At a weeklong festival Feb. 16–20 celebrating 200 years since the birth of America’s original master of the macabre, Edgar Allan Poe, English department organizers presented dramatic readings, films, impersonations, music, seminars, lectures, discussions, and—a Bad Poe Contest. Finalists for the best parody of Poe’s gloomy style read their creations Wednesday evening on a very, dare we say, midnight-dreary stage. The winner? English major Adam Restad ’09, who is pictured here and whose assassination of Poe follows.
The Melancholy Cook
While caught amidst a midnight gale upon a ship pulled swift by sail
I console myself with double ale from the fate of my small crew.
Their lateness weighs in heavy upon my heart’s burst levee
and it appears to me that I must course the rest alone.
The task ahead seems trying because I am slowly dying
of wounds and underlying humorous complications
started not by complaints of food, or stale sea or stale mood
but by a short-lived captain’s feud, with that once-doomed nightlight.
Upon a night so dreary damp, the captain lit a small brass lamp,
for he could not sleep without the lamp or glow on him to shine.
But I could not rest with the light and with our quarters built so tight
the lamp did not last our third night, for with it I bashed his head.
While I was ready at the bashing, I heard a mighty thrashing,
I heard a terrible crashing from the cage of the captain’s bird.
Now, he had not a parrot, for there were better birds of merit
and the raven he did inherit from his great-grandfather.
The aged bird so blind and dumb, loved not by crew or anyone
and being the captain’s life was done I twisted that old fowl.
The captain and his paltry bird did not go softly, softly heard.
They raised their voices and called the word, the dreadful word of mutiny.
In rushed the mates, knives in hand, and on the floor did they demand
for reason they did not understand about that doomed nightlight.
I, armed with only word and breath, could not dispel their swift offense
and had to beat them both to death, but oh, their knives were sharp.
Their struggle left me badly bleeding upon the floor and needing
some medical proceedings, because of that doomed nightlight.
My face they had left cruel stained, and my fingers badly maimed
I recalled their damned names to soak my deed in some worth.
The first mate was mustachioed, his grooming made him overjoyed
and with each trim I became annoyed at the whiskers on the man.
So I felt no remorse for our friendship now divorced,
as he is now a corpse upon the captain’s floor.
As for the additional attacker, the deckhand of a sloth-like manner,
I was really doing quite a favor to the fair, laborious crew.
But unbelieving was that blaming crew and with them overboard I threw,
fixing them with iron shoes, buried alive in tainted sea.
So now I rest so badly bloodied, sifting thoughts once dark and muddied;
in my kitchen study I think of clearer times to come.
And I suppose if I survive, and land upon my previous life,
I’ll go home and kill my wife, because I’m Edgar Allan Poe.