Turtle Poetry!

Once upon a time, I was contacted by a publisher to write a kid’s book of funny poems about a certain famous group of turtles. As you know, I like turtles, so I agreed!

The idea was to take classic poems (or poems by famous poets, or famous songs) a nd then make them turtle-y. For example, one of my favorite poems is this one by an unknown writer:

“The Moron”

See the happy moron,

He doesn’t give a damn,

I wish I were a moron,

My God! perhaps I am!


So how could this work for a ninja turtle? Maybe like this:


“The Turtle”

I wish I were a turtle

With a shell just like a clam

Yes, I wish I were a turtle

Hang on! Perhaps I am!


So anyway, I started writing poems. When I was finished, they’d go into a book that would be called either To Be or Not to Be a Ninja OR The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredding the Classics!

And then — PROBLEMS. See, the publisher and the licensor (the company that “owns” the famous turtles) couldn’t agree on what the artwork should look like. Should the turtles look like their innocent 1980s versions, or the scarier modern ones? And how old would the readers be? Elementary school age? High school? BOTH? Ultimately, no agreements were reached. The project got cancelled (d’oh!), and although I got paid (with lots of pizza!), I was left with lots of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle poems … AND HERE THEY ARE:


“Hit by the Ooze”

(introductory poem)

Four little turtles in a shattered glass jar

Deep down in the sewer, down so far

A container drops near—it rolls, breaks, and stews

And four little turtles get hit by green ooze!


It’s on their shells, in great big gobs

Making them retro-muto-thingamabobs!

They were hit by the ooze when the ooze was moist

Now they’re heroes on the half-shell: they have no choice!


“Sometimes After a Battle”

(To the tune of by “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg.)

Sometimes after a battle

On my thigh

I’ll see a bruise that I don’t love

With my swollen black eye


Sometimes after a battle

Bruises turn blue

And I’m a tough ninja warrior,

So you won’t hear me cry boo-hoo


Someday I’ll get some throwing stars

And throw ’em at Foot Clanners, leaving scars

Remind me!

I’ll scout them on my ninja ops

Start raining down karate chops

My black belt’s tenth degree!


Sometimes after a battle

On rooftops high

There’s just one way to feel better:

Eating a pizza pie!


“We Don’t Know What to Say”

(Inspired by “This is Just to Say” by William Carlos Williams.)

We have eaten

the pizza

that was in

the refrigerator


and which

you were probably


for dinner


Forgive us

it was delicious

so tasty

and so greasy


“Casey at the Stick”

(Inspired by “Casey at the Bat” by Ernest Thayer.)

The ninja turtles found themselves outnumbered one foggy day:

With odds of four to forty, things weren’t going our heroes’ way.

Plus, Donnie had broken his bo staff  (which was pretty lame),

And then Raphael got hit by an onion—it was a crying shame!


Foot Clanners surrounded Leo, in a brawl that was pell-mell,

And Donatello got a black eye that was beginning to swell.

Would this be a bad beatdown? A sorry slap-fest? Or a licking?

Worse yet—this appeared to be a major league shell-kicking!


Then a stealthy figure rose from the mist, hockey stick in hand;

He gave a laugh, jumped forward, and punched one of the Clan!

He looked bodaciously scary, with that hockey mask on his face.

His posture spoke brave defiance as he looked around the place.


Eighty-eight eyes looked back! (Two per turtle, and four for each person);

Evil ninjas clenched their fists—things had gone from bad to  worsen!

Leonardo whispered to his brothers: “Who IS this vigilante?

Is he a hero or some crazed psycho? The evidence is scanty.”


As fiendish ninjas moved to attack, the man’s voice cut the air:

“I’m Casey Jones, and here’s a challenge! I’m sure you’ll find it fair;

Bring forth your Foot Clan champion, then he and I will duel.”

Applause broke out as Raphael clapped, “I like this dude. He’s cool!”


Forward leapt a big ninja, his eyes gleaming bright with hate;

Then Casey cried “Goongala!” and what followed was a state

Of whirling, spinning kung fu kicks (lightning fast, not slow).

