Scribble ass, scramble ass, punk ass squirrel,
You got me scowling the soggy into my cereal,
Breathing hot into ice cream, sucking-wind asthmatic.
Don’t you have a fine somewhere else to be?
Who the fuck declared open house in my attic?

Was it something I said? An “I love nature”
Comment you thought you’d make literal?
The nukes are coming and you’ve found the NORAD ark?
Huh?  Scribble ass, scramble ass, punk ass squirrel?

That’s Dave Brubeck you’re scratchy-dashing over;
You’ve got the beat all wrong, quit tripping the light damn-spastic!
You ain’t the be-bop the she-bop next jazz sensation
And who the fuck declared open house in my attic?

I’m trying to concentrate on reading Dante—
You keep sending ghost Morse code like channel James Merrill.
Why don’t you chill till Halloween with that poltergeist shit,
Scribble ass, scramble ass, punk ass squirrel?

I’m blending Zen bling with cool smoothie of Dao De Jing;
Here you come all sophist like a freak peripatetic.
I want to put you in a hemlock till you tap the fuck out!
Where’s the billboard that says: open house in my attic?

You’re lucky Colorado law won’t let me set traps.
I’d show your rabid ass the true face of feral;
But instead I have to find two hundred dollars for Pest Pro,
You scribble ass, scramble ass, punk ass squirrel.

What? Are you playing nut skittles across the rafters?
That a Harrison Ford movie that’s got you so frantic?
You practicing the Kid & Play for Rodent House Party?
Who the fuck declared open house in my attic?

You’ve got me fantasizing this is Hogwarts;
I got Voldemort upside my dome like Professor Quirrel.
I’ll avada-kedavra gang-banger-blast your snitch ass,
You scribble ass, scramble ass, punk ass squirrel.

I know!  You want me to move out—it’s a real-estate scam:
I’ll sign over the whole house to bushy-tailed antics.
You’re like that mortgage-hostage gotcha-good interest rate
Did the bank declare open house in my attic?

Enough with the law! I don’t give a screw-all.
Where’s my ladder and .22, little fucker, I’ve had it!
Hey scribble ass, scramble ass, punk ass squirrel…
Who the fuck declared open house in my attic?

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UCHE OGBUJI is a founding editor of the TNB Poetry section. He is also co-creator and co-host of the Poetry Voice podcast. His short collection of poems Ndewo, Colorado (Aldrich Press, 2013) is a winner of the 2014 Colorado Book Awards. To expand a bit, Uche Ogbuji was born in Calabar, Nigeria. He lived, among other places, in Egypt and England before settling near Boulder, Colorado where he lives with his wife and four children. Uche is a computer engineer (trained in Nigeria and the USA) and entrepreneur whose abiding passion is poetry. His poems, fusing Igbo culture, European Classicism, U.S. Mountain West setting, and Hip-Hop influences, have appeared widely. Uche also snowboards, coaches and plays soccer, and trains in American Kenpo. You can catch more of the prolifically fraying strands of his life on his home page, or, heck, even on Twitter.

34 responses to “Scribble Ass Squirrel”

  1. Zara Potts says:

    You are the most brilliantest. (No such word – but there should be.)
    I love this! I can almost hear you reading it…

    • Uche Ogbuji says:

      Thanks, Zara. Funny thing is that maybe 15% of what I write is for performance, and just over the weekend Corium published another performance piece, from about 15 years ago when maybe 5% of what I wrote was for performance. I seem to be catching the bug a bit, and I’m a bit ambivalent about that. Oddly (or maybe not so oddly) I think TNB is a significant influence in that.

  2. Erika Rae says:

    Uche, Master of Rhythm, I need to hear you read this one out loud. It’s crying out for it.

  3. Simon Smithson says:

    Uche Ogbuji,
    Cosmic djinn
    Master of Ceremonies
    Silver-tongue Seraphim

    Rodentia (sadly un absentia)
    Shiver, tremble and shake
    Quake, Quirrel, Quake!

    Stop dishin out static
    In my man’s private attic
    Unless all your racket
    Is a poorly planned tactic

    And really you strive
    To hear this read live

    Because, that, squirrel
    I can understand.

  4. Ok, now I really want to hear you read this. Get it on YouTube or a podcast or something.

  5. Dana says:

    What fun!

  6. Joe Daly says:

    Hey, a poem I get! I agree that this needs to be captured in a podcast so we can hear you rock the rhythm. Get thee to recording mechanisms with the greatest of haste!

