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category archive listing Category Archives: Poetry

Free Verse Friday – Ode to the varieties of Indian stomach ailments

I have been neglectful in Free Verse Friday lately, so in honor of this week’s Caf-ASB, here is my ode to various regional stomach ailments:

Here in Mumbai, we sometimes get food sick
From restaurant, kitchen, or picnic.
The belly distends
Kicks out waste from both ends
Accompanied by internal music.

This year’s not been really all too rough
We’ve only had one round of that stuff
But with watery stomachs
And quivery buttocks
I swear once is more than enough.

The first hint is often quite bitter
A bubbling that shouts out “Don’t fritter!
You’ve no time to wait
You’d better go straight
And plop yourself down on the… toilet!”

But one thing we’ve noticed in three years
Is a pattern that constantly reappears:
The BMs reflect
The vacations they’ve wrecked
Like a matched set of runny brown souvenirs.

Our first trip, in a hotel so smelly
Alea’s tummy got sick from some jelly
In India’s heart
Ruined trip from the start:
An authentic case of real Delhi Belly.

The second time, as you will soon see-a
Was based on the self same idea
Poor Breck took the throne
In our very own home:
Struck down by Mubaiarrhea.

Dave’s ill was not like his daughter’s
But still was a set of the trotters.
Eating Cochinese shrimp
On his trip, put a crimp:
He sailed down the Kerala Backwaters.

Our last trip involved the ole poop pots
When we went to see Indian hot spots
In the desert a-cruisin’
The ailment caught Susan
And she got the Jodhpur Camel Trots

We’ve suffered on hikes, boats, and car rides
Strange stuff coming out of our backsides:
From Goan Groanin’ sick
To Jaipur Diaper ick
To colossal Himalayan Mudslides.

Pondicherry Derri-airy, Bangalore Blasts
Hyderabad Hot Squirts, Taj Mahal Gas
The Rajasthan Runs
Of course, Mysore Bum
The Calcutta Quick Step and Amritsar Ass.

Now, don’t think our stories pure unkind
We’ve usually had a real good time.
We remember our trips
Not by what we take with
Butt rather, what we’ve left behind!

Free verse Friday – Monkey Attack!

Based on a true story from our Bali trip:

We went to feed monkeys in Bali
Like all of the white tourists do
No problem, we thought
Since we had just bought
Bananas – their favorite food

We fed them and had such a good time
Took pictures with chimps on our head
They were oh-so-cute
Just point-and-shoot
Nothing more needs to be said.

But then Dave went and upset a mean momma
She jumped him and took a strong stand
He’s now worried ’bout rabies:
When he played with her babies
She ripped a deep cut on his hand

She jumped, grabbed, and swiped with her long nail
Tearing a gash down to the bone
The blood squirted out
Amid a loud monkey shout
And with her babe in her arms she was gone

Lucky a doctor was real near
Who cleaned out and stitched up the cut
To stop new infection
Dave got an injection:
A tetanus shot right in the butt.

So finger wrapped, swollen and aching
He was glad to be out in the clear
The rest of the break
Special treatment he’d take
Internal meds: cold beer!

Free verse Friday – Take your child to snow day

Alea on Winter Day
There is no snow in Bombay
I know this much is true
But for spirit week, which is this week
Alea’s clothes had wintry hue.

All dressed in icicle-y silver and blue
With Santa’s elves on her ears
Wrapped in a scarf of fine white mesh
She’s pretty beyond her years.

Breck "Take your child to work" DayAnd speaking today of growing up
Breck shadowed dad and mom
As grade 5’s “Take your child to work day”
At long last was finally on.

He got to see mom teaching,
Little faces bright with glee
But since dad had no classes then
We just went and got coffee.

So much fun, on a warm Friday
Before a big weekend –
The play tonight, the fair next morn
Welcome to the festive season!

