When I was all of ten
I fell in love with him.
He had birds that lived in his words.
And they tweeted, flew around
my living room. Perched on a picture
of Gainsborough’s ‘Blue Boy.’
A tall rectangle with his boy
inside, posing for the picture
in a blue suit that glimmered
like the streets of Paradise.
Oh, Red could make you squeal
like a pig. Those laughs come up
from behind you
and jump on your shoulders.
The voice could play with your soul.
Roll it up and bounce it off the wall.
Red Skelton I assumed knew me.
I didn’t know how.
He was always gazing at me,
even when I was eating apple pie.
He didn’t seem to mind.
Clem Kadiddlehopper’s crumpled hat
rolled along the streets of Bristol
everytime a big wind came around.
The moon came out and told a few jokes.
Red, just loved it when the moon got a laugh.
The stars were Red’s favorite jokes.
They shone inside us. Sometimes
when we got up in the middle
of the night, those shiny stars
helped us find the mustard
in the top row of the cupboard.
You never know when you’re going
to need those ancient lanterns.