Day 6 – Two Cats for One Hat (Or Snitches Get Snitches)

cathat

Image source: Google

Two Cats for One Hat (Or Snitches Get Snitches)

The sun did not shine.

It was nighttime, you see.

So I sat with my book

Just as bored as can be.

 

I sat there with Daddy.

Mom slept and I sat

I hoped I could read her

The Cat in the Hat.

 

We were almost done!

My treat was on track!

For next we would read

How the Cat would come back!

 

I saw where she hid my new

Treat!

Treat!

Treat!

Treat!

If I could sneak a peak

That would be cool and neat!

 

I would not make a BUMP!

That would make Mommy jump!

I snuck!

In the bottom drawer it sat!

I snuck!

Out with the next book

Of the Cat in the Hat!

Half done with the first

Why did I skip it like that?

 

I knew I was wrong

Breaking rules was not funny.

But I wanted to peek

Before the sun was sunny!

 

“I knew I could get away with my prize,”

I thought with a smile

“And Mommy will not wake or stir

Not for a while.

 

I will take a quick peek

Like a bad little sneak

And once my sneaking has peaked

With not even a squeak

I will un-sneak my sneak

Oh how Momma would freak!

But my sneak-game’s on-fleek!

She will never know

Of her son’s geeky streak!”

 

I climbed up the couch

By Daddy I sat

With my major awards

Two cats in one hat!

Dad looked and said “Hey!

How did you get that?

How did you get two cats?

You did not read the first hat!”

 

But I whispered, “No! No!

Please speak softly, OK?

Or you will wake up my Mom

She would take it away!”

Then I heard Mom yell loud,

“Bring that book back, B.J.!”

 

I scowled at my dad

Who laughed with a wink

I was so very mad

At that foul Father fink

As my sneak was un-snuck

I thought isn’t this rich?

Never would I have thunk

Dad was a punk-ass snitch!

** *

Written for imaginary garden with real toads Celebrating Children’s Poetry – Dreaming with Stacie, and shared on dVerse’s OpenLinkNight # 193. The prompt was for us to write a poem that draws upon our childhood imagination.

When I closed my eyes to speak to my younger self, I was instantly transported back to the 70’s. True story! I was about four, or as I liked to call it, “Four-and-a-half”. Mom was teaching me to read, and I took to it like a duck to water. This is where my nerdery began.

I was nowhere near emotionally developed enough to deal with a cliffhanger, and Mom was too tired to let me read the first book to her so I could get to the second one. I took matters into my own hands, and Dad ratted me out real sneaky like and laughed in my face after I got in trouble with Mom. I swear, if I had been big enough to kick an ass, his ass would’ve been the first one I kicked that night. It’s like dude never heard the old “Snitches get Stitches” nursery rhyme, Knaamean?

So yeah, I wanted to kick my dad’s ass that night. Dirty snitch! May his soul rest in peace.

Read other dVerse poets’ OLN poems here.

 

 

 

 

Elegy of Laughing Duets

rainyroad

Image source: Unsplash.com

Elegy of Laughing Duets

The officer smirked, trying not to laugh. After admonishing dad for speeding, he walked back to his vehicle with a funny story for his coworkers; a tale of my dad slyly lying about the urgency of momma’s baby, due to deliver my brother two months from now, and of momma over-selling the shit out of her non-labor, as I, a terrified six-year-old, observed in saucer-eyed, horrified silence.

We must’ve been quite the sight; dad explaining his urgency to the cop with a softness that matched the long shadows just after the sun dipped below the spring-sprinkled horizon; momma – unprompted, on-cue, and with a scenery-chewing overacting exhibition to make Shatner wince – unsuccessfully selling the urgency dad had just lied about with the authenticity of a wildlife film narrator; me in the back seat, wide-eyed and instinctively quiet, taking it all in; the patrolman’s flashlight, an impromptu stage spotlight for our three-person routine (four if you’re counting my brother, but the cop didn’t buy it, so let’s just go with the trio.)

After a beat of silence, our eyes finally adjusted from the shock of the cop’s harsh halogen giving way to soft shades of amber, dad shook his head, a grin growing on his darkened face. He looked back at me. “You cool, B.J.?”

I nodded, and squeaked out a, “Yeah.”

“Yeaaaaah?” he repeated, mimicking me.

“I mean… yes,” I corrected myself with a smile, relieved that dad sounded like dad again.

We didn’t have a term for code-switching back then. It just felt like Dad was bilingual and was training me to be too. I knew that whenever he broke out the Wildlife Film Narrator voice that shit just got real. He always used it when white people were involved, and always when those white people were in positions of authority.

I instinctively knew to get my shit together whenever he used it.

If anyone heard his everyday-people vernacular, they’d have a hard time reconciling the fact that both voices were his. When dad was being dad, he always reminded me of Shaft-meets-Sho’nuff-the-Shogun-of-Harlem; brassy, cocky, and cool-as-hell. I admired both voices, knowing that Sho’nuff was dad’s native tongue. Both were authentic in a way; Sho’nuff was my dad, the Film Narrator was the long shadow cast by dad.

Momma code-switched too, but it never sounded as jarring as when dad did it. Mom’s tone was always a hairsbreadth lower than frantic; it was like she was barely holding things together in her head. But momma always sounded like momma, even when she was performing. Her professional voice reminded me of how folks talked on Dynasty before someone dipped in diamonds got their face slapped; unnecessarily British and whatnot.

Dad shot an incredulous glare at momma. “Really, Terri?” he crooned sarcastically, firmly back in Shogun form. “Nooo, officerrr… I’m not in dayyyneger of laaabor, but it HUUUUUURRRTS!” Dad mimicked momma’s impromptu histrionics perfectly.

“Oh hush, Barry! I was just tryin’ to help,” mom shot back between giggles. “You didn’t get the ticket, did you?”

Together, their gallows-laughter was the greatest musical duet I’ve ever heard. My parents loved comedy. Our bad days were terrible, but our good days could wring sunshine from a rainy evening dusk just like it did that spring evening. Dad’s laugh sounded like a chorus of good-humored seagulls. Mom’s laugh was carbonated; starting low, and then bubbling higher, eventually meeting dad’s seagulls high in the atmosphere. Though I’ll never hear either of their laughs again, it just occurred to me that they are always with me. Whenever I’m trying to make people laugh, all I’m really doing is trying to recapture this moment, if only for a moment.

sunset ignites clouds

terrain perfumed by rainclouds

inhale deep, smiling

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All four of us! (Mom is pregnant with my younger brother in this photo.)

** *

Written for NaPoWriMo’s day 3 prompt, an elegy. I was also inspired by dVerse’s Haibun Monday: The Shadow Knows, hosted by Hayesspencer. I didn’t share it on dVerse though, as this isn’t a traditional Japanese Haibun. I did enjoy writing it though. There were some laughs and tears during the writing process.

Want to see how traditional Haibun are supposed to be crafted? Go here.