Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Best Way to Lift a Bad Mood

Everyone should read poetry written by small children. Why? Because Prozac’s got nothing on the ebullience of third graders:

 
What is red?  Red is apple heat.
What is orange?  Orange is fruit puking.
What is black?  Black is a poem cat?
What is yellow?  Yellow is a banana flower.
What is green?  Green is a shark bee.
What is blue?  Blue is a sky shark.
 
 
Reading this stuff gives me a dopamine rush that’s on par with a shot of tequila.  My cheeks flush.  I grin.  I lose my moral inhibitions.  Maybe not that last one.
 

Happy is yellow like the sun
running through my room.
It makes me want to
hop like a rabbit.
Mad is red like flames
burning the forest.
It makes me want to
call the fire department.
 

I can't remember the last book I read that made me laugh out loud like this.  


What is red?
An apple.
A strawberry.
A wild strawberry smoothie from Jamba Juice.
And a cherry is red from love and kisses and marriage and squishing.
What is gray?
Ms. Riverstone's hair
and a rock,
my grandmother and my grandpa at Oakland, 12th Street
and my other grandmother in Chinatown.


Occasionally, I find a poem that renews my faith in the essentially kind nature of human beings.  No big deal:
 


I want to fly like a bluebird
And that bird wants to fly like an insect.
The insect is as small as an ant.
 
The clouds are black, like whales, and it is beautiful.
The gardens have flowers with sour grass.
The sour grass is sour like a green lemon.
 
Some people paint good, some people paint bad,
but the important thing
is that they are good people.
 
I’m from Mexico.
Some people are from Mexico.
Some people paint.


When I finish this chapbook, I'm going to send copies of it to everyone I know.  

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