CHRISTMAS CLOUD COVER

Christmas night rain
Was causing trepidation
For reindeer who worked
Through precipitation.

There were no good galoshes
To cover a hoof
And also give traction
To walk on a roof.

A red nosed windshield wiper
Had not been invented
A slicker for antlers
Nowhere could be rented.

So wet Christmas Eves
Rudolph would fear
Along with his team
Until finally one year,

They became so distracted
Checking the weather
Their boss caught wind of
His team’s ruffled feathers.

Mrs. Claus heard and said,
“Let me ring a friend.
I bet once and for all
Their concerns we can end.”

A couple weeks later,
It was early December,
A large package arrived addressed
KRINGLE TEAM MEMBERS.

As he opened it Saint Nick whispered,
“What have we got here …
SAINT ELLA UMBRELLA’S
REINDEER RAIN GEAR’?!?”

“Just in time,” said Mrs. Claus
walking in, “it’s arrived.
Ella said she could help.
I knew that was no jive.”

The Reindeer Rain Gear
In the box was a boon,
With it on Santa’s team
Hoped they’d face a monsoon:

Water tight goggles,
Impervious slickers,
Treaded hoof booties,
Fur sealing knickers,

All there among Saint Ella
Umbrella’s tricks,
The Reindeer Rain Gear
For a wet Christmas fix,

Thanks to Mrs. Claus
And the power of friends,
Since that year the reindeer
Viewed rain through a new lens.

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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.

ALL FIGURED OUT

Want in on my Master Plan?
Come closer and listen to me.
Because the blueprint of it’s now taking shape
Oh so satisfactorally.

When’s it start, my Master Plan?
Well don’t worry it won’t be long now.
Just know by the end life will be so sweet
We’ll sweat candy bars from our brows.

Before that part, the Master Plan middle
Involves espionage and boats,
Action car chases, exotic horse races,
Fine jewelry, machine guns, fur coats.

What’s the Master Plan Step 1, you ask?
Simple: win the lottery.
Huh?
Well….
…..guess what…
If you’re gonna’ roll on the floor laughing at it,
Then out of the Plan you can be.

Lighting in a Bottle – New Orleans

SKIN DEEP DIVE

Studying the dictionary,
Johnny Corkforbrains
Got stuck up at the top one day
Then down his knowledge rained:

“Avocado, alligator …
skins not not the same …
and an A resides
at the start of both your names!

The gator grows in swamps,
The ‘cado grows on trees,
But trees are FOUND in swamps …
How different can you be?

How leathery you feel,
How deep dark green you look,
Like pictures of each other
That I have seen in books.

Of course in person, no,
I’ve never met your kinds,
But don’t see how not doing so
Could put my views behind?

The chance you’re NOT related
To me seems mighty small,
No two such similar dermises
Could not be connected at all.

For further proof, consider:
The gator’s alias, ‘Croc’,
Which just so happens sounds just like
The ‘cado’s alt-name, ‘Guac’.

If you must, pretend they’re not the same:
Avocado, alligator.
But trust me there’ll be evidence:
Birth certificates released later.”

JOINED CHIEFS

Pow saw Wow

across the street

Pow and Wow

exchanged greets

Pow approached Wow,

“Rest our feet?”

Pow and Wow agreed:

that couldn’t be beat.

Pow and Wow

got out of the heat

Pow and Wow

found a seat

Pow and Wow

were loud and discreet as

Pow and Wow’s

talk roamed like a fleet.

Pow and Wow’s

chat got so neat that

Pow and Wow

decided to delete

Any words between them,

and that’s how

a close meeting of the minds

became called a powwow.

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.

THE RIGHT STUFFING

Perhaps the best meal of the year
comes weeks after Turkey Day.
It’s a nest built from all the trimmings
That have not yet by then flown away.

Start with any bits of gobbler left
Toss them in a bowl,
Add a scoop of stuffing, yams, mashed potatoes,
Whatever you’ve got … it’s all gold.

If you still have it, stir in gravy,
Then pour it all in a crust.
Cinch the dough, bake on high, that’s it.
No other meal prep takes less fuss!

