Posted on May 5, 2021 at 6:27 p.m. by West Side Rag
By Carol Tannenhauser
Our West Side Rag T-Shirt-for-a-poem contest taught us a few things.
First, people really like our T-shirts (although some prefer colors over white.) Josh P. wrote: “This shirt is Zizmorcore’s ultimate holy grail.” Zizmorcore is a term for “wearable New York pride” and refers to the great Dr. Zizmor of subway advertising fame.
“I want one so badly,” said MattParis, while Chills and shirtless wrote, “I can’t stress this enough: PLEASE sell these shirts! Out of charity! For web hosting fees! For paying contributors! To cover the cost of the shirts! I don’t *almost* care where my money goes or how much you want, I NEED this shirt!! Laurel Gilbert pulled out all the stops. “You have to sell these T-shirts. I need a big one and a very small one. WSR is a WS institution and should be celebrated. Give me your prize!”
The second thing we learned is that many of you are quite good at writing haiku poems. What is a haiku? It’s simple: five syllables, seven syllables, five syllables. How do you infuse meaning into these syllables? Ah, here’s the catch. Here are some Haiku poems sent by our readers.
West Side Rag Tee,
object of my desire
I’ll wear you to shreds
– Chills and shirtless
The mask hides the emotions
I bought an eyebrow pencil
Hoping this will help
– Christine E.
a soft light sweeps the seagull
dash and soar in a windy chase
the spirit sings loud
– Naomi Serviss
spandex clad bikers
not a velodrome
Spring is in the air
fragrant cherry blossoms sway
– Suzanne F
We also discovered the limericks. Poetry 101 taught us: “A limerick is a five-line poem which consists of a single stanza, an AABBA rhyme scheme, and the subject of which is a short, concise tale or description. More limericks are comical, some are downright crude, and almost all are trivial in nature. Here are some limericks sent in by readers and a variation on goats.
Once upon a time there was a t-shirt I needed,
So at the comments section, I pleaded:
“I’m cold and I have no style!”
But other commentators are witty and candid,
So this Limerick shoddy proof that I didn’t cheat
– Chills and shirtless
An Upper West Sider named Yates
Went around Central Park on her skates
On one of its falls
He injured his head
Which then made him useless on dates.
New kosher pizzeria to go out!
Isn’t that the very essence of New York?
With meat impossible
A forbidden treat
Becomes a fast favourite, no doubt!
Once upon a time there was a neighborhood band
Who shared coffee and stories on the stoops
They planted bulbs in the fall
Which in the spring has become flowery
Together, they formed a friendly troop.
Once upon a time there was a bunch of friends
With Amsterdam and Central Park at its ends
Their newsletter shared stories
Accomplishments, sorrows, joys and worries
And events that anyone could attend.
Once upon a time there was such a beautiful block association
They all lived on West Sixty-Nine
Fifty years since this group met
Meeting was what mattered
They will come together again, after the pandemic, in due course.
– West 69er
Once upon a time there was a lady
His name was sweet Massey
She was a ranger at Riverside Park
His friends Bella and Buckle
Responded with a chuckle
When she had an idea about a lark
Chalupa and bowling
Both named after victuals
Inspired her to shout “Listen!”
“Let us feast on these weeds,
Fill the needs of our stomachs
Eat from dawn to dark
“We’ll call it ‘vegetation management’
Or ‘poison ivy banishment’
We will have really made our mark
“But really we’re just going to eat,
Siesta, meeting of neighbors,
Hear the birds sing and the dogs bark
“They’ll think we’re so smart
We will make the earth better
Riverside Park’s Best Eaters
– Chalupa 4ever
Then there was one who traveled to the beat of his own drum.
The Sabbath was coming as I walked up Broadway,
Looking for a challah, I went to Fairway.
I arrived and found the crowd weird,
So I collected my suitcases and went to Zabars!
– Michael H
And then there was an ode, rivaling Keats over a Greek urn.
“Ode on the West Side Rag”
You’re still an unpulitzer’d news site,
You local source of updates and good times,
The Manhattan historian, who can thus express
A more succinct opening or closing than your rhymes:
What lox-fring’d bagel haunts mouths
Locals or tourists, or both,
In temptation or with sliced onions?
What tastes or flavors are these? What new fish?
Which Starbucks closed? What dirtbike hasn’t been hunted?
What is spotted in the park? What wild animals?
Hearing the breaking news is sweet, but it’s unheard
is softer; therefore, headlines, post on it;
Not by sultry ear, but, more to read,
Show to eyes titles without tone:
Handsome scribe, on the street, you can’t leave
Your news, and these streets can never be bare;
Bold newsagent, never, never can you peddle,
Although you are still standing with the paper, do not grieve;
it can’t fade, though you don’t have your piece,
You will falcon forever, and it will be news!
Your sheet, and never say goodbye to sleeves;
Forever typing comments forever new;
No more West Side Rags! more West Side Rag!
Forever updated and fresh to be enjoyed,
Forever posting, and forever news;
All writing stories of Manhattan high above,
It leaves a reader aware and informed
A burning thought and a NIMBY tongue.
Who are they coming in the comments?
To what dark text, o mysterious poet,
Are you writing this poem pulling for shirts,
And all her silk labels with hints of laundry?
Which west street near Hudson or the park side,
Or corner-built with peaceful cooperative council,
Is it emptied of these people, this Monday morning?
And, west side, your streets forever
Will the display be; and not a soul to tell
Why are you posting, can you answer.
O rag of the west side! Fair news blog! with text
HTML and links to click,
With comment strings and sponsored ads;
You, digital form, you tease us out of thought
Like eternity: march or else!
When old age meets this generation,
You will stay, among other blogs
Than ours, friend of all, to whom you say,
“The West Side Rag t-shirt is beautiful, that’s all
You know Manhattan, and everything you need to know.
– Shivering and Shirtless (no more!)
Everyone whose poem appears above is a winner (one for a customer). Additionally, we are now officially out of this edition of the T-shirt – as well as all sizes other than small and medium. Please email westsiderag on gmail and we’ll tell you how to collect your prizes.
As for the WSR “merch”, it is still ongoing. Anecdotally, it seems that T-shirts have been more popular than mugs. Here’s what a few past winners suggested.
I f said:
Sounds like to me the West Side Rag needs to start selling merchandise. You could have a tote (West Side bag), a pennant (West Side flag), a baseball t-shirt (West Side raglan), various pet products (West Side wag) and more. Call the online store (and gifts like this) West Side Swag.
Linda E. said:
Your suggestion that the West Side Rag consider making merchandise like a tote (bag), pennant (flag) and pet products (wag) is great, but don’t you think they should also make something like a kitchen towel, because that would be, you know, a West Side… Rag. 🙂
At a next contest.