This is a poem I wrote a few years ago, for a class in college. It was great fun. Rhyming is so great…it’s like gymnastics but with words. One day I’d like to put a book of “un-nursery” rhymes together, with pictures and poems and stuff. This one would go in it. Also a twisted story of Wee Willy Winky, where giant flying gargoyles eat children. Confucius say: Story no good unless kid get eaten.
BALD BOW-TIE BEAR (And piranha bug capers!)
“Join the Smyke Circus! Auditions today!” Said the old faded posters that hung on display “Be a part of the act on the path to suceeding when you work for Smyke’s gentle and cheery ringleading!”
Inside the tent, all stuffy and hot, Smyke sat beside his two clowns And frowned at the scene that sat center ring: A small boy and a large, fuzzy mound.
“All right, then,” said Smyke, his voice jaded and slow “State your name, state the bear’s, and the name of your show Go on, let’s get started, let’s see this ‘great’ act And let’s hope that it’s something to keep the stands packed.”
“I’m Thomas,” said Thomas, “and my friend standing there Is my bowler-hat bow-tie and shiny-shoed bear He’s also my pal—well, he’s tops in my book! Smyke gave his two clowns, Twig and Pops, a quick look.
“Get on with it,” said Smyke.
The big ball of fur lifted his nose He lifted his arms and he stood on his toes
Ker-shuffle Ker-hop Ker-shuffle and flap Perdiddle perdiddle and tippity tap Heel-stomple shim-shammy a leap and a drop Chuggity-stomple heel-toe and a hop
Smyke and his clowns stared at Bear, their eyes wide As Bear finished, Ka-stomp, Thomas glowing with pride A moment of silence; Smyke said with a sneer– “Well, that’s all well and fine, but I must be sincere
“People don’t come for a tap-dancing bear They want action! And blood! Splattered brains everywhere! My Piranha Bug act really shouldn’t fall flat. Tell me– can your bear do any of that?”
“Oh—no…he wouldn’t hurt a fly!”
“Boo,” said Pops. “Hiss,” said Twiggy. “Sorry,” said Smyke. “No bears that are jiggy.” Bear gave a nod; Thomas tried not to cry Smyke watched them go with a glint in his eye.
Thomas and Bear had a mangy, dark lane Where they ate, slept, and shined tons of slippers They got home that night, they cried a small mite And huddled under a bunch of newspippers.
Later that night, when Bear was a-sleepin’ Thomas awoke and saw two shadows creepin’ One had a large sack—a huge sack—why, bear-sized! Quick as a flash, Thomas thunk a disguise
He grabbed Bear’s black hat, he grabbed his bow-tie Then he covered Bear up from his tail to his eyes And wearing Bear’s clothes, he huddled down, scared But prepared to take anything that they meant for Bear
“Gotcha!” “Yikes—sure is an ugly little thing.”
Thomas’ plan worked—they thought he was Bear! The thieves threw him into the sack by his hair He bumped and he shivered, it seemed like an age ‘Till the sack turned him over—right into a cage. HOLY SMOKES!
“He’s different than I remembered,” said Smyke.
“Yeah, we noticed dat, too,” said one of the clowns “We figured he shaved and lost a few pounds. But he’s got da hat, and he’s got da bow-tie Sos we figured dat we had snatched up da right guy.”
“Oh,” said Smyke. “Okay.”
The very next day the Circus tent packed Thousands of people to see the new act “Amazing, astounding!” cried Ringleader Smyke “Ker-hopples, ker-shuffles, drop-kicks and the like!”
The crowd waited, breaths bated, Smyke whipped his long whip “Dance, you dumb bear, you bald flea-ridden twit!” Thomas had never tapdanced in his life. –But he tried.
“BOOO!” cried the crowd, fists punching the air “Give us our money back! What a dumb bear!” “NO!” cried Smyke, “Please—folks—please don’t riot! This act was stupid—I won’t deny it!
Come back tomorrow—bring the wife and the kiddles The new act will astound far more than perdiddles! Envision this bear strung up by his toesies Just inches away from PIRANHA BUG NOSIES!
