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Shel Silverstein


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As a kid, I LOVED the poetry of Shel Silverstein.. Where the Sidewalk Ends, The New Kid on the Block, The Giving Tree, The Missing Piece, A Light in the Attic, etc..

But a few years ago, a friend mentioned Shel and I told him how much I loved his poems and he told me how he doesn't just do kids poems, that he has lots of funny, off the wall, perverted, hilarious stuff.. So I've been loving his "grown up" stuff for awhile now.

Some of you might already know this other side of him, but I just thought I'd mention it.. It seems like everytime I mention Shel to anyone, I get the same response I had years ago, that they loved his kids poems.. And I love showing these people the more unknown of his stuff.. Such as 'Polly in a Porny', 'Don't Give a Dose to the One You Love the Most', 'I Got Stoned and I Missed It', 'The Great Smoke Off', '(Freakin' at the) Freakers Ball' (that's a name of one of his albums as well, which is super entertaining!), 'Masochistic Baby', etc. etc...

A list of lyrics is here: http://www.lyricsandsongs.com/lyrics/SHEL_SILVERSTEIN.html

Here's a few of his songs/poems:


In the laid back California town of sunny San Rafael

Lived a girl named Pearly Sweetcake, you probaly knew her well.

She'd been stoned fifteen of her eighteen years and the story was widely told

That she could smoke 'em faster than anyone could roll.

Her legend finally reached New York, that Grove Street walk-up flat

Where dwelt The Calistoga Kid, a beatnik from the past

With long browned lightning fingers he takes a cultured toke

And says, "Hell, I can roll 'em faster, Jim, than any chick can smoke!"

So a note gets sent to San Rafael, For the Championship of the World

The Kid demands a smoke off! "Well, bring him on!" says Pearl,

"I'll grind his fingers off his hands, he'll roll until he drops!"

Says Calistog, "I'll smoke that twist till she blows up and pops!"

So they rent out Yankee Stadium and the word is quickly spread

"Come one, come all, who walk or crawl, price: just two lids a head

And from every town and hamlet, over land and sea they speed

The world's greatest dopers, with the Worlds greatest weed

Hashishers from Morocco, hemp smokers from Peru

And the Shamnicks from Bagun who puff the deadly Pugaroo

And those who call it Light of Life and those that call it boo.

See the dealers and their ladies wearing turquoise, lace, and leather

See the narcos and the closet smokers puffing all together

From the teenies who smoke legal to the ones who've done some time

To the old man who smoked "reefer" back before it was a crime

And the grand old house that Ruth built is filled with the smoke and cries

Of fifty thousand screaming heads all stoned out of their minds.

And they play the national anthem and the crowd lets out a roar

As the spotlight hits The Kid and Pearl, ready for their smokin' war

At a table piled up high with grass, as high as a mountain peak

Just tops and buds of the rarest flowers, not one stem, branch or seed.

Maui Wowie, Panama Red and Acapulco Gold.

Kif from East Afghanistan and rare Alaskan Cold.

Sticks from Thailand, Ganja from the Islands, and Bangkok's Bloomin' Best.

And some of that wet imported shit that capsized off Key West.

Oaxacan tops and Kenya Bhang and Riviera Fleurs.

And that rare Manhatten Silver that grows down in the New York sewers.

And there's bubblin' ice cold lemonade and sweet grapes by the bunches.

And there's Hershey's bars, and Oreos, 'case anybody gets the munchies.

And the Calistoga Kid, he sneers, and Pearly, she just grins.

And the drums roll low and the crowd yells "GO!"

and the world's first Smoke Off begins.

Kid flicks his magic fingers once and ZAP! that first joints rolled.

Pearl takes one drag with her mighty lungs and WOOSH! that roach is cold.

Then The Kid he rolls his Super Bomb that'd paralyze a moose.

And Pearley takes one super hit and SLURP! that bomb defused.

Then he rolls three in just ten seconds and she smokes 'em up in nine,

And everybody sits back and says, "This just might take some time."

See the blur of flyin' fingers, see the red coal burnin' bright

As the night turns into mornin' and the mornin' fades to night

And the autumn turns to summer and a whole damn year is gone

But the two still sit on that roach-filled stage, smokin' and rollin' on

With tremblin' hands he rolls his jays with fingers blue and stiff

She coughs and stares with bloodshot gaze, and puffs through blistered lips.

And as she reaches out her hand for another stick of gold

The Kid he gasps, "Goddamn it, bitch, there's nothin' left to roll!"

"Nothin' left to roll?", screams Pearl, "Is this some twisted joke?"

"I didn't come here to fuck around, man, I come here to SMOKE!"

And she reaches 'cross the table And grabs his bony sleeves

And she crumbles his body between her hands like dried and brittle leaves

Flickin' out his teeth and bones like useless stems and seeds

And then she rolls him in a Zig Zag and lights him like a roach.

And the fastest man with the fastest hands goes up in a puff of smoke.

