The holidays are upon us.  The season of giving.

In keeping with the yuletide spirit, we here at TNB are pleased to announce the launch of The TNB Holiday Limerick Contest, the winner of which will receive a signed copy of C, the new novel from celebrated English writer Tom McCarthyC was shortlisted for the prestigious Man Booker Prize earlier this year, and you can read a review of it right here on TNB.

The signed copy of C comes to us from the good people at AbeBooks, one of the web’s premiere book marketplaces and a great spot to find used, new, rare, and out of print titles.





Entering the contest is simple.  Rules go as follows:


1.)  This is a limerick contest.  To enter, you must write a limerick and post it on the comment board below.  That’s it.  (If you’re not sure how to write a limerick, please click here.)

2.)  The limerick MUST begin and end with the letter “C.” For example:

Charlie was awfully prophetic

He was also a good bit pathetic

He predicted tomorrow

While weeping with sorrow

And embracing a dour aesthetic.


3.)  Limericks will be judged on two basic criteria:  A.)  technical mastery, and B.) humor.  The best-written, most laugh-out-loud funny limerick wins.  And remember:  It must begin and end with the letter “C.”  (Meaning:  The first letter of the first word in the limerick must be “C.”  And the last letter of the last word in the limerick must be “C.”)  Limericks that fail to meet this standard will be disqualified from the competition.

4.)  The contest will be judged by me, Milo Martin, and my cohorts on the editorial staff of TNB’s Poetry section.  (TNB Poetry editors are, of course, not allowed to enter.  Everyone else is welcome.)

4.)  Contestants may enter as many times as they like.  It’s a free-for-all, people.  Bring it.

5.)  Entries will be accepted all week long, and the contest will end on Friday, December 3rd, at 11:59 p.m. EST.  The winner will be announced on TNB on Monday, December 6th.  The winner will receive public adulation, the thrill of victory, and the aforementioned signed copy of C, which will ship soon after.


If you have questions, please direct them to postmaster [at] thenervousbreakdown [dot] com.


Many thanks, and happy holidays!





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Writer MILO MARTIN, a poet by trade, is the author of a collection of poems entitled Poems for the Utopian Nihilist (Echo Park Press, 2008). Milo has toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe. He has been invited to perform at international literature and poetry festivals in France, Italy, Germany and Croatia as well as numerous venues in Estonia, Switzerland, Holland, Liechtenstein and Serbia. His works have been translated into four languages. Educated at San Francisco State University and the University of Southern California, he currently resides in Los Angeles. Milo is also currently Co-editor of the poetry section of The Nervous Breakdown. He contends that birds and insects are manifest angels.

162 responses to “TNB Holiday Limerick Contest: Win a Signed Copy of C, by Tom McCarthy!”

  1. Zara Potts says:

    Cursing came natural to Alec,
    He certainly wasn’t angelic,
    He relished ‘cocksucker,’
    And loved ‘motherfucker,’
    while playing with anything phallic.

  2. patricia says:

    Cyndee was TSA authentic,
    she touched my junk unapologetic.
    She grinned a ‘grinchy” smirk,
    then whispered, “did you find
    that erotic?”

  3. patricia says:

    cyndee was TSA authentic,
    she touched my junk unapologetic,
    she grinned with a smirk,
    while sensing my irk,
    and said, “SO EROTIC!”

  4. Lee says:

    Came a young slut from New Brunswick,
    ’twas science that made ‘er cunt slick.
    Her actions on campus,
    gave her many bad crampus;
    for she fucked the whole polytechnic.

  5. Criticism came from across the sea
    For the Coreans fighting readily
    Sarah Palin’s homeboy Kim
    Roughing up the Pacific Rim
    And causing tension in D.C.

    (Damn, I forgot to include a swear word… Bollocks.)

