General Poetry posted October 25, 2017


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Life in the 50s

Ode to a Decade

by Mark Valentine

Poetry of 1950's Slang & References Contest Winner 
 
 
High school hops and soda shops were where we made the scene.
Chicks were coy and every boy tried posin’ like James Dean.
Chevy’s crowded drive-in lots but no-one watched the flicks.
Life was keen for any teen in Nineteen Fifty-Six.
 

 
(To the tune of "Sh-Boom" by the Crewcuts)

Life was just a dream (sh-boom)
A little dab’ll do ya when you use Brylcreem  (sh-boom)
Da Bums from Brooklyn were our favorite baseball team
Gleason was a scream back then
 
Life without a care (sh-boom)
The dulcet harmonies of doo wop filled the air (sh-boom)
If you weren’t digging them, then you were just a square
Oh, the threads we’d wear back then

 
 
Ike was always winning then, and Adlai always losin’.
Younger would-be poets who were cruising for a bruising
Plied their craft out on the stoops by coming up with parodies,
JD jingles souped up with some well-chosen vulgarities.

 
 

77 sunset strip
Open you zipper and let it drip
 
Pepsi cola hits the spot
Keeps you running to the pot
 
Who’s the leader of the club that’s made for you and me?
M-I-C-K-E-Y  M-O-U-S-E
Darlene is just a tease, but that Annette puts out for free
M-I-C-K-E-Y  M-O-U-S-E

 
 
But as the decade neared its end, it kind of lost its rhythm.
O’Malley split out to the coast and took the Dodgers with him.
And somewhere out in Iowa, a plane crashed in a field.
And that, my friends, was all she wrote -- the decade’s fate was sealed.

 

Writing Prompt
Write a poem using 1950's slang and references to customs and mores of the 1950's such as D.A. Haircuts. This can be humorous or serious on any topic you choose.

Poetry of 1950's Slang & References
Contest Winner


I think most of the fifties slang used here (make the scene, diggin', chicks, flicks, keen, square, split, tease, puts out) are well-known enough not to need translation.

Some others that may not be as well-known to the younger set:

Da Bums- The Brooklyn Dodgers
cruising for a bruising - looking for trouble
JD- juvenile delinquent
threads - clothes

The first section in blue (the one that begins "Life was just a dream") is set to the tune of "Sh-Boom" by the Crewcuts.

The second section in blue are parodies of various jingles from the sixties.
The parody jingles that begin "77 sunset strip...", and "Pepsi cola hits the spot..." are ones that I remember going around as a child. The Mickey Mouse one, I made up.

"O'Malley split out for the coast..." is a reference to Dodger's owner, Walter O'Malley moving the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958.

"A plane crashed in a field" is a reference to the 1959 plane crash that claimed the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper.
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© Copyright 2017. Mark Valentine All rights reserved.
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