You there, leaves,

Back on the trees!

You may NOT yet come down

And blanket the ground!

You must help us stall

The beginning of fall,

Because the end of summer

Would be such a bummer.

So up, up, you go

To those branches you know,

Back up in place,

This isn’t a race!

Then in one month feel free

To LEAP off the trees,

Right now I can’t take

The thought of a rake.




Go away birdies
leave me be,
I want to relax
here by the sea,
But your pecking is creepy
your breath smells like gill,
I want to sleep
and your cawing is shrill.
So go away birdies
go fly away,
there are no crackers here,
no reason to stay.


“Early Bird of Venice Beach” (Photo: PaC)


For what does the poolside mantis pray?

An umbrella drink,

A chameleon who’ll play?

Some clouds to give shade

From the heat of the day?

The salty breeze

Of a distant bay?

To escape the view

Of the hungry blue jay?

The showers of April

The flowers of May?

The observers’ wonder

But the mantis won’t say

For if anything what

By the poolside he prays.


(Photo: PaC)


All day I could eat ice cream

Then still have more at night

To say there is a time I can’t eat ice cream

is not right.

That’s why in all my belt loops

I hook on sixteen spoons,

It’s why at my house there’s

Ten freezers in each room

And toppings stashed inside the pocket

Of each coat I own

And why I’m working on a way

To eat ice cream through my phone.

Ice cream may not be perfect

But it’s very very close

So to sundaes, cones, and chipwiches,

Let’s raise an ice cream toast.



Today I will be busy
Though I have no to-do list,
Just lots of stuff ahead of me
That nobody should miss.

All of it is out there
In one easy to find place
That has no walls or ceiling
But endless open space.

The directions there are simple:
Walk right out the Door
To the magic land of Nowhere,
It’s the greatest to explore.

All it takes is curiosity
And every trip Nowhere will prove
That no matter what you’ve heard
Nowhere is someplace too.

A view from the beneath the roof over the Door to Nowhere

The view from beneath the roof over the Door to Nowhere (Photo: PaC)

See Timothy Egan’s column in The Old Gray Lady for more on the value of minds that go Nowhere — John Lennon’s, for instance.


Be gone Old Man Winter,
You’ve had your prance.
I’ve already put away
all my corduroy pants.

April is half gone now,
the green grass is showing,
so much that I can hear
folks down the street mowing.

Baseball has returned,
we’re all thinking spring
nobody has interest
in one last icy fling.

You’re in this year’s rear view
as we head forward,
away from you Winter,
and the hot summer toward.

After the long, drab winter, popped lilacs are like purple pyrotechnics. (Photo: PaC)

After the long, drab winter, popped lilacs are like purple pyrotechnics. (Photo: PaC)


UPDATED 3-26-16: To read this poem as a STELLER STORY, click on the photo below.

Screen Shot 2016-04-02 at 11.18.07 PM

Last year’s Easter egg hunt
was in the old cornfield.
Now it seems that day
not every egg was revealed

and that from those left back
are this year being born
acres and acres of stalks
sprouting tiny eggcorns.

Nature’s packaged each one
in a shell in a husk,
so cracking the eggcorns
is a rusty padlock fuss.

But once their outer layers
are opened up and clean
the cob yolks deep inside
are like nothing that you’ve seen:

Purple, pink, and yellow,
orange, blue, and jade,
all the prettiest pastels,
every springtime shade.

Just how nature made this magic
Science is still figuring,
but one thing learned so far:
is mighty omelets
from the tiny eggcorns spring.


Eggcorns are the kernel of a colorful Easter breakfast. (Photo: PaC)  


In a pinch? In a bind?
Have an out of style flip?
That’s dampened your spirits?
Put a dip in your zip?

Well no messy hair doll
has reason to fret
who knows the old Ballad
of the Green Barrette.

It’s a song that licks cowlicks
and marches past bed-head,
that makes crooked parts
straight as new tire tread.

So to tune up your coif,
it may be your best bet
to sing that ol’ pea-colored clip classic,
The Ballad of the Green Barrette.

"SIGHT READING IS TOUGH, PILGRIM!" - An artist rendering of the original score from "The Ballad of the Green Barrette"

“SIGHT READING IS TOUGH, PILGRIM!” – An artist rendering of the original score from “The Ballad of the Green Barrette” (Photo: PaC)


In our yard
a bird of pray
landed so discreetly.

I watched him stretch
his praying wings
then fold them up so neatly.

Of all the birds I ever seen
I never seen one looked so mean
or one who asked me from his perch,

“It seems I’m lost. Which way’s the church?”