  6. dwoz says:

    Cheri would often make aspic
    that nobody claimed was fantastic
    since none would consume
    she stuffed her bosom
    and invented the push-up prosthetic

  7. dwoz says:

    Christ was a humble ascetic
    that Pontius Pilate conceded
    was too big a lout
    to let walkabout
    so he slipped him the nails orthopedic

  8. milo martin says:

    Came Day One with limericks supersonica
    makes a boy want to play a fucked-up harmonica
    four more days
    to let genius play
    but for now, i’ll just wish you a Happy Hannukah(c).

    • Becky Palapala says:

      Put on your yarmulke…

      It’s time for Hannukah

      Drink your gin and tonic-a


      That’s not a limerick.

      But now I have to go listen to the song.

  9. Quenby Moone says:

    Cat’s never could catch old Saint Nick
    They tried but their claws wouldn’t stick
    He turned his wee prancer
    ‘Pon the reindeer named Dancer
    Turns out pussies weren’t enough of a kic(k).

    I don’t even mind being disqualified. I’m absolutely a sucker for limericks.

  10. Quenby Moone says:

    Comet was stuck in the Arctic
    And needed a dash of anarchic
    She found a small rocket
    Put it down in her pocket
    And learned toys for the kids were cathartic

  11. bubba -boudreau says:

    Clever you, spewing out words, sometimes a tad pindaric
    Witty and wise, words buzzing like flies, but never ever generic
    Could listen all day and try to make sense
    Always must question, from where, from whence?
    One step ahead, minds bending like bands, as you remain esoteric

  12. dwoz says:

    Celine and Elton’s schedule was drastic
    Their rehearsals were mostly frenetic
    Said she, ‘you are wrong’
    Said he, ‘Its MY song’
    So please, just for once, sing the lyric!

  13. J.E. Fishman says:

    Well, I didn’t read the instructions at first and wrote this:

    When the girl Santa had on his lap
    Had just settled herself for a nap,
    Said the elf, “What is this?
    “You’re full-grown, little miss.
    “And I fear I’ve now gotten the clap!”

  14. J.E. Fishman says:

    And then this:

    I had just begun decking the halls
    When my wife came straight home from the malls.
    As I held up the wreath
    My wife stood just beneath
    And proclaimed, “Why, that’s some pair of balls!”

  15. J.E. Fishman says:

    Candy canes are an unhealthy trick
    For selling that jolly elf shtick.
    Twas some candy from Claus
    That I’m sure was the cause
    Of my sister evolving a tic.

  16. patricia says:

    Claws, Sandy was a hopeless romantic,
    and recently became quite too frantic,
    while sexting his mistress,
    Mrs. claws showed her distress,
    and drowned his jolly arse on the Titantic!

  17. patricia says:

    Consuming fruitcake acidic,
    the guests made faces you’d deem quite pathetic,
    when to their surprise,
    in the blink of an eye,
    came the medic with ipecac synthetic!

  18. AR Cantu says:

    “Cunt!” the woman shouted across the attic,
    For now she seemed nothing but frantic,
    She had heard the fuck,
    What sheer dumb luck,
    I still found her husband terrific.

  19. Jacqui says:

    Camille was having a bad holiday week
    Her plus-one was Cris Angel – mind freak
    “How can I cope?,”
    she whined, “There is no hope,
    My festive season was meant to be tres chic”

  20. J.E. Fishman says:

    Claus the saint was a little bit manic,
    To his shrink even seemed schizophrenic.
    But when man gotta fly
    On a sleigh through the sky
    It’s enough to make anyone panic.

  21. dwoz says:

    Claus dodged ack ack in Dubrovnic
    was chased by the drones in Kirkuk
    the last straw was Kashmir
    “How the FUCK did I get here?”
    His TomTom’s now in the Pacific

  22. Rosemary says:

    Chic Cherie herself out did conk
    though the motorists, harried, did honk
    at her pink Pontiac,
    “You bleep maniac!”
    (Cherie cherished her sauvignon blanc.)

  23. Dan Burt says:

    Crowds rushed to the local Sonic
    To drink the new slushy tonic,
    But they all died of thirst,
    Quarreling to be first
    Now isn’t that rather ironic?

