You’ve seen a lot of things, I’m sure
the land of Flarmp, a wandering dellacur,
but have you ever seen or thunk
about the purple punk-a-lunk?
The punk-a-lunk, they say,
eats 14 jibble cores a day
(but only ones you’ve thrown away).
It slurps them up into it’s trunk,
that tiny little punk-a-lunk,
then yawns contentedly and flies away,
or that’s at least what experts say.
It has orange stripes upon its side
and pinkish eyes 12 inches wide.
Its tail is green and full of scales;
its wings stretch out like flowing sails.
It snuggles with you while you sleep
and is as soft as a lurpa-sheep,
though if you ever try to peep,
the punk-a-lunk will start to weep
and will not stop its little cry
until the sun is in the sky.
But should you be content to wait
with jibble cores laid out as bait
and never even move or peek
the punk-a-lunk will kiss your cheek,
and in the morning you might see
it roosting in a nearby tree.
It will not grant a wish or speak
but should your way appear too bleak,
fear not, little one, though your path may wend,
or the whole world seem ripe to end;
all wounds of life belief will mend,
so the punk-a-lunk is your best friend.
First you take a giant pot
Then fill it with water, piping hot
Combine with two whole ears of corn
And half a t-shirt that’s been gently worn
Taste with old can on a broom for a ladle
Then mix in tomatoes smashed flat on a table
Add orange and apple pie juice to the broth
Then stir the whole mess with an old stiff washcloth
You throw in you sister when the water is cold
Plus three-year-old cheese that is covered with mold
Then spill the whole gwiggle pie soup on the floor
Take the can off the broom and sweep it all out the door
Then sit back and relax, my good chef, you deserve it
Your work is all done before you even serve it!
For you know the best part about gwiggle pie soup?
You don’t have to eat it—because it eats you.
This was a fun poem to write because I didn’t do it alone. My silliness rubs off a lot on my kids, and my three-year-old started telling me about this crazy idea she had for a thing called “gwiggle soup.” The “pie’ part came later, as I egged her on, asking her questions and taking notes of the ingredients on my phone.
I couldn’t find my bug-a-boo,
and I’d looked all around.
I tore up the kitchen and bathrooms too
and picked up the toys off the ground.
I folded the laundry and then did a load,
being careful to check every shirt
I stomped on the trash till I thought it’d explode
and vacuumed up all of the dirt.
I turned my pockets inside out
and emptied them all on the floor.
That she could fit in there I highly doubt,
but I had to check just to be sure.
My bug-a-boo was hiding from me,
that much was perfectly clear,
so I set up a trap that said “bubble gum – free,”
but my bug-a-boo never appeared.
And just when I thought I’d lost my mind,
I checked up on top of my head.
She wasn’t there, but I must be blind
because she was asleep in my bed.
Two little girls went out for a walk
in the chilly autumn air,
and they gathered handfuls of leaves as they talked,
and the leaves were as gold as their hair.
They followed the path that cut through the park
and wound with a slow little creek.
They never minded the frost on the bark
or the cold wind that bit at their cheeks.
They fed the ducks leaves from the withering trees,
but the ducks didn’t seem to care
I said with a sigh that ducks didn’t eat leaves,
but the girls only wanted to share.
Drugs clear bloodshot eyes
for work but not tears in the
eyes of those I’ve hurt.
It’s a brisk morning,
the kind that only comes on the cusp of spring
where the sun is high and warm and
burns the frost off the greening grass
but hasn’t yet burned it from the air.
“It’s cold,” I tell her as I go out.
She pushes hard on the screen door
and steps barefoot onto the concrete,
holding her arms up toward me
and trying to dance away the cold.
She’s still in her shrinking, mismatched PJs.
There’s a hole in her left pant leg.
“Get me get me!”
I pick her up and carry her with me to the shed,
showing her how the latch on the fence works,
letting her open it when we come back through.
“Daddy, what dat?”
She points at the swing set.
We found it on a yard sale page,
dog-chewed and sun-stained
I scavenged and swapped out parts for her,
but winter hasn’t let her play on it yet.
“That’s your new swing set. Wanna try it out?”
I put her on the see-saw.
“Hold on tight, sweetheart.”
I push her as the wind blows.
The sunlight bleaches her hair,
and her laughter mingles with the bird songs.
Tomorrow is the Equinox, but
for me it’s spring already.
Frigid winter waste
silent save the sound of kids
laughing in the snow.
Holding the sheep calms her,
makes her feel safe,
maybe because she thinks
about the sheep instead of herself—
or because it absorbs her little tears—
or maybe just because she believes in it.
Whatever the reason,
holding the sheep is always enough,
which makes me wonder what was happening
last night in her dreams
that made it necessary for the sheep
to hold her instead.
“Fifi” was my daughter’s best attempt to say “sheep” when she was very young and received the stuffed animal from her aunt. Although she’s two now (and can say “sheep” without difficulty), the name has stuck, and the sheep is as much a part of her daily routine as her meals and time on the swing set. She drags it everywhere, and she never sleeps without it. This morning I asked my daughter what she had dreamed about, and she said “I dream Fifi hold me!”
When she’s old enough to understand, I’ll have to thank my her for all the poem fodder.
This part of my life has always been separate.
Everyday I leave our house behind;
I drive these roads
and walk these paths
and my two worlds
have never intersected.
My time on campus
has always been about learning
and living dreams,
so it’s funny that it took you
coming to school with me to teach me
how much of my dreams are already here