In the laid-back California town of sunny San Rafael

Lives a girl named Pearly Sweetcake, you prob'ly know her well.

She's been stoned twenty-one of her twenty-four years, and the story's widely told.

How she still can smoke them faster than anyone can roll

While off in New York City on a street that has no name.

There's the hands of the Calistoga Kid in the Viper Hall of Fame

And underneath his fingers there's a little golden scroll

That says, Beware of Being the Roller When There's Nothin' Left to Roll

(The Great Smoke Off is on YouTube to listen (no visuals but it's a fun audio clip!)



There once was a boy named Gimmesome Roy. He was nothing like me or you.

'Cause laying back and getting high was all he cared to do.

As a kid, he sat in the cellar, sniffing airplane glue.

And then he smoked bananas -- which was then the thing to do.

He tried aspirin in Coca-Cola, breathed helium on the sly,

And his life was just one endless search to find that perfect high.

But grass just made him want to lay back and eat chocolate-chip pizza all night,

And the great things he wrote while he was stoned looked like shit in the morning light.

And speed just made him rap all day, reds just laid him back,

And Cocaine Rose was sweet to his nose, but the price nearly broke his back.

He tried PCP and THC, but they didn't quite do the trick,

And poppers nearly blew his heart and mushrooms made him sick.

Acid made him see the light, but he couldn't remember it long.

And hashish was just a little too weak, and smack was a lot too strong,

And Quaaludes made him stumble, and booze just made him cry,

Till he heard of a cat named Baba Fats who knew of the perfect high.

Now, Baba Fats was a hermit cat who lived up in Nepal,

High on a craggy mountaintop, up a sheer and icy wall.

"But hell," says Roy, "I'm a healthy boy, and I'll crawl or climb or fly,

But I'll find that guru who'll give me the clue as to what's the perfect high."

So out and off goes Gimmesome Roy to the land that knows no time,

Up a trail no man could conquer to a cliff no man could climb.

For fourteen years he tries that cliff, then back down again he slides

Then sits -- and cries -- and climbs again, pursuing the perfect high.

He's grinding his teeth, he's coughing blood, he's aching and shaking and weak,

As starving and sore and bleeding and tore, he reaches the mountain peak.

And his eyes blink red like a snow-blind wolf, and he snarls the snarl of a rat,

As there in perfect repose and wearing no clothes -- sits the godlike Baba Fats.

"What's happening, Fats?" says Roy with joy, "I've come to state my biz.

I hear you're hip to the perfect trip. Please tell me what it is.

For you can see," says Roy to he, "that I'm about to die,

So for my last ride, Fats, how can I achieve the perfect high?"

"Well, dog my cats!" says Baba Fats. "here's one more burnt-out soul,

Who's looking for some alchemist to turn his trip to gold.

But you won't find it in no dealer's stash, or on no druggist's shelf.

Son, if you would seek the perfect high -- find it in yourself."

"Why, you jive motherfucker!" screamed Gimmesome Roy, "I've climbed through rain and sleet,

I've lost three fingers off my hands and four toes off my feet!

I've braved the lair of the polar bear and tasted the maggot's kiss.

Now, you tell me the high is in myself. What kind of shit is this?

My ears 'fore they froze off," says Roy, "had heard all kind of crap,

But I didn't climb for fourteen years to listen to that sophomore rap.

And I didn't crawl up here to hear that the high is on the natch,

So you tell me where the real stuff is or I'll kill your guru ass!"

"Ok, OK," says Baba Fats, "you're forcing it out of me.

There is a land beyond the sun that's known as Zaboli.

A wretched land of stone and sand where snakes and buzzards scream,

And in this devil's garden blooms the mystic Tzu-Tzu tree.

And every ten years it blooms one flower as white as the Key West sky,

And he who eats of the Tzu-Tzu flower will know the perfect high.

For the rush comes on like a tidal wave and it hits like the blazing sun.

And the high, it lasts a lifetime and the down don't ever come.

But the Zaboli land is ruled by a giant who stands twelve cubits high.

With eyes of red in his hundred heads, he waits for the passers-by.

And you must slay the red-eyed giant, and swim the River of Slime,

Where the mucous beasts, they wait to feast on those who journey by.

And if you survive the giant and the beasts and swim that slimy sea,

There's a blood-drinking witch who sharpens her teeth as she guards that Tzu-Tzu tree."

"To hell with your witches and giants," laughs Roy. "To hell with the beasts of the sea.

As long as the Tzu-Tzu flower blooms, some hope still blooms for me."

And with tears of joy in his snow-blind eye, Roy hands the guru a five,

Then back down the icy mountain he crawls, pursuing that perfect high.

"Well, that is that," says Baba Fats, sitting back down on his stone,

Facing another thousand years of talking to God alone.

"It seems, Lord", says Fats, "it's always the same, old men or bright-eyed youth,

It's always easier to sell them some shit than it is to give them the truth."


