Even More Crappy High School Poetry

The humiliation continues, verse by verse, as we sift through the poetic detritus of my high school years. For this installment, I subject you to yet another entry in an excruciating series of hacky romantic poems. That’s right, it’s another ridiculous “She” poem. As the third link in the seemingly unending chain of love bleats, it is uncreatively but rhymingly titled “She #3.” Take it away, much younger and slightly stupider me!

finally, some rhyming! in the title, at least

She #3

I run She walks We live
Alone – Behind – Apart –
A man A girl Two souls –
Afraid Of strength Two lives –
Of life And depth She walks
And death Of mind Behind –
And in- And soul I run
Between. Within. Alone.

My thoughts:

  • The major problem with this poem… how the heck do you read it? I mean, you can read it top-to-bottom, then left-to-right, as in “I run alone—a man afraid of life yada yada yada.” Or, you could also read it left-to-right, then top-to-bottom, as in “I run she walks we live alone—behind—apart—yada yada yada,” and it makes just as much sense.
  • Which is to say, none.
  • Got a little dash-happy there. Dash, young Price. Dash!
  • Oh, so I’m a man, but she’s a girl who walks behind me (subtext: where she belongs)? So not only was I a pseudo-romantic sucker, but I was also horribly sexist. And also kind of creepy. So I guess some things never change?
  • At least I portrayed myself as weak and fearful (pretty dead-on description of late-80s me), and “she” as strong and… uh… deep of soul?
  • Whatever that means?
  • Soul! Again with the soul! I just couldn’t let a poem go without referencing the soul, man.
  • The Soul Maneuver was such a hack move I did it twice: “Two souls.” Stay tuned for She #476: “Soul soul soul/Soul soul soul soul/Soul.”
  • Soul!
  • If I’m pining so hard for her, why do I keep running away? It seems that, back in the day, I fundamentally misunderstood how the whole thing was supposed to work.
  • What is between life and death, exactly? A coma? So this is a poem about being afraid of comas? Maybe she’s a deadly hit-girl working for the mob, and she’s going to put me in a coma? Somehow?
  • Actually, a poem about a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with a coma-inducing mafiosa… I have to say, that would be pretty friggin’ awesome.

More Crappy High School Poetry

In the interest of preemptively humiliating myself by letting the entire world see what a sap I was in high school, I give you… “She #2.” That’s right, I actually incorporated into the title a subliminal statement about how crappy it is. #2, see? GET IT?! And as for the #2: yeah, I wrote a whole series of these horrible ”She” poems, so prepare yourself for unending dreck about how she is so awesome and I love her so much and she doesn’t love me and oh god I wish I was dead.

Anyway… so, this is my second whine-laden foray into whiny whining about some girl who probably did not really exist. Whining! Actually, as I recall, I kind of had a crush on a freckle-faced, curly-haired brunette around this time and this may have been about her. Just to creepify it even more for you, I did not personally know her, she did not know me, I never met her, and to this day I couldn’t tell you her name if my life depended on it.

I can’t imagine why I didn’t date much in high school.

dropping a literary deuce

She #2 

The blue of her whisper
   falls softly on
      my mind’s pillow.

The rose of her touch
   warms my thoughts
      and soothes them.

The scarlet of her love
   stains my soul with a
      deep red fire.

I love her.

Thoughts and commentary:

  • Just so you know, this poem won first-place in a school-wide poetry contest my senior year. No foolin’! With that in mind, imagine how bad the other entries must have been.
  • To be fair, that first line about the blue of her whisper? Not that bad.
  • That said, comparing my mind to a soft, squishy, down-filled head-cushion? Fan-freaking-tastic.
  • Okay, so we’re using colors to describe her, right? Her touch is, according to the never-infallible Wikipedia: “the color halfway between red and magenta on the HSV color wheel, also known as the RGB color wheel, on which it is at hue angle of 330 degrees.” Who wouldn’t be soothed by that? So soothing.
  • Her touch somehow warms my thoughts, so again, I find myself drawn to a telepath. Apparently, Bryant High School was thick with Jean Grey-types in the late 80s.
  • Ah… finally, the true mark of a hack romantic love poem: droning on and on about my “soul.” That chick I never met and never will meet totally touches my soul, man. MY SOUL. I’m romantic, can’t you see that? PAY ATTENTION TO ME.
  • Wait, she doesn’t touch my soul, she stains it.
  • With fire.
  • “Deep” fire.
  • Somehow.
  • Fire doesn’t stain, ya dope. It burns. It scorches. It carbonizes. Instead of saying “stains my soul,” I should’ve said “carbonizes my innards.” Now that’s romantic language.
  • “I love her.” Really. State the obvious much?

