Judith Viorst |
My pants could maybe fall down when I dive off the diving board.
My nose could maybe keep growing and never quit.
Miss Brearly could ask me to spell words like stomach and special.
(Stumick and speshul?)
I could play tag all day and always be "it.
Jay Spievack, who's fourteen feet tall, could want to fight me.
My mom and my dad--like Ted's--could want a divorce.
Miss Brearly could ask me a question about Afghanistan.
Somebody maybe could make me ride a horse.
My mother could maybe decide that I needed more liver.
My dad could decide that I needed less TV.
Miss Brearly could say that I have to write script and stop printing.
(I'm better at printing.
Chris could decide to stop being friends with me.
The world could maybe come to an end on next Tuesday.
The ceiling could maybe come crashing on my head.
I maybe could run out of things for me to worry about.
And then I'd have to do my homework instead.
Denise Duhamel |
At first she was sure it was just a bit of dried strawberry juice,
or a fleck of her mother's red nail polish that had flaked off
when she'd patted her daughter to sleep the night before.
But as she scrubbed, Snow felt a bump, something festering
under the surface, like a tapeworm curled up and living
in her left cheek.
Doc the Dwarf was no dermatologist
and besides Snow doesn't get to meet him in this version
because the mint leaves the tall doctor puts over her face
only make matters worse.
Snow and the Queen hope
against hope for chicken pox, measles, something
that would be gone quickly and not plague Snow's whole
If only freckles were red, she cried, if only
concealer really worked.
Soon came the pus, the yellow dots,
multiplying like pins in a pin cushion.
the greasy hair.
The Queen gave her daughter a razor
for her legs and a stick of underarm deodorant.
doodled through her teenage years—"Snow + ?" in Magic
Markered hearts all over her notebooks.
She was an average
student, a daydreamer who might have been a scholar
if she'd only applied herself.
She liked sappy music
and romance novels.
She liked pies and cake
instead of fruit.
The Queen remained the fairest in the land.
It was hard on Snow, having such a glamorous mom.
She rebelled by wearing torn shawls and baggy gowns.
Her mother would sometimes say, "Snow darling,
why don't you pull back your hair? Show those pretty eyes?"
or "Come on, I'll take you shopping.
staying in her safe room, looking out of her window
at the deer leaping across the lawn.
Or she'd practice
her dance moves with invisible princes.
And the Queen,
busy being Queen, didn't like to push it.
Judith Viorst |
My mom says I'm her sugarplum.
My mom says I'm her lamb.
My mom says I'm completely perfect
Just the way I am.
My mom says I'm a super-special wonderful terrific little guy.
My mom just had another baby.
Sharon Olds |
She was four, he was one, it was raining, we had colds,
we had been in the apartment two weeks straight,
I grabbed her to keep her from shoving him over on his
face, again, and when I had her wrist
in my grasp I compressed it, fiercely, for a couple
of seconds, to make an impression on her,
to hurt her, our beloved firstborn, I even almost
savored the stinging sensation of the squeezing,
the expression, into her, of my anger,
"Never, never, again," the righteous
chant accompanying the clasp.
It happened very
fast-grab, crush, crush,
crush, release-and at the first extra
force, she swung her head, as if checking
who this was, and looked at me,
and saw me-yes, this was her mom,
her mom was doing this.
deeply open eyes took me
in, she knew me, in the shock of the moment
she learned me.
This was her mother, one of the
two whom she most loved, the two
who loved her most, near the source of love
Kenn Nesbitt |
I think my dad is Dracula.
I know that sounds insane,
but listen for a moment and
allow me to explain.
We don’t live in a castle,
and we never sleep in caves.
But, still, there’s something weird
about the way my dad behaves.
I never see him go out
in the daytime when it’s light.
He sleeps all day till evening,
then he leaves the house at night.
He comes home in the morning
saying, “Man, I’m really dead!”
He kisses us goodnight, and then
by sunrise he’s in bed.
