Sunday, September 26, 2010

An Intro to Haibun

photo source:

I haven't written any poems in awhile. There have been several lines bandying their way through my brain lately but nothing more than that. Just not enough time, I guess. I was intrigued by this week's prompt at Big Tent Poetry, though, so I thought I'd try to find my muse.

The challenge--write a haibun, a composition that combines prose and haiku. The catch--the haibun is supposed to be a travel log. And not just a travel log, but a log of a trip on which you encounter a mythical creature.

Sounds daunting, I know, but I actually had some fun with it. I just sat down and pounded it out, so I'm sure it's a bit rough. But getting something down on paper felt good. I'd never tried to write a prose poem before. I'm not sure if there are rules, but I'm pretty sure there aren't.

As for my quest, I chose a Chimera, a hideous beast known for breathing fire and being an omen of natural disaster. I think I chose it at random, from a Wikipedia list of Greek mythical creatures, although an analysis of my subconscious may reveal otherwise. I don't know. I think I just like the sound of the word chimera.

I pictured a group of warriors out on a journey for weeks and weeks, tracking this beast. Not in hopes of killing her, but in hopes of maybe taming her or at the very least figuring her out. It doesn't end that well, but I tried to contrast the failure of their mission with a more optimistic closing haiku. So, here you go...


That cirrus-framed rectangle of the faintest blue ripped in the graying sky was our signal. This ill-fated quest had come to an end, its apocalypse a product of hubris and fate, of misfortune and audacity, and now it was time to end it, to let it all go, to heed the warning and follow our instincts. Away. Away from this washed out villa of mistaken tranquility and inebriated lust, of foolish clingings to time-gone-by and memories of strength no longer possessed. The rectangular gateway: our omen, our message to flee, our oncoming storm, our subconscious--emphasized more by the searing, uncontrollable fires of the Chimera, the very beast we sought to tame, to deconstruct, to make sense of. The very beast incapable of capture (we knew this all along). The very beast that set us on this path.

the four sided sign
of what will never be true
the blueness of hope

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Poetry Mix Tape: Ordinary Things

I try to start my year with poems students will enjoy. When they come to me, their exposure to good poetry is fairly limited. So what I want to help them do is realize how fun poetry is. I do this with some silly rhyming poems, but also with poems that have poetry moves that they can easily understand and enjoy, moves like metaphor and repetition and multiple meanings. (I used Hughes to talk about a lot of these things).

Now, I like to hit them with free verse and show them that poetry can truly be about anything. Check that. Not just anything. But ANYTHING. There are no limits really, I tell them, when it comes to where poems "hide."

In that spirit, for the next few weeks we'll be reading poems about everyday, commonplace, mundane, and ordinary things. This Mix Tape may be the easiest to add to for the wonderful readers out there. So feel free to comment and contribute more poems. But here's my Mix Tape of poems about ordinary things, also known as poems that make the ordinary seem extraordinary...

The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams
Between Walls by William Carlos Williams
Daddy Longlegs by Ted Kooser
Gas Pump by Jed Chambers (can't find this one anywhere but here -- scroll down to find it)
Safety Pin by Valerie Worth
Ode to My Socks by Pablo Neruda
To Television by Robert Pinsky
The Broken Sandal by Denise Levertov
The Heron by Linda Hogan

And finally, I'm not sure if this qualifies, but it is a poem about an ordinary situation involving ordinary things. And it paints a vivid, beautiful picture of the situation...

In the Basement of the Goodwill Store

In musty light, in the thin brown air   
of damp carpet, doll heads and rust,   
beneath long rows of sharp footfalls   
like nails in a lid, an old man stands   
trying on glasses, lifting each pair
from the box like a glittering fish   
and holding it up to the light
of a dirty bulb. Near him, a heap   
of enameled pans as white as skulls   
looms in the catacomb shadows,   
and old toilets with dry red throats   
cough up bouquets of curtain rods.

Read the rest at the Poetry Foundation, please. And, of course, add your favorite "ordinary" poems in the 

Is Poetry Going Mainstream?

