stave off bankruptcy?
Miriam Abacha is the one.

Thirty million dollars into your account
Keeps this meagre portion safe and free.
You'll be well rewarded with a fair amount.
Miriam Abacha: contact me.

#108 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 11:57 AM:

Generals and colonels in tropic lands,
Bureaucrats of regimes unstable
[A high, whiney sound]
Diplomatic pouch and embassy cable
Under the table
Snatched dirty cash with dirtier hands
Fast as they were able
Boom Boom BOOM
Numbered Swiss accounts and extreme demands
Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, BOOM.
THEN came revolution THEN came war uncivil
Then their chance at graft began to shrivel.
[More stacctto, with a typewriter rhythm]
THEN I SAW THE EMAIL SENT OUT TO THE WORLD
FILLING UP EACH INBOX LIKE A SANDBAR SWIRLED.
Then upon the internet
A mystic wail
Deposed dictators wrote their pleading mail
Seeking for an honest man with bank account
[A high-speed cresendo of forwards and bounces]
For a pile of dollars -- an obscene amount.
And "TRUST!" says each minister who still survives
And "TRUST!" say the dictators' sons and wives
Send your PIN number
Send your fax
On secret funds
You don't pay tax.
Facts-facts facts-facts
Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, BOOM.
[With a disingenuous air]
A pleading epic, they beg one boon,
From Sierra Leone
To Cameroon
[Whispering, urgently]
Trust's an ingredient
Honesty and secrecy
Trust's an ingredient
Trust is what's necessary
BOOM send your cell phone
BOOM send your letterhead
BOOM send your passport
HOO HOO HOO.
[Like rain on broad leaves]
Look on the poisoned tree and fruit
You run no risk and we'll split the loot
See in escrow the investors' cash
I alone have the keys to the stash
You will be rich and it's me you'll thank
If you'll send the cable address of your bank.
Mailed to you urgent and confidential
Mailed to you office and residential
Mailed by night and mailed by day
Mailed from an e-account throw away.
Be careful what you do
[Like the clink of coins. Sibilants hissed. Last line floating like a ghost.]
Or Miriam Abacha, wife of the general,
And all the other
Wives of the generals
Miriam Abacha will e-mail you
Miriam Abacha will e-mail you
Miriam Abacha will e-mail you.

#109 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 01:22 PM:

It can't, quite, be coincidence that I'm reading this while the TV shows the Live8 concert in London, and the song is "Can't Help Falling in Love".

I don't know if that's any sort of difficult poetic form. but it's rhyme and rhythm.

#112 ::: Kevin Andrew Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 02:21 PM:

Attend the tale of Miriam.
Her story sad and demeanor glum.
She sends out letters to gentlemen
(Some never thereafter are heard of again).
She's hoping to find someone dumb,
Is Miriam, The Grieving Widow of Sanni

A gen'ral of Nigeria
Was murdered so she'll query ya.
His thirty million were locked away
But you can split it, so write her today!
Ms. Miri,
Ms. Miriam, The Grieving Widow of Sanni

Send your letters wide, Miri!
Use the same old lies!
Fools and money part so don't apologize!

Her needs are few: a greedy rube
to buy her story and be her boob,
A few PIN numbers for bank accounts,
Some money orders in smaller amounts,
And privacy, so please keep mum
Begs Miriam, The Grieving Widow of Sanni

So persistent, dear Miriam.
Fools should shun and fear Miriam.
Gold, it glitters, dollars are green,
Miriam's working her 4-19.
Miriam wheedles and Miriam pleads,
A complicit partner all Miriam needs.
Sanni is dead, Sanni was rich,
Sanni, his fortune will make you her bitch!
Sanni! Sanni! Sanni! Sanni!
Sanni!

Attend the tale of Miriam,
Her fingers typing till they are numb.
A business partner is all she needs,
She'll share thirty million, so listen to greed,
Pleads Miri,
Pleads Miriam, the Grieving Widow of Sanni

#113 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 03:00 PM:

Jim's stage-managed poem, in case anyone didn't recognize it, is a parody of Vachel Lindsay's "Congo". Which has been a favorite of mine since I was 12.

MKK

#114 ::: Montino Bourbon ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 03:04 PM:

Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita,
Mi ritrovai senza trenta milioni
Che il mio marito aveva messo via
E tu, gentil lettore, manda presto
Il numero bancario del tuo conto

Oh! quanti soldi stanno in Nigeria
Di cui riceverai dieci per cento;
Mandami solo mille dollaroni,
E presto sarai ricco, Io non mento
Poca fatica, molto denaro avrai
E non saremo più in questi guai.

(7998 more verses)

#115 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 03:55 PM:

Somebody's got to do the all-spam version of "Howl". I just don't have the time.

#116 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 06:22 PM:

Recognized Lindsay's "Congo." "And Mumbo-Jumbo, God of the Congo/ And all the other Gods of the Congo,/ Mumbo-Jumbo will voodoo you/ Mumbo-Jumbo will voodoo you."

And, JDMcD, that seriously freaked me out. Brilliant.

But the freakout feeling is still there because you've raised a Bad Ghost. That's such an egregiously racist poem (Section I: Their Basic Savagery) written by someone who really felt that he was being a wonderful friend of The Negro. Who thought he "discovered" an unkown waiter-poet named Langston Hughes (already had several publications; briefly used Lindsay to further his career).

So, anyway, now someone has to do an Ishmael Reed spam pastiche to counteract the evil spell, is what I'm saying. I'll try. Maybe someone else will beat me.

#117 ::: Sumana ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 06:38 PM:

MC Frontalot's song on the topic has lyrics transcripts online.


"...And the urgency of her request for my aid

is matched by the depth of the trust she displayed.

"Don't betray me like our oil minister did, staged a coup

and I'm about to flee Nigeria soon

but I'll never make it out," she says, with twenty million

three hundred twenty thousand US dollars that are still in

her possession. She embezzled them, I guess.

Look, I don't really know her so uh... that's none of my business...."

#118 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 06:54 PM:

James D. Macdonald:

That was VERY well done! Imagine us giving a reading at a con, where I do Vachel Lindsay's "Lord of the Rings" and you knock 'em out with Vachel Lindsay's "Nigeria!"

#119 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 07:45 PM:

Nigerian Spam Howl
By
Jonathan Vos Post
2 July 2005
With apologies to Allen Ginsberg

I, Mrs. Miriam Abacha, widow, saw the best minds of my generation
destroyed by e-mail, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the Federal Republic of Nigeria streets at dawn
looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient most high God connection to
the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,
who poverty and tatters, presently in distress and under house arrest,
and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness
of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities downloading iPod
jazz,
who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw my son Mohammed
undergoing trial in Oputa Panel Lagos, and Abuja,
angels staggering on tenement roofs illuminated, who passed through
universities with radiant cool eyes hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-
light tragedy among the scholars of war, when this Panel was set up
by the present civilian regime,
who were expelled from the academies for crazy & publishing obscene odes
on the Windows 98 of the skull,
who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, after the government has
frozen all our family accounts, all our buildings at Abuja Federal capital territory seized, at the same time auctioning our remaining properties,
burning our money in the sum of Thirty million US Dollars
( $ 30.000.000.00 ) cash in wastebaskets, except the part that I removed through covert means,
this was only money kept by my late husband in our family safe at Kano
State of Nigeria,
and listening to the Terror through the wall, my son is presently detained in
prison custody, who got busted in his pubic beard returning through Laredo with a belt of marijuana for New York,
who ate fire in paint hotels or drank turpentine in Paradise Alley, death, or
purgatoried their torsos night after night
with dreams, with drugs, with waking nightmares, 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, alcohol and c0ck and endless balls, incomparable blind;
Immediately, my daughter will proceed to meet with you in streets of
shuddering cloud and lightning in the mind leaping toward poles of Canada & Paterson, illuminating all the motionless world of Time between, Peyote solidities of halls, backyard green tree cemetery dawns, because she
is the only one that has free movement,
wine drunkenness over the rooftops, the men are monitored by the security
Agents in storefront boroughs of teahead joyride neon blinking traffic
light,
sun and moon and tree vibrations in the roaring winter dusks of Brooklyn,
and will be well compensated for assisting me secure this money fast,
ashcan rantings and kind king light of mind, before it is located by the
Nigerian Government Agents,
who chained themselves to subways for the endless ride from Battery to holy
Bronx on benzedrine until the noise of wheels and children brought
them down shuddering mouth-wracked and battered bleak of brain all
drained of brilliance in the drear light of Zoo,
Contact me immediately with my E-mail address who sank all night in
submarine light of Bickford's floated out and sat through the stale beer
after noon in desolate Fugazzi's,
listening to the crack pipe of doom on the hydrogen jukebox, who talked
continuously seventy hours from park to pad to bar to Bellevue to
museum to the Brooklyn Bridge, so that
I can forward to you all necessary details, lost battalion of platonic chatroom
conversationalists jumping down the stoops off fire escapes off
windowsills off Empire State out of the moon,
as I, Mrs. Miriam Abacha, widow, vanished into nowhere Zen New Jersey
leaving a trail of ambiguous picture postcards of Abuja City Hall,
seeking jazz or sex or soup, and followed the brilliant Spaniard Prisoner to
converse about America and Eternity, a hopeless task, and so took
ship to Africa, who disappeared into the volcanoes of the Congo leaving behind nothing but the shadow of dungarees and the lava and ash of
poetry scattered in fire place Chicago, unless you receive this money
and pay into your account for the family safety,
which is why you must email me immediately, trembling before the
machinery of other skeletons,
Or else risk fading out in vast sordid movies, shifted in dreams, woke on a
sudden Manhattan, and picked yourselves up out of basements hung
over with heartless Tokay and horrors of Third Avenue iron dreams.


Since I, Mrs. Miriam Abacha, widow, ate the lamb stew of the imagination
or digested the crab at the muddy bottom of the rivers of Bowery,
I salute you in the name of the most high, really high, supremely high God
who threw His watches off the roof to cast His ballot for Eternity
outside of Time, & alarm clocks fell on his head every day for the
next decade. Amen

HowlSpam.doc

#120 ::: Lisa Goldstein ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 08:46 PM:

Are you spamming,
Are you spamming,
Madame A.?
Madame A.?

Sending all those emails
Asking for those details

Shame on you
Shame on you

#121 ::: Virge ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 08:56 PM:

To extend the range of poetic forms, here's a traditional cinquain.

Dear Sir,
I'm desperate.
I wish to offer you
A proposal that you might find
Dear, sir.

#122 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 10:17 PM:

". . . through the stale beer after noon in desolate Fugazzi's . . ."

Triviata:

Fugazzi's was owned and run by Julia and my grandparents.

It was there that one of the patrons looked at the several week-old me and advised my parents to raise me to be a death-ray repairman.

#123 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 10:28 PM:

I you, Mr. Vos Post.

*because my butt is much, much bigger than my heart

#124 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 10:28 PM:

whoa, it do not like brackets.

should be "I (butt) you" above

#125 ::: Ogden, Stills, Nash & Young ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 12:17 AM:

Lately it seems to me that everyone I know, whether they live in Kalispell or Klamath Falls or Katmandu or Dallas,
Is urged to go online to buy Cialis.

And folks everywhere, whether they hail from the Gobi Desert or from near the awesome falls of Niagra,
Are being told that they can increase the size of their manhood simply and cheaply through the judicious use of Viagra.

Never before have so many people, whether they be Knitwear U. Groundhog or Pelee M. Typesets, been keener
To help me grow a longer and thicker wiener.

#126 ::: Ogden, Stills, Nash & Young ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 12:19 AM:

Niagara, even.

#127 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 03:24 AM:

Act 1, Scene 1, MacSpam

When shall we three spam again
With virus, trojan, or just plain
When the virus checks are done
When the lawsuits lost and wer
That will be ere the set of the sun.
I come naif ones
Money calls anon
Fair is foul and foul is fair
Hover through Viagra and filthy air.

==================================

#128 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 03:33 AM:

Grr, that should be "won" not "wer." Grrr.

Copyediting on the Net, yeah, sure... ha.

=========================

The bulk emailing spammer sent out a load of spam,
Down came the filters to can the spammer's scam,
Out came spam code writers to through the filters ram,
And the bulk emailing spammer sent out more loads of spam.

#129 ::: Paula Liebermajn ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 03:42 AM:


I am just a widow
And my story's often told,
All my money it's been stolen
But with help from you I'll give to you my promises,
All will be blest if you just give me your credit card I'll debit all the rest

Lah de dah dah the money it will come!

Lie-lie-lie, lie-lie-lie-lie-lie-lie-lie-lie-lie-lie lie!


#130 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 04:21 AM:

Ooops, missed a couple lines...

What the place, upon the Web
There to pass the filters.

to insert before "I come..."

==========

meanwhile,

I am just a widow
And my story's often told,
All my money it's been stolen
But with help from you I'll give to you my promises,
All will be blest if you just give me your credit card I'll debit all the rest

Lah de dah dah the money it will come!

Lie-lie-lie, lie-lie-lie-lie-lie-lie-lie-lie-lie-lie lie!

================

Or, [the Verse Daemon got loose, it's YOUR FAULT!!!]

Spamfree, much more free than Windblows,
As free as the grass grows,
Spamfree to read your email.

Live free, with no spam around you,
The world still astounds you
Each time you click on a link,

Stay free, with no spam to hound you,
You're free as the Linux tide without Intel inside...