The air was filled with drumbeats of blow after mighty blow.


The two rivals disappeared into a wild whirlwind of a fight,

Then both fell to the ground, and only one seemed to be all right.

The Foot Clan wasn’t laughing, but the ninja turtles did jump and shout;

For Casey, with his hockey stick, had knocked that ninja out!


“Hey Dude”

(To the tune of “Hey Jude” by Lennon and McCartney.)

Hey dude, you are so rad,

Take a bad world and make it better.

Remember, you’ve mastered a secret art,

Use it to start making things better.


Hey dude, strike hard and fade away,

You were trained to be a go-getter.

“Bros before foes!” is something that we yell.

(And you’re cold-blooded, so take off that sweater.)


The second you let Shredder under your shell,

Then we will yell, “You’re a bed wetter!”

And if someone like Casey’s insane, hey dude, explain

That nobody likes a guy who’s a scolder.

Casey’s so cool! His stick-work? It’s beautiful!

And his guts help everyone be bolder.


Hey dude, you are so rad,

Take a bad world and make it better.

Remember, you’ve mastered a secret art,

Use it to start making things better.



(Inspired by “Dreams” by Langston Hughes.)

Don’t end up in memes.

For if a meme flies

Online, a turtle pic blurred,

It never dies.


Avoid memes

And do not viral go.

Secrecy is our shield

Ninja = “No Show”!

(Langston Hughes wrote about language, music, and African American life. In his classic poem “Dreams”, Hughes encouraged us to keep reaching for the stars. This was an important theme for him. In another poem, Hughes famously asked “What happens to a dream deferred?/Does it dry up/like a raisin in the sun?”)


“Only a Rat”

(Inspired by “Only a Dad” by Edgar Guest.)

He’s only a rat, with a hairy face,

Making things safe for our home base.

We call him “Master” instead of his name

To show some respect—anything less would be lame!

We listen hard to the sound of his voice

(Though he’s so strict, we don’t have a choice.)


Only a rat, with we turtles four,

One of ten billion rats or more.

Sharing these lessons of our ninja way:

—“Strike hard and fast, then fade away”

—“Of anger, possess not even a trace”

—“Raphael, there’s pizza sauce on your face”


Only a rat, but our Master gives us his all.

It’s a big job for one who started off small.

“Stand before me, my sons,” he will say,

His love and pride on glowing display.

So as you see, he’s not really “only a rat.”

Splinter’s our sensei—and also our dad.


“Because I Could Not Stop for Pizza”

(Inspired by Emily Whitman’s “Because I Could Not Stop for Death.”)

Because I could not stop for pizza,

It kindly stopped for me;

The delivery man held out his hand

Offering Immortality.


We slowly drove, he knew no haste,

And I had put away

My nunchuks, and my shuriken,

To calmly spend the day.


We passed the school, where children ate

Their lunches, on the grass;

We saw them bite their corn dogs,

Then hurl them in the trash.


And then we paused before what seemed

A swelling of the ground,

And I stood up, enrobed in glee

By all that I had found.


A castle—made of rising dough,

And topped with golden cheese!

A pizza view triumphant

That brought me to my knees!


(IMO, Emily Dickinson is the greatest poet of America. She spent most of her life in her bedroom, and would have undoubtedly “ordered in” for pizza had she been given the opportunity.)


“Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Pizza”

(Inspired by “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” by Wallace Stevens. NOTE: This poem is by Splinter.)


Among the snowy mountains,

The only moving thing

Was a slice of pepperoni

Moving toward my mouth.



I was of three minds,

Like an oven

In which there are three pizzas.



The delivery-man’s hair whirled in the autumn wind.

In his small hands, the deep dish that was mine.



A turtle and a katana

Are one.

A turtle and a katana and a pizza

Are one better.



I do not know which to prefer,

The beauty of mushrooms

Or the beauty of roasted garlic.

The smell of the crust under my nose

Or just after.



Green mold covered the entire pie

With most awful slime.

