#ReadAcrossAmerica Day. Perfect excuse to rerun some poetry from a long-ago writing exercise.
When I was a little kid, just about three
I liked to have Daddy read stories to me
Pertaining to doggies or bunnies or mice
With everything happy and cozy and nice
Now twenty years later as I lie in bed
I look back again at the books Daddy read
I see them on levels I didn’t before
And see that those stories might be something more
As I was perusing those books of my past
I found some that left me agape and aghast
They had hidden meanings on every last page
Subliminal statements that filled me with rage
What author could merit such verbal abuse?
That lovable hate-able doctor named Seuss!
If you don’t believe me, I’ll now make you see
Just how controversial that doctor can be
Take Yertle the Turtle, whose constant obsession
With ultimate power caused brutal oppression
You wanna know why Doctor Seuss called him Yertle?
It’s just because Stalin does not rhyme with turtle!
And then there's The Lorax, who, with desperation
Attempted prevention of deforestation.
That’s noble and downright courageous indeed
Except for the fact that he doesn’t succeed!
What kind of a message does Doctor Seuss send?
“Hey kids, you’re all gonna fail in the end!”
Hop on Pop is a terrible book which I fear
Has problems that make themselves painfully clear
I don’t think my father would be very keen
On me using him as a live trampoline
Who knows just how many poor parents have died
Tragic victims of second degree Hopicide
Oh, the Places You’ll Go! Now that book is worse
It maps out your future in pictures and verse
Except that it lies to you, straight to your face
I mean, I for one haven’t gone anyplace
I’ll tell you what Seuss should have written instead:
“This life is a bitch and then one day you’re dead!”
And then there's the one book that makes me most ill
It’s that ungodly tale that takes place in Whoville
With a villain possessing an undersized heart
It’s a terrible insult to poetic art
Want to know why The Grinch is the book I malign?
Dr. Seuss makes up words in almost every line
If he starts a stanza and can’t seem to end it
He’ll think of a word and he’ll twist it and bend it
It’ll say something like “The Grinch took all their gadgets
And zoogle madingo dareefuh mawadgets!”
No matter what part of that story you read
It sounds as though Seuss had been smoking some weed
Also, you’d think that a doctor would know
If your heart grows three sizes your chest will explode
With stories that crazy and messed up and wild
I don't think that they should be read to a child
It may just sound cruel but the obvious fact is
That Dr. Seuss ought to be sued for malpractice!
So I reached in the slushpile and picked up a few.
I looked at the first one and saw the first word to be
"Oxymandicious"--which seemed quite absurd to me.
Into the toilet it went with a flush--
The very best place for the very worst slush.
I looked at another one, hoping for greatness;
The first word was "pachydermacronumateless."
I picked up three more, but they all began nuttily:
"Pickapoo," "Throgmistle," "Cragstormichuttiny."
I wondered if writers had all become dunces,
Remember when all stories started with Once's?
If you want EE to get past the first word of
Your manuscript, start with a word that he's heard of.
In Publishing Town,
Far down in its bowels,
Lived a muttonchopped man
With quivery jowls.
Every day, minions--
A hundred or more--
And squeezed through the door.
They ogled and boggled
In mute adoration
Amazed at his pince-nez,
His fob, his vocation.
They said, "One day we'll
"Work in Publishing too!"
But they only had queries.
Not one had a clue.
One morning, a minion,
With query in hand,
Dared lay it before
The muttonchopped man.
The muttonchopped man
With quivery jowl
Looked down through his pince-nez
And started to howl.
"It's awful!" he hollered.
"The plot is pathetic!
"The setting is stupid!
"The ending's emetic!
"This query's a fungus.
"It's covered in slop.
"You want to keep writing?
"I beg you to stop."
"But sir," said the minion,
All trembling and weak,
"What if I edit it more--
"So to speak?
"Some of the others
"Are ever so wise--"
He looked at the cluster
Of ladies and guys--
"Couldn't we all take
"My slop-covered fungus
"And churn out just one
"Decent query among us?"
"Do what you want,"
Said the muttonchopped man.
"I'm going to take pictures
"Of me on the can."
With the man on the can
Minions all gathered round
And they rolled up their sleeves
There in Publishing Town
And they beat up that query!
They gave it the works!
They pounded its problems!
They questioned its quirks!
They gutted its grammar!
And when they were done
That terrible query
Shone like the sun.
He came out of the john.
The minions were leery.
He put down his camera
And picked up the query.
He peered through his pince-nez.
He saw what they had.
His jowls quivered gently.
"You know, this ain't bad."
The minions all cheered!
They whooped and went wild!
Even the muttonchopped man
Might have smiled.
The minion strode off
To querying glory
But did his book sell?
...that's some other story.