NOR’GEESETER: A Steller Story

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STANDUP STORY

There once was a bird
who wanted to be
any bird
but the one
that he was:
an ostrich named Stanley.

Sometimes he’d act like
the macaw
(you’d guffaw)
or a chick
(it was sick)
bird of prey
(yech…no way!)

Even more than those acts
that Stan couldn’t master
other tries were plain bad,
no worse,
a disaster:

His strut recalled peacocks
less than it did newts,
his night hunting efforts
made every owl hoot.

And when he carried on
like some bird he wasn’t
the Small Stan inside him ‘tsked,
“Big Stan you mustn’t.

“You’re an ostrich,
Be proud if your head’s in the ground!
Don’t clown cluck around
like The Birdbrain of Town!”

Some messages
the first time
are loud and clear,
while others
don’t arrive
for some reason
for years …

So it was one day it hit Stan
And he could see,
“What I really know how to be best
is me.
Not them
or they
or he
or she.

The feathers of others don’t fit on my frame
And trying to force them has made me look lame.”

So Stan said to himself,
“Let’s forever agree
For you to be you
And me to be me.”

From then till forever
Stanley didn’t mince,
Nor did that old ostrich
once lack confidence.

FLOWER SHOWER

A flower shower

Turned the tree green

Turned the grass pinker

Than I ever seen:

Cotton-candy colored

It yesterday was

When into and out of it

All the bees buzzed.

Then the quick change.

Perhaps it was the breeze:

Petals went packing

To the lawn from the leaves.

Now the Pink Tree Photo

I had taken in my head

Resembles Sun-dodging

confetti instead.

WINTORY LAP

On the shortest day of the year
The sun takes an extra long lunch,
So long it doesn’t end until
Almost the next day’s brunch.

Head lights and night lights get lots of action
The day of the year that’s shortest.
While that day more than any other is for
golf clubs and lawn mowers the boredest.

It seems like it should be relaxing and yet
There’s always so much around you,
On the year’s shortest day, falling as it does,
Right about when the holidays do.

Still songs like “Oh, What a Night” or “Thank
the Lord for the Nighttime” spread cheer,
Of how happy folks get after early sunset
On the shortest day of the year.

shortest_edit

Among everything else it is, the shortest day of the year is half a calendar away from its cousin the longest day of the year.

MOON TAKER

As they headed home from Nana’s house
late one clear, dark night,
Fred said to his Mom and Dad,
“See the moon there,
big and bright?

Could I pretty please this once
take it home with me?”
“Why, Fred,” his mother said,
“that idea sure is…….
lovely.

“And maybe you could,” she said,
“But how will you reach and get the moon?”
“How I get the kickball from the garage top shelf,”
Fred said,
“by knocking it down with the broom.”

“That sounds good,” said Fred’s Dad,
“but how’ll you catch it when it falls?”
“Easy,” said Fred,
“in Baby Jane’s old crib
where we keep all her dolls.”

“And just where would you keep the Moon,” Dad asked,
“once we got it to our place?”
“No problem,” Fred said,
“I’ll clear out my big wagon,
the red one, to make some space.

Then I can drive the moon around,
and show him our whole street.
The way he’s movin’ above the trees,
makes me think
he thinks seein’ stuff is neat.”

“Well that’s just it,” Fred’s Dad said
as their house came into sight.
“Here we are, back from Nana’s,
and the moon’s still with us,
big and bright.

That makes me think the moon loves traveling
just like you have guessed.”
“So, maybe,” Fred’s Mom said,
“leaving him to roam the sky
would be best.

And the next night that we’re out like this
and see the moon again,
I’ll bet he’ll hang out with us some more,
to prove, once more,
we’re friends.”

Fred gazed up at the sky and thought
about what his Mom and Dad had said.
“Yes, maybe you’re right,” he told them,
“I’m tired.
And the moon doesn’t quite look ready for bed.”

moon_edit

Mmm, Mmm. Good.

M is the camel of letters
recognizable for its two humps.
Without them both, M would be N,
as in neasles,
conputer,
and nunps.

M comfortably takes on the task
of being the milestone
halfway on the road
through Alphabetowne
‘tween A’s aura and the Z-zone.

And though M sounds like
M starts with an e
eh-hem
that isn’t the case.

M is his own man:
A pivotal camel shaped pal
Midway through the race.

M_edit

DON’T LOOK CLOSE:  Look far.  And you May just see an M in this iMage from
the Mellow Mushroom, Oak Street, New Orleans.  YuMM.