....
When you're spam free!


==================================

Spammers in bad company
They spam and shall unto they die
Grudge and lust, let none deny,
Their greed be pleased, but not so I
For all this dreck
Run virus check
And spammer filtering,
No happy sport
Or my comfort,
Do spammers bring.

(E)mail must have some properties,
For good or ill content to seize,
Companies me thinks then worst,
Who sent their spam to the Web burst,
For spam email,
Should earn them jail,
And sentence long,
Upon the Net
One's filters set,
Make sure they're not wrong!

Spammers all lack honesty,
No virtue there, vice only be,
Email is both good and bad,
But spam just makes the users mad.
The best ensue,
The spam eschew,
The choice should be,
Virtue to use,
Spam to refuse,
And then leave me be!

#131 ::: bi ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 07:07 AM:

To extend Ferwerda's haiku into a waka:

And this poem was rejected.
Ma'am Abacha, marry me!

Dang. I wanted to submit my radical poem to the ILP, but now it seems they have a 20-line limit.

#132 ::: Mike ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 08:08 AM:

Am I the only one who sees Elvis Costello as the background music for the Nigerian widow spam?

Once upon a time I had a little money
Nigerian widow took it long
Before I could mail it to you
Still, you are the only one
I never should have given my account away
So if a mother with thirty mil
Needs to launder it
Well this is what I'm gonna say:

Your son will be slain
Don't blame it on me
Oh, oh, it's nobody's fault
The civilian regime needs somebody to burn

#133 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 09:36 AM:

Paula...now I have itsy bitsy spider fighting Pastyme with Goode Company fighting Alloueta!

gah! This is why I did a non-lyrical form! Filks! in my poor aching head!

#134 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 10:40 AM:

"Young was I married to Abacha,
Loaf-giver, wise counsellor, bestower of rings,
Gifter of gold endless-flowing,
Great King of Niger,
Father of my children; his bones lie scattered.
Young was I married to Abacha.

Loud did I wail at Mohammed's birthing.
Louder my wails now; in chain-hung dungeon
Our foes have cast my strong son, cunning,
Fearing his vengeance,
Fearing to stand before his spear.
Loud did I wail at Mohammed's birthing.

Nothing am I now, an old worn widow,
A breathing ghost, creeping and mouthing
Watched by my enemies,
Kept as a slave to show their power,
Without child, with single hope.
Nothing am I now, an old worn widow.

High in the hills lies our hidden treasure.
I dare not go, my steps are counted.
Strong stranger, seek it, bring it to me.
With Mohammed set free, he will reward you.
As pledge of return, I ask your arm-rings.
High in the hills lies our hidden treasure."

#135 ::: Dave Fried ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 11:20 AM:

Apologies to Simon and Garfunkel ... and somebody still needs to do "The Sound of Spammers"

Here's to you, Mrs. Abacha
Sani loved you more than you will know (wo wo wo)
God bless you please, Mrs. Abacha
Cyberspace makes bucks for those who play (hey hey hey)

I'd like to know a little bit about you for my files
I'd like to help you learn to make some cash
I'll need the numbers on your bank account right now
Think about it now, until you feel at ease

And here's to you, Mrs. Abacha
Sani loved you more than you will know (wo wo wo)
God bless you please, Mrs. Abacha
Cyberspace makes bucks for those who play (hey hey hey - hey hey hey!)

Hide it in a hiding place where no one ever goes
Put it in a bank account in Chad
It's a little secret, just the Abacha's affair
Most of all, you've got to hide it from the cops

Coo, coo, ca-choo, Mrs. Abacha
Sani loved you more than you will know (wo wo wo)
God bless you please, Mrs. Abacha
Cyberspace makes bucks for those who play (hey hey hey - hey hey hey!)

Sitting on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon
Going to inbox one more time
Laugh about it, think about it
When you've got to choose
If you trust her then you're gonna lose!

Where have you gone, Sani Abacha
A nation turns its lonely eyes to you (woo woo woo)
What's that you say, Mrs. Abacha
The general has left and gone away
(Hey hey hey - hey hey hey!)

#136 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 11:30 AM:

It's the headbanger thread. And those things are as painful to the writer as the reader....

#137 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 12:49 PM:

My head is banged, many times over. Maybe Jane is right, and we should do a best-of collection.

#138 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 12:56 PM:

I greet you in the name of most high God,
Whose presence may your every care dispel,
As mine are not. My sad eyes drip and swell
To say my spouse now lies beneath the sod
Of proud, oil-rich Nigeria. He fell
From President to pavement, and no bounce
Ensued, but what was worse, was moved to yell
Some codes that unlock certain bank accounts

To those who asked him with a metal rod,
Applying it with force to feet. (To hell
With any who would lash a man unshod.
The times are such as try men's souls.) As well,
My son's in jail (The Cootie Arms Hotel)
But here they blew it. For there's large amounts
They've missed. They've only got the shell -
Some codes that unlock certain bank accounts.

You've worked it out - no fool are you, no plod.
If I can get the cash, I'll spring him. Spell
It out for you? I'll get him out of quod
By greasing palms. They'll cheerfully rebel,
Those screws. There's nothing that they will not sell.
I need to launder, though, before I pounce,
The millions through a bank like yours. So tell
The codes that unlock certain bank accounts.


Prince, I swear that's not a fishy smell.
You take your cut, say ten percent. Announce
You've quit your job. It's sound as any bell,
The codes that unlock certain bank accounts.

#139 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 01:06 PM:

My head is worse than banged; even Wilbur Whately would be appalled at the juxtaposition of Sondheim and Dante. (Those are just the extremes I can clearly identify; I think I know the feel of Jo's contribution but not the precise work she's pastiching.)

#140 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 01:06 PM:

Dave Luckett, do you recall who it was that said rhyming and metred verse is now ineffective as a vehicle for expression, because it is alien to our culture?

I'm curious, because I live in a city full of kids who've grown up knowing that the ability to speak in meter and rhyme is an enviable and powerful gift. It can be used to strike down your enemies. It can attract desirable partners. It can even make you rich.

They play cutthroat chess, too.

#141 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 01:38 PM:

Yep. It was one Ian Nichols, fellow master's student of this fair city, in a discussion in our mutual tutor's room, and we were talking about my attempts to write rhymed verse, which he was disparaging. Ian's an English lit teacher in secondary schools here. Perhaps I was stretching matters by calling his opinion "learned", but he would not think so.

#142 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 02:28 PM:

Dave Luckett:

Very nice. But did you mean:
"The times are such as try men's SOLES?"

#143 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 03:15 PM:

Dave L - A secondary school teacher who doesn't recognize either the power or the obvious poetic structure of rap? Boggle! I don't mean to be disrespectful to Mr. Nichols, but on what small asteroid does he teach?

Personally, rap doesn't move my world, but I don't for a second discount its power.

Still, somebody buy that man an NWA album!

#144 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 03:15 PM:

Maybe Jane is right, and we should do a best-of collection.

You're just encouraging us, you know.

#145 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 03:21 PM:

Don't I always?

#146 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 03:43 PM:

I'm going to point out here that if we're playing by the usual local rules, you're all entitled to pick up extra glory points by identifying the source of someone else's pastiche.

That's happened in some cases -- for instance, Andrew Willett spotting Andy Wilton's piece as a riff on Dorothy Parker's "Comment", or my spotting Languagehat's canto as Ezra Pound (and a very good version of Pound it was) -- but many have not yet been tagged.

If it's not a pastiche, identify the verse form.

Identifications don't count if they're phrased as questions.

And finally, because even in a good cause there are limits to my fairness and reticence, Andy Hickmott's verse in Latin is the Aeneid, and Montino Bourbon's riffing on the Divine Comedy.

#147 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 04:16 PM:

And the beating goes on....

Jonathan contributed,

Very nice. But did you mean:
"The times are such as try men's SOLES?"

Going phishing, Jonathan?

Contributed Larry,

Personally, rap doesn't move my world, but I don't for a second discount its power.

And now it's into the old spirituality movement and table-knocking.

====================

Psst, psst, phish bait,
Have you any cash?
Yes ma'am, yes ma'am
Three thousand in my stash!
One thou for widows,
And one thou for gain,
And one for Viagra to do it all again!

==========

Bigtime Spamming, or Change Wars, please...

To the legions of the scammed ones,
To the cohorts of the phished,
To our siblings caught in all the traps emailed upon the Net,
Sing three spam-suscept'ble zombies dropped from clueless to blacklist,
And the victims of webspiders from set/get!

We are poor little scammed,
Who have lost our pay,
Hush, hush, hush!
We have lost our funds,
And we can't get away,
Hush, hush, hush.

Scamming spammers went on spree,
Damned with spam to eternity,
Net porn look kindly on such as we,
Hush, hush, hush!

#148 ::: ben wolfson ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 04:37 PM:

There's a fantastically obvious pastiche of "The River-Merchant's Wife" here, but I'll leave it to someone more talented. ("Please give me your bank details / And I will send by wire / Thirty million dollars".)

#149 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 05:53 PM:

Order Viagra while ye may
If ye would go on schtupping,
For that same dork that's hard today
Tomorrow may be drooping.

Another drug hight Levitra
(Generic name's cialis)
We'll send thee straight from Canada
To stiffen up thy phallus.

Why save thy cash for lesser things
Thou impotent old miser?
Thine wife wilt thank thee in the morn
And never be the wiser.

'Tis better far if youth and zeal
Will do deeds we won't detail:
But if ye need a chemist's aid
Then order now by email.

#150 ::: Emil ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 06:34 PM:

Too easy but:

General Abacha's
defunct
        who used to
        ride a watersmooth-silver
                                 Merc
and stash onetwothreefourfive millionsjustlikethat
                                 Jesus

he was a handsome man
                      and what I want to know is
how do I reach your greenback cash
Mr Mark

#151 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 06:57 PM:

Shall I compare thee to a spammers day
by
Jonathan Vos Post
With apologies to
William Shakespeare

Shall I compare thee to a spammer's day?
Thou hast Viagra and Cialis.
Rough winds do shake the darling webs of May,
And spammer's mark hath all too short a phallus.

Sometime too hot Nigerias sun doth shine,
And often is that gold, Abachas, skimmed;
And every fair to unfair can decline,
By chance, or the civilian regime trimmed.

But thy eternal bank account wont fade,
Ill share possession of the loot they ow'st;
Just send me your account info, evade
Security, and trust the e-mail host,

So long as men can e-mail, eyes can see,
So long lives spam, and this gives life to thee.


SpamShakespeare.doc

#152 ::: David Kellogg ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 08:02 PM:

Nice bad poetry, but this kind of thing started, I think, with Flarf: see The Flarf Files

#153 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 08:14 PM:

Those last ones are too easy to count for glory points (Baa Baa Black Sheep, Whiffenpoof Song, Herrick's To the Virgins, Buffalo Bill's defunct by Cummings, and a labeled Shakesperean sonnet), but I've been away for a while....

#154 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 08:19 PM:

I'd be down with a poetry collection.

You could have a contest.

With a prize.

And accept submissions on the web.

And send out bulk email to get submissions.

And then read the results in public.

It'd be a recursive poetry spam scam slam!

#155 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 09:21 PM:

And I will buy the first copy. Since English is not my first language, it "sounds" different to me, and makes rhyming difficult. Makes me envious...

#156 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 10:39 PM:

Tom, Tom, Tom! I'm disappointed, that's only PARTIALLY the Whiffenpoof Song! The more direct antecedent is something else, which I would have expected you to have gotten, especially since there are two big fat Clues above it. I decided to give the Clues to make it more obvious that the direct antecedent is itself a derivative entity....

#157 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 10:49 PM:

I have just noticed that the refrain in all stanzas of that ballade should read "Some codes that unlock certain bank accounts". Sorry, Francois.

#158 ::: Shmuel ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 11:07 PM:

Re: earlier attempts at messing around with Poetry.Com

There was also Dave Barry's Freemont Poetry Project two years ago.

#159 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 11:12 PM:
But we're both baffled by Mike's "Let me state my domicile and name" -- talk about brain itch!
I advise you to focus on the refrain of "Big bucks in Nigeria".

----

Nigeria's leader to the wall is gone;
In the ranks of death you'll find him.
But still his bank accounts go marching on;
He left some thirty mil' behind him.
"In God's name," cries his widow's mail,
"Though all around betray me,
With your kind help I will prevail,
And ten percent I'll pay thee."

#160 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 11:22 PM:

"The Minstrel Boy."

#161 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 11:46 PM:

Teresa, Larry Brennan,

You might be right, and rap might well have entered the general culture - after all, what would I know about it? - but in defence of Ian I should point out that rap is no more part of our cultural landscape than, say, Tibetan nose-flute playing is. (I think most rappers would be immensely relieved to hear this.)

The contention that metred and rhymed verse is ineffective and alien to our culture (note: I substituted "our" for "the") is not therefore rendered invalid by the existence of rap. It may be somewhat weakened.

There is another possible line of argument, which is to point out that although rap is metred and rhymed, it is not experienced, acquired or transmitted as formal verse. Nobody reads any rap lyric in calm silence, to reflect on it with mature deliberation. The form itself has the essential requirement that it is declaimed at breakneck pace and stunning volume. (If this were not so, then "Desiderata" would be rap.) But if the experience, purpose, transmission and performance of one art form is different from another, are they not different art forms? If that is so, rap is not the same thing as "metred and rhyming verse", even though it has metre and rhyme, and the contention that such verse is alien to the culture still stands.

