Ill-used

by Paul A. Freeman
The Write Idea
Second Place, August 2017
Judged by Tim Mayo


I’ve been ill-used, no other word will do;
pristinely packaged, sanitised and new
a month ago I stood upon display
till someone paid to carry me away.

Once home, he placed me in a cup whose rim
was chipped and whose interior was grim.
Upon a shelf, inside his smallest room,
I stayed, alone, to contemplate my doom.

Next morning he adorned my head with gel –
my bristles had a fresh and minty smell.
But then he raised me up into his mouth
and brushed from east to west, from north to south.

I rubbed against decaying slabs of brown,
deep cavities, raw gums, a tarnished crown,
till finally he scrubbed his furry tongue,
an organ as malodorous as dung.

Each morning since, I’ve gagged upon his breath,
that rancid cavern’s stench is worse than Death,
with plaque and gummed up lips that dribble goo –
I’ve been ill-used, no other word will do.


I love the conceit in this poem. It is well thought out and well executed. The rhyming couplets accentuate and underline the comedy of the poem. --Tim Mayo

  • March 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Cuttlefish
      by Jim Doss
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Second Place

      Wings
      by Bernard Henrie
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      gutterball
      by Brenda Morisse
      Wild Poetry Forum

  • February 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Nebraska, Summer
      by Greta Bolger
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Goldback Fern
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      Negotiatin’ Wi Demons (For wee Rabbie Burns)
      by John J. Williamson
      PenShells