My mom heard my suspicion
and she said, “You’re not too swift.
Your father’s not a vampire.
He just works the graveyard shift.”
Copyright © Kenn Nesbitt 2009. All Rights Reserved.
Kenn Nesbitt |
When Frankenstein was just a kid,
he ate his greens. It’s true. He did!
He ate his spinach, salads, peas,
asparagus, and foods like these,
and with each leaf and lima bean
his skin became a bit more green.
On chives and chard he loved to chew,
and Brussels sprouts and peppers too,
until he ate that fateful bean
that turned his skin completely green.
He turned all green, and stayed that way,
and now he frightens folks away.
Poor Frankenstein, his tale is sad,
but things need not have been so bad.
It’s fair to say, if only he
had eaten much less celery,
avoided cabbage, ate no kale,
why, then, we’d have a different tale.
So, mom and dad, I’m here to say
please take these vegetables away
or my fate could be just as grim.
Yes, I could end up green like him.
So, mom and dad, before we dine,
please give a thought to Frankenstein.
Copyright © Kenn Nesbitt 2012. All Rights Reserved.
Sergei Yesenin |
Are you still alive, my dear granny?
I am alive as well. Hello! Hello!
May there always be above you, honey,
The amazing stream of evening glow.
I"ve been told that hiding your disquiet,
Worrying about me a lot,
You go out to the roadside every night,
Wearing your shabby overcoat.
In the evening darkness, very often,
You conceive the same old scene of blood:
Kind of in a tavern fight some ruffian
Plunged a Finnish knife into my heart.
Now calm down, mom! And don"t be dreary!
It"s a painful fiction through and through.
I"m not so bad a drunkard, really,
As to die without seeing you.
I"m your tender son as ever, dear,
And the only thing I dream of now
Is to leave this dismal boredom here
And return to our little house. And how!
I"ll return in spring without warning
When the garden blossoms, white as snow.
Please don"t wake me early in the morning,
As you did before, eight years ago.
Don"t disturb my dreams that now have flown,
Don"t perturb my vain and futile strife
For it"s much too early that I"ve known
Heavy loss and weariness in life.
Please don"t teach me how to say my prayers!
There is no way back to what is gone.
You"re my only joy, support and praise
And my only flare shining on.
Please forget about your pain and fear,
and don"t worry over me a lot
Don"t go out to the roadside, dear,
Wearing your shabby overcoat.
Frank Bidart |
"When I hit her on the head, it was good,
and then I did it to her a couple of times,--
but it was funny,--afterwards,
it was as if somebody else did it .
Everything flat, without sharpness, richness or line.
Still, I liked to drive past the woods where she lay,
tell the old lady and the kids I had to take a piss,
hop out and do it to her .
The whole buggy of them waiting for me
made me feel good;
but still, just like I knew all along,
she didn't move.
When the body got too discomposed,
I'd just jack off, letting it fall on her .
--It sounds crazy, but I tell you
sometimes it was beautiful--; I don't know how
to say it, but for a miute, everything was possible--;
well, like I said, she didn't move: and I saw,
under me, a little girl was just lying there in the mud:
and I knew I couldn't have done that,--
somebody else had to have done that,--
standing above her there,
in those ordinary, shitty leaves .
--One time, I went to see Dad in a motel where he was
staying with a woman; but she was gone;
you could smell the wine in the air; and he started,
real embarrassing, to cry .
He was still a little drunk,
and asked me to forgive him for
all he hasn't done--; but, What the ****?
Who would have wanted to stay with Mom? with bastards
not even his own kids?
I got in the truck, and started to drive
and saw a little girl--
who I picked up, hit on the head, and
screwed, and screwed, and screwed, and screwed, then
in the garden of the motel .
