Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Testing Day

“Testing’s over,” teacher called, “So put your pencils down.
Molly, no more marking now,” he added with a frown.
“I will come around to take your books and answer sheets.
Keep your notebooks closed and stay completely in your seats.”
Billy skipped eleven answers, Jane marked only “C.”
Bobby doodled weiner dogs all over question three.
Sally and her sister Sue both scribbled “I Love Tommy!”
Tommy turned his answer sheet to lovely origami.
Joey switched the math and science, Kate did English double.
Jack left his completely blank, Jill filled in every bubble.
Teacher yelled “These tests will never hold up to inspection!
Don’t you kids know how to listen? Don’t you take direction?!”
Then Johnny handed in his test, all brown and dripping goo.
“I did just what you said,” he laughed.  “I used a Number Two.”

Thursday, September 29, 2016

How the Finch Stole Racism

(with apologies to Dr. Seuss and Harper Lee)

Every White down in Maycomb liked Racism a lot…
But the Finch, the top lawyer in Maycomb, did NOT!
The Finch hated Racism, the whole racist system.
The Racism Fairy had just up and missed ’im.
It could be his brain was too big for the hate,
It could be his heart was two sizes too great.
Whatever the reason, he did what he could
To lead by example and try to be good.
And when a black man faced a false accusation,
The Finch was appointed to his defendation.
“It’s going to be hard,” he thought, “tougher than tough,”
“But I’ll truth out the truth, and I’ll hope it’s enough.”
He quizzed and he questioned, he researched his case,
“I MUST see a verdict on TRUTH and not RACE!”
The night before trial day he stayed at the jail,
Just waiting and reading until, without fail,
They came with their pitchforks, their nooses, their guns,
These small-minded drunkards, the paws and the sons,
All hopped up on whiskey and rarin’ to lynch.
But all were repelled by the might of the Finch.
He sent them home shamefully, back from their sport,
To see that real justice was done in the COURT.
And when the day came, well, he spoke all his speeches,
He tugged his suspenders, besought his beseeches,
And proved without question or shadow of doubt,
The man they brought in should be sent right back out.
He wasn’t the culprit, committed no crime,
But it wasn’t the place, and it wasn’t the time.
And when the white jury returned their decision,
Each “Guilty” cut deep, like a dagger’s incision.
“We’ll make an appeal,” The Finch promised his client,
“A more open-minded court might be more pliant!”
But well before he could be cleared of the crimes,
The innocent man was shot seventeen times.
And all of the white folks in town looked aside,
They whistled and gossiped and took it in stride.
And the Finch, with his fairness and lofty ideal,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: “How could this be real?”
And he puzzled all day ’til his puzzler was sore!
Then the Finch thought of something he hadn’t before.
Maybe justice, he learned, doesn’t come from the Court.
Maybe justice, perhaps, falls a little bit short.
He HADN’T stopped Racism from coming! IT CAME!
Somehow, like always, it came just the same!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


If I give a dollar
And you give a nickel,
If she gives a holler
And he gives a pickle,
If we give a mitten
And maybe a glove,
If they give a kitten,
A cake, and some love,
If clouds give some thunder
And trees give some fruit,
If children give wonder
And owls give a hoot,
If stars give believers
And seas give a clam,
If otters and beavers
Could just give a dam,
If hands give a flower
And feet give a dance,
And all give an hour
To give peace a chance,
If ends give the middle
And arms give a hug,
If all give a little
And none give a shrug,
We might find we all
Have much more for the giving—
More light and more laughter,
More loving, more living.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Last Day of Summer

It's here once again,
And it's always a bummer. 
The saddest day ever—
The last day of summer. 
Goodbye pie at midnight
With video games,
Hello loud alarm clock
And learning new names. 
So long, holey t-shirts
And mismatching shoes. 
Hello tucked-and-buttoned
In sensible hues. 
Farewell lying out in the
Hot summer sun. 
Hello, pile of homework
I haven't begun.
Oh, next summer's fun
Is so far out of reach. 
In just a few hours,
I have to go teach!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Opening Presents

We scooped all the ice cream, we ate all the cake,
We played “Pin The Tail On Aunt Sue” by mistake.
But then came the best part, the best birthday fun!
I opened the presents up—every last one. 
A board game—“Pants Island”—whatever that is. 
Some flash cards for school called “Geometry WIZ!”
Three pairs of pajamas, some little race cars,
Some glow in the dark non-restickable stars,
A dinosaur t-shirt, a purple kazoo,
A video game: “Panda-Monium TOO!”
Two gift cards, a washcloth, a blue pencil gripper,
A pink sleeping bag with a dangerous zipper,
A little plush frog with a surly appearance,
And clothes that were labeled “Slight Damage” and “Clearance.”
“These presents are lousy,” I said with a sigh,
Then one final package attracted my eye.
I ripped off the paper, I gave a small squeal!
“It’s just what I wanted! It's here! And it's real!
My very own jump-action, super-transforming,
With thermal-ray blaster, (both cooling and warming),
Defense-O-Bot 3000, Model X-4!”
I smiled ’til my smilers were saggy and sore. 
“It’s awesome!” I shouted. “I just can’t believe…”
And that’s when the birthday boy’s dad made me leave. 
“You weren’t invited,” he snarled with a shout. 
“So next time, just drop off your kid and GET OUT!”

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Bob's Banned Books

Come on down to Bob's Banned Books!
We've got the books you need!
The ones your local library
Will never let you read!
But you can show 'em! Fight the power!
Stand up for yourselves!
Come right here to Bob's Banned Books
And buy them off the shelves!
There's "Growing Your Own Tarragon"--
Now there's a spicy tale!
And check out "Mountain Lakes That Look
A Little Like A Whale"
"George the Monkey Files His Taxes"
"Cats That Aren't Cute"
"Barry Popper and the Magic
Plagiarism Suit"
"Fifteen-Second Mysteries
A Parakeet Could Solve"
"Sweater Patterns That Are Bound 
To Tangle or Dissolve"
All these books they've tried to ban
Are stocked here at my store!
Didn't whet your appetite?
Well how 'bout several more?
There's "Christmas Comes To Steubenville"
And, not to be outdone,
"A Big Hawaiian Hannukah"
For twice the winter fun.
"The Pricing Guide for Oven Mitts
Embroidered with a Cow"
"A Thousand Wacky Facts 
You Could Have Google Searched By Now."
All these and more at Bob's Banned Books--
Buy now! You won't get caught!
(The former site of Bob's Deep Discount
Books That No One Bought)

Thursday, July 14, 2016

"Thy Song": A Pop-Sonnet

'Tis odd, this sentiment within my breast.
My deep desires -- O! I fail to hide!
If gold, in place of dust, could fill my chest,
A castle grand is where we would abide.
If I, like Michelangelo of old,
Could hew the living rock into thy form,
Or if my potions at the fair were sold,
But nay ... my song is what shall keep thee warm.
Though verdant or of azure, I know not,
No sweeter eyes have 'ere before met mine.
Forgive these trifles I have quite forgot,
Proclaim it to the world, this song is thine!
I prithee, do not mind my scroll unfurled.
'Tis wonderful that thou art in the world.