I pride myself on liking things that other people would find obscure, quirky, or maybe even "off-beat." Things that would definitely be considered outside of the mainstream. Take Twitter for example. Twitter was awesome when nobody had heard of it, when you would mention it to someone and then have to spend 15 minutes explaining its appeal (all the while silently mocking their un-quirkiness err I mean un-coolness). But Twitter has certainly jumped the shark. Not sure when it happened, but it did (maybe it was when Wal-Mart started tweeting) and now I'm over it.

Same thing with music. I first saw 311 in 1994 on the second stage of a local radio station's fall music festival. They were amazing. Shortly thereafter, they hit it big--radio, MTV, etc. I lost interest. (The fact that their music got exponentially worse after their debut album did help matters, though). The Hard Lessons is a local band that has put out some really great music. But when I saw that a teacher at work had a "Hard Lessons" sticker on her file cabinet, I somehow felt less cool. I sure hope Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. doesn't hit it big anytime soon.

Well now it seems that poetry is getting more pub of late. I recently wrote about The Anthologist, a terrific novel I just read. And this week I just learned of a novel called The Financial Lives of Poets. Looks pretty interesting; I'll definitely be reading it. Here's the "book trailer" from Harper Books:

And then there's Howl, a new movie starring James Franco as Allen Ginsberg that looks pretty intriguing. I'm not much of a beat poet fan (although I do enjoy the occasional Ferlinghetti poem), but it's hard to resist a movie about a poet and one of his signature poems.  Here's the trailer:

Despite all this, I'm not really worried about poetry taking a dip in the mainstream. In fact, I'm happy. Spread the gospel, that's what I say. The more people reading, writing, teaching, and seeing movies and reading books about poetry the better. It's one thing I love that I'm more than happy to share with others without affecting my twisted outlook on coolness and quirkiness and shark jumping and the like. And in the spirit of spreading the gospel, here is a Ginsberg poem I really like, "A Supermarket in California."

A Supermarket in California
By Allen Ginsberg

  What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked 
down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking 
at the full moon.
  In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon
fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
  What peaches and what penumbras!  Whole families shopping at 
night!  Aisles full of husbands!  Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!
--and you, García Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?

  I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber, poking
among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery boys.
  I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the pork chops?    
What price bananas?  Are you my Angel?
  I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans following you,
and followed in my imagination by the store detective.
  We strode down the open corridors together in our solitary fancy 
tasting artichokes, possessing every frozen delicacy, and never passing the 

  Where are we going, Walt Whitman?  The doors close in a hour.
Which way does your beard point tonight?

I do love poem by Whitman, but a poem featuring Whitman as a character is pretty awesome, too. You can read the rest of the poem here--you can even listen to Mr. Ginsberg read it himself.

So enjoy your time in the mainstream, poetry. I hope you wear a life preserver--the undertow has been known to do some wicked damage.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Starting With Hughes

If forced to choose a favorite poet to use to teach poetry to young children, I think I'd have to go with Langston Hughes. His poems are filled with brilliant metaphor, rich language, strong rhythms and sounds--all the things I want to expose to young readers of poetry. Not only that, but they're steeped in history. To read and understand Hughes, you must understand his times--where and when he was from. His poems give me the opportunity to teach students about those times. And I really think his poems are way better at bringing those times to life than any textbook could ever be.

So last week I started with "Dreams," one of my all-time favorites and maybe Hughes's most widely known poem. Today we looked at one that's slightly less famous, although it does lend its title to the title of a great collection of his poems which every teacher should own, "The Dream Keeper." It goes like this:

Bring me all of your dreams,
You dreamers, 
Bring me all of your
Heart melodies
That I may wrap them
In a blue cloud-cloth
Away from the too-rough fingers
Of the world.
Only eight lines, yet so poignant. At least in my mind. In case you're wondering, I also enjoy and will probably teach at some point this year "Mother to Son,"  "I, Too," "Dream Variations," and "Dream Deferred." (What can I say? I'm a sucker for Dream poems). Of course, I've already talked about how I used two of his other poems, and I'd also say that if I taught high school, I'd teach "Theme for English B" for sure.

I'll leave with a short one that I discovered, simply called "Poem." I'll be sharing it tomorrow with my students to see what they think and to talk about the joy of repetition in poems (definitely a topic for future posts)...