#162 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 12:45 AM:

Dave,

I'm going to try to give examples rather than just stating points, and I'm not sure how well I'll do at this. Probably too much with my own experiences, which I know are not universal. My apologies.

Not knowing precisely where you're writting from, I can only say it hasn't? I know that where I grew up, rap (and slightly more musical forms of "ghetto" music) are common. This is in bible belt white suburbia...and they played it at our prom. I'm not saying you're wrong, I just thought it had gone most places. Evidentally I was mistaken. (*grins* thank God. Rap is not my cup of tea, and the thought of being able to go somewhere it isn't is delightful)

Rhymed and metered verse have not always been contemplated in cool calm. Most historical forms of song are both rhymed and metered in some fashion, esp. folk music. These days we can look at the texts of the trouviers, but when they were originally written, they were meant to be experienced by a courtly audience. I know that I studied them in French Lit. class and the forms in which they were written. Does the fact that the contemporaries were expected to experience the works invalidate the properties of the innate forms we find?

I have heard such things as Beowulf and Song of Roland (the latter in translation, the former in the original) performed as rap. The audience in question had never heard of these works...and so they were presented in a fashion that did not clash with how they were use to hearing stories. And it worked. It made me, someone who has studied medieval literature, have fun and go back and re-examine my readings of the works. It brought a new perspective...yes, I know this is not quite the same, but it makes the point. The performance does not make the art. It adds to the art. The Chanson is a wonderful piece of literature, a work of beauty on the page. It is also a piece of oral tradition, meant to be performed so the audience will understand its meaning and goals. I have heard it (at this point) as a song (ballad melody), as a formal story, as a rap, in the French, in the English, and as a narration of stage. The piece only comes alive in the performance...otherwise, it is beautiful words on a page, not a story, not even propaganda.

#163 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 12:47 AM:

Dave - I refer you to HBO's Def Poetry Jam.

I maintain that rap is, at its core, poetic, as are all forms of pop music. Pop music isn't all good poetry. but there are stunning exceptions (e.g. Eleanor Rigby). Unfortunately, most is drivel, but it's still poetry set to music.

My astonishment was more that someone who teaches teenagers hasn't stopped to evaluate what they're listening to. My observation is that rap is most fully embraced by urban African-American kids and middle-class or wealthier suburban white kids. Unless your colleague teaches in, say, Kearney, Nebraska, I'm sure that his classes include quite a few rap aficionados. They may even be among his best students.

I may be 40, and I don't spend much time with teenagers, but even my CD collection includes Missy Elliott. So, I'd say it's part of my culture, and certainly a part of the general culture.

#164 ::: derrida derider ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 01:35 AM:

Way back when, I noticed rm did a William MacGonogall parody almost as barbarous as the real thing ... non dies, non homines, etc. A nice touch for a thread about bad poetry.

#165 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 01:43 AM:

Rap is poetry set to a beat, with or without backing music.

I use rap as an example of good free verse when I'm discussing poetry. Although I suppose strictly speaking it is its own form, but it all depends on how you look at it.

As to whether or not it has entered "our culture", I refer you to the numerous commercials and television/movie theme songs that use it. Once something hits regular use in such media, I can't see how anyone could argue it wasn't part of generic popular culture.


I would contribute more but Master of Orion II turns out to run on Windows XP and I'm an addict. I would probably go to write something and have half of it come out to be something like:

viagra offers
sweeter tasting sperm offers
antarans attack

#166 ::: Lois Aleta Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 01:53 AM:

A suggested title for the collection:

Nigerian Days: The Poetry of Travis Tea

#167 ::: Jackmormon ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 01:55 AM:

For me the question with rap is how much of its rhythms can be notated. If you come across the lyrics of a rap, without having any idea of what kind of beat underlaid the words, how can the reader vocalize the sounds, rhythms, and various speeds of the phrases? I'm ready to admit that rap is beyond such material matters as writing stuff down, but a formalist winds up in a bind when asked, as I was recently in a writing class, to bring rap poetics into formal consideration...

#168 ::: Matthias Wasser ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 02:51 AM:

I not being a poet, I'm sure that unlike all of yours my result actually IS crap. But I had fun with it. The parody's so obvious that mentioning the source would be a formality, I think, but one I'll respect.


Cash, and the man I spam, who, forc'd by fate,
And unseen coup (no!) of civilian state,
Expell'd and exil'd, left the whole Darfur.
Big monies, both in fee and hand, he bore,
And from the doubtful taxes, before he won
The Cayman isle, and built the destin'd fund,
His banish'd goods restor'd to heights refined,
If you give your credit card in time!
From whence the fund for Niger bribers come,
And the tall tales of far sent-out spam.
Abacha! causes and the crimes relate;
What son was jail'd, and whence her take;
For what offense civil government began
To persecute so brave, so just a scam;
Involv'd her anxious cash in trusty cares,
Expos'd to you, one-tenth is yours!
Can online minds such high discernment show,
Or an offer this generous so calmly blow?

#169 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 03:21 AM:

[But will -I- remember what the tunes I set the things below are?1]


I'm a greedy offshore spammer,
I have a foreign URL,
A real live scammer on the Internet,
As partners we shall do so well.

I've got a son and long-dead husband,
I claim I've got some dough for you,
Offshore spammer came to email,
Just to take your money,
I am that offshore spammer true!

==================================

I went away from the keyboard and phosphor
And into my personal haze,
But now that I'm back at the keyboard and phosphor,
Tomorrow wiil be brighter than the good old days. (Those good old days!)

Hello spammer, well hello, spammer,
Hate to see you Susan Landres in my mail,
You're looking vile, spammer, please don't smile, spammer,
You're still glowing, you're still crowing, You're still spamming me.

I see the screen swaying from sound playing,
It's an Active-X infest my hard drive song,
So,
Please drop dead, spammer,
Dive and break your head, spammer,
Spamming the Internet is always wrong!

------------------

All the spammers on the Internet
Break the rules and send the spam along,
Cause they're rotten stinking spammers,
Doing evil without end,
Ev'ry spammer on the Web is
Full of greed and often nastiness,
Gah, I hate the stinking spammers,
Hate them ev'ry one and all.
I can't stand their rotten email,
Jamming networks with their loads of crap,
Keeping me from getting email,
Less each day of what I want,
Making me spend all that time for,
Not the uses that I want to do,
On daily chores for email,
Pulling spam out and deleting it,
Quite a rotten waste of effort,
Reaping spam and killing it.
So we're all scammed by the spammers
To this world in which the spam filters,
Underpowered try to stop the flood of
What we do not want,
X-ray vision to see into spam and then
Yanks out ev'ry spam message,
Zap that lousy stinking spam, and
Zap the spam and make it dead!


#170 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 03:50 AM:

Oops, I missed the V....

[rev 2]

All the spammers on the Internet
Break the rules and send the spam along,
Cause they're rotten stinking spammers,
Doing evil without end,
Ev'ry spammer on the Web is
Full of greed and often nastiness,
Gah, I hate the stinking spammers,
Hate them ev'ry one and all.
I can't stand their rotten email,
Jamming networks with their loads of crap,
Keeping me from getting email,
Less each day of what I want,
Making me spend all that time for,
Not the uses that I want to do,
On daily chores for email,
Pulling spam out to delete,
Quite a rotten waste of effort,
Reaping spam and killing it.
So we're all scammed by the spammers
To this world in which the spam filters,
Underpowered try to stop the flood of
Vile and rotten slime,
We don't it, what we need is
X-ray vision to see in and then
Yanking ev'ry vile spam message,
Zap the spam and make it dead!

[emended now with the vee added)

#171 ::: epist ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 05:10 AM:

Everybody!

A-Ba-Cha
A-Ba-Cha
A-Ba-Cha she take me money and run to Nigeria

Her husband she said he were dead
But old man had three million beneath he bed

Abacha she take me money and run to Nigeria

She told me ten percent she'd pay
But now she and me money gone away

Abachca she take me money and run to Nigeria

Once again now...

#172 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 05:16 AM:

I have, after reading this thread, decided to become a spammer. Why? For the simple reason that nothing that has been responsible for so much fun could be bad. Admit it, all you people love spam, it's like masturbation, you have to walk around saying you don't but we know you do.

Recite to me now
the spam of Miriam Acheba
Of how her kin of great renown
were undone by political shifts
leaving her in possession
of greater wealth than any one
could count, made useless by chance.

In desperation she sought
a hero with an open account
who by equitable transfer
could save the riches of her station
from a spoiling by its nation.

---

actually I'm thinking there should be something with depending on the kindness of strangers somewhere in this thread.

#173 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 06:19 AM:

Well, fair enough. I'm writing from Perth, Western Australia, a smallish (1M population) and isolated city, and hardly a centre of western culture, though no doubt its literati would dispute that. I have no idea what is being heard in urban centres in the USA, and have only heard rap in the briefest of sound bites. I loathed what I heard, of course - a violent, frightening, nihilistic, misogynist cacology. But since I hate most things that have happened in music since the beginning of the twentieth century, that is hardly surprising.

#174 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 09:22 AM:

Okay, here's my rough list of everything posted, sheep and goats together. Tell me what I've missed and what I've gotten wrong.

Jim Macdonald: Shakespearean sonnet
Josh Jasper: Don Marquis/archy
Larry Brennan: William Carlos Williams
Virge: double dactyl
Dave Fried: limerick
Madeleine Ferwerda: haiku
Dave Luckett: villanelle
Mike Ford: Beach Boys, "409"
Niall McAuley: "My name is Yon Yonson..."
Mike Leung: Is that something specific, or were you just having fun semi-rhyming "Cialis" and "inches"?
Jo Walton: Gilbert & Sullivan, "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General"
Erik Nelson: The Band, "I Shall Be Released"
Faren Miller: ? - June 30, 2005, 12:47 PM:
Josh Jasper: Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven"
Kevin Andrew Murphy: Pop-Tarts (a villanelle)
Shmuel: Robert Herrick, To Virgins Who Make Much Of Time
REM: e.e. cummings
Dave Bell: Jane Austin, Pride and Prejudice
Dave Bell: Cole Porter, "Every Time We Say Goodbye"
Dave Bell: George Formby, "When I'm Cleaning Windows"
Greg London: ? - June 30, 2005, 08:20 PM
John M. Ford: ? - June 30, 2005, 08:28 PM:
Andy Hickmott: Virgil, The Aeneid
Tina: Walt Whitman, "Oh Captain! My Captain!"
Del Cotter: clerihew
Language hat: Ezra Pound, "Canto 1"
Paula Lieberman: "Darling Clementine"
Tiel Jackson: villanelle, "There's 30 million dollars in my bank"
Andy Wilton: Dorothy Parker, "Comment" (spotted as such by Andrew Willett)
Paul Clarke: found poem, from spam
Rm: William McGonagall, "The Tay Bridge Disaster"
Paula Lieberman: "The Caisson Song"
HP: Cole Porter, "Miss Otis Regrets"
Mike: Simon and Garfunkel, Scarborough Fair
Jackmormon: a pantoum, "We are sending this curtesy email"
Shmuel: a triolet, "Thirty million I will send"
Sisuile: a tanka
Andrew Willett: Percy Bysse Shelley, "To a Skylark"
Josh Jasper: Li Po, "Drinking Alone By Moonlight"
Mythago: Andrew Marvell, "To His Coy Mistress"
Erika: a sestina, "I greet you with the name of most-high God"
Glenn Hauman: Allan Sherman, "Camp Granada"
Kevin Andrew Murphy: Lennon & McCartney, "Eleanor Rigby"
Virge: ? - July 02, 2005, 06:02
James D. Macdonald: Vachel Lindsay, "The Congo"
Kevin Andrew Murphy, opening number, "Sweeney Todd"
Montino Bourbon: Dante, the Divine Comedy
Jonathan Vos Post: Allen Ginsberg, "Howl"
Lisa Goldstein: Frere Jacques
Virge: a cinquain
Ogden, Stills, Nash, & Young: some Ogden Nashery
Paula Lieberman: the Scottish Play, act 1, scene 1
Paula Lieberman: Simon & Garfunkel, "The Boxer"
Paula Lieberman: Henry VIII, "Pastime with Good Company"
Mike Leung: Elvis Costello, "Blame It on Cain"
Jo Walton: something Anglo-Saxon
Dave Fried: Simon and Garfunkel, "Mrs. Robinson"
Dave Luckett: ?, very nice bit - July 03, 2005, 12:56
Jim Macdonald: Robert Herrick, To Virgins Who Make Much Of Time
Emil: e.e. cummings, "Buffalo Bill's Defunct"
Jonathan Vos Post: Shakespeare, "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day?"
Paul A.: "The Minstrel Boy"
Matthias Wasser: Virgil, The Aeneid (Dryden's translation)
Paula Lieberman: ?, diverse filks
Epist: Harry Belafonte, "Matilda"
Bryan: Homer, the Iliad?

#175 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 10:03 AM:

wow, I wasn't sure if anyone would get the iliad since I didn't try very hard to do a pastiche, but only what I felt fit. I guess the recite to me now opening was a giveaway though.

#176 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 10:48 AM:

My first parody is based on "Dominique" (or whatever it's called; original singer some annoying nun?) -- and might have been clearer if I'd begun with "Domain E-Bay E-Bay E-Bay." The Pay Pal ditty is based on "Born Free" (and there were enough clues for people to get that one.

