Category: Podcast

Falling Asleep in Class – Podcast Episode

Have you ever accidentally fallen asleep in class? I know I did a few times, though not until I was in high school. If you fell asleep in elementary school, that’s just proof that kids are much more advanced these days.

My book When the Teacher Isn’t Looking has about 50 poems about all the funny things that happen at school. This one is about someone who fell asleep in class and woke up startled when the bell rang.

Falling Asleep in Class

I fell asleep in class today,
as I was awfully bored.
I laid my head upon my desk
and closed my eyes and snored.

I woke to find a piece of paper
sticking to my face.
I'd slobbered on my textbooks,
and my hair was a disgrace.

My clothes were badly rumpled,
and my eyes were glazed and red.
My binder left a three-ring
indentation in my head.

I slept through class, and probably
I would have slept some more,
except my students woke me
as they headed out the door.

-- Kenn Nesbitt

I Slipped on a Banana Peel – Podcast Episode

About 20 years ago, I used to have a hot tub in the back yard. One cold, winter morning, I noticed that I had left the cover off of it the night before, and the water had probably gotten pretty cold. So I put my slippers on and headed out the back door to replace the cover.

What I didn’t notice was that the steam from the hot tub had caused a thin layer of ice to form on the back stairs. I took one step down the stairs and immediately slipped and fell. Fortunately, there were only three steps so I wasn’t injured, but it did hurt a lot.

After jumping up and down, yelling, and rubbing my behind. I suddenly had an idea! My wife asked me, “Are you okay?” I said, “Yes, but I have to write a poem!”

This poem is the result of that mishap on the stairs.

I Slipped on a Banana Peel

I slipped on a banana peel
and fell and hit my head.
I slipped upon a patch of ice
which nearly killed me dead.

I slipped upon a roller skate
and tumbled into space.
I slipped inside the bathtub
and I landed on my face.

I slipped upon the basement stairs
and on the kitchen floor.
I wish that I could stop myself
from slipping anymore.

So now I only wear my shoes
or boots or clogs or flippers,
but I don’t want to slip again
so I don’t wear my slippers!

 --Kenn Nesbitt

My Legs Both Understand Me – Podcast Episode

This poem was a lot of fun for me to write because nearly every line can be taken either literally or figuratively. To say “My hair sticks up for me” may be literally true because my hair may be actually sticking up on top of my head. But if I were to understand it figuratively, it would mean my hair is taking my side, in an argument, for example.

I also had a theme for this poem. The challenge for me, as a writer, was to see if all of my double-meanings could have something to do with my body parts being positive and supportive of me.

As you read this poem, see if you can figure out both the literal and figurative meanings of each line.

My Legs Both Understand Me

My legs both understand me.
My shoulders have my back.
My arms are always on my side.
My feet know I’m on track.

My hands are both forgiving,
and help me seize the day.
My ears are awesome listeners.
My eyes see things my way.

My bottom is behind me.
My hair sticks up for me.
My fingers give me two thumbs up.
My smile won’t disagree.

My bones are so supportive.
My veins are all true-blue.
My legs both understand me.
I hope that you do too.

--Kenn Nesbitt

The Story of Laurie – Podcast Episode

In 2013, I was named the Children’s Poet Laureate. Awarded by the Poetry Foundation every two years, and now called the Young People’s Poet Laureate, the aim of this award is to raise awareness that young people have a natural receptivity to poetry and are its most appreciative audience, especially when poems are written specifically for them.

A “laureate” is a person who has been honored for achieving distinction in a particular field, and a “poet laureate” is a poet whose work is officially recognized and awarded.

Because I love the sound of language, I noticed that the word “laureate” sounds a lot like some other words such as “lariat” and “Laurie ate” and thought it would be fun to write a poem using one of these other words in place of “laureate.” This poem is the result, and I hope you enjoy it.

The Story of Laurie

Perhaps you shouldn’t read this story.
It isn’t sweet and hunky-dory.
It isn’t even just okay,
or nice or kind in any way.
In fact, it’s gruesome, grim, and gory,
and all about a girl named Laurie.

See, Laurie is a cannibal.
She’ll eat no plant nor animal.
She’ll eat no vegetable nor fruit,
no leaf, no seed, no sprout, nor shoot.
And if you offer fish or fowl
she’ll stare at you and start to growl.

It’s not that Laurie’s mean or mad.
She simply thinks that beans are bad.
She says, “No thanks” to chips and cheese,
bologna, carrots, parsley, peas,
bananas, bagels, sauerkraut,
arugula and rainbow trout.

She doesn’t care for Christmas roast,
or pie or pumpernickel toast,
or rigatoni, ravioli,
mustard, custard, guacamole,
pickles, yogurt, sirloin steak,
or even candy bars and cake.

She’ll never feed on frozen food.
And any entree, steamed or stewed,
from any package, box, or bag,
is guaranteed to make her gag.
It’s not part of her diet plan;
the only thing she eats is Man.