I loved my friend 
He went away from me 
There's nothing more to say 
The poem ends, 
Soft as it began- 
I loved my friend

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Novel About Poetry: The Anthologist

I certainly haven't been doing much reading these last few weeks--the return of the school year has certainly slowed me down. However, I am still trying and this week I finished a novel about poetry. I know, who would've thought such a thing could exist? I certainly haven't encountered anything like it before. It turned out to be a really good read and a novel that works on so many levels that I'm sure I missed a lot. I might even have to re-read it to examine the nuances more closely. Either way, I highly recommend it. It's called The Anthologist and it's written by Nicholson Baker.

I'm always amazed when an author uses a premise that's completely unique and new. Baker seems to do that over and over, whether in his novel about a man who's able to press a magical pause button at various points during the day, The Fermata, or his novel about phone sex, Vox (yeah, I read it. I'll leave it at that). And just like in those books, the story of The Anthologist is about more than just the obvious. Like these others, it's about life, love and the human condition. And, also like the others, once you start reading, it's difficult to stop.

In The Anthologist, Tom Chowder, a slightly-less-than-successful poet, is charged with writing an introduction to a poetry anthology he has put together. Told from Chowder's point of view, we get to follow along as he struggles to write the introduction, as he laments about the demise of rhyme in poetry, and as he struggles with the loss of his true love (who left, in part, over her frustration with his inability to complete the introduction). Interwoven in the story are Chowder's analyses of poems, background information about poets well-known and not-so-well-known, and lots of name dropping...even poetry scholar Helen Vendler's name is mentioned!

I definitely recommend this novel and I'd love to hear what you think of it. And if you know of any other poetry-themed novels, please share. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm 150 pages into The Passage, Justin Cronin's exquisitely well-written vampire novel and I can't tear myself away.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Local Poetry Scene (or lack thereof)

So I was in Los Angeles this weekend--a place I've never been before--and I thought it would be interesting to see if there were any poetry events happening. After some quick searching I found that during any given week in L.A. there are tons of readings and open mic nights. None of them worked for my timeframe, so I didn't get to check one out, but the abundance of choices left me feeling envious.

You see, I live in the Detroit area and from what I've found, the poetry scene here is not all that vibrant. If there's much of a scene at all, it's terribly under-publicized. Maybe I need to dig deeper. (If there are any Detroit poets out there reading this, let me know where I can go!) Who knows. I guess in a perfect world there would be readings to go to every night of the week. I guess I'm going to have to work on finding out more about local poets and local poetry so that I can get more involved.

On another note, I didn't do much reading while I was out of town. I did ponder doing a post of "Poems of L.A." but I didn't get very far in my research with that one. In the short amount of time I looked, I did come across a poem by Philip Levine, who just happens to be from Detroit. I think it's a poem more about California than Los Angeles, but since I'd never been to either before Friday, I think it'll do. On top of that, it's a great poem, too.
by Philip Levine

The new grass rising in the hills,
the cows loitering in the morning chill,
a dozen or more old browns hidden
in the shadows of the cottonwoods
beside the streambed. I go higher
to where the road gives up and there's
only a faint path strewn with lupine
between the mountain oaks. I don't
ask myself what I'm looking for.
I didn't come for answers
to a place like this, I came to walk
on the earth, still cold, still silent.
Still ungiving, I've said to myself,
although it greets me with last year's
dead thistles and this year's 
hard spines, early blooming
wild onions, the curling remains
of spider's cloth. What did I bring 
to the dance? In my back pocket
a crushed letter from a woman
I've never met bearing bad news
I can do nothing about.

Enjoy the rest of "Gospel" here. Let me know how you like it.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Lest We Forget

I'm sitting in a hotel lobby. CNN is on the television. Nine years later, the 9/11 tributes and remembrances are still nearly too upsetting for me to watch. But it's still on my mind. The complete confusion of that day. The tragedy of it all. Nine years but it doesn't even seem like one. So many things have happened to me since and so many of them I have barely any memory of...but that day is seared in my memory. I remember where I was. I remember where I went out to dinner to try to escape it all. I remember the CD I bought at the only store around that was open. I wasn't trying to disrespect the pain and sadness of the moment by doing normal, mundane things. I just didn't know what to do. I just knew I couldn't sit there and watch any more of it on television. I had already been watching for eight hours straight. I couldn't take anymore.