But as many of these have fooled/bewildered me as have been instantly recognizable, showing how immense a base of references the Making Light community really has. (JVP, I'm undoubtedly seconding you when I declare that "Howl" parody to be brilliant.)

[As to rap, one "crazy" rapper at the Philly Live 8 actually sounded interesting, but I guess I'm too old for most of that stuff -- even if Bob Dylan did something like it about 40 years ago. A lot of Live 8's performers reminded me of everything that drove me away from music during the Seventies, and I have to admit that the most vital performance seemed to come from the Who.]

Now, Ladies and Gentlemen, get back to your parodying!

#177 ::: Paul Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 10:56 AM:

Jo Walton: something Anglo-Saxon

Jo's is Njal's Saga ("Young I was married to Njal")

#178 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 10:57 AM:

What Teresa graciously calls "very nice bit", posted 3 July 2005, is a ballade, a la Francois Villon, remembering that I stuffed up the refrain line in two of the stanzas.

#179 ::: Montino Bourbon ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 11:22 AM:

Far away, in dark Nigeria,
Even farther, close to Lagos,
Reside I, a weary widow.
Destitute, I once was married
Unto Sanibel, the golden
Who, when wandering through Lagos,
Would be geeretd by his neighbors
With the shout of "HI, ABACHA!"

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

#180 ::: Virge ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 11:36 AM:

Virge: ? - July 02, 2005, 06:02
"Who lives down in deepest darkest Africa?"
was riffing on an old (1965) Japanese cartoon classic:
Kimba the White Lion
(You can listen to an mp3 of the theme on that site.)

#181 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 02:50 PM:

Nitpick: Why do people attribute Scarborough Fair to Simon And Garfunkel? They performed, but did not write. In fact, they don't do most of the verses.

jackmormon: I would suggest that rap can be transcribed so that rhyme and metre are clear. In fact, it's just as transcribable as any and every other song lyric, or most plays, teleplays and film scripts; that is to say, the reading will never equal the performance, but one with knowledge of the techniques of the relevant art form (And, in the case of music, of the base melody) can certainly use the transcription to recreate a suitable performance.

#182 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 03:16 PM:

Hmmp. I wrote a post yesterday, before T's, identifying "Minstrel Boy" and asking just how points were being awarded. But it seems to have vanished. That server problem I expect. I'm working on a parody but I'm slow...

MKK

#183 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 03:23 PM:

Paul: I started with that line from Njal's saga, and went off in a generally Saxon Spam direction, but it isn't directly Njal's saga. It isn't directly anything. I made that form up, the six lines with repetition, it was just what felt right when I was doing it, in exactly the way that real MOLM with line breaks didn't.

#184 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 03:37 PM:

After you cross the river
You will come to the house of the widow.
She will ask you for gold.
She will tell you her husband left all his treasure
In a place only you can reach.
She will offer rich rewards.
Do not listen.
Pass swiftly and offer her nothing.

Beyond her house lies the desert of shadows.
Tie your scarf around your mouth
Keep your hand on your sword.
They will take up form from the dust.
They will promise you riches, strange delights,
Long life, Viagra, and cheap drugs from Canada.
If you answer, they will rend you.

The desert ends at the forked tree.
Pass by it to the right.
There you will meet three maidens who profer caskets;
Choose as your heart prompts you.
After the river, after the desert, after the choices,
When your quest is fulfilled and you too should be,
When you return home to your saved kingdom,
You may give advice to those who won't listen.

#185 ::: Jimbo ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 03:38 PM:

>Glenn Hauman: Allan Sherman, "Camp Granada"

Half right. The original tune, "Dance of the Hours," was the career peak of one Amilcare Ponchielli:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amilcare_Ponchielli

#186 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 04:43 PM:

Nigeria shall have no dominion
Jonathan Vos Post, 4 July 2005


And Nigeria shall have no dominion.
Dead Abacha naked shall be one
With the man in the wind and the Lagos moon;
When his bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
In the E-mail name of the most high God,
He shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though I go mad, Sani was sane,
Though I sink through the sea I shall rise again;
I, widow, be lost, yet love shall not;
And Nigeria shall have no dominion.

Nigeria shall have no dominion.
Though in distress, under house arrest,
My son Mohammed in custody,
Under the windings of Abuja sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
The governments frozen the family stake,
Thirty million we shall take,
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Security agents, yet we shan't crack;
And Nigeria shall have no dominion.

Nigeria shall have no dominion.
No more Kano gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on tarry shores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Contact me now with my E-mail address,
Compensation is yours if you acquiesce,
Though my family they think they shall dispossess,
Through covert means I have found egress,
You shall never again be moneyless.
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in African sun till the sun breaks down,
Nigeria shall have no dominion.

#187 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 05:54 PM:

I like rap *music*, it's kind of like more word-oriented rock music. I'm not fond of a lot of the lyrics.

#188 ::: Naomi Libicki ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 06:00 PM:

My money's in Kano State; my son is in jail
What good is my cash to me now; how can it avail?
How can I come up with bribes to free my son when
They've frozen all my accounts, except my e-mail?
Easily I would give up from my stash ten
Percent to the man who would help me prevail

#189 ::: Mary Aileen Buss ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 06:27 PM:

Come by here, my mark
Come by here
Come by here, my mark
Come by here
Come by here, my mark
Come by here
O mark! come by here

Someone's spamming you
Come by here
Someone's spamming you
Come by here
Someone's spamming you
Come by here
O mark! come by here

Grow four inches, man
Come by here
Grow four inches, man
Come by here
Grow four inches, man
Come by here
O mark! come by here

Make a million fast
Come by here
Make a million fast
Come by here
Make a million fast
Come by here
O mark! come by here

Someone's scamming you
Come by here
Someone's scamming you
Come by here
Someone's scamming you
Come by here
O mark! come by here

Come by here, my mark
Come by here
Come by here, my mark
Come by here
Come by here, my mark
Come by here
O mark! come by here

#190 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 06:33 PM:

I'm not fond of a lot of [rap] lyrics.

With no sarcasm meant, this distinguishes it from the rest of vocal music in what way?

I could mention a few choice abcesses on the Top 40, but the prospect of starting a That's Why They Call It Nostalgia festival is too scary.

#191 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 07:59 PM:

I was quietly amused as numerous people expressed bewilderment that Dave's students aren't immersed in rap, because it's all over the United States; none seem to have stopped to consider that maybe the "our" of "our culture" as represented here is broader than one country.

And I am pleased and awed to have a friend who makes up Anglo-Saxon verse forms because they feel right.

#192 ::: Steve Burnett ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 08:05 PM:

I'd like to claim that Jo Walton's most recent contribution was inspired by Neil Gaiman's "Instructions".

#193 ::: g ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 08:56 PM:

My bank account has nothing like those sums;
Mrs Abacha's rich, I'm less rich:
If heirs be princes, my family are bums;
If lucre's filthy, filth just makes me itch.
I have seen wealthy scoundrels distribute their gains,
But no such generosity is mine;
And from some other heiress flows perchance a rain
Of ill-got gains -- such never will be thine.
I'd love to let you share but, well, you know,
I'd rather keep my money for myself.
They say I'd make more if I let some go,
But, having got it, why give up my pelf?
And yet I think I'm doing you more good
Than all those others, "giving" what they would.

#194 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 09:01 PM:

The Idea of Order in Nigeria
by Jonathan Vos Post


Miriam Abacha sang beyond the genius of the sea.
The water never formed to mind or voice,
Like a body wholly body, fluttering
Its empty sleeves; and yet its mimic motion
Made constant cry, caused constantly a cry,
That was not ours although we understood,
Inhuman E-mails, of the veritable ocean.

The sea was not a mask. No more was she.
Saluted in the name of the most high God.
The song and water were not medleyed sound
Even if what she sang was what she heard,
Since what she sang was uttered word by word.
What commission? As much as a third,
For bank account expenses, once transferred.
It may be that in all her phrases stirred
The grinding water and the gasping wind;
But it was she and not the sea we heard.

For she was the maker of the song she sang.
Former first lady, Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Inquisitor-hooded, tragic-gestured sea
Was merely a place by which she walked to sing.
Her daughter had free movement, and could bring
All details to you, unmonitored by
Nigerian Government Agents of Security.
Whose spirit is this? we said, because we knew
It was the spirit that we sought and knew
That we should ask this often as she sang.
To save the family from bankruptcy.
If it was only the dark voice of the sea
That rose, or even colored by many waves;
If it was only the outer voice of sky
And cloud, of the sunken coral water-walled,
However clear, it would have been deep air,
The heaving speech of air, a summer sound
Repeated in a summer without end
And sound alone. But it was more than that,
More even than her voice, and ours, among
The meaningless plungings of water and the wind,
Theatrical distances, bronze shadows heaped,
Like the sum of thirty million U.S. Dollars,
Of cash removed through covert means
From family safe at Kano State.
On high horizons, mountainous atmospheres
Of sky and sea.

It was her voice that made
The sky acutest at its vanishing.
As vanished General Sani Abacha,
Late Nigerian military Head of State,
Leaving the widow, the son Mohammed,
Undergoing trial in Oputa, Lagos,
Abuja, by the present civilian regime.

She measured to the hour its solitude.
She was the single artificer of the world
In which she sang. And when she sang, the sea,
Whatever self it had, became the self
That was her song, for she was the maker. Then we,
As we beheld her striding there alone,
In distress and under house arrest,
Knew that there never was a world for her
Except the one she sang and, singing, made.

Miriam Abacha, tell me, if you know,
When I e-mail you my bank account data,
Why, when the singing ended and we turned
Towards Nigeria, tell why the glassy lights,
The lights in the fishing boats at anchor there,
As the night descended, tilting in the air,
Mastered the night and portioned out the sea,
Fixing emblazoned zones and fiery poles,
Arranging, deepening, enchanting night.

Oh! Blessed rage for order, dark Miriam,
The maker's rage to order words of the sea,
Words of the Web, fragrant portals, dimly-starred,
And of ourselves and of our origins,
In ghostlier demarcations, keener sounds.

#195 ::: g ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 09:09 PM:

Abacha the Nigerian a fortnight dead,
His widow seeks out gulls, and the dupes as well,
And her profit their loss.
A current bank account
Stripped, leaves just a pittance. As the balance fell
The victim trembled, he resembled Saul
Seeing his kingdom fall.
Gentile or Jew
O you who read your mail and dream of windfalls,
Beware of Abacha, who would love gleefully to deal with you.

#196 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 09:15 PM:

Mari spammed me while I sat
Musing at my new computer.
She's a thief, and more than that,
She'd make me one. I'd like to shoot her.

Say I'm wary, say I'm mad,
Say my trollish habit damns me,
Say I've got a grudge, but add
No-one scammed me.

#197 ::: g ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 09:33 PM:

(From a porn spammer named, let's say, Younge.)

Will you observe those men, very well hung,
Which are my men, in thongs and nothing more?
Will you observe those girls, so firm and young,
And younger still, my Teenage Asian Whores?
My trap is sprung -- I have you stung --
But wait, there's more.

Will you observe that webcam which I strung
High in the room of sweet Miss Jones next door?
Will you observe that webcam placed among
The local tarts, to watch them by the score?
My trap is sprung -- I have you stung --
But wait, there's more.

I have a lady here, who with her tongue
Can do things that the pious would deplore;
And if you pay her, she will cover you with dung,
Or piss on you, or whip you till you're sore;
But when you've paid me, you've been stung --
You'll get no more.

#198 ::: g ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 09:47 PM:

A couple of tweaks to mine (too hastily written) beginning "Abacha the Nigerian":

(1) "Seeing his kingdom fall" is metrically wrong, and rhymes with "Saul" rather than half-rhyming. And it's probably wrong for those to be so close to "fell". So, scrap those lines. Instead,

"The victim trembled as the sudden truth
Entered him and took root."

which is closer to the original in several ways.

(2) The rhythm is wrong at the end. (Ugly as well as unnecessarily different from the original.) Replace the last line with

Beware of Abacha, who is just *dying* to deal with you.

though I don't like that much either.

#199 ::: g ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 10:14 PM:

I was going to go to bed (3am local time). But I'm addicted.

I read an e-mail from an Afric land,
Which said: My vast unlaundered cash reserves
Languish sequestered. Now, please understand,
If you can help me get them out I'll halve
The proceeds with you. Please give me a hand:
Send me your passport, banking details, all
Those trifling matters needful to arrange
My money's transfer, your lovely cash windfall.
I do implore you, help me get this done,
For love of Jesus Christ, the King of Kings --
I swear by God Almighty, God the Son,
No further work remains. All you need do
Is send a little cash. Then, won't it be fun?
Half my ill-gotten gains will go to you.

Hmm, didn't work as well as I'd hoped from the first line. Definitely time for sleep.

#200 ::: Sally Beasley ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 10:21 PM:

Jo Walton's piece sounds like T S Eliot, though I am unable to identify the specific poem parodied.

Jonathan Vos Post's first piece is Dylan Thomas' Death shall have no dominion, but I can't place the second.

g's first piece is Shakespeare, the sonnet that starts "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun". The second piece is T S Eliot's poem that starts with: "Phraxas the Phoenician, a fortnight dead,"

And it wouldn't be cricket to identify the source of the Dave Luckett piece, considering I live with him.

