Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Ballad of Banana and the Big Yellow House

The bursting fields of the prairie
Feed every man and mouse
And all who eat the grain and meat
Sleep it off in the big yellow house.

If you pass through Bloomington
Wanting roof or roots or rue
Find Ann Banan on Fess Ave
And tell her Doug or the wind sent you.

You'll find the softest couches,
And dark wood holds the walls
Warm blankets, floors and company
Where every renegade calls.

There's grouchy teens, full of beans
And mischievous kids next door.
There's college kids around the block-
Who knows what they're there for.

There's bread and cheese in the kitchen
And with luck a tomato or two
Take your sandwich to the front porch swing
And rest up fro and to.

Watch a movie with Banana,
And talk the whole way through
You can watch the same one
The next night, as if it were new.

All the gold in Indiana
As lucky hitch-hikers found
Are the yellow house and Annie
Shining after they've burnt down.

Happy birthday, Bananie!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Happy birthday to my nephew, Jacob

9 monkeys in the jungle are a baby's dream
But nine in a field make a baseball team.
The morn was bright, the winds were mild
The score was tied, the pitch was wild
The mother monkeys in the stands stood up but not to scream.

Jake took second and Jake took third,
Jacob took the plate without a word
He dusted his bat against the plate
And raised it up above his pate
And narrowed his eyes until they blurred.

The first pitch came, outside and high
And Jacob let the ball go by.
The second pitch hit the catcher's mitt
One ball, one strike, the batter spit.
And thought of a banana split.

The third pitch came in low and fast
And Jacob swung the bat right past.
Two strikes down, two outs, what's more
Two Jakes on base ready to score
And Jacob gave the ball a blast.

Up it sailed, and over and far
"Home run!" monkey's uncles cried from the bar
But the ump picked up Jacob's bat
And wiped the middle on his hat
And declared he'd found too much pine tar.

The thing to know, or maybe not,
About monkey baseball when it's hot:
Games are won and some are lost
And cheating always has a cost
But monkey scandals are soon forgot.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ogre Day 2012*

A mourning wind keens down the vale,
And fails, then fades then dies.
A bolt of fire breaks the skies
Leaving only echoes from it's trail.

And they that sit unheard and crying
Are they forgotten and alone?
Those whom solitude has known
Find plates for two satisfying.

*Ogre Day, the day after Valentine's Day, has been celebrated since the middle ages of blogging.  It is a day to remember the uncoupled and uncloned.

Friday, December 09, 2011

For my nephew on his 7th birthday

The lights are always bright enough
When Stevie's on the scene.
The truth is always right enough
When Stevie's on the scene.
The play is never too darned rough,
The cards are always dealt to bluff
His brother's hide stays good and tough
When Stevie's loud and mean.

The girls, they always tease their hair
When Stevie's on the scene.
The women, they all stop and stare
When Stevie's on the scene.
The giggles ring from here to there,
The priests, they stop to kneel in prayer,
'Cause heaven knows what will shine bare
When Stevie's getting clean.

Philosophers no longer doubt
When Stevie's on the scene.
Even hermits come on out
When Stevie's on the scene.
The quiet all begin to shout
The vegans get a little stout
And the kayak fills on up with trout
While Stevie's hook stays clean.

The saber's always nice and light
When Stevie plays the scene.
The battle's always nice and tight
When Stevie's on the scene.
The dying bulb seems newly bright,
The blind-drunk fool gets second sight
And tiny mice bring flea and fright
When Stevie's light turns green.

The soccer goals fall open wide
With Stevie on the scene.
The Ducks score without breaking stride
When Stevie's on the scene.
The crooks are never even tried,
The catfish cook before they're fried
And tone-deaf uncles sing with pride
When Stevie takes the scene.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Advice to my nephew on his 4th birthday

One day, not long, you'll be a big older boy,
When hammers or wrenches make a good enough toy
Help your mom fix her car, help dad with his tv,
They'll be happy and grateful you're useful, you'll see.

Work hard when you're older, study well for your class.
Dress in clean clothes, comb your hair, wipe your glass.
Rise before sunup, give prayer every eve,
Stay sober and faithful and respectful to Steve.

I tell you this, Eamon, is how big boys should act
If they want all life's blessings- and this is a fact-
Be slow with your temper and quick with your jokes
To live well 'til your forties at home with your folks.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I still think it is a fish (Birth Announcement)

A note to my daughter on the day of her birth
Today into this world you’ve come,
And 'ere I’m lost to age and rum,
I’m writing you from where you’re from
To describe your patrimony.

Humanity, you’ll find, can vary.
A man can be both bald and hairy,
Handsome, homely, kind and scary.
Clumsy, sneaky, fair and phony.

When first you meet that creepy guy
Who watches but can’t meet your eye
Remember dad was pretty shy
And try to cool your shiver.

And when a madman first you see
Consider your own family tree
Where twigs the lunistocracy
Like a willow by the river.

It won’t be long that you’re around,
I bet, before you hear the sound
As tongue and knuckle drag the ground
‘Neath morons such as call your father kin.

And tricksters, too, you’ll find soon,
May stalk beneath a hunter’s moon
And howl a false compelling tune.
Wolves no more than we are born to sin.

From where you start to where you’ll get,
Want to wonder, doubt to fret
To dream to doom to guess to bet,
We walk behind you and look ahead.

Be the girl I’m teaching you to be,
And who that is, we’ll wait to see.
To be yourself is to be free
In the jailhouse, jungle or your bed.

If you wander far, and I hope you will
Let each disaster be a thrill
And let no wisdom wear your will
Like your old man in his prime.

You’ll meet some fools, the weak and damned-
Offer each your sweet right hand
And see they know to call you "Ma'am."
To be aught but sister wastes your time.

"We have named it Cain. She caught it while I was up country trapping on the North Shore of the Erie; caught it in the timber a couple of miles from our dug-out -- or it might have been four, she isn't certain which. It resembles us in some ways, and may be a relation. That is what she thinks, but this is an error, in my judgment. The difference in size warrants the conclusion that it is a different and new kind of animal -- a fish, perhaps, though when I put it in the water to see, it sank, and she plunged in and snatched it out before there was opportunity for the experiment to determine the matter. I still think it is a fish"
from Extracts from Adam's Diary, by Mark Twain

Our daughter was born today, September 11 at 9:34 local time.  If I did the conversions right she is 7 pounds 8 ounces, 20 inches long, pretty as a peach and about that fuzzy.  

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Memo to the TSA

Sandal my feet with leopard's paws,
A claw before each toe.
Lace up my sheepskin, fleece face out
Unblooded like new snow.
At my hip, place a pirate's sword,
Polished, sharp and cold.
And let no razor graze my chin
Until my beard's grown bold.
Tie on my bandit's bandolier
A cartridge in each loop.
Among the stones, let me rehearse
My bellow, snarl and whoop.
Bind my legs with plates of steel,
Converging at the crotch.
And to my glorious last day,
Please set my golden watch.
Why does a man equip for war,
Who chose to live in peace?
He's gone to sylvan Oregon,
Three nephews and a niece.