So today I pay my own little tribute to the innocent victims of that day. I didn't know any of them. But I feel connected to them all. Maybe you know this poem, maybe not, but it deserves (or maybe commands) your attention today. Its sweeping language and vivid imagery--it's a work of art and I hesitate to call it beautiful because I don't know if that's the world. But I will call it perfect, because I think it is.

Alabanza: In Praise of Local 100 
by Martín Espada

for the 43 members of Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Local 100, working at the Windows on the World restaurant, who lost their lives in the attack on the World Trade Center 
Alabanza. Praise the cook with the shaven head
and a tattoo on his shoulder that said Oye,
a blue-eyed Puerto Rican with people from Fajardo,
the harbor of pirates centuries ago.
Praise the lighthouse in Fajardo, candle
glimmering white to worship the dark saint of the sea.
Alabanza. Praise the cook's yellow Pirates cap
worn in the name of Roberto Clemente, his plane
that flamed into the ocean loaded with cans for Nicaragua,
for all the mouths chewing the ash of earthquakes.
Alabanza. Praise the kitchen radio, dial clicked
even before the dial on the oven, so that music and Spanish
rose before bread. Praise the bread. Alabanza.

Praise Manhattan from a hundred and seven flights up,
like Atlantis glimpsed through the windows of an ancient aquarium.
Praise the great windows where immigrants from the kitchen
could squint and almost see their world, hear the chant of nations:
Ecuador, México, Republica Dominicana, 
Haiti, Yemen, Ghana, Bangladesh.
 Please take the time to read the rest of the poem here. Thanks for reading today. I appreciate it.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Poetry and Fate

Do you ever come across a poem and feel like it couldn't possibly be an accident that you came across it? Let me explain. I've been very, very bothered (definitely an understatement) by the anger and hatred surrounding the proposed mosque that may be built near the former World Trade Center site in Manhattan. (Whomever coined the phrase "Ground Zero Mosque" must be a poet, right? Only a poet knows how to intentionally use language like that, right?) I won't rant any more, except to say that America is scaring me and has been scaring me for the past couple years.

That whole "President Obama is a Muslim" thing? Really scary. Do folks out there really need to resort to that kind of hate-mongering? Even if you don't agree with Mr. Obama's politics, surely you see the fear and hate behind that movement. Right?

And then yesterday I learned of the "Quran Burning Day" planned for September 11 at a church in Gainesville, Florida. Just when I couldn't be more saddened or embarrassed to be an American--along comes this garbage. It's scary, it really is.

Again, I'll hold back on my rant here. I think you get where I'm coming from. But I want to get back to my original point--I came across a poem this morning that I really think speaks volumes about America and why, sometimes, fellow Americans act in ways that make me shudder. So just when I'm at my lowest point in this arena, in comes this poem. Did fate send it?

At the Galleria Shopping Mall

Just past the bin of pastel baby socks and underwear,
there are some 49-dollar Chinese-made TVs;

one of them singing news about a far-off war,
one comparing the breast size of an actress from Hollywood

to the breast size of an actress from Bollywood.
And here is my niece Lucinda,

who is nine and a true daughter of Texas,
who has developed the flounce of a pedigreed blonde

and declares that her favorite sport is shopping.
Today is the day she embarks upon her journey,

swinging a credit card like a scythe
through the meadows of golden merchandise.

Please read the rest of the poem here. It's worth it. And if you happen to personally know Glenn Beck this Terry Jones nut-job, could you please pass it along to them? Someday, maybe everyone will come to their senses. Right?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Day of Firsts

As a teacher, today was my first day of school with students. As a parent, I sent two children off to their own first days this morning.  As a teacher, it's an exciting, almost joyous day--a day filled with hope and newness and limitless possibilities. As a parent, it nearly brings me to tears. I don't like the word "bittersweet," but I can't think of no other word that fits these feelings. Watching my children grow up is a wondrous experience, but passing milestones such as this, particularly my son's first day of kindergarten today, can be downright gut-wrenching. Watching them grow up is like watching a miracle unfold before my eyes. But watching them grow up so fast sometimes is enough to make me struggle to catch my breath.