#201 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 10:40 PM:

I might remark that Sally Beasley's last line is disingenuous. It may be unfashionable to say so, but we have in fact been canonically married for more than twenty years. One never knows What People Might Think, my dear.

#202 ::: Caddie ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 11:16 PM:

There are strange things sent on the internet,
By the men who moil for gold;
The Nigerian wives have their tragic lives
That would make your tears run cold;
The old first ladies have been through Hades,
But the worst they ever underwent
Was that time on the run from the jail and the gun
Of the new regime's president.

Now Abacha was from Nigeria, where the money up and flows.
Why she left her home in Abuja to roam destitute, you only know.
She needed a friend, to help her pretend that her finances all were gone;
For she's in distress under house arrest while the prison has got her son.

On a summer day I was reading away when I saw a piece of spam.
Talk of your mail! as I read the details, it stabbed like a terrible scam.
If such money she had, then why was she glad to give it all to me;
It didn't seem right, by the flick'ring light as I gazed at my PC.

...I should continue on, but I can't do eleven more verses...

#203 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 11:21 PM:

Paul A: I advise you to focus on the refrain of "Big bucks in Nigeria".

Since T herself doesn't recognize that one, perhaps you can be more specific?

And Montino has gone from the sublime to the base with Longfellow's "Hiawatha".

#204 ::: Sundre ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 11:38 PM:

I'm going somewhere hot and flaming for this one. Apologies duly tendered:

Have you heard of my husband?
He died in Nigeria!
Here in Nigeria I buried my husband.
Where is all his money?
It's not in Nigeria!
But we're all locked up here in Nigeria.

Forget Kenya!

Nigeria, Oh Nigeria
Please aid the widow
of General Abacha
Nigeria! Nigeria, Nigeria, Nigeria!
Nigeria! We can't leave Nigeria!
Would you believe it?

(lather rinse repeat ad nauseum, with dancing dollar signs and a map of africa)

#205 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 11:58 PM:

Chip, it's Toto's "Africa:"

I hear the drums echoing tonight
She hears only whispers of some quiet conversation
She's coming in, 12:30 flight
The moonlit wings reflect the stars that guide me to salvation

[They reflect the stars. In the moonlight. Africa has disco lighting.]

I stopped an old man on the way
Hoping to find some long forgotten words or ancient melodies
He looked at me as if to say
Hurry boy, it's waiting there for you

["Ugongluge" means "That's your index finger, you moron."]

Gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
There's nothin' that a hundred men or more could ever do

[What, it's a freaking tug of war?]
I bless the rains down in Africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had
[sic], ooh . . .

#206 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 12:19 AM:

The most recent ones I posted:

I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy

Hello Dolly

The acrostic, I can't remember what I got the meter off of now. Doing it as an acrostic however has nothing to do with the meter I put it to. The acrostic form is very traditional in e.g. a lot of prayers/hymns in Hebrew, particular ones from around a thousand to 350 years ago.


The two previous to that:

- Baa, Baa, Black Sheep

- the riff on the Whiffenpoof song very near the end of The Big Time by Fritz Leiber. That's why I was surprised Tom didn't recognize it, it's a Hugo winner, and involves Change Wars-- Classic Science Fiction stuff!

#207 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 12:54 AM:

Ten and one years ago two lawyers brought forth on this Internet a new ad form, conceived in greed and dedicated to the proposition that all users are targets.

Now we are engaged in a great legal war, testing whether this ad concept, or any ad concept, so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefied of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it towards laying the ad concept permanently to rest, that our conversations on-line might live. This we may, in all propiety do. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot isolate this forum. The diverse people living and dead who've posted here created a forum nontrivial for our poor power to add or detract majorly. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget the advent of spam.

It is rather for us the posters, we here be dedicated to those great opportunities remaining before us--that from the dishonorable spam we take increased viligance against that ad form which has made so many so miserable--that we here highly resolve that the fight against spam shall not have been in vain, that the Internet shall have a new brith of freedom, and that free unimpeded non-commercial speech of the people, for by people, and by the people shall not perish from the earth.

#208 ::: Mark D. ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 01:47 AM:

g.'s third and forth: Donne's Wilt thou forgive that sin (stunningly appropriate), and Shelley's Ozymandias respectively.

#209 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 03:51 AM:

"Phlebas" not "Phraxas", as any fan of Iain M. Banks ought to know, and the poem in question is "The Waste Land" of course.

Caddie is doing "The Cremation of Sam McGee" by Robert Service, Sundre is doing this silly cartoon. Paula Lieberman's latest is too obvious to mention, but I do want to put in my dibs on the credit for it.

#210 ::: Paul Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 05:15 AM:

Paul: I started with that line from Njal's saga, and went off in a generally Saxon Spam direction, but it isn't directly Njal's saga

Ah, I was mainly going on the first line, plus the description of her son sounded appropriate for Skarp-Hedin.

real MOLM

MOLM??

#211 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 05:30 AM:

Just for fun, a parody of a joke...


Tomow and tomow and tomow
Um -- Abacha widow?
Tomowandtomowandtomowandtomow
I kno! Something um and dolars
Um -- hiding in er-hem-er-hem
Asks for bank um ah
Bank!
BANK!
Bank details
No! Sorry sir yes sir a widow
Yes
And no
Tomowandtomowandtomowandthirtymillion
In cash no sir i kno sorry
Um ah menmaycomeandmenmaygo
Tomowandtomowandtomow

#212 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 05:56 AM:

Oh, the wonderful N Molesworth the goriller of 3B!

#213 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 06:12 AM:

And, of course, the mighty, the immortal, Gettysburg Address.

#214 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 08:22 AM:

Paul --

MOLM is "Modern Old Lore Metre", to distinguish it from "Old Lore Metre" which is what Beowulf and The Battle of Maldon are in.

Same general idea of linking half lines with stresses, but the ways in which that works has changed with the language, so they're not really the same verse form; grandparent and grandchild, really, with tiny bits of Chaucer playing parent.

#215 ::: Paul Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 09:08 AM:

Graydon: thanks.

#216 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 09:55 AM:

Steve: There's actually a whole genre of poetry like that, some of which can be found on the Endicott Studio site, and some in Theodora Goss's brilliant chapbook A Rose in Twelve Petals.

#217 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 11:27 AM:

With the spam tucked into your email
It walks throughout the Net,
With the spam tucked into your email
It's an all-time threat.

With the spam tucked into your email
With the spam tucked into your email!

#218 ::: HP ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 12:12 PM:

Can I have your bank account to transfer funds?
I'm right on my uppers.
I can pay you 10%
When this $30,000,000 comes from Ghana.
Honestly.
Hope the bladder trouble's getting better.
Love,
Miriam

[Paula's latest.]

#219 ::: language hat ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 12:15 PM:

When I consider how my cash is lent
At paltry interest, in a neighboring state,
Full thirty million which I cannot wait
To get my hands on, so it can be spent,
I justly rage, and write you to present
My true account, so that my son's dark fate,
Imprisoned in Abuja, will not bate
The safety of my family, nor prevent
The timely use of my late husband's wealth.
I beg of you to do your very best
And reap your fair percentage: give a damn
And profit. Lo, my daughter comes by stealth
While I post o'er the ether without rest:
They also serve who only sit and spam.

#220 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 12:15 PM:

Mary Aileen Buss: That's Kumbaya

#221 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 12:46 PM:

language hat: John Milton, "On his blindness"

#222 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 01:25 PM:

I got an email from a foreign land,
Which said: Three million dollars which I own
Lie in the bank vault. If you, in my hand,
Will put--believe me, I don;t lie--your PIN,
And help me get my funds, I will remand
One tenth to you of that which I receive,
Which yet will let you buy those small blue pills,
The Rollax watches, and if you believe
That, please to buy my bridge which is for sale.
My name is Mrs. Miriam, widow still,
Look on my spam, you suckers, and beware!
Nothing else to say. Round the decay
Of this so-fleeting Web swarm pr0n and warez,
The haxx0rs and the 1337 not far away.

#223 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 02:27 PM:

Oh, hey, "Ozymandias".

Nice choice, TexAnne.

#224 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 02:59 PM:

Where the spam soars so free,
Webpage vale, bright with scree
There to surf,
Oh there's no site on the net falser!

Done email for the day,
Dumped the spam all the way
Comes the night,
It will be back again, brethren.

===========

And from the same source:

Spammers shall be playing
Spam in email braying
Spammers spam 'til all is spent,
To our wallets' discontent.

Spam on so unfunny
While yet lasts the money
Ebay auction here's for thee,
Here is for the buyer's fee

Once websurfer straying,
Now his wallet's paying,
While the surfers' lost his stash,
Spammers now get faster cash....

========

And still more, from the same source...

Thus sent the mother,
Her little daughter,
Onto the Internet,
Sternly she bid her,
Read all your email,
Never use viruschecks.

Lo I shall change me
Into a spammer,
Shall spam to mother send,
Then I'll be waiting,
Perched in her Inbox,
With a virus payload.

What said the mother,
What is this email
Strange is its content form,
Forth and be gone now, this piece of spammail,
From my Inbox's file.

To a bad website,
Mother has sent me,
Forth to infected drives,
Hard is to suffer,
Such bitter pining,
On an ill-fated Net.

#225 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 05:58 PM:

Nobody's gotten my 2nd spam-poem yet, although it is one of the signature poems of a major 20th century American poet. Nor given the Sonnet # of the pseudoshakespeare. But thanks again, Teresa, for giving us the chance. A Nigerian Nights POD actually does make sense. Advertising it by email might be problematic.

#226 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 06:19 PM:

Mike, I just looked at the Top 40 and the only song I recognized was "From the Bottom of My Heart" (a re-issue?). I recognized seven of the performers. I haven't listened to radio in a couple of decades, so it's entirely possible that non-rap on the Top 40 have as annoying lyrics as rap does.

My latest CD buys:

Master of Disaster by John Hiatt
Humming by the Flowered Vine by Laura Cantrell

#227 ::: Jonathan Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 06:22 PM:

JVP: Wallace Stevens's The Idea of Order at Key West. Not that I know the poem, but I couldn't resist a google.

#228 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 06:52 PM:

Thanks, Tina! I'm amazed that nobody beat me to it.

#229 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 07:03 PM:

Jonathan Shaw:

We have a winner! Give that man an insurance policy. Well, you know, that was Wallace Stevens's day job. It is such a beautiful poem that, to me, it is still beautiful even after spamification, as is the Dylan Thomas and some of the messterpieces by others in this thread. But may Wallace Stevens's wife's ghost roast in Hell for burning all her husband's correspondence with the great poets of the age, whom she considered disreputable.

#230 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 07:36 PM:

Sir Richard Burton's wife burned his unpublished material...

#231 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 07:44 PM:

I, too, dislike it
by
Jonathan Vos Post
5 July 2005


I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond all this spam.
Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one discovers that there is in
It after all, a place for the genuine.
The male organ, pulsating like an orchid in sirocco,
Pink and glistening as a just-opened can of "Hormel Flavor-Sealed Ham,"
Inches longer than it used to be.
The heartfelt cries of Mrs. Miriam Abacha, Widow,
former first lady Federal Republic of Nigeria, married to
late General Sani Abacha the late Nigerian military Head of State, with
Hands that can grasp $30,000,000 by covert means, eyes
that can dilate, hair that can rise
when her son, Mohammed is undergoing trial,
by the present civilian regime,
in Oputa Panel Lagos and Abuja,
if it must, these things are important not because a
high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them
for a college degree that you can earn in days through the Web,
but because they are
useful. Useful if we want a commission for transferring to our bank account.
Immediately, my daughter will proceed to meet with you,
because she is the only one that has free movement,
free as a thunderbird amid the silversword,
When they become so derivative as to become unintelligible,
the same thing may be said for all of us, that we
do not admire what
we cannot understand: the bat,
holding on upside down or in quest of something to
eat, teenaged slut who likes horses, click here for naked close-ups,
the icosahedral protein shell of viral RNA,
elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll in the hay, a tireless wolf under
a tree, the immovable critic twitching his skin like a horse that feels a flea, the base-
ball fan, with Ty Cobbs .419 batting average,
the statistician analyzing how the Nigerian government has
frozen all our family accounts,
the architect weeping for our buildings at Abuja Federal capital territory, seized
nor is it valid
to discriminate against "business documents and
school-books" and Nigerian Government Agents,
the Fibonacci spiral in the flowerpetals and cactus spikes,
all these phenomena are important. One must make a distinction
however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, half-spammers,
the result is not poetry, not spam,
nor till the poets among us can be
"literalists of
the imagination" above
insolence and triviality and can present
for inspection in Brooklyn, Bachelors button,
cosmos (bipinnatus and sulphureus), scarlet runner beans,
nasturtiums (especially Empress of India),
"imaginary gardens with real toads in them," shall we have
it. In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand,
the raw Viagra of poetry in
all its rawness and
that which is on the other hand
genuine, you are interested in poetry. Or spam. Or something.

#232 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 07:54 PM:

I've been lurking for ages, but I don't think I've ever posted here. This thread did something to my brain.

The original is obvious; I ended up changing less than I expected to.

Something familiar,
Something peculiar,
Something for everyone:
The spam I got tonight!

Nothing appealing,
All things appalling,
Something for everyone:
The spam I got tonight!

Nothing I want, nothing I need;
Bring on the lovers, liars and greed!