A MAN IN A TREE

Look Hard To See The Man In The Tree

Look hard,
Do you see?
The Man in the tree?
Way up high
Looking wee
A bark scaling flea.
Saw in hand has he,
Hanging from two or three
Ropes, hooks, pulleys,
And the squeeze of his knees.
How he must feel free
Part man,
Part leaf,
Like a branch in the breeze:
Breathe in sky,
Exhale glee.
That is, at least,
Till he gets company
In the form of some bees,
Who appear suddenly.
Nothing about them
At all unfriendly
These makers of honey
Always aiming to please.
To the hive they’re returning
As they do normally,
But that’s not what the Man in the tree
Thinks he sees.
So he waves and he flails
And he clings nervously
Contemplating a way he can
Flee gracefully.
From here it appears
(perhaps you’d agree)
he cannot speak even
a few words of Bee.
If he could
It might change things,
Presumably
The Man might agree:
He does not need an
Exit strategy ;
That the bees are no bother ;
If he’ll just let them be ;
And enjoy the beauty
At the top off the tree.

WHO HAS THE FLOOR?

“Kids, grab your picks and shovels
and come along with me,
We’re headed on a voyage
of thrilling discovery!

It’s been so long since we’ve seen it,”
Dad with excitement said,
“And this will be like a safari …
Quick!
Let’s tape flashlights to our heads!

We’ll set out like explorers
Who knows what is in store?
On this adventure quest
For the Lost Family Room Floor!

We’ll search beneath the pillows,
The building blocks and blankets,
We’ll push past all the heaps of dolls
And mountain range of trinkets!

And with hard work and good luck
If we persevere
If through drums and balls and train sets
We’re able to steer,

Maybe we can find it,
That myth from days of yore,
That deeply buried, long lost treasure
The Fabled Family Room Floor!”

floor_edit 2

DRAWING > BORED

Scooter Scutter, scribble junkie
drew lions, tigers, bears and monkeys,
speedboats, tractors, unicycles,
Sallys, Stevies, Mindys, Michaels,

In pens and ink, paint and charcoal,
marker, crayon, colored pencil,
on paper, plastic, ceilings, walls,
cereal box tops, basketballs.

His friends asked once, “What is it, Scoo
about drawing that soooo grips you?
The lines, the shapes, the shades, the faces?
The capturing of things and places?”

Listening, Scoo kept his eyes on his pad,
his tireless stylus moving like mad.
He said, “Not sure I have an answer for you,
‘cept I draws ‘cuz not drawin’
colors me blue.”

NOT POSITIVE ID

When she brought home
my new kid sister
Mom said,
“Say hello to Carrie.”

I thought that’s what Mom said,
but am I certain?
Well, no.
Not very.

Because Dad calls the kid
“L’il Chicken”
or
“Queen of Sheba-Geneeba Sleuth.”

While Mom says to her,
“Just look at you,
My Sweet Precious Little
Houndstooth!”

Gramma sings
“Hi Boo-ga-loo,”
while strolling baby
‘round the block.

Grampa asks Dad
for pictures of
“My favorite l’il
Cuckoo Clock.”

Me?
I’ve learned:
forgetful silly tongued grownups
can be scary.

Lucky for my sister
I for one
will be sticking with her real name:
Carrie.

SPOILER ALERT

Andy asked Angie
nicely one day,
“Would you mind
if I borrowed a book?”

Angie replied,
“Of course you may.
Here’s my library shelf.
Go ahead. Take a look.”

Andy chose a volume
and inquired
“Have you read this?
How’s this one?”

Angie answered,
“I’ve read it but
won’t spoil it ‘cause
Spoilin’s no fun.”

So Andy borrowed
the book and began it
But he didn’t want
to spoil it either.

So when his head
wasn’t stuck in that book,
Andy stored it in
the Refrigereader.

THE GIRL WHO CRIED POTTY

One day we were driving
When Sister yelled, “Potty!”
So off-road Dad drove,
Then Sis whispered, “Nah. Sorry.”

One day Sis cried, “Potty!”
So Mom hit the brakes.
At the next gas station,
Sister giggled, “Nope. My mistake.”

Then one day Sis screamed, “Potty!”
This time Mom and Dad both said, no.
Only that time, we soon learned,
Sister really did have to go.

MULCH GULCH

Don’t wear a cute suit

if you go to Mulch Gulch,

wear the filthiest clothes that you own.

And don’t call for help

because friends never answer,

when calls from there light up their phone.

Bring a pitchfork for heavin’

and plan to be leavin’

wearing dirt from your ears to your feet.

Because down in the Gulch,

named after its Mulch,

the Dirtiness cannot be beat.

mulch_scooby_tagged

ZOINKS! – Scooby-Doo (above) wisely armors himself in a protective Mystery Machine-issue Hazmat suit while investigating the Notorious F.I.L.T.H. of Mulch Gulch. (Photo: PaC)

NO EXPRESSION

Working so hard
That his days had no end
Dear old Alex Zandle
Burned his candle at both ends.