I tried to write a poem for each of the two children that I watched ride away on that school bus this morning. The one I wrote for my daughter, who turns 8 in October, is the one that is close enough to done to share with you today. My son's poem still needs some revision, but I'll share it soon. This poem for my daughter is a work in progress, and far from perfect and far from done, but I needed to post it to kind of get it off my chest.

No Looking Back or How I Know You're Not Little Anymore

for Annabel

I held your hand today
      and it wasn't tiny;
      it's closer now to
      filling my own.

That yellow beast
      ferries you away
      each morning and
      sometimes you don't
      stop to wave from the window.

You take showers.

You answered the phone
      when I called home one
      day and I barely
      recognized your voice.

I embarrassed you at
      that party Saturday when
      I danced in that silly
      way you used to love.

You told me so.


I am fairly certain I could go on and on and on. But I'll leave it at that for now. Don't worry, son, your poem is under construction. Oldest first!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Wanted: A Few Good Poems

One day left. I've already blogged about the poem I will be reading on the first day of school. As for after that--I'm basically clueless. Ok, not clueless, I have a few tricks up my sleeve, but as I've mentioned before, I'm teaching fourth graders this year and I'm just not sure what they can "handle" when it comes to poetry. So I find myself reading lots and lots of poems or thinking about ones I taught last year to fifth graders and being a little hesitant to commit.

As I think about it, I do have fairly strict criteria when it comes to poetry selection. Maybe I'm a bit of a poetry snob, I don't know. For me to use in the classroom a poem...

  • can't be too childish. I have nothing against silly, playful verse and I've nothing but respect for famous poets such as Bruce Lansky or Jack Prelutsky. But when it comes to teaching poetry, I prefer poems to have a bit more...substance. Kiddie poems are fine for pleasure reading--my classroom library has plenty of Lansky, Prelutsky, and the like--but when it comes to teaching time, I like to raise the bar a little bit.
  • can't be too complicated. This isn't to say that I don't push my students to understand and enjoy challenging poems. I do. Often times there are elements or words in a poem that I have to explain to them prior to reading it, and that's okay. I just don't like to have to do that for 45 minutes or anything.
  • has to have some "teachable" elements. I like to use poems to teach vocabulary and punctuation and point of view and wordplay and more. I also like poems that I can use as mentor texts to teach poetry "moves" that will improve their poetry writing. 
  • has to be awesome. I have to use poems in my classroom that I love. If I don't like it, I won't teach it. It's as simple as that.
With my new students, I'll definitely need to get an idea of what they like and what will work for them during the first week of school. And, like I said, I do have some ideas stored away and I'll be sharing those in the future. But, of course, I welcome your comments. 

Friday, September 3, 2010

Poetry in Music: Boy in the Bubble

Been doing a lot of driving lately and I don't tend to listen to a ton of music while I drive. Usually NPR or (although I hesitate to admit it) sports talk radio. Today, with about two hours worth of driving to do, I plugged in the old iPod and stumbled across a poetic gem I haven't heard in awhile: "Boy in the Bubble" by Paul Simon. This song is off the Graceland album which was released in 1986. Even though it's been 24 years now, I still think that album holds up as one of the greatest of my lifetime. Top to bottom it has more wonderful songs than any I've encountered since.

But back to "Boy in the Bubble." It's really a song about current events. Well, events that were current in 1986. But not surprisingly, like so many other classic poems and songs, it has relevance today.

What draws me to it, though, is not the content of the lyrics so much as their poetic elements. Take a listen:

Paul Simon Boy in the Bubble
Uploaded by Celtiemama. - Music videos, artist interviews, concerts and more.

There are some great sounds in this song, like "staccato signals" and "medicine is magical and magical is art." Then there's some truly poetic phrases like "curled into the circle of birth" and "the way we look to a distant constellation / that is dying in the corner of the sky." The repetition is great, too. "The way..." in the chorus and "It's" in the bridge. I just love this song. It's definitely poetry set to music. I hope you love it, too.

Poetry Friday: Poetry Mix Tape...Rivers

Not only is Tuesday my first day of school, it's the first day of school for two of my children as well. One of the things on my "Things to do with the kids before summer ends" list is to take them downtown to ride the People Mover (a train that carries commuters and visitors around the city's main downtown area) and have a nice picnic lunch by the Detroit River. I guess I don't have many days left to do this, but I think we can squeeze it in.