Stay tuned… more awful poetic offal to come!

Crappy High School Poetry

A friend of mine sent me a link to this website the other day. It allows you to automatically assemble a gothic-style poem (the kind that does not rhyme, of course), the kind of horrendous garbage depressed high school students write about how death is awesome and no one loves them and blah blah blah etc, scribbled in notebook margins alongside anarchy symbols and Violent Femmes lyrics.

And as I sat there making fun of losers that wrote crappy high school poetry, I remembered: hey, I wrote crappy high school poetry! If I’m going to make fun of it, I should at least have the guts to illustrate my point with some of the free verse I penned back in the late 80s, when I was a lonely, tortured, misunderstood Byron-type who fancied himself the quintessential Hopeless Romantic. (In reality, I was a nerdy Star Trek fan who played in the band and was less Hopeless Romantic than just plain Hopeless.)

To that end, I give you the first in a series: Crappy High School Poetry by the young Price Horn. Today’s installment: “She.” I’m even including a scan of the original in all its Commodore-64-dot-matrix-printed glory, with the full text following:

small poetry from a small man


Walked below a burning bridge to
Tear my throne away

     The heat scorches, but it cannot erase.

Filled my mind with thoughts of flame and
Love and joyous pain.

     The heat draws me even through my fear.

Reached into a fiery void and grasped
Me, and I ran.

     The heat remains.

     I remain.

Thoughts and questions:

  • She walked below a burning bridge, did she? That’s a pretty dangerous strategy, what with the flaming timbers falling on your head and whatnot, but she was willing to take the risk because she was on a vitally important mission: to tear my throne away.
  • Why did she want my throne?
  • Wait a minute… why did I even have a throne?
  • Seriously, a throne? What does any of this even mean?
  • Was the bridge set aflame by the fiery void?
  • How does a void burn? By its very definition, a void can contain no flammable materials. That’s why they call it a void.
  • She used Jedi mind trick powers to make me think about “flame.” Considering all the heat and flame and burning bridges and fiery voids, you would think flames would be foremost on my mind.
  • Oh, she also implanted thoughts of love (of course she did) and “joyous pain.” Joyous pain… shades of the “bringers of pain and delight” from the classic Trek episode “Spock’s Brain.” (I told you I was nerdy.)
  • It’s nice to know that despite the burning and the running and the grasping and the hey hey hey it hurts me nice lady… I remain. Dude, that is so deep. Long before the Dude was abiding, the Priceman was remaining.
  • Also the heat.
  • In short: This telepathic chick totally loved me, but I ran… I ran so far away, mostly because of rampant flaming. Something tells me a man could read something into that.

We. Rock. So. Hard.

And here’s why: Remember this, our entry for that Glenwood Springs, Colorado vacation giveaway?

We won.

There’s even an official press release announcing our victory. Check that fancy pic!

Kudos to Shannon for the original idea, and kudos to the kids for putting up with me as I shot and directed the thing. Yes, there was some yelling (”We’re losing the light, kids! Time is money! CHOP-CHOP!”), but in the end it was all worth it.

We won. WOOT! No one can call Price Horn a loser ever again. (Something tells me that won’t stop anyone.)

Living the dream, watching it die: The Road Trip to Findlay, Ohio

On the evening of Friday, October 9, 2009, it began… the Mother of All Road Trips: the long-awaited trip to Findlay, Ohio. (If you don’t know why we decided to drive to Findlay, Ohio… well, here’s a refresher.) The players:

Tom, one of the original Findlay boys…

left his razor at home?

Jimmy, the guy with no connection at all to Findlay except he wanted to get out of town for some reason (probably legal trouble)…

look up and to the left, please… yes… work it, work it 

Steven, because he always wants to horn in on our fun…

“horn” in! GET IT

And me (not pictured). Aren’t there enough pictures of me sullying this miserable site? Trust me, you’ll be sick of my pic by the time this is all over.

So we hit the road about 8 p.m. that night, delayed only slightly by detours to Tom and Jimmy’s cribs to pick them up. Twice to Jimmy’s, actually, since he forgot his jacket like the sucker he is and we had to turn around to go get it.

