Poetry Friday: “Birthday (for my son)”

birthday-graphic
(click to enlarge)

My son is one of those folks whose birthday comes shortly after Christmas, so it takes some effort on his mom’s and my part to make sure he doesn’t get short-changed. (You know, the “Well, you just got a bunch of stuff for Christmas, so here are some new socks” kind of thing) So in addition to a few more cool toys and a nice cake, I wrote him a little something.

Hopefully he’ll appreciate it once he’s old enough to be able to appreciate it! Hard to believe he’s already 7 – so that day is probably rapidly approaching.

My neighbor to the north, Donna Smith at Mainely Write, is hosting Poetry Friday today, while we all dig out from a big pile of snow that got dumped on us yesterday and overnight. So please stop by and say hi, and check out all the poetry links and fun!

And please have a very safe, healthy, and success-filled New Year!

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Poetry Friday: The 2014 CYBILS & Shel Silverstein

Cybils-Logo-2014I’m not sharing an original poem of mine today, because I’m letting a master of wit and humour take the spotlight in honour of the anniversary of his birth. More on that in just a few…

Before I do anything, I need to express my heartfelt gratitude to the folks at the CYBILS Awards for selecting me as a 2nd-round judge for the poetry competition once again. My first year participating in the CYBILS was last year, and it was so much fun (albeit a lot of work), I hoped I would be able to take part a second time…and I am!

The 1st-round judges will review all the books that have been submitted and whittle the list of nominees down to 6 or 7; the 2nd-round judges will then debate the merits of each of these 6 or 7 books to determine the winner. One day in the future, I will not be allowed to be a judge because one of my books will be short-listed. (That’s the plan, anyway) Until then, I’m happy to peruse the books that are up for the award.

To nominate a book – for any category – just log onto the CYBILS webpage between Oct. 1 – 15! Winners will be announced early next year. For now, here’s a list of my fellow poetry judges. Their names are followed by the name of their blogs and their Twitter handles:

First Round:
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Kelly Fineman
Writing and Rumination
@kellyfineman
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Nancy Bo Flood
The Pirate Tree
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Jone Rush MacCulloch
Check It Out
@JoneMac53
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@MargaretGSimon
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Tricia Stohr-Hunt
The Miss Rumphius Effect
@missrumphius
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Sylvia Vardell
Poetry For Children
@SylviaVardell
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@BridgetRWilson
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Round Two:
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Linda Baie
Teacher Dance
@LBaie
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Renee La Tulippe
No Water River
@ReneeMLaTulippe
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@terseverser
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Laura Shovan
Author Amok
@laurashovan
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Matt Forrest Esenwine
Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme
@MattForrestVW
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For a list of all the judges of all the categories, click HERE!
 
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shel-silverstein
Click to read more of Silverstein’s poetry.

Now, then…it’s time I wished the late, great Shel Silverstein a Happy Birthday! Born on September 25, 1930 in Chicago, Illinois, “Uncle Shelby” would have been 84 years old this week.

Of course, he is remembered by most folks for his classic children’s books like Where the Sidewalk Ends (celebrating its 40th birthday this year), A Light in the Attic, and The Giving Tree (which celebrates its 50th birthday this year). He is also remembered as a cartoonist for “Playboy” magazine. But many folks do NOT know:
  • Shel was a fan of country music and wrote numerous hit songs, including Johnny Cash’s “Boy Named Sue,” Loretta Lynn’s “One’s on the Way” and “Hey Loretta,” Bobby Bare’s “Pour Me Another Tequila, Sheila,” Dr. Hook’s “Cover of the Rolling Stone” and “Queen of the Silver Dollar,” and the Irish Rovers’ classic, “The Unicorn.”
  • In the 1950s, he was stationed in the Army overseas, which is where he first started developing his knack for cartooning.
  • He was a playwright and collaborated with the great David Mamet on more than one occasion.
  • He decided to shave his head bald when he began feeling self-conscious about losing his hair.
  • He was a compulsive writer, and would often jot ideas or sketches down on whatever was available, including his clothes or skin!

I see lists of the best, greatest, most memorable Silverstein poems all the time, but my favourite is often not on those lists for some reason. It’s “The Little Boy and the Old Man,” a short but touching poem, and you can read  it HERE.

So Happy Birthday, Uncle Shelby! For more Poetry Friday fun and links, please visit our friend, Laura Purdie Salas’s blog, Writing the World for Kids, and I’ll close this post with a rare performance – Shel Silverstein singing live on The Johnny Cash Show!
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PoetsGarage-badgeTo keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)  Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Poetry Friday: “Baby Girl”

Hard to believe, but my youngest daughter, Phoebe, turns ONE YEAR OLD today! Where have the past 365 days gone??

Phoebe - happy
Phoebe, a pretty darned happy baby at 3 months old. I’m guessing it’s because of the John Deere tractor pajamas.