The tears traced down my face

Crossing, to and fro.

My mood

Deep in the shadow

The cause?

You have to ask?



O hungry people,

Can you imagine a solution?

Dudes, do you not see a food

That is easily available

At pizzerias all around you?



I know the connection is bad

And my words are not easily heard;

But I know, too,

That what I want

Is all FOUR cheeses.



After the greasy box sailed,

It landed on the edge

Of a pile of other empty boxes.



At the sight of salami

Glistening under a heat lamp,

Even the Foot Clan ninjas

Would cry out “Yes, please!”



He rode down the darkened street

On a delivery bike.

Then, a surprise pierced him,

When he saw, just ahead

A green hand in the sewer grate

Holding up money.



The pizza is disappearing.

But the last piece is mine.



It was evening all morning.

It was dinner for breakfast

And it was time to eat.

Raphael sat

Licking his lips.

(Splinter loves philosophy, so one of his favorite poets is Wallace Stevens. In “Thirteen Ways to Look at a Blackbird,” Stevens wrote a series of poems that are almost like haiku. Together, they show us how life looks different depending on where we’re standing. And right now, you’re standing on my foot. Do you mind?)


SPECIAL SECTION: A Possible Introduction!

Bart here again. When you first opened my nonexistent book, there was going to be an opening chapter about limericks, with instructions to the artist. That’s what is written below — see if you can make sense of what I was shooting for!


SETTING: We are in the turtles’ sewer hangout, in a classroom that Splinter uses to teach his young wards. It should have the usual trappings (globe, four desks, motivational ninja posters, etc.) In the front is a blackboard. Splinter is there, concluding a lesson.

On the blackboard, we can see he’s just written this heading:

Today’s assignment—Limericks!

Below that is the following limerick on it, and there are arrows showing where the rhymes correspond.

A ninja’s main worry is stealth,

Not chasing after pizza or wealth.

Inside, he will find

He has peace of mind

Because of his excellent health!

Donatello is working at his desk. We can see a library of lots of learned volumes in front of him—if there’s space available, I can supply some suitable titles.

Raphael has come up behind D. to observe his writing. Meanwhile, Leonardo is practicing katana moves off to the side, and Michelangelo is playing a computer game or reading a comic book.

Perhaps from the reader’s perspective, we can see over Rafael’s shoulder. If not, this could be a dedicated panel. Anyway, this is what he’s written.

“Four little turtles got the blues

Cuz they were slimed by nasty ooze

Splinter trained ’em in the sewers

To defeat evildoers

So now turtles are bodacious big news!”

Raphael: What’re you doing, Donnie?

Donatello: Just writing a poem.

Raphael: Hey! It’s a lame-rick!

Donatello: That’s pronounced limerick, ding-dong. It’s a funny, five-line poem. Three lines rhyme with each other, and the two shorter lines also rhyme.


Raphael: That’s easy! [He writes furiously and holds up his paper.]

[ ] % $ + /

: . ; –

* ?

+ !

“, . \

Donatello: What the what? Dude, that’s NOT poetry!

Raphael: Oh yeah? Try saying each punctuation mark out loud.

Donatello (doubtfully): Brackets percent dollar plus slash

Colon period semicolon dash

Asterisk question mark

Plus exclamation mark

Quotation comma period backslash.

Raphael: Who’s a genius? I’m a genius!


And now, back to the poems!



(Inspired by “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou.)

You Foot Clan hide your identities

With masks and a weird disguise

You may steal and lie and cheat

But you, we’ll pulverize!


Don’t our shiny shells upset you?

Don’t our smiles mean your doom?

‘Cause our feet and our fists

Can knock you across the room.


Splinter trained us like his sons

Ninja training and pizza pies

So when we turtles arrive,

It’s time to
 . . .




“If Bebop and Rocksteady Ran Things”

(Inspired by “If I Were in Charge of the World” by Judith Viorst.)

If Bebop and Rocksteady ran things

They’d cancel country music,

IQ tests,

And Leonardo’s face.