And so we drove… and drove. We passed the time by listening to Weird Al Yankovic songs (at Steven’s request) and to old Phil Hendrie shows (or at least the first few minutes of several old Phil Hendrie shows, until we could figure out whether or not a show was appropriate for sixth-grader ears). I was behind the wheel for the first shift, driving all the way to St. Louis, where we stopped for gas. The gas station was not far from Tom’s ancestral homestead, and so his brother and sister met us to say hi, despite the late hour. After we all took breaks, Jimmy took over driving duties and we took off for the Illinois border. Thankfully, we had not yet crossed that border when I turned around to ask Tom a question and realized that he was not in the van. We had left him back at the gas station.

As we hurriedly flipped around to retrieve our now-confused compatriot, I told Jimmy, “I don’t care what happens the rest of the weekend… that right there just made this whole trip worthwhile.”

Jimmy made it all the way to Indianapolis before we had to take a weewee break. The sun was seemingly rising as I retook the wheel and headed further east. I say “seemingly” because the closer we got to the Ohio border, the darker it got. Seriously… Indianapolis: the beginning of a new day. Ohio:

so much to discover once the sun comes out so you can see it

How did that happen? But we didn’t let our puzzlement take our eyes off the prize. The skies finally started to lighten over the Buckeye State, illuminating gray, heavy clouds. And yet, and yet… the closer we got to Hancock County, the more the clouds parted, and by the time we reached our destination…

glad to be here, Mr. Overpass!

…clear, blue skies. Welcome to Findlay. We had arrived!

who took this picture?

welcome to findlay, we have lots of room for you because all these people are dead

What city puts its big “Welcome” sign in a frickin’ cemetery? Findlay, Ohio, that’s what city.

And so the explorations began. We wandered through the town until we found a sweet breakfast joint, where we quickly and greedily devoured everything edible that was placed in front of us.

poor marie has no idea of the storm about to hit her precious establishment 

After freaking out the breakfasting Findlay natives with our strange outsider ways and weird Missouri odors, we checked out the Findlay downtown area. Some highlights:

Tom is remarkably excited about the possibility of shoe repair.

look! it’s something or other!

Shoes are hot in downtown Findlay, apparently. (I know I used this one earlier, but it’s too weird not to share again.)

why choose one when you can have both?

The Hancock County Courthouse.

we may yet get a summons to come back here

The Great Scot grocery store (where Brian shops)!

Amazing Price is amazed at the amazing prices!


The library (where Brian updates his blog)! Nominee for Best Use of Landscaping to Obscure the Name of the Place.

welcome to the findlublic library

The hardware store where Brian works!

brian was off that day?

(As an aside: this was perhaps the creepiest hardware store I’ve ever patronized. I guess I didn’t really patronize it since I didn’t buy anything, but still. As soon as we walked in the door, every eye in the store was upon us. A middle-aged fella, probably a member of management, asked us in a deep, Karl Childers-esque voice, “Kin I help yew boys?”, and then literally followed us through the entire store, one aisle away. We’d walk past an aisle and there he’d be at the other end, watching us. We’d try to trip him up and walk back an aisle, and there he’d be. We could not get out of there fast enough. Jimmy kept imagining his face appearing all over town the rest of the weekend, popping up out of mailboxes and freezer cases to ask, “Kin I help yew boys?”)

The University of Findlay, home of the Oilers, who were playing an away game that day.

F-U! F-U! F-U!

Also home to the UF Bookstore… nominee for Least Convenient Operating Hours (Saturdays, 11am-1pm).

closed 12-12:30 for lunch

And something that was actually pretty cool: The Stately Raven Bookstore, housed in an old church.

thanks to shan for finding this place via the magic of the interwebs

“The Weird Room” full of weird guys

books (what did you expect, it’s a bookstore)

Steven kept begging to return here all weekend. Not that I blame him, it was pretty cool. But Findlay waits for no man, and we couldn’t spend the entire day in the one interesting place in Findlay. (Oops, I did not mean to say that out loud.)

By this point, the three grown-ups—who did not sleep all night in the backseat like certain 12-year-olds who will go unnamed—were getting pretty tired and cranky, so we headed to our hotel.

this picture brought to you by the good folks at marriott

It was on the east side of town, which seemed… I don’t know… kind of newer and more developed, with a mall and large chain stores and that kind of thing. It still seemed vaguely run-down and depressing, though. It was still unquestionably Findlay, Ohio.

