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.

Is that you, Joe?
One lucky potato

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”!

"Flybrows" poem and illustration

[heading style=”1″]Guest Poet Snickerview ~ Joe Mohr[/heading]

What’s Up with Joe

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. 🙂

POETRY: www.PoemsofJoeMs.com 
TWITTER: @PoemsofJoeMs and @GreenCartoons

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!

Groucho Bear

[heading style=”1″]Extension Activities for “Flybrows”[/heading]


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.

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  1. So funny! Love the poem and the humor in the interview! Great job, reciting the poem, Joe. And I think I like you with all your pretty features in their respective spots, Renee, even the nose that comes and goes 🙂

  2. Joe, I loved your poem and interview! I never thought about the importance of eyebrows to bald men! I agree with you about reciting a poem to a camera – frightening!!

  3. What a super poem and a great interview. I love all those poets too, so I’m writing down the one I didn’t know since I’m sure to like him too.

    Renee, I have been super slack re-doing my poem, but since I am heading over to England soon where we’ll be visiting giraffes etc. so I thought that would be a perfect venue for my Zebra poem 🙂

  4. My favorite line from Toy Story 3 – “I’m packing your angry face, dear” ~ Mrs. Potato Head said to Mr. Potato Head 😉
    I love the poem and interview! I will check out the mentioned Renee LaTulippe’s blog (you know, the one Mr. Mohr mentioned?). She spounds interesting. 😉

  5. This post is a sheer delight from beginning to end. Mr. Potato Head and I go way back and I think we should all have interchangeable parts :).

    Loved getting to know Joe; his poem is a riot. Weird people are the best. I thank you for featuring him, his well groomed brows, and your self-replicating noses.

  6. The video wasn’t available at this time for some reason, Renee, but I’ll return for it. I love the Mr. Potato Head ideas you had-great idea. I could use an interchange of a few things now & then. And Joe’s poem is hilarious, would be so great with students to help their inner ‘funny bones’. Thanks as usual for all the smiles & chuckles.

  7. Look forward to the weekly chuckle I get here…and I wasn’t disappointed today! Thanks for introducing us to Joe and his charming Flybrows!

  8. Oh, I am laughing! The image of Joe with his combover eyebrows is just another poem waiting to be written. This whole post just reeks of fun, and I loved it. Thank you both. I, too, will be back for the video. My internet has been tricky today, but now I have something else to look forward to. And I also look forward to seeing Joe as a Poetry Friday regular, perhaps. Welcome, Joe!

  9. Thanks for sharing this with us, Renee! I am curious about Joe’s other poems, so I’ll go check them out…

  10. Hee-ee-ee! Renee, your wardrobe-of-facial-features idea is just as good as Joe’s poem…and I have discovered that Mr. Potato Head and other presto-change-o dress-up activities have really long-lasting appeal to both boys and girls.

    Now then, I did not think of it while reading “Flybrows”, (which is blamelessly true to its form) but when Joe was reciting it I somehow was listening for a different ending to the last stanza: grasp, gasp, asp!

  11. Hi, Renee and Joe. What a fun post all the way around! Renee, I loved Mr. Potato Head growing up. And now that you mention it, it would be nice to have some interchangeable body parts to spice things up in live. Joe, love your poem…especially that second to last line. I think my kids will be in hysterics when I read it to them when they get back from camp today 🙂

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