Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Lucius Cavendish in the Amazon



Once upon a time I was lured into creating and submitting a poem for a contest. They’d caught me in a weak moment, when I could not only blind myself to the fact that the “contest” was nothing more than a ploy to get people to wear their logo and hyperlink in public like a roadside sandwich board walker, but also to the reality that art judged by corporate interest is awarded praise based on almost anything but the quality of the art; lowest common denominator is a phrase created by corporate hive mind and though I well understand it I am allergic to standing within its aura.

It was a prompted affair, one that required said prompt words to be hyperlinked to their “answers dot com” website so as to take advantage of a submitter’s audience, prodding them to create all important advertiser desired “clicks”, and initiate readers into the habit of linking Answers.com with all written knowledge. The prompt words and phrases were: • ubiquitous • yo-yo • brown recluse spider • quixotic • abrogate • perfunctory • quid pro quo • Belize • for all intents and purposes • melissophobia

And so I wrote the following…

My name is Lucius Cavendish, Bee Whisperer of Note.
Perhaps you’ve seen me on TV, or papers that I wrote.
You may think my work quixotic, I assure you that’s a myth;
And I will here endeavor to convince you all forthwith.

Now fear is quite ubiquitous, at least in humankind.
It has to do with mucked up senses (heralds of the mind);
as in: melissophobia, the terror of our bees.
The very thought of fuzz with wings might bring men to their knees!

For all intents and purposes the bees command our hope.
Without them we would have no crops, nor any form of dope!
And yet their tiny stingers, all defensive I might add,
make people not distinguish twixt the good bees and the bad!

They spray their mass insecticides; perfunctory abuse!
They want their apples hole-less, and their oranges plump with juice!
While killing off malicious pests, they know not what they’ve done.
They’ve poisoned all the honey bees, and one day there’ll be none!

The governments around the world did abrogate their charge;
“We promise to protect you!” (“and then bill you all at large”)
I filed the invoice on receipt, and sent this in its place;
“Please stop the chemist genocide upon the human race!”

Unlike a well tossed yo-yo, my announcement flew one way.
I haven’t heard but idle threats: “Please send a check TODAY!”
And so I learned to whisper, in the jungles of Belize.
My mastery came quid pro quo; (I traded Gouda cheese.)

I whisper for the little bees, the larvae of the hatch;
For one brown recluse spider, that he has a meal to catch.
I’ve whispered now for 30 years, I seem to have no clout.
So if you don’t stop killing bees, I’ll have to scream and shout!


Of course I didn’t win. The winner was posted publicly, and reluctantly I read it. It’s possible what drivel had taken the prize was written by an Axl Rose groupie while in a drunken stupor while hanging on to the bottom of the tour bus traveling at 70 mph through a cow pie infested Vermont field. But more likely it was penned by a third grade relative of the CEO of Answers.com. This of course added insult to injury; not only was I preyed upon by evil corporate forces, duped by my own self esteem hubris and taken on a long walk off a short pier by my very own poetry muses, I was shown up by the writer of a turd in sheep’s clothing.

I was disheartened. I might have won a gift certificate to Amazon, where I've never been. Imagine, floating down the river, catching anacondas, eating bugs with names I can't pronounce. Actually, it'd have been nice to give something away, something someone could use, rather than what I usually give away which ranges from a middle finger to unwanted advice. And so it goes. My first entry. My first absolute disinterest shown by anonymous judges. My first ego-crushing by proxy. It is at least exactly like applying for a job. If you're not the chosen, you cease to exist. I vowed to take my qwerty and go home… but first… I stole a song and ruined it, mostly cuz I can.

I've got every reason on earth to be mad,
'cause I've just lost the only writing contest* I had.
If I could get my way, I'd get myself locked up today,
but I can't so I cry instead.

I've got a chip on my shoulder that's bigger than my feet,
I can't talk to people that I meet.
If I could see you now, I'd try to make you sad somehow,
but I can't so I cry instead.

Don't want to cry when there's people there,
I get shy when they start to stare,
I'm gonna hide myself away, ay hay;
But I'll come back again someday.

And when I do you'd better hide all the writing contests*,
I'm gonna break (other inferior writers)* hearts all 'round the world.
Yes, I'm gonna break them in two,
and show you what your (writing contest winner)* man can do,
until then I'll cry instead.

Lyric by Lennon/McCartney * Modifications by Sore Loser

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