If Bebop and Rocksteady ran things

There’d be more scared children,

Everyone would get cargo pants, knives, and lasers,

And people would collect turtle shells. (BIG turtle shells!)


If Bebop and Rocksteady ran things

You wouldn’t have “good”

You wouldn’t have “laws”

You wouldn’t have “Aaaah! A talking rhino!”

Or “Don’t kill the ninja turtles”

There wouldn’t even be ninja turtles!


If Bebop and Rocksteady ran things

Everyone would want to be a warthog

And a mutant who maybe forgot to crush,

Every last enemy into mush

Would still be running things…

(As long as Shredder said it was okay!)


You may know JUDITH VIORST as the author of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. She also writes excellent poems. They include classics like “Sad Underwear” and “If I Were in Charge of the World.”


“Be Glad Your Shell Is On Your Back”

(Inspired by “Be Glad Your Nose Is on Your Face” by Jack Prelutsky)

Be glad your shell is on your back,

not somewhere off the beaten track.

You’re much better off, I can tell,

sandwiched in-between your shell.


Sure, Rafael puts on a pretty tough act

So into his shell he’d never retract!

But even though he wouldn’t hide-out

Rafe’s glad for his shell, there is no doubt!


That carapace is handy if we meet

giants who want green turtles to eat.

And the Foot Clan will get shell-shock

after our armor their arrows do block.


So let’s all have a big shell-ebration

and party down in our ninja nation,

because we mutant personnel

know we’ve been saved by the shell!

(Jack Prelutsky was the very first U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate. That’s interesting, because he hated poetry when he was a kid! But Jack came around, and went on to write bodacious poems like “Be Glad Your Nose Is on Your Face.”)


“Now We Are Four”

(Inspired by “Now We Are Six” by A.A. Milne.)

When we were one,

We basked in the sun.


When we were two,

Green was our hue.


When we were three,

We yearned to be free.


And now we are four,

One more than before!


See, together we are four, and we are one.

(Having turtle brothers is lots of fun!)



(Inspired by “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe)

Once within a sewer dreary, four turtles studied, with eyes bleary

Over ninja assignments that were a bore.

Donatello was nearly napping! So his face he started slapping,

Then he heard someone softly rapping, rapping over near the door!

“I must be dreaming,” he muttered. “Hip hop from near the door?

That’s my imagination, nothing more.”

But then the rhymes grew stronger! Donatello could not wait much longer.

“Dudes,” said he, “forgive me, I implore;

I admit that I was napping, but can’t you also hear that rapping?”

And so, quickly, his feet slapping, Donnie went to the Lair’s door.

“I’ll just take a quick look!”—here Donatello opened wide the door—

But it was just the sewer there, nothing more.

Back to his brothers, Donnie was turning, and his face was hotly burning,

When this time they ALL heard rapping, somewhat louder than before.

“No way!” said Mikey. “Someone’s spitting rhymes! Let me

Go forth quickly and see, for good hip hop we can’t ignore!”

But Leo frowned. “We’re a team of four. So this mystery we’ll ALL explore—

But just for a minute, not a second more!”


Cheering, they ran with a pidder-pudder, splashing in the sewer’s gutter,

But the ninja turtles were misbehavin’! For Splinter had told them before

To stay and toil inside the Lair, until their assignment was finished there.

The turtles had no green light to look outside and explore.

Of this, they were reminded when they heard Splinter’s angry roar!


The Sensei’s teeth were grating and gritting. He was so mad, he was nearly spitting

As the turtles slunk back through the door. “Tell me where you were before!”

“Aboveground,” said Raph. “But you are not ready!” Splinter’s cry was unsteady.

“I’ve told you many times before! And you went together, so your crime is fourscore!

Now, to the Hashi!” he commanded, and the turtles went, saying nothing more.


Upside-down pushups with one arm, while juggling with the other, has no charm!

“Master,” gasped Raph. “Our apologies—your trust in us we must restore!

That ‘rapper’ was just a deep bass streaming, from a car stereo’s screaming,

And its rhymes found their way down, down to our Lair’s own floor.”