  7. JM Blaine says:

    Yeah you should eat
    like
    9000 skittles
    & march through
    your kitchen in long johns
    & give this the total
    Hank Rollins
    Black Flag Effect.

    Then write
    the follow-up
    post
    from the perspective
    of Scribble-Ass Squirrel

  8. Lorna says:

    I want someone to sing this Uche! It sounds like a rap song.

    • Uche Ogbuji says:

      It’s the mention of the handy .22 at the end that gives you that impression, right? 🙂 Although I think a .38 would be a bit more ghetto. Or even a nine millimeter. But to shoot a squirrel with either of those would be to engage in a very perverse form of painting 😉

      On the other hand I will say I suspect there has never been a rap that’s ever mentioned James Merrill.

  9. Gloria says:

    Reading this while listening to Miles Davis’s “So What” from Kind of Blue was perfect synchronicity.

    I’d show your rabid ass the true face of feral;

    and

    You practicing the Kid & Play for Rodent House Party?

    might be the funniest two lines I’ll read today. (The Kid and Play. Holy shit. Haven’t thought of that dance in YEARS.)

    This is so fun. Awesome, Uche.

  10. Uche Ogbuji says:

    OK, folks were so kind to ask, so I did my best. I’ve attached a reading of the poem to “Proceed II,” by the Roots. Please let me know what you think, and whether you think my rendition imagines the rhythm you imagined.

    And please also know that my rendition is not intended to be authoritative. That’s the beauty of poetry. It isn’t complete until interpreted by the reader/performer.

  11. Uche! I’m finally getting over here. This is so wonderful. I love hearing you read, you’re so dynamic. I’m glad you did an audio track for this. See you in a couple of hours!

    • Uche Ogbuji says:

      Thanks, Megan. I considered waiting until you got here, but I figured I’d give recording one more try on my own, and I’d have more questions if it didn’t work out. As it is, it seemed to work out OK.

  12. angela says:

    awesome! this refrain will be replaying in my ear: “Scribble ass, scramble ass, punk ass squirrel!” haha.

    and i LOVE the harry potter reference. weird because i’m reading the last book now and just read a friend’s FB status about the marauder’s map.

    • Uche Ogbuji says:

      I loved Harry Potter. My wife started by reading it. She kept saying “you’d really like it, Uche, she does all sorts of interesting stuff with language.” I turned up my nose for a while, but the previews for the first movie looked interesting, so I went and saw it, and I loved the names of the spells, and suchlike, so I started reading it, though I insisted on getting the original British editions. I don’t care if it would be considered a guilty pleasure. It’s just a pleasure 🙂 Enjoy the Deathly Hallows.

  13. Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

    Uche, this is so damn cool. You’ve really got the voice for it. Man, this’ll be the soundtrack for my insomnia. Do you have a whole spoken-word album? Well, I’m buyin if you’re sellin. This is gooooooood.

    • Uche Ogbuji says:

      Wow. No, actually, that’s the first poem of mine I’ve ever set to a backing musical track. I guess I should do so more often. Thanks for the encouragement. It really means a lot.

  14. Dana says:

    Perfect!! I really liked this when I read it, but LOVE your version. You’re Smoooooth!

  15. It sounds as awesome as I thought it would.

  16. Irene Zion says:

    Uche,

    I’ve been away from my computer and I’ve missed a ton!
    I love your poem.
    It’s perfect.
    We had squirrels in the attic in Illinois. I thought that they were so cute until the power and phone lines went out, (back in the dark ages before cell phones.) They had eaten all the wires connecting anything important to anything else important. You need a have-a-heart trap. Surely they are allowed.

    • Uche Ogbuji says:

      Glad you like the poem. I hope it gave you some retrospective cathartic relief from your IL black-out 🙂

      We’ve had friends with wires eaten up by squirrels. Expensive repair. In my case, the worst practical problem was the one time the unmistakable stench of a dead animal slowly seeped into the house. Up I had to go into the attic to rummage through the insulation and find the stupid corpse. Eugh!

  17. Irene Zion says:

    Aw, heck, Uche,
    Just pretend you don’t smell it for a while.
    We had mice dying in between our walls all the time.
    They have little bodies, they rot pretty fast.

  18. Shawn Misener says:

    “Where’s my ladder and .22, little fucker, I’ve had it!”

    Best line.

    Great form. It truly does need to be read aloud, maybe to kids that can handle swearing.

    I’ve lived with a punk-ass squirrel. An insomniac punk-ass squirrel.

    I can relate.

    Really entertaining piece, man.

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