Click above on the feasting flyer to flip to a story of a suburban bird love triangle.

Click above on the feasting flyer to flip to a story of a suburban bird love triangle. (Photo: PaC)


No business card order
made Jim’s Print Shop squirm
like the monthly one from
the Dublin law firm

of “O’Billy, O’Biley, O’Riley, O’Connell,
MacDougal, MacTavish, MacCabbage, MacDonald,
Kilkenny, Kilpatrick, Fitzpatrick, Kilboyle,
McLanahan, Shanahan, Flanagan, Doyle.”

So many Dubliners would make almost any Jim's head spin.

So many Dubliners would make almost any Jim’s head spin. (Photo: PaC)


Jimmy blames the neighbor’s dog
Janie blames her sore toe
Billy blames the creaky floors
Brenda blames El Niño.
Katie blames tectonic plates
Kurt blames daylight savings
Paul blames operator error
Pam blames riboflavin.

Who knows for sure which blame is real
and which is full of fizz,
or why so many folks get kicks
from the finger pointing biz.

DUTCHFINGER - A very close look at a hand on one of the statues that depict in three dimensions Rembrandt's "The Night Watch" - Rembrandt Square, Amsterdam (PHOTO: PaC)

DUTCHFINGER – A very close look at a hand on one of the statues that depict in three dimensions Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch” – Rembrandt Square: Amsterdam, The Netherlands (PHOTO: PaC)


Wherever I go
However I feel
My head spins like a wheel
‘Cause I got a heel.

Take my well rested feet
They both got a heel,
Or my new socks and shoes
That all got a heel.

My dog on each scampering paw’s
Got a heel
My friend’s horse’s happy hooves
All got a heel.

Lady Liberty’s big toe
Isn’t concealed,
But behind it in green,
She’s got a heel.

Mom’s heel has a spike
Dad’s spike’s got a heel,
And while I can’t walk on’em,
Both my hands got a heel.

Far from Africa’s horn
And Wrigley Field,
Jolly Louisiana’n’Italy
Both got a heel.

My golf clubs and ball gloves
All got a heel,
My brother’s ice skates
Got a heel made-a-steel.

So again I will say it,
This time with more zeal,
No matter how good I feel
I got a heel.




I know my Dad just loves
to put my toys away
because I see him do it
at the end of every day.

I can’t think why he’d do it
If he wasn’t having fun
Bending down and picking up
every ball block car doll clay clock truck bike book bell and drum
under the sun.

Yes, I’m sure there’s nothing better
For dear old Dad each night
Than to find and file and shelve
Every last plaything left in sight.

DOGPILE OF FUN - One peak in the mountain chain of Dad's nightly handiwork, that lucky dog. (Photo: PaC)

DOGPILE OF FUN – One peak in the mountain chain of Dad’s nightly handiwork, that lucky dog. (Photo: PaC)


Though it sounds spun around
Don’t make the mistake
To waste the good taste
Of a CupsideDownCake.

All frosting on the bottom
Spongy yellow cake on top
So much yummy sweetness in it
Who could care that it’s flip-flopped?

Yes, deserting a dessert
Because it has a scrambled look
Is an eating sin akin
To “Trusting Skinny Cooks.”




In the supermarket there is one aisle
That is my favorite by a mile.

It’s not where they sell sugary snacks,
Soda, cereal or have the toy racks.

It’s near the sponges, past the Kleenex,
A cottony wonder from floor to apex:

It’s Toilet Paper Mountain, in all its glory,
Beside Paper Towel Castle,
which everyone must see.

But for me, I’m afraid, seeing’s not enough.
I have to scale these towers of puff.

Mom and Dad don’t like when I climb,
They put me back in the cart every time.

Then I’m apart from my grocery store friends:
Paper Towel Castle and Toilet Paper Mountain.

And I must turn to plotting for the next time
That to those absorbent summits I can climb.




Dad said,
“Summer’s out of mothballs, kids!”
We said,
“What does that even mean?”

He laughed,
“Go check out the clothesline!”
We did,
And this is what we seen:

A parade of tan,
red and seersucker,
Madras, orange,
navy and plaid.

We can’t ever recall
a sign of summer
That’s made us kids
feel so sad.

shorts_editMAN O’WARDROBE


It could be the space at the back of a car

It could be the spine of a tree,

It could contain a clog of elephant snot

or treasure lost under the sea.

Which proves that descriptions sometimes

Are all we have to not be sunk

Because on highways, in forests, in jungles, ‘neath oceans

A trunk’s not a trunk’s not a trunk.


SO WHICH IS IT: Monster Shadow or Shadow Monster? (Photo – PaC)