Posted on May 5, 2021 6:27 PM by Carol Tannenhauser
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 the colors over white.) Josh P wrote: “This shirt is Zizmorcore’s ultimate holy grail.” Zizmorcore is a term for “Pride of New York wearable”, and refers to the great Dr. Zizmor of subway fame.
“I want one of these so badly,” said Matt Paris, while Chills and shirtless wrote: “I can’t stress this enough: PLEASE sell these shirts! Out of charity! For the cost of web hosting! For paying contributors! To cover the cost of the shirts! I * almost * don’t care where my money goes or how much you want, I NEED this shirt !! Laurel Gilbert did everything possible. “You have to sell these T-shirts. I need a big one and a very small one. WSR is a WS institution and must be celebrated. Give me your price! “
The second thing we learned is that many of you are pretty good at writing haiku poems. What is a haiku? It’s simple: five syllables, seven syllables, five syllables. How to make sense of these syllables? Ah, here’s the catch. Here are some Haiku poems sent by our readers.
West Side Rag T-shirt,
Object of my desire
I would wear you in tatters
– Chills and shirtless
The mask hides the emotions
I bought an eyebrow pencil
Hope this helps
– Christine E
a soft light sweeps the seagull
rush and fly away in a windy pursuit
the spirit sings in altitude
– Naomi Serviss
bikers dressed in spandex
not a velodrome
– FedUp Pedestrian
Spring is in the air
fragrant cherry blossoms sway
– Susan f
We also learned about 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 and concise narrative or description. Most limericks are funny, some are downright rude and almost all are trivial in nature. Here are some limericks submitted by readers and a variation on goats.
There was once a t-shirt that I needed
so in the comments section I pleaded:
“I’m cold and I have no style!”
But other commentators are witty and shameless,
So this shoddy limerick is proof that I didn’t cheat
– Chills and shirtless
An Upper West Sider named Yates
Go around Central Park on your skates
On one of his falls
He hurt his bitches
Which then made him useless for dates.
New kosher pizzeria to go out!
Isn’t that what New York is?
With meat impossible
A forbidden treat
Becomes a quick favorite, without a doubt!
There used to be a neighborhood group
Who shared coffee and stories about the stakes
They planted bulbs in the fall
Who in the spring grew to bloom
Together they formed a friendly troop.
There was once a herd of friends
With Amsterdam and Central Park at its ends
Their newsletter shared stories
Achievements, sorrows, joys and worries
And events that everyone could attend.
There was once such a good bouldering association
They all lived on West Sixty-Nine
Fifty years, this group is reunited
Meeting was what mattered
They will meet again, after the pandemic, in due course.
– 69er west
There was once a lassey
His name was sweet Massey
She was a ranger in Riverside Park
His friends Bella and Buckle
Replied with a small laugh
When she had an idea about a lark
Chalupa and Skittles
Both named after food
She inspired her to scream “listen!”
“Let’s feast on these weeds,
Meet the needs of our bellies
Chow down from dawn to dark
“We will call it” vegetation management “
Or ‘poison ivy ban’
We will have really made our mark
“But really, we’re just going to eat,
Nap, meeting with the neighbors,
Listen to 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 approached as I walked up Broadway,
In search of a challah, I went to Fairway.
I arrived and found the crowd to be weird,
So I picked up my luggage and went to Zabars!
– Michael h
And then there was an ode, rivaling Keats on a Greek urn.
“Ode on the West Side Rag”
You’re still an impulsive news site,
You, local source of updates and good times,
The Manhattan historian, who cannot thus express
An opening or closing more succinct than your rhymes:
What the lox fringed bagel haunts in your mouths
Locals or tourists, or both,
In temptee or with splinters of onions?
What tastes or flavors are these? What new fish?
What has Starbucks closed? Which dirtbike has not been chased?
What is spotted in the park? What wild animals?
The latest news heard is sweet, but unheard of
is softer; therefore, the headlines, post on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more to read,
Post titles without tone:
Handsome scribe, in the street you can’t leave
Your news, and these streets can never be stripped;
Daring newsboy, never, never can you hawk,
Even if you are still standing with the paper, do not grieve;
it can’t be erased, even if you don’t have your change,
Forever you will make a hawk, and it will be news!
Your fabric, nor ever say goodbye to the sleeves;
To always type comments forever new;
No more rags on the west side! more West Side Rag!
Forever updated and fresh to be enjoyed,
Forever posting, and forever news;
All writing stories of Manhattan high above,
This leaves a conscious and informed reader
A burning thought and a NIMBY tongue.
Who come to the comments?
What black text, oh mysterious poet,
Write this poem looking for the shirts,
What about all his silk labels with wash notes?
Which street west by Hudson or park side,
Or corner built with a peaceful co-op board,
Is it emptied of this people, this Monday morning?
And, on the west side, your streets forever
Will the display be; and not a soul to tell
Why you are posting, can you reply.
O rag on the west side! Fair news blog! with text
HTML and links to click on,
With commentary channels and sponsored advertisements;
You, digital form, teasing us out of thought
Like eternity: scroll or else!
When old age meets this generation,
You will stay, in the middle of other blogs
May ours, friend of all, to whom you say,
“The West Side Rag t-shirt is beauty, that’s all
You know Manhattan, and everything you need to know.
– Chills and shirtless (no more!)
Everyone whose poem appears above is a winner (one for a client). Plus, we’re now officially out of this edition of the T-shirt – as well as all sizes other than small and medium. Please send an email to westsiderag at gmail and we will tell you how to collect your prizes.
As for WSR “merch”, it is still in progress. For the record, it seems t-shirts were more popular than mugs. Here’s what a few past winners have suggested.
It makes me think the West Side Rag needs to start selling derivatives. You could have a tote (West Side bag), pennant (West Side flag), baseball t-shirt (West Side raglan), various pet products (West Side wag) and more. Call the online store (and giveaways like this) West Side Swag.
Linda E. said:
Your suggestion that the West Side Rag consider making goods 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. 🙂
See you at the next competition.