They say a Red-Neck and a Hippie should never get married

But we just laughed and done it anyway.

For a while life was fine...cause your life's so different from mine

But now it seems we both just ain't got very much to say.

'Cause I realize you'll never love Hank Williams

And I don't like the Rolling Stones a bit.

And all my friends have short hair and smoke "Lucky's"

And all your friends have long hair and smoke "shit"

So go and roll yourself another reefer

And I'll go pour myself another beer

And please don't ask me why, we can't give it one more try.

'Cause I'm too drunk to tell you, babe...and you're too stoned to hear.

I like to dress up and look just like a rich man

And you like wearin' jeans and lookin' poor.

And I like dancin' slow, where the "Schlitts" and memories flow

And I like to drink my coke and you like sniffin' yours.


There's a nut down on the corner a givin' dollar bills away

But I sat around a bit and then I had another hit

And then I rolled myself a bomber thought about my momma

Looked around fooled around played around while and then

I got stoned and I missed it I got stoned and I missed it

I got stoned and it rolled right by

I got stoned and I missed it I got stoned and I missed it I got stoned oh me oh my

It took seven months of urgin' just to get that local virgin

With the sweet face up to my place to fool around a bit

And next day she woke up rosy and she snuggled up so cosy

But when she asked me how I liked it Lord it hurt me to admit

I got stoned and I missed it...

[ fiddle ]

I ain't makin' no excuses for so many things I uses

Just to brighten my relationships and sweeten up my day

But when my earthly race is over and I'm ready for the clover

And they ask me how my life has been I guess I have to say

I was stoned and I missed it...

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this is news to me and thanks for the reference! I have always enjoyed his kid stuff too. For a few years running I would go into my kids' classes and read from his books. the kids thought it was great!

Hope I haven't 'directly' turned them on to any experimental behaviors! ;)


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This one might interest some of you..


Oh, the Mermaid of Ontario

Had long green stringy hair-e-o

And a seaweed gown to wear-e-o

But she had no one to marry-o

Now the Mermaid of Ontario

Loved a big mouth bass named Larry-o

Who lived 'neath Lake St. Claire-o

Under the St. Claire ferry-o

Now the Mermaid of Ontario

Sent a seagull emissary-o

To ask that big bass Larry-o

If he'd consent to marry-o

Oh no, no, no said Larry-o

My life I will not share-e-o

I'd rather play solitarie-e-o

And sit around in my underwear-e-o

Read books from the fish library-o

And you're so ordinary-o

And I'm extra ordinary-e-o

And I dress so debonair-e-o

And I have a fine vocabulary-o

Cause I memorized the fishes' dictionary-o

And before I'd marry you, I'd marry-o

A Guernsy cow from the dairy-o

Or eat a poison berry-o

And wind up with fishes' dysentery-o

Poor Mermaid of Ontario

It was more than she could bear-e-o

So she cried for a day then swam away

With a yuppie little guppie named Gary-o

Now they're a happy pair-e-o

Cause he's a millionaire-e-o

On his yacht 'neath Lake St. Claire-e-o

They cuddle in a cozy chair-e-o

And listen to his underwater stereo

And that big mouth bass named Larry-o

Married a cow from the dairy-o

She fed him a poison berry-o

And he wound up in the fishes' cemetery-o

And that's the whole scenario

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(Written by Shel Silverstein)

Yeah, I left home when the kid was three

And it sure felt good to be fancy free

Though I knew it wasn't quite the the fatherly thing to do

But that kid kept screaming and throwing up

And pissing in his pants till I had enough

So just for revenge I went and named him Sue


It was Gatlinburg in mid July

I was gettin drunk but gettin by

Gettin old and going from bad to worse

When through the door with an awful scream

Comes the ugliest queen I've ever seen

He says, "My name is Sue, how do you do?"

Then he hits me with his purse

Now this ain't the way he tells the tell

But he scratched my face with his fingernails

And Then he bit my thumb

And kicked me with his high heel shoe

So I hit him in the nose and he started to cry

And he threw some perfume in my eye

And it sure ain't easy fightin an old boy named Sue

So I hit him in the head with a cane back chair

And he screamed, "Hey dad, you mussed my hair!"

And he hit me in the navel and knocked out a piece of my lint

He was spittin blood, I was spittin teeth

And we crashed through the wall and out into the street

Kickin and gouging in the mud and the blood and the creme de menthe

Then out of his garter he pulls a gun

I'm about to get shot by my very own son

He's screaming about Sigmund Freud and looking grim - woo

So I though fast and I told him some stuff

How I named him Sue just to make him tough

And I guess he bought it cause now I'm living with him

Yea he cooks and sews and cleans up the place

He cuts my hair and shaves my face

And irons my shirts better than a daughter could do

And on the nights that I can't score

Well, I can't tell you any more

But it sure is a joy to have a boy named Sue

Yeah a son is fun but it's a joy to have a boy named Sue!

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