It’s the yummiest food recycling
That’s plain easy to get right,
So try Thanksgiving Pie:
Send that old crusty bird back in flight.

THE BOOT FLEECE POLICE

Mom got new rain boots
Red, rubber, and tall.
Dad asked, “How’d you choose those?”
Mom said, “They’re cool. That’s all.”

Now my Mom’s no liar
But I thought, nonetheless,
Let’s take those cool boots
And put’em to the test.

So when she was too busy
To stop my experiment
I took some cold milk
And into her boots it went.

Like a good scientist
I let my test tube be
And went off to play
For an hour or three.

Perhaps it was longer
I lost track when Mom screamed,
The unexpected milk
In her boot had her steamed.

I said, “Wait one sec, Mom,
Take a breath, cool down.
Allow me to measure that
Milk puddle on the ground.”

Once I had I said, “Mom,
I’d be angry too!
This spilled milk is warm.
So those boots? Not so cool.”

The thing that they sold you
Is not what you bought.
It seems in some faux-thermo-boot-scam you’re caught!”

Overcome with shock
Or maybe with grief
Like anyone who’s been
Taken by a thief

She said not a word but just looked at me,
And I wondered perhaps if deep down she felt glee
At her little scientist’s new discovery.
Yes, I thought to myself, pride must be what I see.

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

CORNER OF WORD

Not quite as far out as

Where the sidewalk ends

Is where Word Street into

Other Word Street bends.

And at that intersection

Is a Dutch French Horn

And a squirrel swirl

And a torn acorn,

And a Bizarre Bazaar

And a big clinched couch

And Dorian DeLorean

In a crazyman crouch,

Holding over his head

A zydeco xylophone

To play a song for Aunt Cake

Louder than a cyclone,

Or a superbomb blast

From an Arctic typhoon

Howling over the surface

Of a baboon lagoon.

And inevitably when

That sound causes debris,

What acceptable receptacle

Will there possibly be?

Well that stripe of insight

Might be too great an onus

To expect even from

Wizened Old Bonus Jonas.

But there where Word Street bends

To Other Word Street

The junction’s real function’s

Clear as a snare beat:

To be a place friendly

to sound percolation

And weird letter unions,

night, day, and morn,

A magic locale of

twinkling tongue twisters,

the spot on the map

where poems may be born.

painttable_edit

ONE SUMMER ROADMAP

Collected from May to today

From New Orleans to Albany

These shots together form a

FlyIreWerDelis.

Buzzing, brightening

Petals, pavement,

Earth, sky, shining sea:

A mashed-up summer roadmap bouquet,

The FlyIreWerDelis

FlyIreWerDelis

For more photos, check out my Instagram gallery at tweed_typewriter

WHAT IF

I asked,

“What if I blew my teeth?

What if I brushed my nose?

What if I ironed the leaves?

What if I raked my clothes?

What if I clipped my ears?

Pierced my nails?

Flossed my shoes?

Shined my hair?

Climbed my bike?

Rode the stairs?

Took a bed?

Went to bath?

Added letters?

Read my math?

Swam a jog?

Ran a swim—”

“Well,” Mom cut in,

Eventually folks might ask

‘Sooo…..What’s up with him?’”

teeth_edit

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

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.

THE WAY YOU LAY THERE FLAT

One time Sinatra laughed so hard
He fell right off his chair,
Then looked up at the gathered crowd,
and said, “Ringy dingy, I don’t care

If your whole rooty tooty friends and family
See me here ;
Pop your cameras, if you please,
And keep a snapshot of my cheer.

Just be warned of one thing,
From Ol’ Blue Eyes on this deck,
If you’re nearby orchestrating
How you’ll tap dance on my neck:

Don’t yews guys get wise and think,
‘Hey look, he’s down, we’ve scored.
Finally an opportune time to
Go do something untoward!’

Rest assured that even laughing
On my back flat as a board
I can hold my own from here and be
The Chairman of the Floored.”

floored

For more inspiring photos from @HistoryInPics where I found this one, click above on the image of floored Frank.

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.