Anyway, we checked in to the hotel room, which was pretty nice although it very oddly kind of smelled like curry, and then collapsed for a solid two hours. (Except for the ever-energetic and youthful Steven, of course, who stayed up playing video games on his Nintendo DSi.)

The brief restful respite gave us the energy we needed to explore the rest of the bustling Findlay metroplex. We went to check out the north side of town, passing Kimmel’s Mountain Man Meats.

juicy, juicy man meats

(We took this picture just because Jimmy giggled uncontrollably every time we said the phrase “man meats.”)

The surprisingly attractive and architecturally modern Owens Community College. (Why? Because a fictional character’s fictional girlfriend went there. Fictionally. I know, I know… I have a problem.)

kin I help yew boys?

The Cube! (Home rink of Findlay’s minor-league hockey team, the Grrrowl.)

phew, I almost wote grrrrowl, which is obviously wrong

After The Cube, we wandered around town looking for an Oktoberfest thingy that we had seen advertised on the Internet (yes, Findlay has the Internet). We were pretty pumped about this thing, as it promised an appearance by Grammy-nominated polka powerhouses Fred Ziwich and His International Sound Machine. We expected a busy, boisterous street fair, with the aroma of sausages and sauerkraut and the sound of accordions and oompah-oompahs wafting through the air. But as we approached the site, our hearts sank. Not only was there hardly anyone there, it wasn’t even outside. It was inside a small senior center—sponsored by the Agency on Aging!—and there was a $5 cover. Disgusted and cheap, we turned our backs on the Oktoberfest and drove away, searching for souvenirs.

On the way, we briefly stopped off for a walk around the picturesque Blanchard River, which periodically overflows its banks and ruins everything.

today we were the ones ruining everything

Around the river were plenty of ramshackle, dilapidated buildings covered with graffiti. It was frankly kind of creepy, and this was the middle of the afternoon. I can’t imagine how scary the area would be after dark.

the only way I’d hang around here at night is if I was dead, which is not too hard to imagine

Anyway, back to FindlaySouvenirQuest ‘09. Turned off by the high prices at the University of Findlay Bookstore, we decided to check other retail options: Wal-Mart, Kohl’s, Meijer, and so on. Of course, as it turns out, UF won’t license its stuff to anyone, so we couldn’t find any Oilers memorabilia anywhere. (You couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting a display chock-full of Ohio State crap, though.) Finally, after making phone calls and checking ye Internette, we located a sporting goods store at the Findlay Village Mall that would suit our purposes nicely.

this picture could have been taken in 1987 and you’d be none the wiser

The store had a nice selection of Findlay High School Trojans togs, and the three of us spent a solid hour pawing through every single shirt and hoodie and sweatsuit on display, trying to decide what to purchase. (There were only three of us because Steven wanted no part of the Findlaywear search, opting instead to browse a nearby bookstore.) Tom, Jimmy, and I wavered and dithered so long I was afraid they would throw us out, but we finally made up our stupid minds and bought some relatively plain T-shirts that just said “FINDLAY” on them. GO TROJANS!

By this time, the Scramble Marie’s breakfast had long since worn off and we were a mite peckish. Thus, we made our way to a place I’d been pretty excited about trying: a dive-y local burger joint called Wilson’s Sandwich Shop. I had seen lots of cool things on Yelp about it, plus George Motz sang its praises in Hamburger America.

so cool they didn’t need the ’s Sandwich Shop on the sign

And brother, it didn’t disappoint. All the place serves is “hamburgs” and fries and “frosted malts.” Totally old-school, and wicked delicious. Steven tore into his hamburg like nobody’s business, and the rest of us followed suit.


(It was so good that I saved my little Wilson’s-branded Styrofoam cup and have it on display in a curio cabinet at home. Seriously.)

HEADBUTTS APLENTYStuffed full of beef and chocolaty dairy products, we decided to turn in for the night. We headed back to the hotel to kick back, chill-ax, and watch bizarre, unsubtitled Japanese variety shows on the cable system. Oh, Japan… something is so dreadfully wrong with you, and I. LOVE. IT.

The next morning dawned bittersweet, as we knew that this was the beginning of the end. We cleaned up, then cleaned out the continental breakfast buffet downstairs. We wolfed down the pastry/cereal/fruit in front of the TV, still glued to Japan TV. Even the news is hilarious on this channel! (Can I just say that “Salaryman Kintaro” is ten kinds of awesome?)

