THE VERY FABRIC OF PETER COTTONTAIL

The life of Peter Cottontail
Would not have been the same
If Leather was the fabric
At the start of his last name.

Imagine Naugahyde or Burlap
Where “Cotton”’s always been
And how Pete’s kid-soft-lap-snapshot-biz
That would so badly spin.

How would Pete be received as
Satintail or Denimtail?
Would then on a motorbike
He ride the bunny trail?

If those pastel egg deliveries
Came from Peter Polyester,
Around Easter lots of sketchy feels
Might every springtime fester.

Yes, the life and times he’s mastered
Might have truly faltered
If Peter Cottontail’s old tailor
His name even slightly altered.

LEAPS and GROUNDS

The tulips are up.
Why? What do they know?
That the Groundhog was right?
That we’re done with snow?!?

It’s still February,
They’re shaking my nerves.
It’s been warm this week
But March weather curves!

Suppose they keep rising
Up out of the yard
And one night a frost
Descends on them hard.

The head start each bulb
Will have by then got
Could in one cold flash
Become all for not.

Which leaves me to wonder ….
About flower brains,
And the speed and direction of
Flower thought trains….

Are my tulips digging
Toward their own demise?
Or are they well informed
As they reach for the skies?

I’ve watched and I’ve listened,
My ear to the ground,
But so far there’s been
Not from them one sound.

Loose lips may sink ships
But these tulips don’t speak,
Except by the rise
Of their eager green beaks,
Out of the dirt
Propelled maybe by knowing:
This year’s nearer to flowers
Than it is to snowing.

 

BIRD BRAINS

It’s great to be a bird in a town
where the lawns are always mowed
Whenever I want an earthborn snack
there’s never a long way to go.

While my country cousins
love their cornfield
I say, all those tall stalks
keep the good stuff concealed.

Here the grass stays short
so the worms can’t hide,
There’s so much to choose
I can hardly decide.

So complain if you want
of the noise from the mower,
And its belches of smoke
with their grassy odor,

I’ll stand by relaxing
while all down the street
My lawn obsessed friends
find me something to eat.

ARM CONFLICT

A new snow-ski Vest
I got from my mom
I’ve heard nice things about it
Except from my arms.

“We just bet,” they both say,
“That thing is the best,
If you’re a belly,
A back or a chest,

“Sealed in from the chill
Inside puffy armor,
Not two nude kazoos in
Full vibrato arm-brrrr.

“While you think it’s real smart
a ‘lightweight sleeveless jacket,’
we brothers-in-arms say:
Vests are a racket!”

“I guess,” said the Vest,
“About as much as gloves,
And long johns, wool socks and
Those things ears call ‘Muffs.’

“Pipe down out there, Arms,
Save your noise for the beach.
The value of vests
Seems well past your reach.”

When my snow-ski vest’s on now,
My Arms roll their eyes,
The chips on their shoulders
Big and undisguised.

All they talk about’s summer
And how it’s the best.
Wonder how they’ll like
My new water-ski vest.

 

THE GRAY SHAKE EXPRESS

On every other ride
of the Nantucket Rail
the caboose is the front
and the engine the tail,

When in a straight line it goes
then backs up straight,
Club cars of sightseers
and seafood, its freight.

So much saved steel!
All those safe dunes!
All the time saved to ‘Sconset
AND back by noon!

See Lighthouses, Windmills,
Cisco in your pail,
on the Commonwealth’s finest
The Nantucket Rail,

Like no other train,
it drives forward and back:
A steam-powered pendulum
Criss-crossing ACK.

KID WARNING

Caution: children
Are out on the loose
Boiling up ways
To deep fry your goose,

Everywhere lurking
Hiding scheming
Believing they’re harmless
Is crazytalk dreaming.

Caution: children
Prowling about
Quiet at songtime
At bedtime they shout,

Listening always
Except when you ask
Too busy plot hatching
To complete your task.

Caution: children
Don’t think they’re not smart
They’ll come for your wallet
And leave with your heart,

You cannot afford
to ignore the sign
Not if there’s 1 out there,
Let alone 9.

Whatever the number
They’re all worthy foes
How many are watching
Nobody knows,

So caution: children
When your spirit they’ve torn
Your body they’ve wearied
Don’t say you weren’t warned.

YOUR DAY

This day may be like
None ever before,
When a who-knows-what ceiling
For you is in store,

When a leap in the bay
From a motor boat side
Is only the start
Of your who-knows-where ride,

Today may be when
You write your first song,
A number so good it sounds good
On a gong!

You might tour a city,
Paint portraits pretty,
Learn who-knows-what game,
Write jokes that are witty,

Cook from a new page of your recipe book,
Decode that mistake you feared would stay mistook.
Just after that where next this day may go,
If you play your cards right, who-could-possibly know?

Maybe fishing with brother,
Or soccer with sis,
Or the last chapter of
“The Great Adventuress.”

Today’s who-knows-what ceiling
Is … well … who can say?
Only you because this
Is going to be your day.

