It fell about contest time
and a good time it was then,
when all who flail in meter’s lair
gathered with their kin.

Aristocratic diatribe aside
judges took it all in stride
someone must reside
in tower rooms, windows open oh so wide
to gaze at the lowly countryside.

Follow directions to the letter
said the website in red print.
Humdrum works will not get better
no matter how they are stacked and bent.

And please, the small typeface cried,
spare us ’emotions in rhyme’.
Time is slim and time is money, we
are judges not drudges, honey.

Pain rhymes with brain, but not with us,
such bathos will be thrown under,
with the baby,
the rose red and violet bus.

When all is said and done, it better weep
or howl, tooth and jowl.
We like to suffer from afar
yet prefer Hieronymus to Renoir.

Don’t use clichés,
you have a thesaurus
put in Slow Loris,
or something herbivorous.

You may be scathing, sarcastic, or propitiated
you can be mad or sad, but never!
(pftt) glad,
much less complacent.

Point obliquely to shame
and sin. Never, ever,
end on a win.
Death must hover, never descend

We want frisson to last forever,
or at least close to the
despondent, ignominious
lip-smacking end.

Despair is what we are looking for
with anger,
or insouciance,
or something else french: ambiance.

Make the reader cringe at once.
Never give an inch,
the bugbear of irenic stance.

Life means strife,
go and find it!
Ruined girls, distress, reproach,
We find sublimity gauche.

In plaintive recognition, we
will grant the favored designation,
Poet Sophisticate,
to those of a
sensational inclination.