Splinter nodded. “But when will you next be misbehavin’?

Disobedience, I deplore.”

Cried the turtles: “Nevermore!”


“The Road Mistaken” 

(inspired by “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost)

Two alleys split in the neighborhood

The Turtle Van could not travel both

So it idled as long as it could

(The driver’s shell? It was hard as wood.)

Then the van moved slowly, like a sloth.


It rolled up that alley as if on a dare

Then a voice yelled “Stop!” in dismay

An oncoming car’s horn blasted the air.

“What the heck, buddy! Are you unaware

That you’re the WRONG way on a one way?”


See, Donnie was teaching Rafe how to drive!

And lessons had just started to commence.

Donnie’s hoping to get home alive

And it sure wasn’t time to give out a high-five

Cuz Rafe hit a trash can, followed by a fence!



(Inspired by “Sick” by Roald Dahl)

“I have a job for you four today.”

Said Splinter, the wisest rat sensei.

“I have learned that there is a chance

The Foot Clan’s near a school dance.

So using lessons that I have shown

You will be dance chaperones.”

Mikey laughed. “You’re joking! Is this phony?

Does ‘chaperone’ rhyme with ‘pepperoni’?”

Splinter frowned, and the turtles were ejected,

To go find the students who were to be protected.

When they got to the school, music filled the air.

Mikey whispered, “Trouble, right over there.”

It was a ninja in black, a mask over his face.

Time to strike hard and fade away without a trace!

The four brothers crept up in a second’s short tick

They planned to give the ninja a giant group kick.

But too late! The ninja spied the turtles there.

“Great outfits!” he said. “Those are the best, I swear.”

This ninja spoke with a voice rather high

And upon further review, was just a little guy.

Seeing things were not what they’d planned

Rafe asked, “You aren’t in the dreaded Foot Clan?”

The ninja guffawed with laughter most hearty.

“Our school dance is also a costume party!

And YOU four could win our contest’s top prize

Come on inside! They’ll get a kick from you guys.”


Sample page layout.

“To Be, or Not to Be”

(Inspired by the famous speech by Hamlet in, uh, “Hamlet” As you know, William Shakespeare  was the greatest poet of all time. So he had that going for him! Shakespeare’s play Hamlet is the story of a young price who asks some of life’s biggest questions.)

To be, or not to be—a ninja!

That is the question.

Is it better for turtles to suffer

As righteous daredevils with good fortune?

Or just to float in a pond, to blow bubbles,

Meet fishes, and befriend them? To dive, to eat. . .

To EAT? Looks like we’ve got a problem, bub,

For in the deep of the pond, what dreams may come?

Thus soggy pepperoni makes ninjas of we four!

And that’s how a turtle power revolution

Took place in the sewer’s shade of ooze,

And our sensei (who happens to be a rodent)

Encouraged our “Cowabunga!” battle cry

And made of us. . . teenage heroes of action!


“Tinkle, Tinkle, Little Jar”

(Inspired by “The Star” by Jane Taylor.)

Tinkle, tinkle little jar

Way up on that shelf so far

Up above the sewer floor

Like a home for turtles four

April comes to give you meals

(April’s last name is O’Neil)

Turtles grow big, by-and-by

That is due to TCRI

Tinkle, tinkle, little jar

Gone from on that shelf so far

Down upon the sewer floor

A brand-new home for turtles four


“Our Crimes, They Are Wide-Rangin’”

(To the tune the most famous protest song ever, Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin’.” Note: This poem is by Shredder!)

Come gather ’round, you mutants

Beasts, creatures, and gnomes

And see how your misdeeds

Force from the people groans

Your hybrid powers let you

Drive humans from their homes

Now stop so nicely behavin’

Do something that’d shock Sherlock Holmes!

For our crimes, they are wide-rangin’.


Come, you evil ninjas

Who hate all women and men

If you want to join up with us

Be a Foot Clan citizen

And when you eat lunch at noon

Try our ninja turtle gelatin

With a kung fu kick, try aimin’

Right at a good guy’s chin

For our crimes, they are wide-ranging.


