The Places Poems Make

Ms. Marques’s second grade poets at Highland Park Elementary School disappeared into new territories during their Badgerdog workshop this spring. With their instructor, Cara Zimmer, they created and then inhabited jungles where there’s sour pickles; they became adventure ducks and the color aquamarine; and they invented what sounds like the most beautiful place: a country where everyone laughs, even babies.  To read these poems is to remember to pay attention: there are opportunities for discovery and invention everywhere.

A Highland Park Elementary writer's collected poems



In the Country of Dog Snort

In the country of Dog Snort,
dogs live with snorting,

and puppies are snorting
and are born from their mom.

No people or cats
live there,
and all the other animals,
they don’t live there.

People always want to be
the first to
discover it.

know about it because they
hear their mom and dad talking about it.


In the Country of Frank

A Paul Frank in a
rainforest that
shakes up and down
where people get water.

The valley of a big, fat person
on a little, tiny rock.


In the Country of Marshmallow City

In Marshmallow City
you see hopping marshmallows
that have big eyes and teeth.
They live in tissue box holes—
to make the tissue box holes
not smell bad, the marshmallows
spray perfume. Their houses
are very purrrty. They have pink
houses and polka-dotted lamps.
Their rugs are very furry.
Their roofs are pointy, like
a castle. The marshmallows
look like Mario fish markers.
Dogs bark when they see
these hideous marshmallows.


Jungle Pickle

Way down deep
in the jungle
there is a man-eating
sour pickle. It is so strong
it can rip you in


Big Fat Dumb Dog

I am a big fat dumb dog
who goes to the bathroom
and runs into walls
and destroys the water.
I am years old
and I am a ninja who wears hobo clothes
and destroys buildings
and eats dogs.
I am cocoa from Cocoa Puffs
that smashes books
and doesn’t have a tongue.


In the Country of Laughing People

No one could talk
because they were
laughing too much.

They even laughed
when they drank a cup of tea.

And even if you
lived somewhere else
and then moved there,
you laughed.

They laughed when
they went to bed.

Can you believe that even
the babies laughed?


In the Country of Whosamawhatsa

The Whosamawhatsa country
does not know anything.

They do not like flies.
That’s the only thing they know.

The Whosamawhatsas
have a fort around their

The Whosamawhatsas
are pretty

The Whosamawhatsas
always say “Whosamawhatsa.”


In the Country of Time

You’ll see the most ancient temples,
scrolls, and the best historical events
ever. You’ll see Jesus. You’ll see
D-Day. You’ll see George Washington
and meet Abe Lincoln. You’ll join
the union. You’ll team up with
General Eisenhower. You’ll board
the Titanic. You’ll help Harriet
Tubman escape from the South.
You’ll help Robert D. Ballard find
the Titanic. You’ll help Dr. King
win the Nobel Peace Prize.
You’ll join SEAL Team Six
to assassinate Osama bin Laden,
and finally, you’ll join the Americans
in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.


In the Country of Pokémon

You’ll see a Pokémon
getting murdered
by Brock.

Zoo bats

spitting water
out everywhere.

Bug-type buzzing
and annoying


In the Country of Bananas and Other Fruit

You see it—the first part of the land
is an apple and a coconut.

You see bananas.

A bathtub with a banana
and a monkey in it.

You see a coconut,
an apple, and a monkey.

Banana, peach, orange,
pear, strawberry, raspberry,
blueberry, and the grand fruit—
the tomato!


In the Country of Fashion

Everyone wears sparkly clothes,
even to sleep.

And everyone has a pet.
Even their hair is sparkly.

Kids don’t have to go to school
because they know everything already.

Everyone has long hair.
The fish have one hundred colors on them.

But as normal as it seems, it’s not.


Adventure Duck

I am a duck that killed a lion
and stayed in jail for a year
and walked the plank
and went skydiving and disco dancing
and dodged cannon balls
and was buried
and killed ten ducks
and fired a gun
and was in a UFO
and was locked in a chest
and won a boxing fight.



It feels like a starfish
and smells like sea salt.
It tastes like a gummy butterfly.
It sounds like rushing water
hitting against rocks.


Food That Runs

Why does the hot dog
run away to the park?

Can a Lego talk
to a human with a bucket?

Do you know how to talk
to a window?

Does a can walk on the plane
to get ice cream?

Can milk make a cake
for a birthday?

Why does a ketchup bottle
run to a hot dog?


The Cardboard Fish

The cardboard fish hates math, reading,
and spelling, but it loves BADGERDOG!
In fact, its favorite subject is BADGERDOG.
When it’s not in BADGERDOG, it won’t even
move—it just sings “La, La, La, La, La.”
It will only do BADGERDOG. It


Exploding Icky Jellybean

Exploding icky jellybean in my mouth—
it’s so icky
it’s sticky
like a piece of gum.



Why don’t scissors
wear out ice cream?

Who has a phone who
can call aliens?

Can fish pick
their noses?

Can markers
blow bubbles?

Why can’t
pencils fly?

Can a spaceship
peel a banana?

Is there a flag that
stands for green beans?

If there were a kangaroo who
couldn’t jump, where would he live?

Is there a trumpet that
blows carrots instead of sound?

Do donkeys
eat clocks?

How do you put
your pants on?



It tastes like gold licorice with black lines.
It sounds like a rock paintball.
It feels like a sledgehammer.
It sounds like an angry chipmunk.
It tastes like the Transformer bumblebee.


2 thoughts on “The Places Poems Make

  1. These are so very imaginative and well said! Congratulations to all and thank you for such wonderful,imaginative,and funny poems.You all did such a beautiful job!! Well done….

  2. These are all so wonderful & creative. This is a fantastic program & I’m so thankful my daughter had a chance to participate in it!!

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