Saturday, December 31, 2016

End of the Year

You say this year was terrible,
The worst you've ever seen. 
Atrocious, vicious, unrelenting, 
Brutal, cruel, and mean. 
It took so many that you loved,
It broke you, let you down,
It snatched your smile and left in place
A fractured sour frown. 
And now you sigh and tell yourself,
"At least it's at an end!"
Another year, a fresh and clean one
Just around the bend.
But this year, too, is unforeseen,
Like all the other years,
A year of hardships, challenges,
Frustrations, toils, and tears. 
Yet each of those is balanced,
If you know the way to look,
With laughs, delights, and miracles 
Tucked deep in every nook. 
A penny by the riverside,
A night sky full of wonder. 
The bigger piece of apple pie,
The snow that comes with thunder. 
The spring you put into your step,
A smile you give a stranger,
The way you help the soggy worm
Escape the sidewalk danger. 
A joke you share with just one friend,
A song you share with all,
The way the breeze comes through the trees
To tell you when it's Fall. 
A taster spoon of ice cream
And another to be sure,
A hug that, even when it's done,
Will linger and endure. 
There's magic in the year ahead,
To find it's up to you. 
But gather up enough of it, 
It's sure to see you through. 

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Christmas Isn't

It isn't the shopping, it isn't the snow,
It isn't the stockings all hung,
It isn't the carolers lined in a row,
It isn't the jolly songs sung.
It isn't the presents, it isn't the tree,
It isn't the star up above,
It isn't the specials on every TV. 
It's the love. 

Now, some say it's Santa, and some say his sleigh,
And some say it's reindeer or elves,
And, while they're important on each Christmas Day,
They don't do the job by themselves. 
Some say it's that T-Rex with laser gun feet,
The hottest new holiday toy!
But all of this stuff doesn't make it complete. 
It's the joy. 

It sure isn't gift bags of popcorn and toffee,
Or coupons for you and your kin,
It isn't your six dollar peppermint coffee,
It isn't the cup that it's in. 
It isn't the sweaters you wear when it's freezin',
Real Christmas means more, if you try.
It's peace in your heart that will outlast the season. 
Just peace, love, and joy. 

(And some pie). 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Magazine Drive

Excuse me, sir, to help my school
I'm selling magazines. 
The perfect chance to show support
For all the local teens. 
I brought this giant catalog
For just a short review. 
Let's find the best selection here
Especially for you. 
We’ve got the standards, TOME and Newswonk,
EntertainMe Weakly,
We’ve still got Poople, TV God,
And Living Ancient Greekly.
There’s Frog Aficionado,
Or Toad Monthly if you please.
There’s Crockpot Illustrated
And What’s New in Beaver Cheese.
Are you a sports enthusiast?
Check out Cats Playing Cricket.
Try Storage Closet Monthly—
It can tell you where to stick it.
If you’re a frequent traveler,
Then you’ll love Tour Nebraska,
The chef in you will cherish
Weekly Ways to Bake Alaska.
And, if you’re feeling naughty,
There's a special new selection:
The Whoopie Cushion Quarterly
To add to your collection. 
Subscribe to any that you like,
'Cause helping schools is nice!
I'll put you down for three or four
At twice the cover price. 
I'll take a check or credit card.
It's fine, I've got all day. 
Or, if you give me twenty cash,
I might just go away!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


I got some mashed potatoes
And I crammed them up inside.
A dozen stewed tomatoes
And a walnut, lightly fried.
Some jelly beans, a bar of soap,
A tiny rubber chicken,
Four chunks of moldy cantaloupe 
All ready for the stickin’.
I shoved in half a sticky bun
(It’s just a little chewed),
Some chocolate chips and, just for fun,
My “Super Action Dude™”!
A can of cola, black-eyed peas,
The rest of my burrito,
Some raisin bran, my grandpa’s keys,
My record-setting Cheeto.
I tossed in some beef jerky,
Then I slammed the oven shut.
They said to stuff the turkey,
But they never said with what!

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.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Visions in the Night

A blue one, a gold one,
A pop and a spark.
They shimmer and shine
In the sky in the dark. 
A green one, a silver,
A swirling bright tail,
A huge one that fades to 
A ghostly smoke trail,
A long one, a strong one,
And one with a grin,
Plus one that sends shivers
All over my skin. 
They burn for an instant,
Then puff into steam,
These demons that chase me
Each night when I dream.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Order Now!

It slices! It dices! It cuts through a can!
It cooks like an oven, but cleans like a pan!
It boils seven eggs in three seconds or less!
No hassle! No problem! No clean up! No mess!
It shines all your windows and keeps your fruit crisp!
It re-packs your luggage and smooths out your lisp!
Are you sick and tired of tying your shoe?
And how many times has THIS happened to you?
If you order now you will also receive
This amazing craft book: “Forty Wigs You Can Weave!”
Plus seven screwdrivers, two wrenches, one slipper,
The JuiceBot 3000™, a grilled tofu flipper,
A gallon of purple Peruvian honey,
For six easy payments of all of your money!
Call now! We can promise complete satisfaction!
(By calling, you waive rights to all legal action.)

