Halloween was interesting for me. At work, we had a costume contest, which I did not participate in last year. I wanted to this time around, but procrastinated as always and had nothing to wear. I wanted to be a ninja, perhaps, with an authentic gi. Or a Buddhist or Yogi monk, complete with a truly shaved head and robes. Or even a total "nerd," clad in clashing red pants and a multicolored T-shirt with paisley tie and taped glasses. But none of that happened.

When I woke up, I knew I had to do something. So I put on some black slacks, which I could've sworn were dirty and already in the hamper (yet weren't), and a black long-sleeved mock turtleneck. I put on a black belt and black shoes. What could I be in this attire? Of course! A beatnik style, spoiled-brat coffee-shop poet. Rock on! And on my bus ride to work, the poem came to mind on its own, which was cool because I've felt rather creatively devoid lately. Here's what eventually arose, with little effort whatsoever:

The sorrow of being spoiled, recited with cappucino in hand

Woe, unto me!
Woe, unto me!
My mind is a prison!
My soul has set sea!
My heart, consumed with bitter irony!
Why must I drive a Jetta when I deserve an AUDI?
And pay nine bucks, just to see a movie?
It just isn't right, the world isn't fair!
Life stabs me to death, like the spikes in my hair!
This cursed concoction's made me jittery!
And not only that, I've really got to pee!

Of course writing the poem wasn't the hard part. I actually had to bring myself to recite it, and I am deathly afraid of speaking in front of crowds. So I practiced my breathing and speaking and hand gestures and when it came to crunch time, I was shaking like a live fish on a frying pan...but fortunately, that could be written off as part of the act, since I was "jittery" from caffeine. I had a cigarette, an empty cappucino cup, and an all black outfit. Many people had gone completely "all out" and expected to win simply by virtue of spending a ton of money on a costume. I've been reading a lot lately about how the best way to solve difficult problems within a system is to think beyond the system, or to "think outside of the box" as the gruesomely obnoxious cliché goes, and fortunately that's exactly what happened. It seemed to happen on its own, really.

I ended up winning "best overall" and got $50, the grand prize. This is, I believe, the first contest I've ever won. I have since submitted the poem to www.poetry.com and hope to make some more bucks. It never occurred to me how easy it is to transform words into cash...but we'll see where this takes me. I'm rather excited.