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The Charlie’s Angels of Scrabble

AKA: Play One for St. Patrick
It was Mara (center) who typed out our mission, described in thirteen parts and titled “Procedure for Scrabble Poem.” Part 1: Play a game of Scrabble with Colleen, Rosemary, and Kathleen on St. Patrick’s Day at the Café Del Sol. Wear Green. Joke about whether you are Irish or Scotch-Irish. Drink green tea. Convince the baristas to play Celtic Music. After that we were instructed to keep a list of the words played and to later write a poem using them. Rosemary kept score, while Mara kept track of the words we played, writing them down with a pink ink pen.
When Kathleen arrived, we questioned her choice of green, a pale mint, but she redeemed herself when she proudly pointed out the family heirloom pinned to her vest. It was an antique political button that said “Donal J. O’Callaghan, Mayor of Cork” with a black and white photo of the mayor himself.
We like to talk about words. Kathleen offered an explanation on the roots of the word rigamarole. It derived from “ragman’s roll,” and referred to the chant the ragman would shout out as he drove his horse and buggy through town looking for rags to collect, she told us. I was speculating on how the word “boondoggle” came about. A boon that’s been dogged? While looking for “doogle” in the Scrabble dictionary, I found “dogdom,” which caused an uproar of laughter when I read the meaning out loud: the world of dogs.
It was a strange game of compromises and strangled words tightly grouped in the middle of the board. I was ahead when I turned to Kathleen and said, “Even if I win this game, I’m not proud of it.” Rosemary told a story of recently driving the wrong way on the highway for an hour before noticing she was going in the wrong direction. “I wasn’t feeling anxiety, which gave me anxiety,” she said. We got so busy talking that ten minutes passed before we realized that no on knew whose turn it was next. “At least we didn’t go on for an hour like Rosemary before noticing it,” I said. And for some reason everything seems funnier when we’re playing Scrabble, like those random letters I picked out of the bag that said DI SEX. It was hilarious at the time.
I call this one “phase two in which Doris gets her oats,” which translates to this: Game two in which Rosemary wins.

Post notes: The Procedure Scrabble Poems have begun to pour in. Some have been left on my answering machine. Update: Mara's, Rosemary's and mine can be read in the comment section of this post!


I was just wondering how you feel about slang? Do you consider those words too or not? I am always or sometimes amused at the younger generations twist of the language. In music it is funny, in their world it is understandable. I don't like it if a young adult gets up to give a speech and cannot use the correct language but anyway I just wondered what your opinion was of terms like Snoop Dog's shizzle with every word or the term "Haten on me." that one cracks me up and I use it all the time around the house driving Martin nuts. "That's how we roll..." things like that. Do they horrify people who truly love words or amuse you that it is only youth?

We use a Scrabble Dictionary, so let the Hasbro people decide what is a word or not for game playing. They recently allowed a new word ZA, short for pizza Mara said. And YET they don't have the word "fart" in the Scrabble dictionary and other words thought to be too controversial for school use! Personally, I trust the real ditionary more and would prefer to use it while playing.

I do love the play and ongoing creation of language. If a word "takes" it eventually ends up in the dictionary. "Blog" just recently made it into the Scrabble dictionary. I'm always confused by the fact that the rules of Scrabble say not to use slang and yet so many words in their acceptable word dictionary seem to be slang to me.

I love lingo but think it's lazy to use it constantly. I've been noticing lately how very hard it is to talk without using idioms, sayings, and figures of speech. When I start to use them while writing, I stop and think, how can I be more specific and say the same thing using my own words.

Looks like a great time was had by all -- I too drove the wrong way on an on-ramp to one of the highways here...scared the beejeebers outta me...10 p.m. an' I'd never been there a day in my life. I shook all over for the entire trip home.


I really envy your scrabble group!

Xi the Bi Id

When I give you a reason to nag me,
a jay outside an obstacle course says See-ya!
There are yams in the potato salad, and blue
cheese. I quit eating mid-sandwich.

Goose flies over, gives us reason to believe
spring is two days away. We can plant corn
soon, go swimming or hiking on the parkway.
Hard to imagine hot weather, eh? We will rove

the fields with shorts on. To get there on time,
stay calm, aim at one thing, okay? Stick
to it. Wet weather makes me think of my ex,
I once roved too close to edit her out. Forget that—

I’ll plant cukes to wind around my corn, ah,
those soon-to-be fresh vegetables. Ta-ta, winter.
Plug in the sun. Throw horseshoes pit to pit
and count to nine. I’ll wear my midi; tell my foe

her ego’s gotta go. Na. Just take the zoa
and go to war or grab a pizza with your rep.
We zap the bet, wet the red quean. It calms us.
Takes a yak in the gut, but whatever.

