Words that Improp

A teacher teaches
A locker locks
I’m not sure what
A doctor docts

What have soldiers sold?
What does chowder chowd?
Who knows where winter went?
(How will I find out?)

What do badgers badge?
How do beavers beave?
I’m getting so flusted
I might start to feve

And what are months doing?
Octobing? Novembing?
I’m losing my temper–
That’s right, I’m done temping


It’s fall and everything is “pumpkin”
Pumpkin-scented, pumpkin-spiced
It’s fine, but let me tell you something:
Other scents are just as nice

Sure, I’m okay with pumpkin season

(Though I’m not in charge, it’s true)
But there’s simply no good reason
To not have other seasons too

So let’s make everything peach in summer

Gingerbread in January
Choose a month for just cucumber
Save a few weeks for cranberry

I don’t know when grapefruit grow

But let’s give them at least a day
Let’s save a week for cookie dough
And give rhubarb the month of May

We’ll all eat mint when it is warm

And cinnamon when it is freezing
Or…forget all this. My new brainstorm:
Let’s call the whole year “chocolate season”

Requests #5: Poems about Empathy and Advocacy

Shira (a teacher in Philadelphia) asks

Can you write a poem about empathy? Or Advocacy?

I love it. I’m on it. Here’s my first three attempts.



One raindrop
Told another raindrop
“Let’s go visit the ground!”

The second drop
Told the first raindrop
“But it’s so far, far down!”

The first raindrop
Told the second raindrop
“Oh come on, don’t be scared!”

The second drop
Watched the first raindrop
Plunge down, down through the air

The second drop
Told itself, “Raindrop,
Quit being so afraid!

You’re a raindrop!
Rain’s supposed to drop!
You’re a coward if you stay!”

The lonely drop
Cried little drops
Quite sad there on its own

Until a third raindrop
Saw the sad raindrop
And said, “You’re not alone.

I’m another drop
Who’s afraid to drop
So can I stick by you?”

Then more raindrops
Saw the two raindrops
And said, “We’re frightened too!”

And when one drop
Hugged the sad raindrop
Something quite strange did occur

The two raindrops
Became one big drop
And they felt more secure

So other drops
Hugged the new raindrop
They merged and said, “Now whether

We’re many drops
Or one big raindrop
We’ll stay, or go, together.”

One raindrop
That was many drops
Held tightly in a huddle

Finally dropped.

And with other drops

Lived again


(As a puddle)

It’s Easy to Say Nothing

It’s easy to say nothing
It isn’t hard at all
Just close your lips
And keep them zipped
Pretend you are a wall

It’s easy to say nothing
No need to get involved
It seems absurd
To think your words
Will help get problems solved

But then, if you say nothing
I might say nothing too
A shame, because
My voice sure does
More good when it joins you

Down in Front!

Alex Paul
Was quite tall
Went to the
Concert hall

Big and loud
Alex plowed
To the front
Of the crowd

Got a “boo”
From a few
People who
Lost their view

Didn’t care
Just stood there
Didn’t think
It unfair

One girl, she
Couldn’t see
Said “Could you
Switch with me?

Or,” she asked
“Please move back?”
Alex took
Her to task

“Be polite!
I’ve a right
No matter
What my height!

Not my fault
I am tall
Don’t you blame
Me at all”

A beholder
Just told her
“Here, climb
On my shoulder”

So she climbed
Up his spine
(Now her view
Was quite fine)

And nearby
From up high
She saw more
People try

To make stacks
Up on backs
Moved in front
Of Alex

As the pairs
Moved up there
He cried “Hey,
That’s unfair!”

Folks said “You’d
Have this view
If you just
Had friends too.”


Things I’m Not

I wrote a list of things I am
And then a list of things I’m not
I fear now I’m less interesting
Than I had previously thought

For example: I’m a boy
I think that’s a fine thing to be
But then again, I’m not a girl
Nor a dragon or a tree

I’m four feet seven inches tall
And I think that’s completely fine
But then, I could be two feet tall
Or nine foot six, or six foot nine

I’m pretty happy, usually
I guess that that should make me glad
But why not be melancholy
Or worried sick, or spitting mad?

I guess it shouldn’t matter that
My “Things I’m Not” go on and on
I’ll just hope that some “Things I’m Not”
Are “Things I’ll Be Before Too Long”

Classroom Names

For twenty years, I’ve been a teacher
And it really seems
My students have strange names each year
But this year is extreme

I have a John, I have a Juan
I’m quite used to those names
But what am I supposed to do
With names like Juanjohnjames?

One girl’s name is the sound of coughing
That one I can say
But her twin’s is the sound of a zebra
What is that, anyway?

How many S’s in Kerssssssssssssplat?
How many T’s in Sputtttt?
How can I keep from laughing
When I say McSmileybutt?

One of my student’s names is just
A picture of a cow
One changes his name every hour
(It’s Ebenezer now)

And one girl’s name I will not say
Because her name is cursed
She whispered it in my left ear once
And then my eardrum burst

It’s all just too confusing now
It’s really something messy
It makes me glad my parents gave me
A normal name like Lord Vortigoth the 3007th