FISHY STORY

In the crick by our house
It shimmers like glass
We’re gawn off to catch
Some Chilean Sea Bass

We swear that we’ve seen them
Sunning with koi
How reeling one in
Would be such a joy!

We’ll watch and we’ll wait
Prepared for the battle
With hand-crafted sea bass
Bait hooks and tackle

We’ll stay still and silent
So our bass won’t be scared
As he moseys up crick from
Far down the Delaware.

Then once he’s netted…
Can you picture it:
Our beautiful full color
Trophy portrait?!?

The whole gang all smiling
With our new pal from Chile
We’ll send a framed copy
To Mum-Mum in Philly

Or we’ll bring her some
When we’re back from the crick
When she tastes those filets
She’ll be so proud she’ll frick.

Don’t think we can’t do it
You take back your laughs.
We’re off on our bikes now
For Chilean Sea Bass.

RED ALERT

Money does not grow on trees,

No circus truly features fleas,

But believe this: for giving flack

This little box lets you talkback!

To your mother, to your dad,

Aunt Petunia, Uncle Thad.

Press this button and you’ll see

Talkback happens easily!

It fits in almost any pocket,

Wireless models need no socket,

Have super-charged rebuttal lips

Right there at your fingertips.

Just 19.95 it costs,

Such a steal to be the boss!

Get yours now, do not dare chintz:

Make the world your audience!

Will folks be angry, will they care?

Grow loud, throw hands, or sternly stare?

Well if your top speed is not HARE,

Let’s just say: buyer beware.

JOHNNY CORKFORBRAINS’ LOST CUP OF TEA

This morning Johnny Corkforbrains
Lost a cup of tea
He hasn’t got a clue
Where on Earth that it might be.

“It was so piping hot,” he thought,
“I had to set it down.
“I wouldn’t go and call it LOST.
“At the moment, it’s just unfound.”

He scoured the garage
Re-traced steps through den and potty,
In the office, in the kitchen,
Attic, bedroom, basement, pantry.

“I’m stumped,” John thought while wandering,
“Just where that cup might be —
“Wait.
“What’s this here?”
(He took a sip.)
“What luck!
I found iced tea!”

IN THE MOVIE

In the movie near the start
We will make a scene
In which the family of the heroine
Is plain unfair and mean.

And in the movie when his bosses
Tell him flat out, “NO!”
On a lonely late night lakeshore stroll
We’ll have the hero go.

In the movie just as the
Cool kids have it figured out
We’ll have mystery baggage surface
And stir up all new doubt.

Then near the movie’s core
For the wise friend it’s a must
To advise something akin to,
“It’s apples to apples, crust to crust.”

In the movie “In the movie…”
The magic spell will be
For which the final battle’s fought,
Evil and Good, between.

Because whatever happens
A dose of “In the movie…”
Can turn any situation
Useful, funny, sad, or groovy.

CUTTING OFF YOUR NOSE TO FEED YOUR FACE

My smeller may be broken
I cannot get a smell
Is that chicken noodle soup?
Or creme brulee?
I cannot tell.

My nose is on the fritz,
At least that’s what I think,
We drove past a manure farm
And I could sense no stink.

In fact it’s all non-scents,
No matter what I sniff,
The assembly line of my olfactory
Can’t make a whiff.

Whatever might be in the air
I can’t a bit detect
But if I may, those cookies in your hand….
Might I inspect?

They look delectable,
My eyes are Frisbee big.
Would I like one? Well I shouldn’t….
I don’t want to be a pig.

But maybe just a bite
A nibble, and another,
Wait! I can’t believe it ….
I think my nostrils tingled, brother!

Better take another cookie
They have the power to heal!
Every scrumptious crunchy byte
Makes my nosy muscles squeal!

What’s that – you’re out of cookies?
Now that they did the trick?
That’s a shame. Condolences.
At least my odor motor’s fixed.

Re-Seeding the Weeding

Standing in the window

We saw out in the yard

Dad crouching and appearing

To be thinking very hard.

Before him lay the lawn

Which he ran both his palms through

Then he stood and snapped his fingers

Like he knew just what to do.

“Kids, congratulations!”

he said walking in the door,

“to the list of gifts we’re blessed with,

go ahead and add one more:

That rug of yellow flowers

We always viewed with alarm,

Is now the answer to the question,

‘Where’s your dandelion farm?’

“How close I came to mowing it

How lucky that I stopped!

How fortunes may have turned

If I’d ploughed our major crop:

“No dandelion tinctures,

Lost dandelion greens,

Zero dandelion wine

Or dandelion diaper creams!

“It proves how working hard

instead of smart can be a pox.

Why battle dandelion growth

When we’ve got it outfoxed?

“Now please excuse me kids,

this here farmer has had SOME day,

the land can wear you down, you’ll learn,

if on our farm you stay!”

Chuckling loudly as he exited

Dad didn’t hear us sighing,

Or see us window-squinting,

Picturing farming dandelions.