I truly hope I never meet
with Laurie, for I know she’ll eat
my feet, my legs, my arms, my head,
and then, of course, I’ll end up dead.
And that’s the one thing I would hate:
To be the poet Laurie ate.

--Kenn Nesbitt

My Favorite Word is Floofy – Podcast Episode

I love the sound of language. I especially love funny words. In fact, I once wrote an entire poem called My Favorite Words to list all of the words in English that I think sound funny, including words like “fuddy-duddy” and “nincompoop.”

But you can also make up funny sounding words. In fact, I wrote a poem called Today I Decided to Make up a Word to see how many words I could invent, including words like “fraskle” and “squank.”

For this poem I decided to combine these two ideas and write about a made-up word that I think sound’s wonderfully funny. Feel free to use it any way you like.

My Favorite Word is Floofy

My favorite word is "floofy." 
It's such a floofy word.
In fact, I'd say that floofy
is the floofiest I've heard.

I use it when I'm floofing up,
or when I'm all floofed out.
Whenever I feel floofy-doof
I give a floofy shout!

I may not know what floofy means.
But -- floofy! -- that's okay.
I'm sure it's floofy floofy floof
to floof it anyway.

I know it might sound silly.
I know it might sound goofy.
But, still, there's not another word
that's floofier than floofy.

-- Kenn Nesbitt

Nathaniel Naste – Podcast Episode

I love “narrative” poems, poems that tell a story. I love poems with crazy characters and “tall tales,” poems that are so exaggerated they are completely impossible. And I love “cautionary tales,” funny stories about characters who meet an unpleasant fate because they did something they shouldn’t have.

Nathaniel Naste is the story of a boy who didn’t listen when he was told he shouldn’t eat paste, and about the terrible fate that befell him (and his family, pets, neighbors, and, eventually, everyone else in the world) because he did it anyway.

This poem follows in the tradition of older poems like Shel Silverstein’s “The Extra Sticky Peanut Butter Sandwich” and “Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout,” and Hilaire Belloc’s Cautionary Tales for Children.

If you enjoy this poem, you might like to read some of my other cautionary verses, including “Wendy Wise,” “Sam, Who Only Ate Jam,” and “Willie’s Wart.”

So here is “Nathaniel Naste.”

Nathaniel Naste
once ate some paste
he'd taken home from school.
He scooped a bit
and tasted it
and hollered like a fool.
His face got laced
with paste that graced
his forehead and his hair.
Some paste got placed
upon his waist
which glued him to his chair.

Nathaniel cried
and, mortified,
his mother came to see.
She tugged, she tried,
she pulled and pried
but couldn't get him free.
For she was stuck
in pasty muck
and called Nathaniel's dad,
who raced in haste,
embraced the paste,
and pulled with all he had.

But father too
was stuck like glue
to poor Nathaniel's mother,
and it ensued
they also glued
his sister and his brother,
his cat, his frog,
his bird, his dog
(a parakeet and spaniel),
till each at last
were fastened fast,
cemented to Nathaniel.

The neighbors came
and soon the same
was happening to all.
They faced the paste
but soon, disgraced,
they placed an urgent call
to nine-one-one
and on the run
came firemen and police,
who tried with ropes
and prayers and hopes
and bucketloads of grease.

But nothing helped
and each one yelped
to be in this position
encased in paste
to find they faced
a sticky proposition.
Across the floor
and out the door
and halfway down the street
with knees on hips,
and hands on lips,
and elbows stuck to feet.

The Army marched
but soon were starched.
The Navy gummed their ships.
The Air Force flew
but stuck like glue
to all those knees and lips.
The President
gave his consent
for every single person
to lend some aid
but this just made
the situation worsen.

And in the end
it's true, my friend,
no solitary granule
of any worth
was left on Earth
not pasted to Nathaniel.
So don't you fail
to heed this tale
and never taste your paste,
or you may find
you're in a bind
Like poor Nathaniel Naste.

Do You C What I C? – Podcast Episode

Every now and then, I like to write an alliterative poem like this one just to see how much fun I can have with a single letter of the alphabet. Some other examples include my poems Zzzzz from my book The Aliens Have Landed at Our School! and To B or Not to B from My Cat Knows Karate.

In fact, I’ve even written an entire lesson on how you can write your own alliteration poems, which you can find here.

In this case, I decided to play with the letter C. Because the letter C is pronounced just like the words “see” and “sea,” I thought I would write a poem about how many sea creatures I could see doing silly things. I hope you enjoyed the result.

Do You C What I C?

I saw a crawdad camping
and a crab in a canoe.
I watched a clamshell clapping
and I heard a catfish coo.

I caught a clumsy clownfish
in a coral-colored cape,
and came across a cod who claimed
he couldn't cook a crepe.

I saw a cocky crocodile
play cribbage with a crane.
I even watched a cuttlefish
consume a candy cane.

You could be kind of curious
how all this came to be.
It happened when I went to C
to C what I could C.