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.

Advertisements

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.

CLOVERDEALED

So you found a 4-leaf clover.

Well, I hunt bigger things:

Like five and six leaf clovers

And the extra luck they bring.

And the highly coveted clover

With leaves that number seven,

Legend says those who find one

Will go straight to heaven.

The eight leaf clover doubles up

What a plain four leafer brings

The 9-leaf clover isn’t lucky at all:

Touching it actually stings.

Ten leaf clovers are what I’m really after

They’re the best it gets.

So you’d like to come hunting them with me?

Hmmmm….well, ok…let’s.

I’ll bring you along for the low low price

Of that old 4-leaf clover you’ve got.

What’s that? I said 4-leafs don’t interest me?

I said that?!? Well. I must have forgot.

cloverdealed_edit

Field Notebook Renderings of Members of Genus: Polyleaf – (from upper left corner) The Basic aka The Four Score ; The And-1 ; The O’Six Pack ; The Stairway to Seven ; The Octclover ; The Stinger aka the Paul Newman aka The Henry Gondorff ; The Big Time aka the Green Whale aka The O’Derek

NEW BIG DOG

UPDATED 9/18/17: To see this poem as a fully photo illustrated STELLER STORY, click here.

Up in the Hudson Valley
Lived a dog named Zo
He was always the biggest pooch
Wherever he would go.

Weighing more than most grownups,
Even far away he looked tall,
“No dog in all this land,” thought Zo,
“Could ever make me feel small.”

As he started each day
That was Zo’s world view
It kept his sun warm,
Made his sky extra blue.

And that’s how it was
As he strolled a new street
One morning and looked up
And saw two large feet,

And above them huge legs,
Giant ears, a big kisser,
Eyes climbing, Zo thought,
“What have we got here, Mister?

“That can’t be a dog,
There’s no way. But it is.
Up there … on that roof ….
That whole building is his.

“Do my peepers deceive me?
Is he bigger than I?
Who am I kidding?
He blocks out the sky!

“Could he be part Bull?
Smooth Fox? Jack Russell?
Would even Godzilla
With this fella tussle?”

Politely Zo nodded
And yipped a hello.
The roof dog’s response
Was too slight to show.

Or too little, at least,
To detect from the street,
At the level of Zo’s
Now fast moving feet.

“Good day sir,” Zo barked,
without looking back,
“It appears on this street
You’ve got things well intact.

“Should you stop what you’re doing
because of me? No!
You just hang out up there,
I’ll go keep being Zo.”

Then off he moseyed
Politely smiling
While in his brain this address
He was filing.

Good old clear sighted Zo
Still gets thrown in a fog
Thinking back to first meeting
That other big dog.

BELLY, BELLY

Dad had many sayings:
By George!
By Jove!
Great Scott!
and
No matter what you think,
There is a lid for every pot!

But we knew we’d really boiled
His patience into jelly
When with wide eyes he whispered,
By Roosevelt’s horse’s belly!

We don’t know where it came from
We don’t know what it meant
Except it was time for our
Misbehaving to relent.

T.R., I bet, would dig the line
Most likely, too, his horse.
His horse’s belly would think it
Poetry, of course

Even better than the classic
One-worder of Ted’s, “Bully!”,
Its cousin, Dad’s much longer fave,
“By Roosevelt’s horse’s belly!”

THE LOOKS AROUND

There are almost no places
Where there are no faces
Even in the cases
Of in-between spaces

Like the Frowning-Big Tree
His acting has no range
Which isn’t so strange:
Bark expressions don’t change.

Or the Tractor-Wheel Elf
While his view always spins
That strong rubber chin
Won’t let sickness set in.

Perry is the given name
of Snowy-House Face.
While the world to summer always wants to race
He for hot weather forever must brace.

Yes, even while you
sit at work thinking
The-Face-In-The-Drop-Ceiling-Tiles
is blinking.

Take it from me
the Garden-Stone Grump
I may look like a rock-headed chump
But I’ve gathered perspective here from my rump:

Ungaze from the obvious, like Mr. Moon,
Don’t let on the foreground your focus last
And slowly at first but before long fast
Will appear all the faces you used to rush past.

NOTE:  To see this poem with photos in the STELLER STORY format in which it originally appeared, click here.  

PRECORDED HISTORY

A caveman carved a photo
With a lens of stone:
Of a bubbling tar pit,
Of brontosaurus bones,

Of a running horse
In a French cave drawing,
Of a sabretooth with
His t-rex neighbor, jawing.

Then going “MOTION PICTURE”
He shot two glaciers racing,
The footage looked like still shots ;
Blame the racers pacing.

Capturing the land before time,
His stone Nikon in hand
A photog Missing Link he was
The Caveman Cameraman.

View this post on Instagram

Translation: "Don't move. Smile!" -The Lens of Stone

A post shared by Paul Camarata (@tweed_typewriter) on

CLEMENTINE WHO

To the tune of
“O, My Darling,”
did a Mama sing sweetly,
to her girls,
Rose and Mary,
when they were just
one and three:

‘Sissy Ro-Ro,
Sissy Ro-Ro,
Sissy Ro-Ro,
Sissy Mare!
Sissy Mare-Mare,
Sissy Mare-Mare,
Sissy Mare-Mare,
Sissy Ro!’

As they grew up
Rose and Mary
Agreed Mama’s words were fine.
So not ‘till now in
this here story,
did they hear of
Clementine.

WALKY TALK

4seasons_editcomp

TO SEE THIS WALKOPHONOUS POEM & COLLAGE AS PART OF THE #STELLER STORY IN WHICH THEY WERE ORIGINALLY POSTED, CLICK HERE. 

If my footsteps,

(Fall crunch: over leaves)

Were able to talk,

(Winter crisp: on snow)

The sound of their words,

(Spring slosh: through puddles)

Would depend when I walk.

(Summer scratch: sandy toes)

OUTPOWER THE HOUR

For a doctor,
For a bus,
If a junkyard,
then for rust.

For a letter,
For a sign,
Several times a week,
in line.

It may take minutes,
It may take months,
But the only unbeaten
wait lifter is patience.

View this post on Instagram

Gorilla’s In the Fist

A post shared by Paul Camarata (@tweed_typewriter) on

 

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

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.

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.