ON THE OTHER SIDE

I can see it there …
Just beyond the bus door …
Just down the bus stairs …
After just one stop more …

Hissing brakes
Lurching stop
Squeaky hinges
I stand at the top …

Then step step step, down I go,
When feet hit street it’s begun:
The summer, sweet summer, there it is, right there,
Just beyond the bus door, all that fun.

CAN’T BE LICKED

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.

licked_edit

BuccanAir

The Pilot Pirate

flies a peg-leg plane.

The Pilot Pirate

keeps booty on the brain.

The Pilot Pirate

has a sneaky parakeet,

who’d rather have an aisle

than a window seat.

The Pilot Pirate

navigates sea and air.

The Pilot Pirate

doesn’t have a care.

The Pilot Pirate

makes the world his lair,

soaring and swording

and ARRRR-ing everywhere.

The Pilot Pirate

wears an eye patch,

and when putting it on, yells,

“Batten down the hatch!”

The Pilot Pirate

goes fast but doesn’t run,

because swashbuckling sweaty

ruins the fun.

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 11.56.58 PM

This photo first appeared on Instagram.  For more like it, click here.

BIG BREAK

Half way through October
Columbus is my best friend
For his famous trip that led us to
A three day-long weekend.

The next month comes the long weekend
When three days turn to four:
When we say, “Thanks, Thanksgiving,
For serving us that much more!”

There’s the great week-long weekends in
December and the spring,
They make me smile, yes,
But only one weekend makes me sing:

It begins the day that school lets out
Sending fun into high gear:
It’s the biggest best break ever,
The Longest Weekend of the Year.

At the start of it the end of it
Looks way further away
Than the New World looked from Europe
On an explorer’s set-sail day.

On this magical most-long weekend
That lasts a quarter year
You don’t need navigation,
It’s permissible to veer

From late nights to slow mornings,
There’s no brakes on this big break:
The Longest Weekend of the Year
Means having and eating your cake.

And when sadly in late August
The Longest Weekend ends
You’ll appreciate again Columbus,
Our three-day-gifting friend.

RADIO QUESO

On my Milwaukee Talkie
I can hear Racine,
And Green Bay and Kenosha,
And all the points between.

I can keep up on the Badgers,
The Brewers and the Pack,
And if for the 10000th time
Brett Favre is coming back.

On my Milwaukee Talkie
I love to talk up Pabst,
And how I don’t like the first name
Of Minnesota Fats.

The Bucks, Laverne and Shirley,
Alice Cooper, Happy Days,
have made the world talk about
Dear old Mill-ee-waugh-kay.

But if it’s not enough for you
To only hear about it,
If you need a special way
To celebrate and tout it

Then get and keep your own
Milwaukee Talkie by your bed
And before you sleep each night
Tune in to Channel Cheesehead.

Artist rendering of a Milwalky-Talky, produced by SONY subsidiary WISCONY.

Artist rendering of a Milwalky-Talky, produced by SONY subsidiary WISCONY.

STRING DANCER

I want to run away
You can think me a fool
I want to leave this place and join
An elite Yo-Yo School,

I want the finger magic
The skill to twirl and flick
How making disk and string obey me
Would be plain epic,

The Walk the Dogs
And Elevators
Eiffel Towers
Alligators
Cradled Cats
And Rounded Corners
Twinkled Toes
And Jolly Mourners,

Imagine all these parlor shows
That will reside in my elbows,
Wrist and palm and thumb combos
Yos flying high, yos digging low,

For the knowledge I will need
For the lessons that I crave
For a mastery of Yo
I will gladly be a slave,

Years of study it may take
Perhaps a decade, that’s a fact
But like a yo
After I go
If I do right
I will be back.

ROUND AND ROUND

My sister’s dance recycle was held this afternoon
The open was a fresh take on the classic “Brigadoon.”
The ballerinas stole Act II updating “Claire de Loon”,
Next came a Modern version of “The Ballad of Rocky Raccoon.”
Throughout it all I snacked on extra crunchy Lorna Doones,
Which the Tap Dance Troop’s clicks covered to a new “Angelina, Zooma-Zoom.”

From where this event got its name,
at first I had no clue:
There were no boogeying bottles or can-canning cans.
But after seeing the old songs
rethunk, reduced, and reused
“Dance Recycle” is now a name I understand.

recycle_edit

THE LIGHT

If life were like a grotto
There would be no score
If the lighter of a candle
Had been rich or a poor

Or boy or girl
Or black or white
Or young or old
Or left or right

Or what had brought’em there
Or how many lights they’d lit
Or if they liked to stand in back
Or kneel alone or sit

No one keeps track of how to spell
The candle lighters’ names
At a grotto time is better spent
Reflecting on their flames

And when the spirit moves,
Passing the light along,
With no thought that the candle
You’re sharing from is wrong

If life were like a grotto
Every light that we discover
Would warm and guide and give itself
To freely spark another.