He worked in his shop
Then outside he toiled
He used hammers, and griddles
And extractors for boils.

In every subject
He mastered his lessons,
Well, all except one,
The Subject of Expressions.

We learned that one day
When the poor chap looked tired
And after his physical state
We inquired.

“What say you, Alex,
Are you feeling alright?
Your breathing sounds sniffly
And your steps don’t look light.”

“Why thank you for asking!”
Said dear Alex Zandle,
“It seems this time I’ve
Burnt myself down the candle.

But you know what they say:
Drown a cold, parch a fever,
And soon you’ll be purring
Like a Golden Retriever.”

On his head cold, soon after,
He did get a handle
But a grip on Expressions
Still eludes Alex Zandle.

SCOOP

Dad says what we got’s magic snow,
That somehow made our driveway grow,
That somehow made him say words that
He swears he doesn’t really know.

Dad says that each new inch that falls
Lengthens the driveway by ten feet,
That if we left right now, perhaps,
Some time next year we’d reach the street.

Dad says the thing we need most now
Is a summer-style-sun,
To melt some of this magic snow
And make our driveway a walkable one.

Mom says that sounds great but while we wait
A pass with the shovel may be in order.
Dad hears and looks nervous before blurting out,
“But I can’t! Don’t you know? I’m a magic snow hoarder!”

scoop_drivewaypic_edit

CHRISTMAS EVE EVE

It’s Christmas Eve Eve

it’s time to decide

On which side of “Naughty or Nice”

You reside.

I’ve minded the ledger

for three-sixty-three

to know which stockings to fill

and which to leave empty.

By today for most people

it’s perfectly clear,

but for some tomorrow

will decide their whole year.

For those still “TBD”

(and you know who you are)

perhaps take this last chance

to shine like a star,

To be grateful and generous

thoughtful and kind,

more orange-soda-sweet

than old-lemon-rind.

You say it’s too late?

Rest assured that’s not true.

Each tomorrow’s a new chance

To make a better you.

So on Day Three-Six-Four of this year,

here’s the trick:

Be nice.  Tip the scales.  You’ll be glad.

Signed, St. Nick.

rockwell_santa

This, one of my favorite Norman Rockwell covers was published on December 16, 1939.
For more of Rockwell’s classic Christmas images, click here.

INTENTION DEFICIT, DISORDER

Mom by accident I put your make-up on.

Accidentally I moved the plunger in the car from in the john.

By accident I got turpentine on the ceiling fan.

Somehow I found a way to melt papayas in the van.

How all of this happened I wish I could tell you more

But I can’t escape my room, there’s gobs of gum in the lock on the door.

Why yes, you’re right it happened accidentally, of course!

GOLD, FRANKINCENSE, AND MICHAEL McDONALD*

A Wise Man travelled
From Orient-are
Upon his arrival
He stopped in a bar.

On the stool beside him
Sat a Young Fool,
Short on knowledge of life,
If an expert in school.

The Fool talked a lot
Once their chat began,
He told the Wise Man
Of His “Full Proof Life Plan.”

“It may not be that easy,”
the smiling Wise Man said,
“Just do your best.
And you’ll have no cause to dread.”

“Of course I won’t, man!
This Plan is the best.
Feel free to borrow it.
Go ahead, be my guest!”

They went back and forth
And soon it was clear
To the Wise Man that this
Debate could go on years.

And that was a bummer
That no matter how wise
He was he couldn’t open
This poor Young Fool’s eyes.

But then in the course
Of tuning him out
The Wise Man detected
Some sweet music about.

The harmony keys
At first drew him in
Then he heard the lyrics
And they made him grin.

Their message was timely
And an inspiration
To a man full of wisdom
But not beyond frustration:

“What a Fool believes
a Wise Man has no power
to reason away.”
It made sweetness from sour.

This genius musician
His magical words.
The wisest thing, maybe,
The Wise Man had ever heard.

The song lifted his mood,
Made him feel alright.
From then on he didn’t care
If the Fool babbled all night.

No more was there pressure
To change his silly views.
“What this Fool believes,” he thought,
“That’s on him. Not you.

You’re a Wise Man with no
More power to reason
With this Fool than you have
To alter the seasons.”

This lesson from an
Invisible pop star
Was one he took home
That night from the bar:

What a Fool believes?
Not your problem, don’t fret.
There’s no reasoning with him.
At least, there’s never been yet.

*Both McDonald and Kenny Loggins have the songwriting credit on the Doobie Brothers classic linked above that inspired this story.  The assist goes to Gaspar, Balthasar, and Melchior, Kings though not Doobies.  

DAYS CRAZE

Some days I want a hammock
Some days I want a smock
Some days I can find all the keys
Some days I lose the lock.