Old situations,
New deviations,
No words are ever spelled just right;
Tragedy and sorrow,
The spam I got tonight!

Madam Abacha,
Some girls from a dacha,
Something for everyone:
The spam I got tonight!

Nothing authentic,
They sound frenetic,
Something for everyone:
The spam I got tonight!

Something with pr0n, something with fate;
Come visit now, or you'll be too late!

Nothing that's formal,
Nothing that's normal,
Occasionally, one will sound polite;
Open up the trash bin:
The spam I got tonight!

Something erratic,
Something dramatic,
Something for everyone:
The spam I got tonight!

Frenzy and frolic,
Strictly symbolic,
Something for everyone:
A The spam I got tonight!

Something familiar,
Something peculiar,
Something for everybody:
The spam I got tonight!
Something that's gaudy,
Something that's bawdy--
Something for everybawdy!
The spam I got tonight!

Nothing that's true.
Nothing that's free.
She's wearing nothing, come by and see.
They want your money!
Come see me honey!
Hundreds of spammers out of sight!
Webcams, low prices!
Enlarging devices!
Widows and cialis!
Viagra and some malice!
Panderers!
Philanderers!
Nigeria!
Wisteria!
Mistakes!
Fakes!
Banks!
Cranks!
Phishers!
Wishers!
Bumblers!
Fumblers!

A royal plan, a Trojan horse,
And a nonsense subject line, of course!
Goodness and badness,
Panic is madness--
Send money so it all turns out all right!
Tragedy and sorrow,
The spam I got tonight!

#233 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 08:16 PM:

Hilary Hertzoff:

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Excellent! "Everybody Ought To Have A Maid, Click Here to See an Asian Virgin Maid Slut..."

Women Feel More Pain Than Men, Research Shows

#234 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 08:55 PM:

I have not dug out my copy to check it, but I believe the Jo Walton spoem variously identified as T.S. Eliot and Neil Gaiman is Margaret Atwood's 'Procedures for Underground'.

(My previous post to this effect would seem to have gotten lost.)

#235 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 09:02 PM:

Because I could not stop for Spam,
He kindly stopped for me;
The keyboard held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
Since I had put away
Viagra, and Cialis too,
For his virility.

We passed Nigeria, where one
Miriam Abacha,
Offered to share a handsome sum,
We passed the setting sun.

Or rather, he passed us;
The dews grew quivering and chill,
Click here, my nipples gossamer gowned,
My webcam streaming still.

We paused before cheap real estate,
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then 'tis centuries, and yet each
Feels faster than eBay
I first surmised the e-mails led
Towards eternity.

#236 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 09:02 PM:

JVP:

Marianne Moore. Trivially so, since you kept the defining initial phrase.

#237 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 09:08 PM:

Clifton Royston:

Correctimundo. Her "Poetry" from 1921. But doesn't that defining phrase ring true, in this context? The "imaginary gardens with real toads in them" is the most famous line, and I adapted the garden to that of Our Hostess. I admired Marianne Moore so much, meeting her repeatedly in Brooklyn, wherein she dwelt, in the 1950s, when she loved to speak to groups of schoolchildren; the "silversword" was not from her poem, but her essay on how Ford Motor Company hired her to design names for a new model car. Her verbal inventions were superb; they scrapped her work, and called it: the Edsel.

#238 ::: Lenore Jean Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 10:19 PM:

JVP: Your 9:02pm spoem (nice coinage) is from Emily Dickinson. Any key phrase at the beginning.

#239 ::: Benja Fallenstein ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 10:27 PM:

...and this one I call:

I am Mrs. Miriam Abacha a Widow

I salute you in the name of our most high God.
I was a former leading lady overthrown by plot.
The late Sanini Achabachi army head of state
was my dear husband and provider; alas he is late.

Nigeria! Nigeria! Alebalebachi heissassa,
Nigeria! Nigeria! Alebalebachi bum.

I cannot leave my house and I'm a damsel in distress
while Móhammed my son has gone, to Lagos nonetheless,
to undergo a trial by a Panel it would seem
set up by our presently civilian regime.

Nigeria! Nigeria! Alebalebachi heissassa,
Nigeria! Nigeria! Alebalebachi bum.

My son is presently detained in prison custody,
if I could just get at my money he'd return to me.
The government has frozen our family accounts
seized buildings holdings stockings et cet by most careful counts,
yet thirty million US dollars for my family
I have removed to save our'selves from total bankruptcy.

Nigeria! Nigeria! Alebalebachi heissassa,
Nigeria! Nigeria! Alebalebachi bum.

( Thir-ty mill-ion! Thir-ty mill-ion! )

Nigeria! Nigeria! Alebalebachi heissassa,
Nigeria! Nigeria! Alebalebachi bum.

Through covert means I've moved away this cash to Kano State
where in a safe it guarded well Saní , my husband late.
A firm now holds it under cover and not in Nigere --
I want you to receive this money and send it back here.

Nigeria! Nigeria! Alebalebachi heissassa,
Nigeria! Nigeria! Alebalebachi bum.

Immediately my daughter will proceed to meet with you,
she is the only one of us who will be able to.
My men are always monitored by state security,
but you will well be compensate for your assisting me.

Nigeria! Nigeria! Alebalebachi heissassa,
Nigeria! Nigeria! Alebalebachi bum.

Please be just and help me to secure this money fast
before it is located by the government at last.
Contact me intermediately with my e-mail address
so that I can forward to you the details of necess.

( Thir-ty mill-ion! Thir-ty mill-ion! )

Nigeria! Nigeria! Alebalebachi heissassa,
Nigeria! Nigeria! Alebalebachi bum,
Nigeria! Nigeria! Alebalebachi heissassa,
Nigeria! Nigeria! Alebalebachi bum.
#240 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 10:35 PM:

I know what HP calls "Paula's latest". It's from Python, somewhere, but I can't pin it.

#241 ::: Benja Fallenstein ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 10:37 PM:

Regarding the above spam song, any native English speaker able to identify the song that inspired the chorus gets a big bonus point from me. I didn't realize it myself, and tried to find out through google, but no avail until I realized which song it was and googled for a different line from it.

One hint: It is about a place that "Nigeria" rhymes with.

Whoever can tell me what inspired the rhythm and melody of the main text (the latter of which I suppose you'll have to guess) gets a big thank-you, because I can't figure it out myself. I have this feeling that it's from a song where every stanza ends with "Hey!". Which for googling is at most a very mediocre clue.

#242 ::: Benja Fallenstein ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 11:18 PM:

Hmm. Another thing I seem to remember about whatever inspired the main text of that spam song: It would often have a number of rhyming words in the same line, but then I think end the line with a word that doesn't rhyme with the others -- something like, "to lial on a trial with a pial it would seem" (only the words would make sense).

I still can't get my head around what it was, but surely someone can tell me now?

#243 ::: Gillyflower ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 12:03 AM:

Oooh! My choral music background comes in handy for once! Paula's 2:59 post is in imitation of the English translation of three of Bartok's Four Slovak Folksongs for Mixed Choir, Sz 70, ~1916:

Thus sent the mother (Zadala mamka)
In alpine pastures (Na holi, na holi)
Food and drink's your only pleasure (Rada pila, rada jedla)
Let the bagpipe sound (Gajdujte, gajdence)

I think Paula's third is the first of these, her first is the second of these, and her second is the fourth of these.

Oddly enough, I sang them in Hungarian (not the language of the titles above) and only happened to remember the general theme and meter of them enough to match the translations. "Thus sent the mother/her little daughter" tipped me off.

#244 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 12:43 AM:

Gillyflower nailed them.

#245 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 01:09 AM:

Posting on behalf of Dan Reitman, who has Netscape 4.7...

The government has done me wrong
And cast me off discourteously
For I've embezzled hard and long
Delighting in kleptocracy
Greenmail is now my goal
Greenmail is my reprieve
Greenmail will bring out my gold
If you'll but send me some money

#246 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 02:08 AM:

"Greensleeves" of course.

#247 ::: Adam Sanford ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 03:21 AM:

Although I can't do it justice, I would love to see someone take "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" and lampoon this spam with it.

#248 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 09:30 AM:

My last one isn't a pastiche of anything in particular, it's just using that fairytale instruction thing in a certain mode, which Gaiman and Atwood and Goss all use.

I have a poem Americans and Ghosts which uses essentially the same mode.

#249 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 09:33 AM:

That url ought to be:

http://www.bluejo.demon.co.uk/poetry/poems/ghosts.htm

Sorry!

#250 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 11:02 AM:

Lo, praise of the prowess of almighty God
of war-torn Nigeria, riven with woe,
my honourable husband, Sani Abacha!
My son Mohammed, most harsh-treated victim
undergoing a trial in Oputa Panel Lagos,
by the civilian regime. Since he is detained
our family accounts are frozen. My friend,
if wealth you desire, I would offer you well
ten per cent of thirty million US dollars,
to free my family from full bankruptcy.

Immediately my daughter will meet with you,
she alone may elude the Agents
monitoring the men. You must take the money
to pay into your account for the family safety
and will be well compensate, when it is returned,
unlocated by Nigerian Security Agents.
Contact me quickly, before scam us uncovered,
I can forward to you all necessary details.

#251 ::: HP ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 11:09 AM:

Sorry Dave, that was confusing. "Paula's Latest" was a link to an mp3 of "With Her Head Tucked Underneath Her Arms," which was what Paula's parody preceding my post was.

Mine was a parody of "Can I Have £10 to Mend the Shed?," by the great Scottish poet, Ewan McTeagle.

#252 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 11:33 AM:

I hope you don't mind me crashing your party like this!

“hello in name of god nigeria I
was the former first lady and so forth &
am presently under house arrest while my
son is undergoing trial my husband
hid $30,000,000 in a nearby country
with an undercover security firm to hold
it safely I want you to receive this money
as cash as check as transfer funds as gold
why talk of scams I’ll send a friendly female
as men the agents monitor too much &
who will make sure you get a fair amount
if ten per cent is fine then get in touch &
send me the details of your bank account.”

She typed. And sent another round of email.

#253 ::: Jonathan Edelstein ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 12:48 PM:

I met a widow in a tropic land
Who said, "Three million U.S. dollars (cash),
Yours for the asking if you lend a hand
And help me to expatriate my stash.
Long is the story. Once I was a queen;
A nation's wealth was at my consort's call,
But then the folk desir'd a change of scene,
And I into this durance vile did fall."
And so I helped her. How could I not be moved?
Look on her fall from might, and not despair?
Alas! I should have taken greater care.
My credit and my faith she did betray;
My savings, coffers, trust accounts are bare,
And faithless laughter sounds from far away.

#254 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 01:05 PM:

This started as one thing and may have turned into another by the end. Sorry about that.

Send It To Nigeria

I.

This is no country for money. I dream
Of a foreign account. My husband, the late
Sani Abacha – the civilian regime
Did away with him – his undeserved fate
Inspired me to bring you into this scheme.
Let us transfer cash in enormous amounts
To you from our frozen family accounts.

II.

A young man is detained in custody,
The health of an old woman may not last
None but a daughter is truly free
To meet you once due time is past;
Nor is there a motivation for me
Except to secure this money fast;
And therefore have I sent you this query, a
plea from the Republic of Nigeria.

III.

O, sceptics who think this an email scam
As with ads for Viagra, or PayPal demands
Must deny I have told you who I am,
And have given you news of my native lands.
The Government agents whose names I damn
Would love to have this money in their hands:
But they know not where it is, and so
How can you fail to act, who know?

IV.

I will promise you now I shall not take
Any liberties with what you may provide;
Such a generous offer I would not make
Without telling you truly where I reside,
And my circumstances: make no mistake
They are jealous only, who would deride
Mrs Miriam Abacha. My energy fails:
Tell me, or send me, your account details.

#255 ::: Dave MB ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 01:09 PM:

I think "candle" is doing the Song of Hiawatha.
Isn't it in "the meter Columbian", Longfellow's
attempt to replicate the feel of dactylic hexameter
in English?

#256 ::: Dave MB ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 01:10 PM:

I mean candle's 11:02 is Hiawatha, of course.

#257 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 01:18 PM:

Dave MB, Hiawatha is famous for being in trochaic tetrameter, in imitation of the Kalevala. Which in turn, I'm told, was written in imitation of authentically ancient texts...or cobbled together from them, not sure which.

#258 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 01:36 PM:

I believe Candle's most recent is Yeats' "Sailing to Byzantium."

#259 ::: Lisa Goldstein ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 02:04 PM:

Come bank with me and save my stash
And I will give you lots of cash
And you will all the pleasures prove
If you can help my savings move.

#260 ::: Naomi Libicki ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 03:14 PM:

Nyger, Nyger, hill and plain
Home of widow's bitter pain
What outmoded con or scam
Won't she resurrect as spam?

In what distant climes or shores
Will she find her guarantors?
Thirty million bucks await
What the mark, dare take the bait?

And what pathos, & what pleas
It's for her only son's release
When there's such reward to win
What's an account number? What's a PIN?

What the danger? What the risk
With such a chance, how can you miss?
With such a sum within their grasp
Who wouldn't hit "reply," ASAP?

When Mrs. Abacha, Maryam
First flooded inboxes with spam
Did she smile, to see it pay?
Did she who sent the spam make hay?

Nyger, Nyger, hill and plain
Home of widow's bitter pain
What outmoded con or scam
Won't she resurrect as spam?

