Dr. Louis Pasternak Skullstench: Stealth Poet
Poetry Assignment #16: Quatrains
Cafeteria Duo Trio
1. Eddie’s Trick
See cool Eddie? He’s my hero
He’s the only kid who knows
How to make the cherry Kool-Aid
Flow like rivers from his nose
2. So-Called Stew
The menu says stew
but that doesn’t fool me
They’ve figured out ways
to feed us for free
There’s Monday’s fried rice
and Tuesday’s poached pear,
and a tangle of strands
of our lunch lady’s hair
I shake my head no
and she doesn’t approve
I refuse to eat food
that I swear I saw move
If there’s “hearty beef stew”
dumped on to your tray,
take my advice:
Eat a PB and J!
Told You So
Jeanine threw up
at lunch today –
She didn’t pick
the PB and J!
And that stew had krabmeat and gingerbread cookies in it.
1. The cafeteria staff serves you delicious and nutritious meals. (I have a sensitive stomach, so I pack myself fresh-ground peanut butter, local honey, and gluten-free bread daily.) 2. The good news is that Jeanine’s stomachache was temporary. The bad news is that the red stains on Eddie’s shirt are permanent. 3. I want you to challenge yourself, Louis. Write a beautiful poem! I know you can do so.
Miss S asked for volunteers to share their poems. Goldie shared a poem that doesn’t make any sense (surprise).
Long-ago stars spark the sky
Books spill their tales in a day
Echoes of both light your way
Stories and stars never die
What does that even mean?
I read my cafeteria quatrains. Guess which one of us the class clapped louder for?
Stealth Operation 1 was not a success. But Dr. Skullstench never gives up. He never surrenders. It was time to try again.
Stealth Operation 2: I wrote my cafeteria quatrains on a giant poster and taped it on the cafeteria wall before school the next morning.
Because kids had a right to be warned.
By lunchtime, my poster was gone!
I bet the lunch lady kept it for a cool souvenir.
The lunch ladies did NOT keep the poster as a souvenir. They tore it in half and took it to Mr. Jones, the Vice Principal.
Miss Sweetmallow made me stay after school.
“I know you want your poems to be heard, Louis. But they’re…well…”
“Awesome?” I said.
“You are wonderfully creative,” she said. “But not everybody will appreciate…”
“But you said our poetry reflects ourselves.”
Miss Sweetmallow nodded. “You’re right. I did.”
“Remember how we also talk about audience? About who we’re writing for? Well, the audience for your work is not grown-ups. It’s not the principal or the vice-principal. It’s not the cafeteria staff. It’s probably not your parents.”
“So you should share your poems with the right audience, Louis. Give that some thought.”
Martha O'Quinn says
And the family dynamics continue! I am convinced that Dr. Louis Pasternak (Skullstench) resides(ed) somewhere in my ancestry. Today’s PB&J is the loving moniker my granddaughter has given to her little family: Penny, Bryan & Josie, her hubby and daughters. Her name begins with “R” and she says she doesn’t fit in! This poetry month has been such fun.
That is too funny! My sister’s email address starts out pbj, because their family’s names are Patty, Ben, and Jim. Every time I see her email address, I think of pbj sandwiches. Isn’t it amazing how such little things make such strong connections in our brains! Thanks for reading and commenting, Martha:>)
Linda Baie says
Even when we changed our lunch program at school, kids still complained. I do believe it’s in our culture to believe that the school lunches will always make us wary! So funny today, Laura. You’ve made me look at my family’s initials too. My son’s: NBC!
He must be quite a networker–snort! I always feel bad for cafeteria workers, most of whom work so hard to get good and nutritional food to our kids. But, yes, the stereotype remains. And I just contributed to it:>/
Martha O'Quinn says
But then, from my perspective, it was a privilege to be able to eat in the cafeteria. I grew up in a small town, all twelve grades in the same building and lived close enough to walk to and from school. I walked home for lunch almost every day. If mother knew the weather was going to be bad she would pack my lunch (sometimes pb&j) and give me a nickel to buy milk. If the weather unexpectedly turned bad during the morning I was allowed to “charge” my lunch and the money would be paid the following day. Oh how I longed for those unexpected rainfalls. My best friends lived far away enough to ride the school busses and they ate the cafeteria food all the time. I thought that was so cool. I hated hearing the high-school kids make fun of the food.