  24. Meg Dt says:

    Consuming a great deal of Cognac
    caused dramatist Cyrano de Bergerac
    to write much great prose,
    looking over that nose,
    all with the panache of a maniac.

  25. Meg Dt says:

    Churchill, while not quite a pillock,
    never quite perfected Cyrillic.
    The reason, he said,
    and what filled him with dread,
    was that Stalin he found diabolic.

  26. Dan Burt says:

    Citing methods that defied sound logic,
    Steve strived to become atomic.
    Though details are hazy,
    They say he went crazy,
    Or at least a bit zygotic.

  27. Irene Zion says:

    Cathy was rather deontic.
    All that she did was Vedantic,
    But she liked to drink,
    and she liked to think,
    So she scrawled anacreontic.

  28. dwoz says:

    Carolers sang out the music
    while revelers loosened their tunic
    the booze wasn’t spared
    inhibitions were bared
    and the antics were far from platonic

  29. patricia says:

    Chris Kringle’s plight is considered by most, quite dynamic,
    Doles out gifts back and forth the Atlantic,
    But when old rudolph passed on,
    There was no other spawn,
    Guiding his sleigh we all know as GIGANTIC.

  30. Irene Zion says:

    Cab drivers are nihilistic.
    Their driving deterministic.
    However they drive,
    They want you alive,
    After your ride atavistic.

  31. Irene Zion says:

    Shit, Milo,
    This is hard with your rules!

  32. patricia says:

    Cheers, fa la la la, winter frolic,
    We stroll singing carols so symbolic,
    But wait, shock, surprise,
    Comes a blizzard mega sized,
    That buried our plans preidyllic!

  33. Don Mitchell says:

    Could anyone write me a lim’rick
    That pleasures my own systems limbic?
    Says the allocortex,
    A Tyrannical Rex:
    You’re visual – make sure it’s filmbic

  34. Irene Zion says:

    Calm Milo starts a disaster.
    He can be quite the taskmaster.
    He makes up some rules.
    Turns us into fools,
    Each of us a poetaster.

  35. Irene Zion says:

    I forgot the end letter.
    You’re driving me crazy, Milo!

  36. Zara Potts says:

    Come calm Irene down, who is in quite a panic
    The limerick rules – she finds quite satanic,
    She needs some respite
    before she takes flight,
    Quick! Help her before she’s goes manic!

  37. Greg Olear says:

    Chuck’s straight as a straight man can be,
    While Tim’s gay, obviously.
    The third brother, Ray,
    Is neither B nor A,
    He’s bi, which is to say, he’s a C.

  38. Irene Zion says:

    Cabbage is truly demonic.
    Stuffing the area pelvic.
    One next starts to fart.
    The crowd then does part.
    Kimchi is typically caustic.

  39. dwoz says:

    Colostomy bag?!?! Charismatic!
    she said as the date went erratic
    instead of a fuck
    she jumped in her truck
    and managed an exit strategic

  40. Cold comfort was the Thanksgiving emetic
    She downed to regurge methadone, a synthetic
    Heroin substitute,
    Which had been basted up the boot
    Of a Butterball with a downtown aesthetic.

  41. dwoz says:

    Cunt cunty cum cunt cunty coccyx
    fuck fuckity fun fucking fuckit
    front cunt squirty squirt
    cunt front flirty skirt
    cunt cunty fun cunty cunt pubic

  42. Irene Zion says:

    Scary Milo!

    Can you see me?
    I am holding up my fingers in a cross
    in order to ward you away!
    I need to go to sleep!

  43. Come hither to me, my poetic.
    Your words they save me, quite heroic.
    But you’re down on the floor,
    Your head stuck in my door.
    Perhaps you are just alcoholic.

    AHHHH! I wanted so badly to be cool like Greg
    and not use the ic thing!!

  44. Uche Ogbuji says:

    Cut Miss Sarah Palin some slack
    Who cares if she doesn’t know jack
    With each late night show jibe
    And egghead diatribe
    The dumb dollars keep swelling her PAC.