Come scientists and business folks

There’s money to be made

We’ll rule the world together

Beneath my fearsome blade

But if your experiments and frauds fail

Shake, shiver and be afraid!

For you might come in peace, but my claws

Will leave you in pieces carefully laid

For my crimes, they are wide-ranging!

(Fun Fact: As a teenager, Bob Dylan was banned from his high school’s talent show because his music was too “shocking.”)


“You Are My Strong Swine”

(Inspired by “You Are My Sunshine.” This poem is a message from Shredder to Bebop.)

You are a strong swine, a mutant strong swine

There are stiff penalties if I am disobeyed.

You never know, Bebop, what’s going to happen

So don’t think that I can be betrayed.

You were a master thief, adept at creeping

And then I forced you into a new part.

You next appeared as a high-tech warthog

With a purple Mohawk and an evil heart.

You are a strong swine, a mutant strong swine

You’re good at fighting and getting paid.

You never know, Bebop, what’s going to happen

Just don’t think that I can be betrayed


“Nothing Green Can Stray”

(Inspired by “Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost. Here, this is a poem from Leo to the hot-tempered Rafael, who always threatens to go off on his own)

A Turtle’s green shell is gold

Too precious to ever be sold

For if fists start to shower

He’s safe because of Turtle Power!


If you and I have a beef

Don’t run off and cause us grief

Together in the Lair we should stay

Nothing green can stray.


“Break Me Out or You’re All Maimed”

(Inspired by “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” by Jack Norworth and Albert von Tilzer.

Note: This poem was written by Rock Steady.)

Break me out or you’re all maimed,

Break me out of here now!

You slimy Turtles will get your shells cracked,

Then I’ll find Master Splinter and attack!

It’s the boot, boot, boot for the Green Team,

No, you won’t wine—oh, the shame!

My cell’s got one, two, three bars so stout,

But I won’t be tamed!


“The Clog”

(Inspired by “The Fog” by Carl Sandburg.)

The clog comes

From under the seat


It’s overflowing

Over toilet’s edge dripping

It drops in bunches…

Who’s to blame?


(Carl Sandburg liked to write poems in “free verse”—that means the lines don’t have to rhyme or be a certain length. The day he wrote his famous poem “The Fog”, Sandburg had just finished reading some haiku. This may have led to the poem’s shortness and beauty. *sniff*)


“All the Bold Aren’t Mutant Critters”

(Inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s “All That Is Gold Does Not Glitter.”) 

All the bold aren’t mutant critters

Not all pizzas have red sauce

Brave fighters might be heavy hitters

But still must remember to floss


Our shells are hard and oaken

Ninja might will justice bring

Shredder’s iron grip must be broken

And then the fat lady will sing.


“Waiting for the Pie to Appear”

(Inspired by “Paul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.)

Listen my brothers, and you shall hear

Of how a pizza once did disappear.

It was made to order, with cheeses, five,

Like muenster, gouda, and cheddar chive,

And baked by an Italian engineer!


It was twelve by our Turtles Lair clock

When I ordered that pizza with a call downtown,

Then began to do an awesome Moonwalk

Through the soupy wet nighttime fog

So thick, it could make a bullfrog frown.


So through the night rode the delivery dude,

And through the night, he became unglued.

Heard through the fog’s thick stew

Were cries of, “Pizza for Leo! Where ARE you?”

When at our door he finally did knock

It was one—no, two!—by the Turtles’ Lair clock.


I said, “Dude, forgiveness is divine

And five cheeses give a smell really fine

But I never pay full price for late pizza pie.

Please take this coupon. Yes, thank you. Bye-bye!”

Now with a nom-nom my story’s end nears. . .

In one minute, that five-cheese pizza disappears!


“The Sai Practice Song”

(Inspired by “The Arrow and the Song” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.)

I threw my sai right through the air,

It rocketed out I know not where;

It flew so fast, so out of sight,

I must not know my own great might!