And so… we tossed our junk sacks suitcases in the van, and pulled away from the hotel. But there was so much more to see, we couldn’t stop ourselves from taking a few more photos on the way out, including:

A shot of the gorgeous intersection where Findlay High School sits.

if you look closely there’s an FHS sign hidden among the powerlines and street signs and junction boxes

The KFC where fictional Tommy worked back in the old-school web site daze.

love that chicken!

A drive-thru liquor store… apparently considered a good idea in Ohio.

drive up, load up with alcohol, pay, and drive away… SHEER GENIUS

And some other random junk.

i much prefer the international house of butts

coming soon: shredded lamb by the kiloton

if i lived in findlay i would own this place


I pulled over to the side of the I-75 on-ramp to get one last shot of Findlay, in the form of an overpass emblazoned with the city’s nickname.

Farewell, Mr. Overpass!

And that was that. South to Dayton, then west on I-70 all the way back to Kansas City.

you're very welcome, governor strickland

Well, almost all the way… first, there was the Incident in Brookville, a little town west of Dayton where we stopped to get gas and somehow got roped into changing a lady’s tire for her. Oh, to have recorded a video of that comical process… it took all three of us almost 45 minutes to change a single tire. Yes, there were some unique problems that kept it from being a run-of-the-mill tire change, but a single real man probably could have completed the task in 15 minutes.

Still, we got it done, and got back on the road for 10-11 hours of boring, monotonous driving, enlivened only by:

  • Dropping by the old high school where I used to teach in Marshall, Illinois
  • Fearing for our lives as Tom took the wheel for a while
  • Getting a phone call from my mom and trying to explain to her why on earth we drove to Findlay, Ohio
  • Laughing as Jimmy, who had taken the wheel in St. Louis, slammed on the brakes and threw his Jack-in-the-Box burger to the filthy floor
  • Singing along—loudly and annoyingly—to the extensive 80s-pop playlist on my iPod 

life is this 

Finally, around 10:30pm Sunday night… home. Two days on the road, covering nearly 1500 miles, staying in Hancock County, Ohio for barely 24 hours. It was a fabulous weekend, not because of the bizarre destination, but because I had three buddies to share the experience—laughing, pointing, being laughed at, being pointed at. We did something goofy, something unquestionably odd, just because. Why not? It’s as good a reason as any.

And most importantly, it helped me get Findlay out of my system. It helped exorcise those Findlay demons from my soul. I’m over Findlay. SO OVER FINDLAY. So I need a new obsession, a new destination for next year’s pointless road trip.

Fall 2010… Who’s up for Osaka?!

You can’t have one without the other

why choose one when you can have both?

Main Street, Findlay, Ohio.

I’m gonna make it after all

not pictured: the incredulous stares of Findlayite passersby

In front of the Hancock County Courthouse on Main Street. Findlay, Ohio.

The Mother of All Road Trips

Remember this? The post in which I droned on and on about why I won’t shut up about Findlay, Ohio? The one in which I complain incessantly about never having the chance to visit this nondescript town of fantasy and wonder?

That post is about to get updated, with extreme prejudice.

That’s right, good people of Findlay: Shut your windows, and lock your doors. Probably couldn’t hurt to gird your loins, while you’re at it. (A solid loin-girding never hurts, I find.) Anyway, get the guest room ready, Brian, ’cause we’re straight-up road-trippin’ to the greater Hancock County-Blanchard Valley metroplex. Come Saturday morning, we gonna stone-cold tear up the Findlay-Tiffin, OH Combined Statistical Area.

You tell Findlay, Ohio that Price is comin’! And Tom’s coming with me!

Lookin’ to win a vacation…

Here is our contest entry for this. It’s a contest whereby you send in a video describing the top 10 reasons you deserve a free Glenwood Springs vacation. Yeah, I know, we just had a vacation there, but we loved it so much we’d love to go back. Especially if it’s free! Can you blame us? Anyway, here’s our video entry…

You can’t vote on it or anything; the choice is completely up to the owners of Glenwood Caverns. Still, keep those fingers crossed! It’s not like we’ll take you with us if we win, but if you send some positive vibes our way we promise not to hate you (as much).

Vacation Video Highlights: 2009 Edition

Some highlights of our trip to Glenwood Springs, Colorado…

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