    OK, so maybe that one’s just depressing 😉

  45. Uche Ogbuji says:

    Chopsticks just make you a dork
    And it’s pointless to pick up a fork
    Just grab with your hands
    What your tummy demands
    If you happen to dine with an orc.

    And with that, I’m getting away from a screen. Sweet doggerel dreams till tomorrow.

  46. Christmas craps on the thickest agnostic
    Forced to fill out a festive acrostic
    But the spiked nog wears off
    Rudolph says turn and cough
    But, like a groin pull, hope springs elastic

  47. Doug Harris says:

    Competitions like this, you’ll agree,
    Give oceans of scope for a spree.
    Down stream hopeful torrents
    To the judges abhorrence
    That all rivers shall lead to the C.

  48. Doug Harris says:

    Clicking buttons these days is so quick,
    Text messaging’s ever so slick!
    But it’s spelling’s decline
    That makes purists opine,
    “It’s enuff to make evry1 (sic)”.

  49. J.E. Fishman says:

    I thought this was a HOLIDAY contest, so I’m sticking with the theme. To wit:

    Could you please tell me how Sainted Nick
    Spends all year in the frozen Arctic?
    See, that magical sleigh
    He can use just one day.
    Of course, then, he finds it cathartic.

  50. Ok – here goes – trying to deviate from the ic.

    Can you please give me a callback?
    It’s not like I’m living in Balzac.
    The Skype is still free.
    I’ll be up until three
    To finish my bottle of Malbec.


  51. “Cherubs!” yelled Satan bombastic,
    “These holidays are nothing but slapstick.
    All this Christmas shopping,
    I’m just going to scream
    If I can’t find my Hell’s platinum plastic!'”

  52. Carlin made a sled out of matchsticks.
    He lit it and boomed “Scientific!”
    As the sled burst to flames
    And his dick melted away
    He said, “Well isn’t this fucking fantastic.”

  53. Meg Dt says:

    Come hither, to me, oh John Cusack!
    You are my t̶r̶u̶e̶ ̶l̶o̶v̶e̶ aphrodisiac.
    My no-show pillow-talker,
    don’t you call me a stalker;
    my dear, we’re matched in the zodiac!

  54. Bob Hogg says:

    Clarice said she was clean (I’m a skeptic);
    I’ve a pain in my gut – is it peptic?
    Oh no! Clarice my dear
    You’re syphilitic I fear,
    And the end of my organ is septic.

  55. Bob Hogg says:

    Colleen said, “Shall we hit the sack”,
    And preceeded in wrecking my back.
    Nyphmomaniac habits
    Meant shagging like rabbits,
    And B.J.s that pulled like a vac.

  56. Bob Hogg says:

    “Cracking safes?” said new kid on the block,
    “Any safe! Anywhere! Any lock!”
    But his brag turned to gloom
    With an almighty boom,
    When he blew out his belly, ad-hoc.

  57. patricia says:

    wait a minute here folks…..I understood this to be a “holiday themed” limerick, right?

  58. Lee says:

    Cruel was the handjob so brisk,
    so yanking with far too much wrist.
    She pounded his taint,
    ’til he started to faint,
    then torqued and slipped his third disc.

  59. patricia says:

    Comet glanced at the dude that appeared carcinogenic,
    When down the chimney he slid most cyclonic,
    Then Scrooge hacked to bits,
    The gifts and St. Nick,
    Gleefully shouting, did he, it’s all about being demonic!

  60. Gareth says:

    Charles, while writing his limerick
    beat out the time with a chopstick.
    he didn’t want to allude
    to anything rude,
    just to try to keep it rhythmic.

  61. patricia says:

    Christmas cookies hard as a brick,
    Under mistletoe with some douchy prick,
    Need me some cheer,
    Not a friggin raindeer,
    To make me holidaz epic!