#261 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 03:36 PM:

"Sailing to Byzantium" is absolutely right. The last two by Lisa Goldstein and Naomi Libicki have been (I think) Marlowe's "A Passionate Shepherd To His Love" and Blake's "Tyger! Tyger!". I should apologise for the 11.02 one, though (which isn't Hiawatha). I didn't do it very well. "Lo!" might be a clue, though.

#262 ::: Maggie ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 03:43 PM:

Here's my attempt:

Dear Sir:
Miri Abacha,
First lady formerly,
Took great
Care of Mohammed
And of his dough (tax-free).
Kind Sir:
Miri Abacha,
Says to you now, spammee:
If you want to partake of this government stake send your bank account to me!

#263 ::: Lenora Rose (Heikkinen) ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 04:55 PM:

Xopher - People more Finnish and more expert than me say the Kalevala contains a significant amount of legitimate old text, but they seem to agree that the way it was put together, and some of the linkages, are kinda, well, not so old.

I don't care that much, although I wouldn't mind seeing an authoriative list of which parts are confirmed ancient, and which of the folk songs with lyrics that are also part of the Kalevala are sung to music that is verifiably older as well.

Even if it was all a fake, it's still high on my to-read list. (Alas, for now, probably in translation).

#264 ::: Mike ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 06:31 PM:

You who read this mail
Must have a bank code you can launder cash by
And I, a Nigerian widow,
Against my husband, they formed a coup by

Keep my children well
Their father's wealth will quickly go by
And keep your 10%
Of 30 mil -- the deposit you'll know by

Don't you ever ask me why
If I told you, you would cry
So just send me your account and sigh
I'm a Nigerian widow

And you, a Nigerian widow,
Can't know the coke my 3 million will buy,
Or that 10 percent of your wealth
Is my reward for which Jesus did die

Teach me AOL
1000 free hours will slowly go by
And read each and every spam
The one I pick's the one I'll go by

Don't you ever ask me why
About my weapons stockpiled roof-high
If you saw it you would have to die-eye-eye
Don't be a pinko

#265 ::: g ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 06:40 PM:

TexAnne: Actually, I beat you to it :-).

Mopping up a few currently unidentified, latest first:

Maggie, 3.43: A A Milne, Disobedience.
Jonathan Edelstein, 12.48: Shelley, Ozymandias, again :-).
candle, 11.33: e e cummings, next to of course god i.

Oh, and no one's mentioned yet that Dave Luckett's little masterpiece beginning "Mari spammed me where I sat" and ending "No-one scammed me" is from Leigh Hunt's "Jenny kissed me". So I shall.

#266 ::: g ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 06:46 PM:

Hmm. After having the Tyger, I suppose we'd better also have ...

Little spam, who made thee?
No one knows who made thee,
Gave thee life, and bid thee breed
In countless spambots without heed;
Bearing promise of delight
(Take this pill and **** all night!);
Promising new mortgage choice,
Webcams, or a new Rolls-Royce.
Little spam, who made thee?
No one knows who made thee.

Little spam, I'll tell thee,
Little spam, I'll tell thee:
He is called by no name,
Hides away to send his spam.
He is meek and loves to hide,
Lest the Feds put him inside.
I am getting so much spam,
All I say is: damn, damn, damn.
Little spam, God damn thee!
Little spam, God damn thee!

Not very good; perhaps someone else can do better.

#267 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 07:49 PM:

g: Blake's "The Lamb".

Adam Sanford: sorry, all I can quote is bits of an MIT parody:

I grow scared, I grow scared
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers flared

I have seen the coeds talking, each to each
I do not care to have them talk to me

(and I was floored when a friend didn't recognize it; apparently east Texas didn't believe in teaching Eliot, even in early-70's high schools.)

#268 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 08:26 PM:

This one is because of CHip....

========================

Spammers have no couth at all
Couth at all
Couth at all

Spammers have no couth at all
Just a lot of greed!

Same line next verse,
Never gets better, never gets worse!

Spammers have not couth at all...
[Repeat until people run screaming out of the room]

#269 ::: Jonathan Edelstein ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 10:49 PM:

Jonathan Edelstein, 12.48: Shelley, Ozymandias, again :-).

Oh, hell, I missed your earlier effort. Hopefully this will make up for it:

***

Do you remember a Ploy,
Mariam?
Do you remember a Ploy?
And the spamming and the scamming
And the evidence damning
That the stash of cash that you did flash
Was a chimera meant to ensnare?
And the barks of the marks that you kept in the dark
(While for their wealth you went on to harry 'em?)
Do you remember the Bait,
Mariam?
Do you remember the Bait?
And the barks of the marks that you kept in the dark
Who never got a penny
And you weren't giving any
And they wouldn't find out 'til too late?
And the ching! kaching!
And ding
Of the till as they wired and mired
In your mails defrauding,
Lauding,
Gauding,
Luring and marauding,
Sucking 'em in with a sham
Flim and flam,
As you raked it all in at your lair!
Do you remember a Scam?
Mariam?
Do you remember a Scam?

Never more,
Mariam,
Never more.
Other dead strongmen's lore
Has put you in the bottom drawer.
These days
Scam-mailers pick Taylor or some other trailer
To sign
To make sure the marks' money strays,
These days;
But the fraud
Will never stop coursing abroad.

#270 ::: Maggie ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 11:20 PM:

g, you're right about A. A. Milne, although I didn't remember the name of the poem. I mostly remember just chanting it with my grandmother. I may be able to recite the whole thing from memory, even after all these years.

#271 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2005, 12:19 AM:

Well, it's not exactly spam, but it is formatted as if for PowerPoint, which is almost as obnoxious:

Resume of J. Alfred Prufrock
By Jonathan Vos Post
Copyright 2003 by Emerald City Publishing

Objectives:
 Let us go and make our visit
 (To determine): Do I dare disturb the universe?
 (To determine): So how should I presume?
 (To determine): Then how should I begin to spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
 I should have been a pair of ragged claws scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
 (To determine): Should I have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
 (To determine): Would it have been worth it, after all?
 To swell a progress, start a scene or two
 Advise the prince
 I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled
 (To determine): Shall I part my hair behind?
 (To determine): Do I dare to eat a peach?
 I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach

Experience:

Idiosyncratic Actions:
 I have measured out my life with coffee spoons
 I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
 I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed
 I have seen my head [grown slightly bald] brought in upon a platter
 I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker
 I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker
 I grow old I grow old
 Human voices wake us, and we drown

Idiosyncratic Use of Time:
 When the evening is spread out against the sky like a patient etherised upon a table
 Talking of Michelangelo
 Seeing that it was a soft October night
 For the yellow smoke that slides along the street
 To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet
 Time to murder and create
 Time for all the works and days of hands that lift and drop a question on your plate
 Time for you and time for me
 Time yet for a hundred indecisions, and for a hundred visions and revisions
 Time to wonder, Do I dare? and, Do I dare?
 Time to turn back and descend the stair
 For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse
 Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons
 When I am formulated, sprawling on a pin
 When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall
 The afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
 After tea and cakes and ices
 After the cups, the marmalade, the tea
 After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets
 After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor
 When the wind blows the water white and black

Idiosyncratic Locations Visited:
 through certain half-deserted streets
 restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
 sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells
 streets that follow like a tedious argument of insidious intent
 beneath the music from a farther room
 in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!
 We have lingered in the chambers of the sea

Education:
 I know the voices dying with a dying fall
 I have known the eyes already, known them all
 I have known the arms already, known them all
 It is impossible to say just what I mean!
 I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each
 I have seen them riding seaward on the waves

Personal Description:
 With a bald spot in the middle of my hair
 My collar mounting firmly to the chin
 My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin
 They will say: But how his arms and legs are thin!
 I am no prophetand heres no great matter
 I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be
 Am an attendant lord, one that will do
 Deferential, glad to be of use
 Politic, cautious, and meticulous
 Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse
 At times, indeed, almost ridiculous
 Almost, at times, the Fool

#272 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2005, 04:47 PM:

Mike's is based on "Teach Your Children" by Graham Nash.

MKK

#273 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2005, 04:55 PM:

Jonathan Edelstein's is Hilaire Belloc's "Tarantella." I had forgotten the poet's name, but I'll never forget singing Randall Thompson's TTBB arrangement of the poem in college. What a gas.

#274 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2005, 07:45 AM:

Since it's clearly unrecognisable, I should admit that my 11.02 contribution was intended as a take on Beowulf - albeit based on a bad translation I had lying around. Maybe one of the medievalists here can do it properly?

On a different note, it will be interesting to see who recognises this one:

[Monumental horror-rock intro]

So you've surfed the net for a year or two
And you know you've seen it all:
Seen the PayPal scam and a load more spam
For which your type don't fall.
That Cialis schtick never made you click
On the five-line link below,
And you laugh at the thought that anyone bought
From a source they didn't know,

But it's time to waste your hard-earned cash
On El Presidente's stash
Don't you see it's trash?
Don't you see it's trash?

This bank account in Nigeria
Could set you up for life!
This bank account in Nigeria
Owned by Abacha's wife...

You're overcome by greed as soon as you read
"This opportunity's just for you!
Make a simple switch and you can get rich
Off somebody much richer than you."
But you'd work harder for a sum in the bank
If you knew the price you'll pay:
Save your money and your kids won't starve
When the spammers steal away your stake!

But you don't know all their dark designs,
You ignore all the warning signs,
Write a couple lines...
Write a couple lines!

'Cause it's a
Bank account in Nigeria
Which survived the civil wars!
A bank account in Nigeria
And the money could be yours!

A bank account in Nigeria
You don't know that it's a trick!
A bank account in Nigeria
So send your details, quick!

[Pay Pal, Pay Pal, Pay Pal, Pay Pal etc.]

#275 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2005, 09:40 AM:

The Acid Queen from Tommy.

#276 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2005, 10:29 AM:

Nope, it's the Dead Kennedys' "Holiday in Cambodia"!

#277 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2005, 10:39 AM:

Oh, and well done, by the way.

(Now, of course, I'll have that in my head for the rest of the day. )

#278 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2005, 11:01 AM:

g and Jonathan: Heck! I beg your pardon. See what I get for posting while grading; I must have missed whole terabytes of the discussion.

#279 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2005, 12:48 PM:

TexAnne:

Why did the teacher crash her car?

Because she was grading on the curve.

#280 ::: Jonathan Edelstein ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2005, 03:04 PM:

TexAnne:

g and Jonathan: Heck! I beg your pardon.

Not mine. You got there before me; I was the third one to do Shelley, so I need to beg your pardon.

#281 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2005, 06:07 PM:

JVP: How have I been in the biz for so long without ever hearing that joke before? (Surely I did once, and then promptly repressed it.)

Jonathan E: Possibly the only person owed an apology is Shelley anyway.

#282 ::: Benja ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2005, 09:19 PM:

A man, a plan, a state, an aim; a corps, a boss, a death, a dame;
a house, arrest, a fear, avail; a son, a court, a jail, a bail;
a guard, a husband, funds, decease; the feds, a bank, accounts, a freeze;
a stock, a hold, a claim, a lease; a trick, a move, a sum, --

( Thirty million US Dollars! )

-- a sleaze; a safe, a firm, an aim, a guise; a girl, a meet, a talk, surmise;
(no men: a cop, a search, the spies); a gift, rewards, a pay, a prize!
A mail, an address, contact, drama; a cat, a canal: Panama!

#283 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2005, 03:41 AM:

Glenn Hauman: Allan Sherman, "Camp Granada"

Half right. The original tune, "Dance of the Hours," was the career peak of one Amilcare Ponchielli:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amilcare_Ponchielli

Half half right. The title of the Allan Sherman song is actually "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh".

---

"We are poor, mother Miriam," the young man said,
"And your husband was killed in a coup;
And now I am kept under guard in a shed --
Pray, what are we going to do?

"Do not fear," mother Miriam replied to her child,
"I have got an ingenious scheme;
That will help us get free and escape to the wild,
And escape the civilian regime."

"We are poor," said the youth, "as I mentioned before,
And our income's exceptionally flat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door --
Pray what is the reason for that?"

"I have sent," said the sage, as she shook her grey locks,
"An email that now goes abroad
To a person I'm sure will assist to outfox --
Assuming he doesn't cry fraud."

"We are poor," said the youth, "and our prospects are bleak
For hoping to exit Nigeria;
Yet you claim we'll be out in just over a week --
Pray, have you developed hysteria?"

"Your father secreted thirty million U.S.,
By means of a secret deposit;
Even after a fee; ten percent I should guess,
Will leave us enough, I should posit."

"We are poor," said the youth, "one would hardly suppose
That your plan can be done using just us;
How can we pull off the grand heist you propose
While avoiding the forces of justice?"

"We will find us a helpmate by spamming the net,"
Said Ms. Abacha. "He'll transfer the dough
From our account to his, then your sister will get
The remainder, and then off we go."

#284 ::: g ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2005, 06:16 AM:

Hardly necessary to say, but Glenn's latest is a takeoff of Dodgson's[1] "You are old, Father William", which in turn is a takeoff of Southey's "The old man's comforts, and how he gained them". (You can tell it's the former rather than the latter because it has 8 verses rather than 6. And also because everyone knows the former and no one knows the latter.)

[1] Oh, all right. Carroll's.

