Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tutti Frutti, Aw Rooty!

Two poems today, this time from poets David Huddle (right) and Philip Appleman. Each poet demonstrates an amusing flexibility with words and a clever hand at wordplay, but with neither of the poems below is there need to get bogged down in meaning and implication. Read them for their wit and fun. Both poems are included in Garrison Keillor’s Good Poems.

David Huddle grew up in Ivanhoe, Virginia. Author of sixteen books of poetry, fiction, and essays, he has lived in Vermont for the past thirty-eight years. His most recent publications are, Summer Lake: New and Selected Poems and The Story of a Million Years, a novel. He teaches at the University of Vermont and the Bread Loaf School of English. The poem here is from Summer Lake, published in 1999. The title comes from the lyrics of a pop tune by Buchanan & Goodman back in the 1950s.


My brother Charles
brought home the news
the kids were saying
take a flying leap
and eat me raw
and be bop a lula.

Forty miles he rode
the bus there and back.
The dog and I met him
at the door, panting
for hoke poke, hoke
de waddy waddy hoke poke.

In Cu Chi, Vietnam,
I heard tapes somebody’s
sister sent of wild thing,
I think I love you
and hey now, what’s that
sound, everybody look what’s…

Now it’s my daughters
bringing home no-duh,
rock out, whatever,
like I totally
paused, and like
I’m like…

I’m like Mother, her hands
in biscuit dough,
her ears turning red
from ain’ nothin butta,
blue monday, and
tutti frutti, aw rooty!

Philip Appleman is currently Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Indiana University, Bloomington. He divides his time between New York City and Pompano Beach, Florida. Since 1959 he has published six collections of poetry, three novels and six volumes of non-fiction. His most recent is the 2009 collection, Karma, Dharma, Pudding & Pie. And from that collection…


O Karma, Dharma, pudding and pie,

gimmie a break before I die:

grant me wisdom, will, & wit,

purity, probity, pluck, & grit.

Trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind,

gimmie great abs & a steel-trap mind,

and forgive, Ye Gods, some humble advice—

these little blessings would suffice

to beget an earthly paradise:

make the bad people good—

and the good people nice;

and before our world goes over the brink,

teach the believers how to think.


  1. Fun, fun poems--and especially the David Huddle one with all the references from our youthful times. Gawd, how many times during those very early school days did we say, "Eat me raw?" And I am familiar with him through his fine novel, THE STORY OF A MILLION YEARS.

  2. I've run across Philip Appleman's poems before and I love his irreverent humor. It's definitely needed in today's overly serious, stuffy world. Parts of this poem "make the bad people good-- and the good people nice..." remind me of an old Irish proverb - "May those that love us love us, and those who don't love us, May God turn their hearts, and if He can't turn their hearts, may he turn their ankles so we'll know them by their limping!" Irreverent humor - love it!


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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America