Detroit's downtown isn't the most bustling of places, but I do have a fondness for the river. Water of any kind is something I enjoy, but I always find myself enchanted by the shores of the Detroit River. Maybe it's the view of a foreign country. Maybe it's that "water symbolizes rebirth" thing. Maybe it's the huge ships and barges. Who knows.


This got me thinking about poems about rivers. I don't know that many, so it seemed a good one to research. Thanks to the Poetry Foundation's Poetry Tool, I even came across one (albeit a slightly depressing one--you'll see when you click the link to read the rest) about the very river pictured above:

Poem to the Detriot River
By Terry Wolverton

Not really a river at all,
but a handshake between two Great
Lakes, Huron stretching to embrace
Erie in its green-gray grasp. You
stitch the liquid boundary of
a city dismantling itself,
bricks unmortared, spires sagging, burnt
out structures razed to open field.
Prairies returning here, foxtails
and chicory, Queen Anne’s lace sways;
tumbleweeds amble down Woodward
Avenue, blow past fire hydrants,
storefronts and rusted Cadillacs.

You are the mirror into which
we plunge. 

Read the rest of the poem here.

And please also check out these poems about rivers (although I'm not sure "Gold River" nor "The Way to the River" are about rivers, they river in the title and I like them a lot, so they make the mix tape!):

"A River" by John Poch
"The Way to the River" by W.S. Merwin
"The Negro Speaks of Rivers" by Langston Hughes
"Trout" by Kathryn Starbuck
"Gold River" by Catie Rosemurgy
"Niagara River" by Kay Ryan

Know more poems about rivers? Please add them in the comments section. I just know there are more out there.

And while I have your attention, if you haven't subscribed yet, please do so either by email or RSS. My ego needs a boost and topping the 10 subscribers I currently have would certainly do the trick. Also, if you are new to my "Poetry Mix Tape" concept, please check out the previous three, which I do think were top notch, in my humble opinion.

Oh, and please check out the Poetry Friday Roundup over at Susan Taylor Brown's wonderful blog.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

On the Cusp of Poetry Immersion

This is my last prep day before the school year starts. Tuesday I get a fresh new group of 17 fourth graders. I plan to engage them in a two year (I will teach them for both fourth and fifth grades) program of poetry immersion. This will include the reading, analysis, and writing of poems.

I taught poetry for the first time in my career last year and it was by far my favorite part of the school year. I just looked back at my list of poems and finally got around to typing it up--would you believe I read 102 poems with my fifth graders last year? Not sure about you, but that seems like an impressive number to me. They also wrote and published over 30 of their own poems.

So I'm trying it again with fourth graders, but not without some tweaks, of course. I will, however, be reading the same poem on the first day as I did last year: "Alligator Pie" by Dennis Lee. It's definitely a nonsense poem and it's got great rhymes and rhythm, so kids love it. It's definitely more silly than most of the poems we'll read this year (most poems written for children, don't do much for me, sorry...I mean they have a place in the world and all when it comes to getting kids hooked on poetry, but...oh maybe that's a topic for another post.). But I do think it's a perfect first poem to read to students.

Here's the first stanza of the real poem (read it all here):

Alligator pie, alligator pie,
If I don't get some, I think I'm gonna die
Give away the green grass, give away the sky,
But don't give away my alligator pie.

After reading the poem a few times, I ask them some questions about it. Then they write their own version. Here are some stanzas written by my students in the past:

Alligator paint, alligator paint,
If I don't get some, surely I will faint.
Give away my ice cream, give away my cake,
But don't give away my alligator paint.

Alligator meat, alligator meat,
If I don't get some I think I'm going to eat.
Give away my arms, give away my feet,
But don't give away my alligator meat.

Alligator pajamas, alligator pajamas,
If I don't get some, I'm going to go to grandma's.
Give away my strawberries, give away my bananas,
But don't give away my Alligator Pajamas.

Alligator peas, alligator peas,
If I don't get some, I think I'm gonna sneeze.
Give away my crackers, give away my cheese.
But don't give away my alligator peas.

Stay tuned to see what my students come up with next week. And teachers, if you're out there, what is the first poem you share with your students each year?