is an American poet and anthologist. He has published 40 books in the last 30 years, including poetry compilations, non-fiction guides for young writers, and books for teachers.
This is one of my favorite poems for children by Paul Bryan Janeczko. i thought it quite sweet about a young boy wishing only the best for his mother.
Dad washed, I dried
the supper dishes
while Mom armed herself
for Early Bird bingo at seven
in the church basement:
her lucky piece
(a smooth quarter she'd won the first time out),
and a White Owls box of pink plastic markers.
Dad read the paper
watched TV with me
until Mom returned,
announcing her triumph with a door slam
and a shout
"I was hot!"
Flinging her hat,
twirling out of her jacket,
she pulled dollar bills
from her pockets
before setting them free
to flutter like fat spring snow.
"Ninety-two dollars!" she squealed
as Dad hugged her off the floor.
In bed I listened to
planning to spend the money--
a leaky radiator--
and wished she'd buy
a shiny red dress
long white gloves
and clickety-click high heels.
In Janeczo, Paul, ed. The Place My Words are Looking For: What Poets Say About and Through their Work. New York: Bradbury Press, 1990.
Introduction- In the book, Janeczko describes how he came to write "Bingo." He thinks of it as a love poem, with everyone wanting the best for those they love.
My hole in the front yard gets deeper and deeper when Mrs. S isn’t watching me. It’s been a great resting place on hot days when I’m not inside getting my AC fix. What does annoy me is when rainwater fills up my hole. Then I have to wait until it dries up to start digging all over to get it just the way I like it.
One particularly hot day, Mrs. S said I could ride into town while she did some errands. I did not hesitate for a moment since I knew the van had AC. First stop was the gas station on Highway 371 to drop off recycling. Two yippy dogs outside next door to the station caught my attention with all their barking. But its what happened next that really took me by surprise. Mrs. S hit her key remote to open what she thought was the rear hatch instead she hit the button to the side door. The door opened. I sat in disbelief for a split second before realizing my good fortune. I was able to easily escape. Off I flew to investigate the barking dogs.
Now here is where I went a bit crazy but Mrs. S would say I was quite naughty. As soon as Mrs. S recovered from the shock of opening the wrong door, she started screaming and yelling my name demanding that I get back into the van. But I had better things to do than go back with so many new places to explore. The closer I got to the barking dogs the more they yipped and whined. Maybe they really wanted to play with me but I couldn’t figure out how to get over the fence. So after circling the yard a few times I took off across Highway 371 to check out Mike’s Auto Repair Shop and a nearby ravine. Mrs. S ran across Highway 371 screaming and calling my name, her voice sounded frantic. This was becoming a fun game with Mrs. S trying to catch me. I ignored her warnings, ran around the building and down toward the ravine. Mrs. S was making such a racket with all her screaming two men came out of the shop to see what was going on. I could hear them laughing off in the distance when they spotted me running down the hill towards the ravine and Mrs. S trying to catch me.
Trying to stay ahead of her I ran up the hill and back across Highway 371. I wanted to check out the barking dogs again, but they were nowhere to be seen. So I crossed back over Highway 371. I managed to make it safely across dodging all the cars and trucks zooming by. But I was worried about Mrs. S. I wasn’t sure she was watching for traffic running back across Highway 371 trying to keep up with me. She seemed out of control with all that screaming “Bella, stop! I said stop!”
The two men were still standing outside the auto shop laughing, watching all the commotion and not even making a move to catch me.
A chipmunk darted in front of me, which sent me down to the ravine trying to catch it. But I was not fast enough and the chipmunk scampered up a tree to safety. But at least Mrs. S’s voice did not seem so loud down here. All of this running back and forth was making me thirsty. The water in the ravine had dried up. I remembered Mrs. S had a supply of water in the van so I ran back across Highway 371 AGAIN. The van door was still open. I hopped in thankful my water bowl was still on the floor. Mrs. S. was right behind me and quickly locked the side door. I knew I’d better be on my best behavior if I wanted to see my water bowl filled.
For the next hour while she finished up her errands, all I heard was how bad I was, how a car could have hit me, yadda, yadda, yadda. I really didn’t understand what the big problem was. I did make it safely back to the van and even got in a day's worth of exercise. But I worry about Mrs. S. who seemed completely undone over the recent events.