Then a cry tore through the air.

My sai hit Mikey! (I know not where.)

So he banged my noggin like a gong.

I ask you, dudes—isn’t that wrong?


Then Mikey threw my sai into a tree.

I found it in the trunk and pulled it free.

Now I’m practicing how to defend

Nunchucks thrown by my party-lovin’ friend!


“Leonardo the Dutiful”

(Inspired by “American the Beautiful” by Katharine Lee Bates and Samuel A. Ward.)

O dutiful with watchful eyes,

For good he does campaign,

For pepperoni and melted cheese

He’ll fight like a hurricane!


Leonardo! Leonardo! “Get ready, team!” says he.

A turtle grown with brotherhood

He’s all about family!


“Mikey Breaks Donnie’s Plan”

(Inspired by “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss. Note: This as a dialogue between Donnie and Mikey.)

“Look, I made a super-cool plan.

I put it on this diagram.”


“I do not like your crazy plan.

I do not like that flim-flam-sham!”


“You may like it.

You will see.

Is it perhaps

A possibility?”


“Read my lips

and YOU will see:

I don’t like your plan.

It’s barfarooni!”


“What if we took

A fun little lark?

Would you feel better

After seeing the skate park?”


“I will not, shall not,

Go to that park.

Not in the day.

Not after dark.

Dude, I do not like your crazy plan.

Like I said, it’s a flim-flam sham!”


“You do not like it,

I hear you say.

So I must take

This large pizza away.”



Please, please, let me see

Your plan once more.

Hear my plea!


I really like your genius plan.

I do! I like it! It’s not a sham!

And if I say that to the guys,

May I have a little slice?”



“Mikey’s Serious Skateboard Wipeout!”

(Inspired by “Sarah Silvia Cynthia Stout” by Shel Silverstein

Mikey’s serious skateboard wipeout.

Was it terrible? Without a doubt!

He’d scoured around for curbs to grind,

Or any railings he could find.

“Is there a stairway somewhere about?”

He asked before that skateboard wipeout.

Then Mikey spied a new skate park,

And so he snuck in after dark.

He bombed down a hill, went in a hole,

And started to carve the side of a bowl .

Then Mikey thought, “Hey, good golly,

Check out this cool turtle doing killer ollies!”

A car pulled up, it looked like April O’Neil’s,

So Mikey rolled over (on things we call wheels),

Came to a stop, tried to flip his board—

But goofed! Through the air, Mikey soared!

He tried to be cool as he bailed out,

But it looked worse than sauerkraut!

He rolled in the dirt, stopped with a jerk.

April just grinned: “Genius at work?”

So let’s shed a tear as we think about

Mikey’s tragic skateboard wipeout!


“Domes Are Not Strange”

(Inspired by “Home on the Range” by Brewster M. Higley.)

Oh, give me a dome with no need for a comb,

Without hair—it’s a cantaloupe display.

Where instead is seen a scalp that’s so clean,

And your eyes can’t spot a turtle toupee!


Domes, domes are not strange,

Without hair—it’s a cantaloupe display.

Where instead is seen a scalp that’s so clean,

And your eyes spot no turtle toupee.


Yes, our heads they all need a little sunscreen,

But we’re in it to win it with four.

When green meets mean, our blades are so keen,

The Foot Clan will beg, “No more!”


Domes, domes are not strange,

Without hair—it’s a cantaloupe display.

Where instead is seen a scalp that’s so clean,

And your eyes spot no turtle toupee.


“O Camera! My Camera!”

(Inspired by “O Captain! My Captain” by Walt Whitman)

(note: April O’Neil wakes up in the turtles’ lair)

O my head! My my head! I feel lightheaded, like a cloud

As I awake upon a couch, I’m surrounded by a crowd.

Listen well as this part I tell, for it’s something you may not be believing

Four giant green turtles stare at me! One asks, “Are you already leaving?”

But O camera! video! camera!

O how my heart fills with dread,

For on the floor, my camera lies,

With no power—its battery’s dead.