#285 ::: Jonathan Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2005, 07:15 AM:

Benja's piece: Thomas Hood's "November".

#286 ::: Benja ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2005, 09:08 AM:

Jonathan: Nope, it's just the Panama palindrome(s) -- see the nielsenhayden front page and links from there. :)

#287 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2005, 12:11 AM:

and no one knows the latter.)

"... in the days of my youth I remembered my God. And He hath not forgotten my age."

#288 ::: g ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2005, 07:41 AM:

Show-off! But I wonder how many *other* lines you can remember from it. (I think the lines I can remember are precisely the first one -- same as in CLD's parody -- and the last two, which you quoted. I have a hazy recollection of a few bits in the middle, but when I try to remember specific words the "interference" from the parody is too strong.)

#289 ::: Sarashay ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2005, 07:00 PM:

I likewise have the distinction of submitting a poem to poetry.com and being met with silence. This was the poem:

Test

This is a test.
Had this been an actual poem
it would have said something.
This is only a test.

I thought it was actually pretty dada, myself, but I think they mistook my irony for intent.

#290 ::: Benja ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2005, 09:34 AM:

Congratulations! :-)

#291 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2005, 11:39 AM:

You are cheerful and love to converse upon death/Now tell me the reason I pray.

#292 ::: g ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2005, 07:29 PM:

I bow before your superior knowledge. Or your superior willingness to bother asking Google, of course. :-)

#293 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2005, 07:35 PM:

I have a trick memory for verse.

#295 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2005, 04:48 PM:

"Your penis can be 12 inches long,
it isn't, right now, innit?"
If it would please my lovely spouse,
I'd shrink it in a minute.

#296 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2005, 12:56 AM:

Recent news -- in a more prosaic form -- of some pertinence here:
Nigerian woman in bank scam jailed ( www.eastandard.net/hm_news/news.php?articleid=25425)

LAGOS, Sunday A court convicted a Nigerian woman of helping defraud a Brazilian bank of $242 million in the West African country's biggest international fraud case
Amaka Anajemba was convicted on Friday, sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison and ordered to give up $25.5 million in cash and assets -- including houses in Nigeria, the United States, Britain and Switzerland -- to help repay the bank ...
Nigeria has earned global notoriety as a base for criminals arranging "advance fee" or "419" scams, named after the section of Nigeria's criminal code that prohibits the schemes. The Brazilian bank case is the biggest ever publicly disclosed in Nigeria.

419: Anajemba Jailed for 30 Months ( allafrica.com/stories/200507170023.html)
Vanguard (Lagos) July 16, 2005 - by Wahab Abdulah & Jesukri Imoni
Eighteen months after her arraignment with two others for conspiring to swindle a Brazilian bank in the biggest ever Advance Fee Fraud offences, 37 year-old widow, Mrs Amaka Martina Anajemba was yesterday convicted after pleading guilty to the charges preferred against her by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). She will spend two years behind bar and forfeit all properties acquired through the fraudulent means.

#297 ::: John M. Ford uncans spam ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2005, 08:08 PM:

Self-referential, too.

#298 ::: cd finds comment spam ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2005, 04:37 PM:

Seems like it, anyway.

#299 ::: Emily S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2005, 07:45 PM:

Congratulations all on making art out of spam. Goes to show you that you can make art out of anything.

And John M. Ford? As in Pyramid? *squints at John*

#300 ::: John M. Ford disspamulates ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2005, 02:57 AM:

And yes, Emily, different site, same old geek.

#301 ::: John M. Ford says "spammity spam" ::: (view all by) ::: August 07, 2005, 12:51 AM:

... though the joke, like gum on a bedpost, has lost its zing.

#302 ::: Michelle K finds more spam ::: (view all by) ::: August 07, 2005, 05:29 PM:

Sometimes, persistence is not a virture.

#303 ::: Andrew Willett finds yet more comment spam ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2005, 12:27 AM:

Hokey smokes. Now can we make spam a capital offense? Please?

#304 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2005, 11:23 AM:

If you want, AOL is giving away a convicted spammer's property. Get some here: http://news.com.com/This+spammers+stash+could+be+yours/2100-7350_3-5826897.html?tag=st_lh

#305 ::: Squrfle finds comment spam ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2005, 09:23 PM:

So since the thread was talking about spam is it still spam to spam the thread?


Squrfle

#306 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2005, 10:10 AM:

Maybe the spammers search on keywords when they're finding places for their comment spam, and this thread looks like it's unguarded?

#307 ::: John Houghton -Spamalittle above ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2005, 06:34 AM:

Either there is spam between this post and James D. Macdonald's post, or there isn't.

#308 ::: Alexis Duncan points at more comment spam ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2005, 08:03 AM:

...as if it were necessary.

#309 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2006, 10:56 PM:

It's all fun until someone loses an eye: observe the sad story of John Worley, who sent over $40,000 of his own money to Nigeria and went to jail for check fraud. Even after he'd been convicted, Worley still believed he'd been corresponding with the genuine Maryam Abacha, that she genuinely had vast sums of money, and she still needed his help.

An enduring trait of Nigerian letter scammersindeed, of most con artistsis their reluctance to walk away from a mark before his resources are exhausted. On February 5, 2003, several days after the checks were revealed as phony, after Worley was under siege by investigators, after his bank account had been frozen, after he had called his partners evil bastards, Worley received one more e-mail from Mercy Nduka.


I am quite sympathetic about all your predicaments, she wrote, but the truth is that we are at the final step and I am not willing to let go, especially with all of these amounts of money that you say that you have to pay back. She needed just one more thing from Worley and the millions would be theirs: another three thousand dollars.


You have to trust somebody at times like this, she wrote. I am waiting your response.

Maryam Abacha, and her son Mohammed, still ride.

#310 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2006, 11:53 AM:

John Crowley thinks you guys are just a bit too witty --

Which, considering it comes from a writer whose sentences strike me dumb with admiration, is no very bad thing to hear.

(Thanks for the pointer, Andrew Willett.)

#311 ::: Margaret Menamin ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2006, 01:51 AM:

You people are blinkin' geniuses. Why aren't you sending this stuff to Light Magazine or Iambs & Trochees?

#312 ::: Jenn ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 03:08 AM:

Miriam Miriam Abacha Abacha (To Disobedience by AA Milne)

Miriam Miriam Abacha Abacha
Widow of Great Nigerian Chief
Took GREAT care of her husband
Though she was really a thief.
Miriam Miriam said to her husband
"Nkuba," she said, said she
"You must NEVER put 30 mil in the bank
If you don't make me beneficiary!"

Miriam Miriam Abacha's husband
Put on his coat and his hat
Miriam Miriam Abacha's husband
Sat around getting real fat
Miriam Miriam Abacha's husband
Said "Look at this vast amount!
I can keep to myself all this
marvelous cash if I keep that bitch off the account!"

The Nigerians put up a notice
"HELP WE IMPLORE BEFORE GOD!
MIRIAM MIRIAM ABACHA'S HUSBAND
HAS DIED AND LEFT HER DOWNTROD!
HER MONEY IS LOCKED UP IN ESCROW!
HER LIFE IS A HIDEOUS MESS!
PUT YOUR SAVINGS ON LINE TO ASSIST THE POOR WIDOW
AND THEN HAVE NO GROUNDS FOR REDRESS!"

Marian Marian Abacha Abacha
(Commonly known as Mare)
Sent out vast bunches of e-mail
Hoping some sucker to snare.
Marian Marian said to her husband
"Nkuba," she said, said she
"You must NEVER put 30 mil in the bank
If you don't make me beneficiary!"

Marian Marian Abacha's spam
Has made a splash oh so fine
Of a type that is really quite famous
It goes by the name four one nine.
The Nigerians, (somebody told me)
Said to the fools in their tears:
"If you were stupid enough to believe, well, fuck you in the ears!"

M.M. A.A W.O.G.N.C.
Took great c/o her h******
Though she was really a thi3f
M.M. said to her h******
"H******," she said, said she:
"You must NEVER put 30 mil in the bank
If you don't make me beneficiary!"

#313 ::: Fleurdamour ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2009, 07:33 PM:

Miriam Abacha - the first poet in history to earn $30Mil with her work.

#315 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2009, 09:22 PM:

Pretty sure it isn't spam, Serge. No links at all, on topic, and unique.

#316 ::: Tom ::: (view all by) ::: August 07, 2010, 08:19 AM:

sorry, a couple of false starts with the posting system. I think there should be an anthology of this..:

I WANDER'D lonely as a widow
That trails the vales of lovely Lagos,
When all at once I saw a stash,
A host, of thirty million;
Left by my late, beneath the grate,
The fruit of rule, deprived by fate.

Continuous as the oil that flows

And gushes on the Niger Delta,
They promise dreams of undreamed joy
To make up for my ‘prisoned boy:
All I need then is your bank,
Ten percent by way of thank.

Together we can dance; but they

Will buy yacht and jacuzzi:
A widow could not but be gay,
Sharing wealth with your company:
I spammed -- and spammed -- but little thought
What email inbox snarl I wrought:

For oft, when in mansion I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the 30 mills.

#317 ::: janetl wonders if spammers write poetry ::: (view all by) ::: August 07, 2010, 12:18 PM:

The first two attempts have a commercial link.

#318 ::: Stephan Brun ::: (view all by) ::: August 07, 2010, 03:31 PM:

Tom is probably the CEO of the company whose website he advertises. The poem is even topical (though i cannot vouch for its quality). I vote for genuine.

#319 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 07, 2010, 04:02 PM:

I too vote for genuine, and I hope Tom sticks around. We can always use more poets.

#320 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 07, 2010, 06:09 PM:

You may not vouch for its quality, but I do. Any spammer (not that I'm saying it was meant as spam!) who can write poetry that good deserves to have it left up.

#321 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 07, 2010, 06:10 PM:

And, just in case someone asks, yes I realize he was filking Wordsworth.

#322 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 07, 2010, 06:58 PM:

Yeah, also the linked company seems to be Tom's consulting outfit, rather than a merchant or other public-facing thing.

#323 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 07, 2010, 07:19 PM:

Oh good. I liked his poem, and I'd hate to think spam could make me lie back and enjoy like it.

#324 ::: Tom ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2010, 08:47 AM:

Thanks for the kind words on my attempt, I have been rereading this column several times since 2005 and love it each time. This year I couldn't resist - but failed to make the 2 minute cutoff time for writing. Yes, it is my company/blog. However, I wish some generous mistress of cyberdomains would be kind enough to end the 2 errors through deletion.

#325 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2010, 08:52 AM:

Tom, welcome! A hint--when I attempt poetry, I compose it as a text file, then copy/paste into the window.

#326 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2010, 10:26 AM:

False starts unpublished.

Two minute cutoff?

#327 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2010, 10:37 AM:

Probably the connection is timing out (I've had it happen, when the response time gets really slow).

#328 ::: Tom ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2010, 07:25 PM:

2 minute cutoff, sorry I was joking, but referring to the blurb on the Wocky Jivvy website. "The only writing guideline used for the poems presented here was that the poet could take no longer than two minutes per poem" . I was amazed at the sheer quantity and quality of poems generated between June 29 and July 3 2005 - must have been a good phase of the moon? Thanks for the surgery of false starts.

#329 ::: Mr. Alexander Simon ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 07:02 AM:

Most van itt az tymme egy új szerelem.
Költészet él, és ez olyan nagy
Neve? Mr. Michael James Morrison (2.).
Amikor Eh-tyúk. A héber egy új szűz.
varjú a nap. egy fiatal fiú. clearance
és a fehér homokos Wye. mint az eső. Új?
számokat a hónap folyamán véget ért.


Az idő most fészkelnek öntött.
élet vissza thwirce.
csak a Grün-mumnies, (s)
idegesít (9i) mosollyal le az összes ellenséges - apast!


Hogyan wer »angol és Amerie.
vitorlákat. abover a amott.
és soha nem brerave.


Ó, comman heriorst, Ay volt. A mart.
• Brevaldier bátor, nem Buddha clast utolsó öbölben ...
mondani. én és az összes blaxe stweain.
minden csapat, amely képes a skót elveszett?


Nem ... mint Engladier, vagy ah nekem?


A. complentiernier Lady beQyaeare az a dal. , A
oszlop szárny és báj, és balsit fa Regelant,
IRD. énekelni. Lapozzunk a megnyitását az üdvözlést,
Sear (er).!


Hoal, és Shcoal. valaha wer »
Énekelj a GAROUIE net.
DISE ÉS Parl,
FILA az apámmal?
A FLAG-a
A legnagyobb TIME

#330 ::: Lila suspects spam ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 07:11 AM:

At best, a drive-by.

#331 ::: praisegod barebones spots Hungarian SPAM ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 09:48 AM:

Not gyulas, since that's made with beef, but maybe pörkölt.

#332 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 10:09 AM:

Can one make goulash from spam?

#333 ::: praisegod barebones has now read the whole thread, and thinks it may be in topic after all ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 10:44 AM:

Either that, or spambots have now passed the Turing test.

#334 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 11:45 AM:

Google translate yields this for the first stanza:

Now is the tymme a new love.
Poetry is alive and it's great
Name? Mr. Michael James Morrison (2).
When Eh-hen. The Hebrew is a new virgin.
crow the day. a young boy. clearance
and the white sands of Wye. like the rain. New?
numbers during the month ended.

though tymme may be a hamis barat here.

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