In celebration, I’m sharing something a little unusual. It’s a poem I wrote for her…but I’m not sure if it’s done. It might be. Can’t tell. I didn’t think it was complete when I  stopped writing it, but perhaps it is. I wanted to write another stanza, perhaps fix the rhymes or make some other changes, but I got stalled and was never able to complete it. Now, after looking at it again, I wonder if these 4 lines are all the poem needs?

Of course, it doesn’t really matter, since I’ll probably continue tinkering with it ’til the day I die – that’s what I do with most of my poems, already, so why should this one be any different?

By the way, in case you’re wondering why I’m not sharing a better or more recent photo of her, it’s because this was the photo that inspired me to start writing the poem. She looked so tiny there, and she was probably at least 10 or 12 pounds! Boy, time doesn’t just fly – it teleports. Oh, and if you’re looking for more poetry, my fellow Poet’s Garage member Heidi Mordhorst is hosting Poetry Friday today at her Juicy Little Universe!

Baby Girl

Enthusiasm boundless,
excitement inexhaustible,
anything is possible
for you, sweet little one.

© 2014, Matt Forrest Esenwine

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PoetsGarage-badgeTo keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post twice a week – on Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)  Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter FacebookPinterest, and SoundCloud!

Maturity: It’s like barbecue, but without the smoke rings

I have my wife to thank for this blog post.

For my birthday yesterday, she took me out to a southern barbecue joint – where slow-smoked ribs, chicken, and pulled pork fall from the bones and the aroma of a spicy, smoky dry rub lingers on your fingers all the way home. Where brisket isn’t done until it’s been in the smoker for at least 14 hours, and the anticipation of seeing it browned and sliced is almost too much to bear.

This is where slow, southern-style smoked barbecue is almost a religion. No, come to think of it, it is a religion.

And this is where my wife, the vegetarian, brought me for dinner.

She’s a keeper, that one.

ID-100155010 (B-day candle)45 was a problem; 46 is a bigger one

We were back in the car, driving home, when I told her I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about for today’s post. I had some ideas – about commercials or poetry or whatnot – but the fact that I’m now 46 kept weighing on my mind. I had just posted my thoughts on life and graduation here last week, as well, so ‘maturity’ has been a recurring theme for me lately.

Let’s face it – 45 is smack-dab in the middle 40’s, so even though you’re only 5 years away from the half-century mark, you can say you’re in your “40’s” and still pretend you’re only 41. But 46 is on the other side of 45, which means when you turn 46 you are officially in your upper 40’s. I wasn’t sure I liked that.

I wasn’t in my free-wheeling 20’s anymore, when I was first learning about the world and my career and life. I wasn’t in my 30’s either, when I could put some of the experience and wisdom I had gleaned in my 20’s to use – but still feel young enough to hang around 20-year-olds.

Then, 40 rolled around. I couldn’t even say I was in my 30’s at that point…and working in radio with an entire on-air staff that was younger than me was a bit of a shock.

But 46?  When did this happen??

The vegetarian waxes philosophic

So having explained all this to my wife, I breathed a sigh and continued driving. Ever the positive-minded gal she is, my wife smiled and began comparing my life to barbecue.

She said that, just like brisket and ribs need to spend a long time in the smoker, my past 46 years have been my personal time in the ‘smoker.’ I wasn’t ready for life in my 20’s, and I still wasn’t ready in my 30’s. It was only when I met her – in my early 40’s – that my current life situation began to take form.

I had my two daughters when I was younger – but like most parents, it was trial by fire.  I had no idea what I was doing, so I just winged it and hoped for the best. I worked in radio, in a restaurant, as a wedding DJ,as a dance instructor, and as an advertising sales rep…but all these were learning experiences, too. My wife told me these were the ‘dry rubs,’ preparing me for what was to come.

2979557490_969898059c_b (smoke ring)Last year, I left steady, full-time employment to work on building my own voiceover business (it’s a slow build, but growing). I have more time to audition for gigs. I’m writing more children’s poetry – and better children’s poetry – as well as other manuscripts. I even have the time to write this blog, fercryinoutloud.

I also now have a 3-year-old son and another baby on the way…and I feel like I almost know what I’m doing, having gone through it before. I’m able to experience child development in a whole new light, my wife reminded me, because I’m a stay-at-home dad. I’m not sure how I would have done as a stay-at-home dad 20 years ago, but I’m doing ok so far.

Life is good.

Everything I’ve experienced, everything I’ve done or seen, everything that came before – has been part of the smoking process, my wife explained.  I’ve been slow-cooking this whole time…and now, I was ready to be taken out of the smoker and plated.

Life was ahead of me, and I was now ‘prepared.’

You know, for a health care professional, she’s pretty good at metaphors. I love that woman.

Although the idea of ‘being plated’ unnerves me just a bit.

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Did you like this post? Find anything interesting somewhere in this blog? Want to keep abreast of my posts?  Then please consider subscribing via the links over here on the right! (I usually only post twice a week – on Tue. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day!)  You can also follow me via Twitter or on Facebook.