O camera! My camera! These turtles with me are acquainted.

For I’d seen them all just moments before, but sadly, then I fainted.

Now I rise, and as I do, the turtles introduce themselves to me

And as they joke and argue and sing, they make fine company.

But O camera! video! camera!

Your footage would give me street cred.

But at my feet my camera lies,

It’s fallen cold and dead.

As I gaze at these turtle ninjas, I keep having the same thought:

“This is a super-exclusive Channel 3 news story that I’ve got!

If only I could film it, I’d call my report ‘Legion of Sewer Heroes’

Or ‘The Nin-Justice League,’ if my boss thought that one a zero.”

But there’s no sense dreaming about imaginary reports,

And the things for TV viewers I might have said.

For on the floor, my camera still lies,

And its stupid battery’s still dead!


Look at those mad art skillz!

“The Song of Master Shredder”

(Inspired by “The Song of Mr Toad” by Kenneth Grahame.)

Four turtles are hated by a foul villain

Who wishes they were much dead-er

He has a scary name, yet all the same

You should know that he’s Master Shredder.


He’s got a gang of thieves called the Foot Clan

Should they spot your pizza, they’ll stomp its cheddar

Those kids are wild and bold, but do as they’re told

Based on orders from their Master Shredder.


If Shredder swung his sword at turtle necks

He’d try to cut a double double-header

Despite the sewery goop, he wants to dine on turtle soup!

He’s a mean one, he is—Master Shredder.

(When Kenneth Grahame’s son had trouble sleeping, Grahame told him funny adventures about a toad. This led to the poem “The Song of Mr Toad” in Grahame’s famous book, The Wind in the Willows. Bonus Fun Fact: Grahame also wrote “The Headswoman”— a funny short story about a female executioner.)


[gas is more thicker with clams]

(Inspired by “[love is more thicker than forget]” by e.e. cummings.)

salami’s more thicker than ham

more thinner than pepperoni

the more times the pizza’s got clams

the more ninja turtles do disagree


“more clams, the more we do smell-o

they make our butts really stink”

this and more argued Donatello

then he saw a bro of his wink


a thick smell did the ninjas bombard-o

the awful odor wouldn’t lessen or die

from his smirk, it was Leonardo

so no more clams on the pizza pie!

(e. e. cummings was a true rebel—he didn’t even use capital letters in his name! From early on, cummings was interested in poetry. I mean, he wrote a poem a day from the age of eight to twenty-two. Dude, that’s more than 5,000 of them! In poems like “[love is more thicker than forget]”, cummings changed definitions, lines, and even the words themselves. With him, all bets were off!)


Okay, Bart here again! I’m going to end with some nursery rhyme-style poems. These WOULD have gone at the front of the book . . . anyway, after the first two poems, see if you can guess what the source rhymes are:


by Leonardo

Poetry, I can not stand.

It’s much too hard to understand!

But if I spell some nursery rhymes out,

I’ll learn what poetry is about.

“Nursery Crimes”

by Michelangelo

Reading Leo’s nursery rhymes is fun

(Or ‘nursery crimes,’ to rename them!)

Yeah, his poems sure make me feel fine,

Because they’re even worse than mine!

“A-ha, Bebop”

“A-ha, Bebop

Have you any loot?”

“Yes, Master Shredder,

There is no substitute!

One box for you, my leader

And one for the Kraang.

But none for the turtles

And their weak little gang!”

“Ninja Turtles Tough It”

Ninja turtles tough it

Ain’t afraid to rough it

Keeping bad guys at bay.

Along came the Kraang

With Footbots they brang

Were our turtles frightened? No way!

“Teenage Ninja Fighter”

After an all-nighter

It was time for lights out.

“One more video game?”

Asked Mikey with a pout.

Splinter nodded to his son,

They heard a subway train.

Then those teenaged turtle fighters

Played their game again!

“Hot Summer Day”

They wanted to chill, so for a thrill

April and Donnie went to the harbor

Goofed around, pretended to drown

Amid much splashing and laughter!