Bad Poetry Contest Winners 2009

The best of the worst.

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In July 2009, MyJewishLearning launched its first Bad Poetry Contest, with the explicitly stated goal of finding the worst Jewish poem ever. A month later, on August 18 -- also known as Bad Poetry Day -- the winners were announced and published.

bad poetryWe received more than 200 submissions ranging from epics to haiku, mp3 songs to handwritten love letters, poems so good they could make you cry to...well, poems so bad they could make you cry. Our first-place winner received an iPod stacked with poetry, as well as a JDub Records package and a rubber chicken. The second-place finalist received books from Jewish Publication Society and a set of bongo drums, and the third-place finalist received a copy of Haikus for Jews. All entries were read blind, with no names attached.

Bashert
By Yonah Lavery
First Place

I first saw you, baby, in Mea Sharim.
Your lovely eyes downcast, your shtreimel agleam,
Your luscious lips let loose a horrible scream
And you pointed at me. I thought it was a dream,

And was all in a tizz when you threw the first stone,
Since this loving act prompted me to atone
For my bared lower shins, not okay in this zone.
You broke my heart, baby, and my collar bone.

You shouted “Zonah!” and I reached my nirvana.
Oh beautiful creature, sweeter than Tropicana,
Your judgment so harsh, your skin smooth as banana,
The comeliest student of Meir Kahane!

 

The Maven
By Amy Oseroff and Miriam Wildeman
Second Place

Once inside a Succah dreary,
While I pondered Jewish theory,
Seeking answers to my query,
Responsa tomes strewn 'round the flooring,
While I studied, deeply poring,
Oy gevalt! in came my mother,
Seeking this and nothing more,
“Darling, I need halvah from the store.”
Sighed my mother from the door,
     “Only this, and nothing more.”

Nothing more? “Oh mother never,
Never was your list so brief.
Are you well? Have you a fever?
You don’t need schmaltz? Or corned beef either?”
Sighed my mother from the door,
     ”Only this, and nothing more.”

So I schlepped off to the store, buying halvah, nothing more,
But when I came back through the gate, see,
My mother stood there, to await me.
“Nu, darling, I forgot. I also need some mandelbrot.”
“Mother, please think this fully through,
since I have other things to do.
One more thing you need, or four?”
Sighed my mother from the door,
     ”Only this, and nothing more.”

Mutely moaning, “It’s a mitzvah,”
Aloud I asked her, “Need some kishke?”
How about some lukshen kugel
Or apples for your famous strudel?”
But, “No,” said she, “mandelbrot is all I wish for.”
Sighed my mother from the door,
     “Only this, and nothing more.”

So off I went straight to the deli,
Marching past the herring smelly,
Ignoring matzos, and the soup stock,
Passing by the liver chop block,
Home I came, with one thing only,
Only mandelbrot, lost and lonely.
Sighed my mother from the door,
     “Only this, and nothing more.”

“We have the food now for the party,
But we need to clean up, smarty.
I don’t mind stacks of books around the Succah,
But should my friends know you use a hookah?
We have the food we need, but wait! That recipe from the rebbetzin – ”
I gasped, “Which cabinet’s the Manischewitz in?
Mom, I won’t go back to the store. I have had it -
     Nevermore!”

 

Blue Dishes
By Jordana Horn
Third Place

He said blue dishes “looked dairy,”
She said she’d use them for meat.
He told her, stop being contrary
But she said she wouldn’t retreat.

You would think that someday, the fight would go away
That love and time both would resolve it.
But you would be wrong:
Marriage can be quite long
And if anything, this fight dissolved it.

There are those who contend that she went ’round the bend
And purely had acted from spite
When, on their silver, he came down the stairs
And was shocked when he turned on the light.
Surrounded by blue dishes in the kitchen was she
She gestured and said, “Here I am!
I TOLD you these dishes were better for meat!”
And he saw. They were covered with ham.