Free verse Friday – Rats on the Rooftop

Our first Christmas-themed poem of the season, relating to events from last weekend:

Up on the rooftop, barbecuers pause
Sounds like the clitter clat of little paws
Skitter cross the guard rail with lots of noise
Little ones shriek, both girls and boys

Ho ho ho, who wouldn’t go? Ho ho ho, who wouldn’t go?
Up on the rooftop, pit-ter pat
Down through the drainpipe with a great big rat

Dead rat in the road (not on the rooftop)We’d always thought that being ‘up’ in a building would protect us from rodential infestations, but apparently not. A group of us saw a rat running around up there while we were cooking dinner – hence the inspiration for this week’s rhyme!

And just for reference, here’s one that was outside our building the other day. Maybe this is what happens is a rat loses his grip and falls…

Free verse Friday – Happy Birthday, Gandhi!

So we’ll give free verse Friday another shot: no promises on how consistent I’ll be, but since we have a day off from work I’ll take advantage of it!

Gandhi WallHappy Birthday, Gandhi
I’d never heard the date
But over here in Bombay
There’s no school and that’s great.
We’ll go see famous buildings
And sightsee all around
And take our full advantage
Of a day out on the town.
Your face is on the money
And painted on our wall
Gandhi MoneyYou pushed the British out of here
And helped their reign to fall.
The only thing that bothers me
Is that no beer is sold
Because you were an abstainer
The wine shops all are closed.
So happy birthday Gandhi
From all of us to you
And now we’ll all remember
The date: October two!

Free verse Friday – Falcon out my window

Falcon Out My Window(with apologies to John Denver)

Falcon out my window makes me happy
Falcon wakes me up with his shrill cry
Falcon eating dead rats looks so messy
Falcon almost always soars so high

If I had some food that I could give to you
I’d give to you a taste of fresh-killed prey
Maybe then you’d make a nest out here
And sing a song to keep those crows away

Yes, I know they are technically called “kites,” but I simply don’t associate that word with big, killer birds of prey.

We have a couple (whether they are male and female, we don’t know) who have taken up shop on our building and the one across the road (in the background of this photo). We hear their screeching cries to each other, but luckily they are pretty daytime-limited, so it isn’t like they wake us up at night or in the morning. This big guy (or gal) was sitting right outside our hallway window last Sunday, very patiently letting me take a few pictures before flying away.

We are still waiting for them to start a nest and hatch some babies over by us – that would be way cooler than pigeons!

Free verse Friday – the fish in Colaba song

(with apologies to Rupert Holmes)

I was tired of my old city
We’d been together too long
Like a worn out recording
Of a favorite song
So one day during prep time
I surfed the internet instead
And in the overseas section
There was this ad I read:

“If you like fish in Colaba
Getting caught in the rain
If you’re way into yoga
If you love crowded trains
If you’d like Bollywood at midnight
In the bars of Bandra
Then its Mumbai that you’ve looked for
Hop your nearest rickshaw.”

I didn’t think about the slum towns
I know that sounds kind of sad
But on Slumdog Millionaire
They didn’t seem all that bad
So I wrote to the agency
And sent in my resume
And though I’ll not get my hopes up
I thought that it really was ok:

“Yes I like fish in Colaba
And getting caught in the rain
I’m not much into boring food
I take my bhang lassis plain
I’ve got to hear the rockets every night
And bang the drums every day
Swatting cricket balls for sixes
Mumbai’s where I want to play.”

I could go on with the rest of the song, but I think I’ve used up my cheesiness quotient for the week. To get another look at life in Mumbai, check out the video below. This was made by Tony Pappa of Conceptually Speaking when he came to Mumbai to make a promotional movie for our school. It was posted on Facebook to rave reviews – Great stuff!

Free verse Friday – Alea and the stray dogs

Alea and the CSR catAlea’s class went to care for stray dogs
at a shelter in downtown Mumbai.
Kids fed them and cleaned them and petted them all
to help them they really did try.

But Alea is truly a Stutz kid at heart
the reason I know this is that:
in the middle of a barking stray dog home
she tracked down and played with a cat!