Imagine the yelling, the roars and the moans As Piranha bugs strip the flesh right off his bones!” “Hooray!” cried the crowd. “Yes! That sounds like great fun!” And they all left the tent at a hop skip and run
They all told their friends… Their families… The Papers… ‘Bout bald bow-tie bear and Piranha bug capers.
The papers went wild! They published and sold! And Bear, shining shoes, was surprised to behold— A picture of Thomas, along with the words: BEHOMOTHIC BEAR BAITING TONIGHT! GET YOUR TICKETS, LADIES AND GENTS, BEFORE THEY’RE SOLD OUT!
That night thousands crowded to see the grand show They packed like sardines and filled row after row
“Welcome!” cried Smyke, as folks loaded the tent, “You’re in for a treat, all you ladies and gents! My beetles are starving, haven’t fed ‘em for weeks!” Smyke laughed and he pinched one of Thomas’s cheeks.
The crowd suddenly hushed as the spotlight presented The biggest Kerr jar that was ever invented. Thousands of beetles the size of a pin Bared their long fangs as they fluttered within.
Smyke jumped from the ring, to the stands, and he hid As Twig and Pops quickly unscrewed the large lid Billowing forth like the cloud of a plague The bugs swarmed to Thomas, who hung center stage
“Yippee!” cried the crowd, their voices a-screamin’ The bugs circled closer, sharp teeth all a-gleamin’ “This is it, it’s the end!” Thomas cried in despair And he shut his eyes tight as they chomped on his hair
From the back of the tent a sound stopped ‘em cold The crowd, their eyes wide, turned around to behold—
“Bear!” cried Thomas.
Yessir, it was Bear, firm and loyal and true! The crowds pushed a wide berth as he ripped his way through He ran straight to the stage where Thomas a-dangled Covered by bugs and nearly a-mangled
(Now, kiddles, remember how Bear couldn’t fight? Why, I happen to know he’s so awfully polite He shined my shoes once when I hadn’t a penny. That’s just the sort of guy he is.)
With piranha bugs starving, Bear hadn’t a chance But Bear knew one thing—
Bear knew how to dance.
Ker-shuffle a SMOOSH heel stomp and a MOOSH Perdiddle perdiddle drop-kick-and-a GOOSH Shim-shammy a MASH chuggle-toe and a SMASH Stomple SMOOSH stomple MOOSH stomple GOOSH stomple SMASH
The bugs fell in a panic; they scattered alike When en masse they spotted— RINGLEADER SMYKE! Regrouping their forces, they dove for his head Smyke screamed like a girl, high-pitched
…And then fled.
Twig and Pops stumbled after, bugs nipping their heels The circus stage echoed their screams and their squeals Out of the tent, stumbling into the night Scampered bugs, Twig and Pops, and Ringleader Smyke
Tired and breathless, Bear slowed to a stop The crowd echoed silence with the last toe-heel-drop
Then…From the stands rose a sound, starting quiet Then louder and louder it grew to a riot The crowd jumped and it hollered, it gave a great cheer “For a tap dance like that, we’d give our right ear!”
“Amazing!” “Astounding!” “What a show! What a dig!” “Yippee and hooray for the bear and his jig!”
Well, things after that turned around mighty fast! Thomas and Bear got their tap dance at last. They, in fact, got their show, and their very own circus! “Thomas and Bear’s Dance Bizarre and Beserkus!”
Oh, thousands of folks pack the stands every day Just to see Bear’s shuffle-tap stomple-sway Thomas and Bear sure likes what they does They’re much richer and famous than Smyke ever was.
(Speaking of Smyke, no one happens to know What happened to him and his chomping-bug show With Bear’s new great circus, I guess no one checked They’re still running from ravenous bugs, I expect.)
I went to Bear’s marvelous show just last night They were looking well-fed and their clothes fit all right But you know, though they’re famous, I don’t think they care ‘Cuz Bear has got Thomas, and Thomas has Bear
And when you’ve got someone to turn to like that With or without tie and black bowler hat Then you can bet that you’d brave piranha bugs too Stomple goosh, stomple smoosh, heel-tap-toe, through and through.