Poetry Monday: “Flybrows” by Joe Mohr
Recently I started the “steal your nose and throw it away” thing with my little guys, and now I am accosted every morning by little hands trying to actually rip the nose off my face and throw it on the floor. And they don’t seem to understand that I have but one nose, and once they’ve thrown it that first time, that should be the end of it. But no. My nose is detached and discarded over and over again, with nary a moment between to retrieve and reattach it.
So that got me thinking about Mr. Potato Head and how neat it would be to have interchangeable facial features. You know, sometimes I feel aristocratic, sometimes clownish, sometimes film noir-ish…yet I’m always stuck with the same old face. I would like a drawer of options: a couple extra noses, a travel pack of eyes, a box of lips, a case of expressive eyebrows. Mr. Potato Head doesn’t know how good he has it.
But not everyone agrees with me, apparently, including today’s guest, children’s poet Joe Mohr. At first I thought he was one lucky potato, too, what with his traveling eyebrows. Oh, the possibilities! But once I learned more about his plight, I understood his distress. You see, Joe struggles with a rare condition known as megaglabella: the empty space that’s left when your eyebrows fly off and leave you with no rain cover. Rather than gripe and moan, however, Joe turned his browless woes into a poem.
So please raise an eyebrow to Joe and “Flybrows”!
[heading style=”1″]Guest Poet Snickerview ~ Joe Mohr[/heading]
Joe: who are you, where are you, and how long have you been a rhyming fool?
I’m Joe. I’m in St. Louis, Missouri. I’ve been writing and rhyming my whole life for fun. Now I do it for fun and the four-figure salary it provides. 🙂
As of this writing, how many eyebrows do you have and, dare I ask, where are they located? What weirdness inspired this poem? And your poetry in general?
I currently have two eyebrows. As a bald man, my eyebrows are the highest point of hair on my body. I wish eyebrows grew like normal hair so I could grow them out and comb the long eyebrow hairs over the top of my head.
No weirdness inspired this poem. I just have a lot of weirdness in my head. It helps to have been raised by a weird dad and be married to a weird wife.
I come up with most of my poems while walking or riding my bike. However, this one and a few others were created during an Amtrak trip from St. Louis to Chicago a few years back.
Sleuth that I am, I noticed a poem on your site that is available on iStoryTime. Unless your wandering lips are sealed, can you tell us how that came about?
I wrote many of my poems when my wife and I lived in Portugal. When we moved back to the states, I learned quickly that it was going to be difficult for me to get published. Being a poet and an unpublished author means I already had two very big strikes against me. At that point, I decided to reach out to Jack Johnson. I am a big fan of his and thought that, as a musician, he might be able to help in some way. I was put in touch with Jack’s cousin Jacob Tell, and Jacob hooked me up with Graham Farrar of iStoryTime. Jacob and I first got in touch about six years ago and have since become close friends. Jacob started a company called Oniracom (plug!) and is very busy with his work there. And Graham is a great man, a true visionary with a ton of random and inevitably successful ideas. (It’s all about networking, people! So slap on your best mustache and get out there!)
Do you have any favorite children’s poets that inspire you?
Growing up I was a huge fan of Shel Silverstein, Roald Dahl, Jack Prelutsky, and X.J. Kennedy. Now that I’m a full grown grown-up, I still love these poets and also enjoy reading the poetry of J. Patrick Lewis, Kenn Nesbitt, Renée LaTulippe (do you know her? Is she the one with the unibrow?), Ryan Bliss (aka Mooseclumps), Alvaro Salinas, Jr. (aka M. M. Socks), Greg Pincus, Ed DeCaria, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, and many others.
What do you do when you’re not frightening children with tales of errant facial hair?
I paint scary and funny pictures for kids, I write and draw cartoons for various websites and magazines, and I create creative creations for the great people at Balance Edutainment and Pacha’s Pajamas. I am also married to the greatest woman on earth and have two amazing kids, with a third on the way in August. I cannot be with them enough! (Wow, I had no idea! Congrats, Joe!)
Making poetry videos is a laugh riot, isn’t it? What did you love most about the experience?
I used to teach third grade and am currently a dad to two book-loving kids, so I’ve read tens of thousands of stories and poems to kids in very silly and dramatic ways. However, reading my poem to a video camera was terrifying! I thought I had enough background to pull this off with ease–not the case. At least I had my wife with me…she kept the mood light and kept me smiling. (Aw, c’mon, it’s hardly that hair-raising! You did a great job–the trees were rapt with attention!)
Can we come visit you and peruse your wares? (Online, of course, not at your house! It’s creepy there, with all those migrating body parts flying about.)
Sure! I have an art site, a poetry site, and a cartoon site. At some point I hope to have one inclusive, fun, and inviting site. Until then, I’m a WordPress nerd. 🙂
Thanks for stopping by, Joe, and for adding “Flybrows” to our video poetry library!
Thanks for helping me edit the last stanza to make it flow better. I appreciate this wonderful opportunity. Thank you, Renée!
[heading style=”1″]Extension Activities for “Flybrows”[/heading]
- Writing prompts:
- What if your _______ flew off and landed on your _______? Write a silly story or poem about it.
- Write an ode to your favorite body part. (What is an ode?)
- Lesson plans:
- LessonSense.com has preschool body theme ideas and free downloadables.
- Human anatomy activities for elementary and upper grades at PoweredByOsteons; 3D visualizations (free downloads!) of human anatomy at Ohio University.
- Check out these life-size skeleton printouts at eSkeletons.com!
- Arts and crafts:
- Make a wacky body flipbook at FirstPalette.com.
- Lots of body part ideas for the kiddies at Momstown.com and PreschoolEducation.com.
- In the kitchen:
Video Location: St. Louis, The Flybrow State (aka Missouri).See more poems in my poetry video library. “Flybrows” and illustration copyright © Joe Mohr. All rights reserved.