Oops...I messed up on my comment. I tried to correct a mispelled word(is mispelled mispelled?) and then it said I had too many comments so they wouldn't post so I should try back later. I'm hoping three posts don't show up.

Just wanted to say Scrabble is a great way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day and I hope to crash your Scrabble party one of these days!



that sounds like a wonderful way to sepnd st. patrick's day! i wasnt to hear your poem....

man... i really messed that comment up! i WANT to hear your poem....

I'm working on it now but with all the strange words we're supposed to incorporate, I can't say it will be any good (front page material).

Long time no comment!

I'm playing an online scrabble game at the moment (shh, don't tell my boss). I'm so competitive. But I like the idea of writing a poem with the words.

St. Patrick’s Day Scrabble Unscramble

A Scrabble picnic
means ants in the yam
a cooked goose, wet cukes
and nine half-baked words

Four women yak
in the calm before the storm
when lightening zaps the board
cutting every seven letter bingo
down to size

Tyrannosaurus loses his rex
Pizza becomes za
and resume res
Even St. Patrick can’t save these sins!

So plug your ears
from the blue jay’s nag
or should that be snag?

Spit out the pit
or forever let it sit
in the bottom of your gut

Don’t cry over spilled milk
that used to be milkweed
or the high scoring egotistical
now shortened to ego

Don’t grieve for the boa
you want to be boat
or the zoa you know
should be zoanthid

Xi Bi Eh Es Ex Ta da!
Cover with saran wrap
Shake the Tupperware up
Make Karl Rove sing for his supper
with the Irish Rovers

Heat up the leftovers
Serve them to a foe
Turn war into warm
Edit bet into better
and id into idea

Color the blank tiles green
Aim the K in Patrick
on a triple letter score
and the Q in quean on the star

Free lookups for everyone!
who can spell sunshine back into the sky
who can play to win more fun

Colleen O’Readme

i'd be in so much trouble if i played scrabble with you guys.... you come up with doozies. love the poem!

especially liked this little bit: "Heat up the leftovers
Serve them to a foe
Turn war into warm
Edit bet into better
and id into idea"

I had a blast on St. Patricks's Day. I walked to town to play and just when I knew I should head home I said, "I'll rematch you right now!" to Mara. (Neither of us were very happy with our first game.) To take a day and make it a nothing much to do but have fun day is exceptional for me, for us! The rules of the poem were off-putting to me at first, but I decided to do it to tickle my brain if not Mara.

St Patrick’s Day Scrabble 2008 Procedural Poem Xi

Rules, Procedures, Instructions, Go!

Play. Drink. Keep. Write.
Ask. Give. Copy. Compare.
Play. Start. Submit. Rove.
Make. Write. Submit. Repeat!

Play drink keep write?
Ask give copy compare?
Play start submit rove?
Make write submit?

Play drink keep write
ask give copy compare
play start submit rove
make write submit repeat!

Play start, plays tart,
make write, keep write,
ask ink, give drink!

Give us goose corn, jay corn,
celtic corn, cukes on corn.
Hot yam, wet yam,
yak yam,
nag an nag an NAG!

Mid, midi, war.
Nine foe zoa!

What es ta score?

Res calm. Calm ya ego.

Ah aim to res calm
Za score, quean,
Foe-or ae eh-rex ya!

Edit! Edit!

Plug pit,

Clam spit.

Zap it.

Publish it!

Rosemeary O’ Blatherher

Something about the second one seemed easier, but I wanted more good words to knit in there.

St. Patrick’s Day Scrabble Procedural Poem Noo

A dusky dove
in a gamay glove
plied woof and rime
on his toxic grime
and sand.

It didn’t work.

Then webs appeared
and seemed to jeer
at him from oars
and vanity doors.

What could he do?

Then up did bolt
A callous colt
who had a yen
for awe who zen

That ain’t nothin’ compared to ciantipi treap awl per ren fe pita, fool!

Rosemeary O’Blatherher

I had to be begged to do my poem. I whined about the rules being too hard. As it turned out, each is so different and fun. As you know, I never seem to have the energy to play two in row. Good thing I didn't try because my sister came through on her way home to Boston and I wanted to have some energy for that. I'm glad you were all still in the cafe when she came through Floyd and got to meet her. I had a blast playing too! Thanks, Rosemary!

Scrabble Café

I didn’t pocket
the pink-inked paper
and tidy
of disorderly words
on a St. Patrick’s day
at the Scrabble café

Some words were so curtly
foreshortened and cryptic
they shouted
impossible verse and
who had the time
to make up such a rhyme

But soon arrangements
of letters came artfully
churned into
quirky or timeless
and arrived in a flurry
of poetic word curry

Chastened I hastened
and made myself hurry
fanning the
to see the sparks glow
with friendship and bonding
no surprise I’m responding!

(thanks guys)

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