Friday, July 1, 2016

The Failsville Mall

Every store is closing in the Downtown Failsville Mall.
Going out of business—every kiosk, shop, and stall. 
“Going Hatty”’s headed nowhere, “Shoe Shed” stepped outside. 
“Spice It Up” is out of season, “Chick-Fill-U” got fried. 
“Just Cigars” and “Pipe-O-Rama” both went up in smoke.
“Candle Island” made no scents, and “Window Heaven”’s broke. 
“Ugly Shirts and Mismatched Sneakers” never stood a chance,
Still, they held out longer than “Joe's Holey Discount Pants!”
“Cram-A-Cookie” crumbled, and the “Y” closed just because. 
No one seemed to want to know what “Victor's Secret” was. 
Even the McDonald’s closed—that’s rare as rare can be!
(Of course, this one was “Old McDonald Had A Pharmacy”). 
But “Bob’s Half-Price Store-Closing Signs” can’t keep ’em on the shelves!
If stores keep closing at this rate, they’ll never close themselves!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Fairy Godfather

Oh, poor Cinderella had nothing at all—
No dress and no jewels and no chance for the ball!
She shook her head sadly and started to cry,
When POOF! Standing there in a pressed shirt and tie
With a cool black fedora, a dozen gold rings,
Was a Fairy Godfather with tiny silk wings.
He made her an offer she couldn’t refuse—
A stylish new dress and some shiny new shoes—
Then said, with a tug on his fine tailored suit,
“Now hold on, 'cause here comes the rest of the loot!”
He pulled out two necklaces covered with gems,
Huge earrings, gold bracelets, and said “How ’bout dems?”
And when Cindy asked him the source of her luck?
“Don’t worry about it. They fell off a truck.
There’s more where that came from and no way to track ’em.
And hey—those two sisters—you want I should whack ’em?”
The grin on her face has been there ever since—
Forget that rich royal—she just found her prince!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Make Something!

Make something! Make something!
Craft and create!
Take what you're given
And make something great!

Make a new poem,
A painting, a dress!
Make a zucchini cake!
Go make a mess!

Make a fresh start,
Or make love and not war!
Make a mistake--
That's what making is for!

Make a cheese castle,
A pie, or a puppet!
When you are down,
Just go make something uppet!

Here is a sad song--
Now go make it better!
Life give you lemons?
Go make a fruit sweater!

And when you have made
And you come to an end,
Share it with someone--
You just made a friend!

Friday, June 17, 2016

So Much At Steak

“Oh, Waiter,” the customer called through the crowd,
“Oh why is the service so slow?!
I ordered my dinner,” he shouted out loud,
“Well over an hour ago!”

“Well, sir,” said the waiter “your steak's on its way,
But wait just a little while yet. 
We sometimes encounter a minor delay
To get the best steak we can get.”

“You see,” he continued, “we sent out our best,
A chef with a heart pure as gold. 
The daring young man ventured forth on a quest!
So brave, and so handsome and bold.”

“To pick up your steak he must climb a high mountain,
Then fight off marauders and thieves,
Then pull a gold piece from a magical fountain,
And sleep on a bed of blue leaves.”

“Before he returns, he must tumble and toss
With an army of demons and elves.
Then a dragon is guarding the Chef’s Secret Sauce--
We don't know the secret ourselves!”

“And that,” said the waiter “is why you must wait
A little bit more than the rest. 
A steak for the ages will soon fill your plate. 
The greatest! The legend! The best!”

“But why?” said the customer. “Why all this fuss?
It’s more than one diner should bear!”
“Why SIR,” said the waiter. “You asked it of us!
You ordered a steak ‘extra rare’!”

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Join The Band!

I'm strummin', he's thumbin'
We're hummin', becomin'
A purty magnificent band. 

I'm pluckin', she's shuckin' 
The chickens are cluckin'!
Oh come on and give us a hand!

I'm twangin', they're sangin',
The tots are pot-bangin',
The hound dogs are howlin' real low. 

It's you that we're missin'!
Come join the musicians
And be the best part of the show!

I'm shakin', he's quakin',
We're slappin' some bacon!
The hubcaps are takin' some hits. 

I'm scootin', she's flute-in',
But where's all the tootin'?!
Oh come make that noise from your pits!

Have You Seen My Robot?

Have you seen my robot?
I lost him at the park. 
I'm trying hard to find him now
Before it gets too dark. 

Have you seen my robot?
He's strong and made of steel. 
He's got antennas on his
Copper plated guidance wheel. 

Have you seen my robot?
His laser's at full charge. 
His warheads are so powerful
And, not to mention, large!

Have you seen my robot?
Oh, he's my favorite toy!
His human-safety switch is stuck
On "Seek Out And Destroy."

Have you seen my robot?
You'd better hope you do!
Oh wait--that's him right over there!
My robot has seen YOU!