  62. dwoz says:

    Candy is dandy, so sinful to lick
    though liquor is quicker, thus Cognac’s the trick
    But a dash of Caribb’ean Rum
    splashed across Sweet Candy’s bum
    is a most luscious treat for Saint Nic’

  63. dwoz says:

    Cold mutton verse disturbingly
    fails, so please enlighten me:
    no “fuck-it” apportioned?
    “Nantucket” abandoned?
    then, toss all these screeds in the sea!

  64. patricia says:

    Chanukah, dreidel, xenophobic,
    Chow on latkes, lite candles aerobic,
    Screw u Adolph, phew,
    For I am a Jew,
    And ur just a pissy homophobic!

  65. patricia says:

    Creepy old drug buster, narc,
    Spoiled my x-mas holiday lark,
    With hash brownies to bake,
    That crazy snowflake,
    Slapped on cuffs b4 I could walk!

    • patricia says:

      my bad…walk doesn’t end w/ a “c”

      • milo martin says:



        • patricia says:

          plz feel obliged to translate ur commet cuz i have a sneakin suspision ur makin fun of my contributions….if so, i’ll happily quit playin ur tnb raindeer games;o)

  66. mady says:

    Cunnilingus is considered erotic,
    yet you lay there like one catatonic,
    I wish you would coach it
    yet I can’t seem to broach it
    “Cat’s got your tongue” seems ironic

  67. J.E. Fishman says:

    Christmas Eve old Saint Nick on a lark
    Gave his woman a goose in the dark.
    But a reindeer he nailed
    In his fluffy white tail
    And sweet Rudolph sailed off in an arc.

  68. Annie Yang (Yae Eun) says:

    Cold wind blowing away my life
    My icy hand trembling with knife
    I stare with a glare
    There is no more air
    I return to my land called Fife

    White silky fabric lying down
    Crispy wind blowing down Earth with crown
    Honored with gold rain
    Silver winged train
    Here I stand where I lay with frown

  69. Annie Yang (Yae Eun) says:

    Cold wind blowing away my life
    My icy hand trembling with knife
    I stare with a glare
    There is no more air
    I return to my land called Fife
    White silky fabric lying down
    Crispy wind blowing down Earth with crown
    Honored with gold rain
    Silver winged train
    Here I stand where I lay with frown

  70. Harshithaa Mohanraj says:

    One day I was climbing a tree
    It felt as if I was set free
    I heard a branch crack
    Then next was my back
    And now it is carved R.I.P

    There once was a girl who loved school
    So she thought she was really cool
    She fell down the stairs
    And looked like a bear
    Which made herself into a fool

    There once was a fellow named Jack
    His favorite color was black
    The floor had a crack
    He fell on his back
    And now he is stuck in a sack

  71. patricia says:

    Uchegoochi was all hi & mighty,
    Thought his poop didn’t stink in his dydee,
    When yo, BIG surprise,
    Surrouned by flies,
    Was the Mother of all turds in his nighty!

  72. Jason Luu says:

    Chance decided to have me love
    Love a person that is estrogen void of
    Yet I am not gay
    I need not pray
    This is what I am proud of

  73. patricia says:

    Yo, yo, yall, it’s a contest time
    Write a cussing sing-song poem, 4 one measly dime,
    Use words like cunt, cock, whore
    Till ya be a bore,
    cuz it’ll excite, nuttin but the bottom feeding slime!

  74. milo martin says:

    Well ok then, my dear limerick creators,
    that twas a fun adventure…
    like a bumpy sleigh ride
    down an icy freeway…

    We covered much ground here, that’s for certain…

    Thank you for your prowess in verse
    and more importantly, your fine spirit…

    Now my tasking begins to actually choose a winner…
    Oy, what a job…there is a part of me looking forward to this process
    and a part of me which is dreading having to choose…

    The 2010 TNB Limerick Queen/King will be announced this Monday…

    Chanks again for your wit iconic…time now for some nog and tonic…


  75. […] only problem is, we can’t seem to come up with a decent tagline.  So we figured, hey, Milo’s limerick contest went pretty well, and everyone digs that cartoon caption contest on the back page of The New Yorker […]

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