The Commuter Challenge

1 February 2011

The February 2011 Challenge

by CC @ 05:20

Create an original nonsense poem, or nonsense-ish poem. Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” or e. e. cummings’s “the way to hump a cow is not” are both good examples of the genre and its potential range. Twelve lines is the minimum. (There is no maximum.) No fair writing random nonsense, however: Like Humpty Dumpty, you should be able to completely explain what your poem means. (Though like any canny artist, you should probably refrain from actually doing so.) One final requirement: your poem should include, however fleeting, a reference to a towel — preferably without explicitly mentioning it, but we’ll leave this to your artistic discretion.

The Results

Ryan Finholm

Erin Yes in the W.C.

She moped at the soap.
She glowered at the shower.
She snubbed the tub.
She slighted the light.
She shushed the brush.
She chastened the basin.
She complained at the drain.
She shouted at the grout.
She scolded the bowl.
She growled at the towel.
She spat at the mat.
She swore at the floor
She roared at the door.
And she yelled at the smell.
She yelled and yelled and yelled and yelled at the smell.
Eric Waldow

The Temodar

Told in tales hushed and shadowed,
Rumors scattered near and far.
Matulane in search of riches,
Sought the treasued Temodar.
So I too pursued its glory,
On the hexalen I rode.
Procytox wrapped in a towel,
Armed with ifex, fed by shird.
Over dower, beyond orchard,
Fields full of cisplatin;
Leaves of melphalan lay scattered
All aqupla by the wind.
Through the center, all surrounded,
By the mines of myerlan.
Past the union, undivided,
Vaults of purine analogues.
Groves of aromatic cedar,
Resin hardened as a gem.
Harvested by fludarabine,
Oncovined by artisans.
One last rubicin confronts me,
A democ guards this tender prize.
His weapons, mithracin and guile,
Assault my ears but not my eyes.
But democs hold no power for me,
Answer riddles by the score;
Prying loose from places hidden,
I have the precious Temodar.
Brian Timares


The rabbit dives into a hole
“I’ll eat that tiger whole!
“I’ll swallow his soul
“I’ll slice & dice him into a bowl”
He has himself a goal
It’s time to rock and roll
Curious I jump and do a barrel roll
Diving into the ominous black hole
Soon, I’m sure, I’ll reach my goal
Soon my mind will again be whole
I won’t cast it out to sea in a bowl
Knowledge will bring peace to my soul
Food is needed for my belly, not just my soul
Something to eat, a dinner roll
Ah, red velvet cake in a bowl
I stuff it into my pie hole
Then I realize I was never whole
Growing in awareness was not my goal!
The rabbit goes on, where is the goal?
This freaks me out, this hurts my soul
Am I the one to make things whole?
I mop my brow, my eyes they roll
How can I fill the hole?
I’m a tiny cup, I’m not a bowl
It’s getting as hot as the dust bowl
Can the promised land be the goal?
But the rabbit continues up the hole
He’s quite the merry soul
And he moves with a roll
This seems something else on the whole
I start to surface, to feel whole
I sense excitement like at the Super Bowl
Then I hear a drum roll
I think the rabbit has reached his goal
To reach it he didn’t sell his soul
Thunderous applause as he bursts out of the hole
I’m in some hole in the wall eating a spring roll
A whole meal of chicken and shrimp fills my bowl
Dining with the rabbit and my soul mate, this was the goal
Brian Raiter
I live my life out in my brayte
My roods to fit my width are wide
With lofts downlow to space not spate
To match my breetmost updown side
My chairs are all a size jessride
And lightumbras are perfect lee
It’s plainly ob for sight to guide
That this here brayte was made for me
I work to stay unpestulate
All vermin at my lolls denied
So I was quite one day prostrate
To find a mouse my sink beside
Rodentium, quit my brayte inside
I said to it with calm endee
You are mistake it but replied
For this here brayte was made for me
It pointed at a metal skate
Extending out the cupboard side
See how it said this shelf is great
That hold my dishes to provide
And when I need to have them dried
This dusty rag is simply kea
No it’s plain as light defied
That this here brayte was made for me
And this is how I come confide
At doorstep beg a spot to be
I could not get that mouse’s pride
To say my brayte was made for me


  1. I wrote a poem; I promise I did. Now my mail client is crapping out on me. I’ll send it to breadbox as soon as I can, but it may be after midnight.

    by Eric Waldow — 28 February 2011 @ 23:31

  2. Tried another client; hope it worked.

    by Eric Waldow — 28 February 2011 @ 23:42

  3. Oh, assuming mine did get submitted, could I ask everyone to e-mail any comments to me and not to post them here. Thanks.

    by Eric Waldow — 1 March 2011 @ 00:02

  4. Wow, what a great range of different styles this month. Ryan’s is short, but dense. It’s very reminiscent of Shel Silverstein, and I’ll be shocked if that’s not what he was intending. No comment on Eric’s as per request. And I certainly wasn’t expecting anyone to write a sestina.

    As for myself, I went with a ballade structure. I also played with ungrammatical constructs, something I haven’t tried before. It’s okay, but I’m a bit unhappy with it: I had been planning to do one last pass over it just before submitting, but then I dozed off and woke up mere minutes before midnight. That’s also why my poem doesn’t have a title or any punctuation.

    by Brian — 1 March 2011 @ 04:24