Free verse Friday – Important lessons from our time in Egypt

Kids with ice cream in EgyptThe Sphinx is real old
The pyramids too
The Nile’s the world’s biggest stream.
But better than antiques
The temples and backstreets:
We ate McDonald’s ice cream!

For a sample of our visit, I’ve posted a few pictures on Facebook. These will not replace the webpages to document the trip; they are better considered as appetizers…

Free verse Friday – Cairo’d away

The Stutzes have all gone to Egypt
We’ll get home tonight too whipped
To write poems unique
So wait ’til next week
This blog to be rhythmically equipped.

Free verse Friday – Good news/bad news

The kids are busy growing up
Its hard to realize that
Where once they played with dolls and balls
Now its games and skype-based chat.

Double digit ages loom
They once were far off goals:
“You can use an ow-ey knife then,
watch unedited Disney shows.”

But time moves on, and kids grow up
The thought that leaves me cold:
Because they are no longer young
It means we are getting old!


Free verse Friday – Dancing in the streets

Not just any kind of dancing – but the Big Dance kind of dancing. Dick Vitale screaming and spitting kind of dancing. Christian Laettner shooting for the win kind of dancing. Phi Slamma Jamma, Tark the Shark, undefeated Bobby Knight, and all the other old school high shorts wearing, plaid jacket bearing, folding chair throwing dancing.

Yeah baby – Let the games begin!

Louisville, NC, UConn, and Pitt
The number one teams in this year’s bracket
Who’s gonna dance in the next few weeks
And whose team’s destined for tears on their cheeks?

March Madness is here, the pools are all set
Seems everyone’s got a little money bet
The water cooler talk is about B-Ball
And when the number one seeds are going to fall

Cinderella stories and nail-biting games
Still something ’bout the season’s always the same:
The best of times – all the games to see
The worst of times – none on Indian TV*!

For what it is worth, my NCAA Bracket

*and for those that doubt me, here is what was on the ‘sports channels’ last night as the tournament got under way:

  • DD Sports: 2008 Olympic highlights (women’s long distance races)
  • ESPN: Sportcenter India (cricket highlights)
  • Extreme Sports: FAI World Cup of Artistic Events (skydiving!)
  • Neo Cricket: Dial C for Cricket (cricket)
  • Neo Sports: Italian Football (soccer highlights)
  • SS1: Rugby (rugby)
  • SS2: ICC Women’s Cricket (women’s cricket)
  • SS3 Premier Lead=gue World (soccer)
  • SS4: Chevrolet Warriors Cricket (cricket)
  • Star Cricket: Cricket Jukebox (cricket)
  • Star Sports: TNA Impact (fake wrestling)
  • Ten Sports: WWE: Raw (fake wrestling)
  • Zee Sports: DLF Women’s Golf (women’s golf)


Free verse Friday: Window view haiku

PigeonOur resident pigeons have been trying to incubate eggs outside our living room window. The first nest and eggs were swept up by our cleaning lady (and the eggs sent home with her son). She said baby birds make a lot of noise and stink, and didn’t know we were interested in watching them hatch and grow up.

The bird mother came right back (at least, I think it is the same one) and rebuilt a mini-nest. She’s been sitting on these eggs for about 2 weeks now. As the gestation time of pigeons is supposed to be around 3 weeks, we should be getting close. I worry about what will happen once the little ones come out, as there are tons of black crows all around who feast on garbage and anything else they can get ahold of, including pigeons.

In any case, we are happy that they are with us now and providing inspiration for this week’s poem, a haiku:

Pigeon window nest
Spring eggs hide near air con box
Bombay life

Free Verse Friday: Pig in a Sty

Breck and the PigOK, not really free verse, but more like “Poetry Friday.” Since that’s not really too alliterative, however, I’m taking creative license to change it. Thinking that we need a little shake up around here, we’ll be posting poems on Fridays to help ease us into the weekend.

The inaugural contribution comes from Breck, in the form of a limerick he wrote for class:

There once as a pig in a sty
Too happy to ever cry
‘Cause the oinking noise
He made with his voice
Was bright as the sun in the sky.