Some days I’m good at sleeping
Some days I cannot rest
Some days I know the answers
Some, I forget the test.

Some days I’m dreaming big
Some days I read fine print
Some days my eyes are clear
Some, they have their own tint.

Some days feel different at the start
Some days feel much the same
Some days I take too seriously
Some too much like a game.

Some day I’ll reminisce about
Some days and how they were spent.
Some days I won’t recall by then,
When I’m wondering where all of’em went.

shemcreek_edit

SUNSET – Shem Creek, SC

METS BRAIN FEVER

Hey, Mets.
Go? Let’s.
Hit’em long,
Throw’em strong,

Leather, flash,
Bases dash,
Play ball,
All fall.

So Mr. Met
Must never fret,
Think magic numbers & old tricks,
Like Sixty-Nine & Eighty-Six.

If fortunes stray,
For miracles pray
When hope is nada,
Believe, ya’ gotta,

Yes, Mets.
Get it, let’s:
A pennant pretty,
New for Citi.

Then stay sound,
From the mound,
The rubber, toed,
The batters, mowed,

The flames dealt,
The lineups melt.
That’s how it’s been
When it’s amazin’:

Gems hurled,
To the Series, World,
Cool as Vlassic
In the Classic.

Show no quit
In the books, put it.
Not a bit of fade,
‘Till there’s a parade.

Woo-hoo,
Orange and blue,
Make a scene
Out in Queens

End our wait
To celebrate
Yo, Mets.
Go! Let’s!

cone_edit

STILL HAVE my David Cone autographed 8×10 glossy, purchased at a baseball card show (what are those?!?) circa 1990. I can recall hearing on the radio that he’d been traded to the Blue Jays in August ’92. I was crushed.

While I can’t express as eloquently as others have the emotional roller-coaster of being a former die-hardI am very much in their tent when it comes to the New York Mets.  They were my first irrational sports love, and since then, have remained one of the teams that occupies a permanent place inside me.  Admittedly, and without shame, I’d call my Met fandom today a fraction of what it once was.  Now when I cheer, out of respect for the every day, pavement pounding, orange-and-blue collar fans, I cheer quietly ; in the same way many Catholics describe their faith, I say I’m lapsed.  But I also contend, as evidenced by the sporadic but unmistakeable ways that it surfaces every so often, that my Met-love won’t ever completely be gone.  Which is why since they won the National League last night for the 3rd time in my lifetime, only their fifth pennant in 53 seasons, I’ve had Mets on the brain, dripping in bits and bursts into a notebook and then above. Somethings, when you learn them young enough, simply become a part of you.  They might fade like the snapshots in Back to the Future (sorry, Cubs fans), but in time, the real stuff always returns.

BOBBER

Dear old Johnny Corkforbrains

Was “Bobber” to his friends.

He loved to float ideas but

Didn’t always think through the ends.

He thought, “A Tin Man suit would shine

In a Halloween lightning storm!”

Thought he needed to speak French

To listen to French Horns.

Thought “Swap that sugar in for salt,

They both look the same!”

Thought “What could be so different

Between a wild horse and a tame?”

The meanings and looks of things and words

Into the Bobber never sunk

That’s why he claimed that chocolate chips

Were related to chipmunks.

But despite his errors, he was a nice fella’,

So nobody complained

About sweethearted simpleminded Bobber,

Aka, Johnny Corkforbrains.

“If there was a bottle, yo’, I’ll stop it.” – Mantra, J.C.f.B (Photo by PaC)

LID-DLE RIDDLE

Nothing causes more kitchen angst

Than Tupperwars,

Prompting battles for cupboards

And skirmishes for drawers,

They start out above

Then spill onto floors,

Hazards to those

Opening cabinet doors.

“There’s a bowl for every top”

is popular lore

but the day it comes true,

wild elephants will soar.

Till then the curse continues,

In kitchens rich and poor,

And all mankind must pray,

For an end to Tupperwars.

PUDDLE VISION

When storm clouds clear
And Mom lets us outside
There’s just one thing that I see,
I’ll confide:

Not rainbows, although,
They’re certainly pretty.
Not the fresh sunbeams
That are drying the city.

Not the wet worms
Not the drenched cars or trees,
Not the once again buzzing about
Birds or bees.

While all of that stuff
Might make others’ focus muddled,
After rainstorms I only
Have eyes for puddles.

And when I get home
None of me clean or dry
Mom shakes her head
And wonders why,

“Why is it in puddles
You must run with such glee?”
“I can’t help it,” I say,
“They’re all that I see.”

puddlejump_edit2

MERRY LITTLE PUDDLE JUMPER – Ocean City, NJ 2015 (Photo – PaC)