--You see, ever since I was a kid I wanted
to feel things make sense: I remember
looking out the window of my room back home,--
and being almost suffocated by the asphalt;
and grass; and trees; and glass;
just there, just there, doing nothing!
not saying anything! filling me up--
but also being a wall; dead, and stopping me;
--how I wanted to see beneath it, cut
beneath it, and make it
somehow, come alive .
The salt of the earth;
Mom once said, 'Man's ***** is the salt of the earth .
--That night, at that Twenty-nine Palms Motel
I had passed a million times on the road, everything
fit together; was alright;
it seemed like
everything had to be there, like I had spent years
trying, and at last finally finished drawing this
huge circle .
--But then, suddenly I knew
somebody else did it, some bastard
had hurt a little girl--; the motel
I could see again, it had been
itself all the time, a lousy
pile of bricks, plaster, that didn't seem to
have to be there,--but was, just by chance .
--Once, on the farm, when I was a kid,
I was screwing a goat; and the rope around his neck
when he tried to get away
pulled tight;--and just when I came,
he died .
I came back the next day; jacked off over his body;
but it didn't do any good .
Mom once said:
'Man's ***** is the salt of the earth, and grows kids.
I tried so hard to come; more pain than anything else;
but didn't do any good .
--About six months ago, I heard Dad remarried,
so I drove over to Connecticut to see him and see
if he was happy.
She was twenty-five years younger than him:
she had lots of little kids, and I don't know why,
I felt shaky .
I stopped in front of the address; and
snuck up to the window to look in .
--There he was, a kid
six months old on his lap, laughing
and bouncing the kid, happy in his old age
to play the papa after years of sleeping around,--
it twisted me up .
To think that what he wouldn't give me,
he wanted to give them .
I could have killed the bastard .
--Naturally, I just got right back in the car,
and believe me, was determined, determined,
to head straight for home .
but the more I drove,
I kept thinking about getting a girl,
and the more I thought I shouldn't do it,
the more I had to--
I saw her coming out of the movies,
saw she was alone, and
kept circling the blocks as she walked along them,
saying, 'You're going to leave her alone.
'You're going to leave her alone.
--The woods were scary!
As the seasons changed, and you saw more and more
of the skull show through, the nights became clearer,
and the buds,--erect, like nipples .
--But then, one night,
nothing worked .
Nothing in the sky
would blur like I wanted it to;
and I couldn't, couldn't,
get it to seem to me
that somebody else did it .
I tried, and tried, but there was just me there,
and her, and the sharp trees
saying, "That's you standing there.
I hope I fry.
--Hell came when I saw
and couldn't stand
what I see .
Kenn Nesbitt |
Mister Horrible Head and Miss Ugliness Face
are the ugliest couple alive.
Yes indeed they’re so ugly that people run screaming
whenever they see them arrive.
You might say they’re misshapen, repulsive and vile,
or cadaverous, gruesome and gross.
Maybe hideous, grisly, repellent and shocking,
disgusting, unpleasant, morose.
You can call them unsightly, or horrid or scary,
or monstrous or frightful or bad.
You can call them whatever you like, but to me
they will always be called “Mom and Dad.”
Copyright © Kenn Nesbitt 1999. All Rights Reserved.
Charles Webb |
He's had the chest pains for weeks,
but doctors don't make house
calls to the North Pole,
he's let his Blue Cross lapse,
blood tests make him faint,
hospital gown always flap
open, waiting rooms upset
his stomach, and it's only
indigestion anyway, he thinks,
until, feeding the reindeer,
he feels as if a monster fist
has grabbed his heart and won't
breathe, and the beautiful white
world he loves goes black,
and he drops on his jelly belly
in the snow and Mrs.
tears out of the toy factory
wailing, and the elves wring
their little hands, and Rudolph's
nose blinks like a sad ambulance
light, and in a tract house
in Houston, Texas, I'm 8,
telling my mom that stupid
kids at school say Santa's a big
fake, and she sits with me
on our purple-flowered couch,
and takes my hand, tears
in her throat, the terrible
news rising in her eyes.