One Eyed Wild Winking John

I have a book that I write in on the train.  It’s a larger yellow book, a mustard yellow book with worn white marks.  White marks and dog ears from the startled packing of my bags every morning when my stop sneaks up on me.  While it seems I might mistreat it in my urgency, the book contains the contents of all those ideas that may or may not pan out as a story worth the pursuit.  Sometimes the story starts in the middle, sometimes it’s one rhyme or one line that I become particularly fond of and do my best to make something of it.  The poem below started from a gentleman who always has one eyed closed when he talks.  One eyed closed like the sun seeks out his face to shine the brightest whether One-Eyed Wild Winking John is outside or whether he is inside.  So that begs the question, how does one get dressed when one constantly winks?……

One Eyed Wild Winking John

tries to put his clothes on.

He stares at his clothes while he thinks

then makes a choice as he winks.

One Eyed Wild Winking John

tries to put his pants on.

Right leg first, then his ear

“This is going to help me hear.”

One Eyed Wild Winking John

tries to put his shirt on.

Left arm first, then his nose

“That’ll be warm I suppose.”

One Eyed Wild Winking John

tries to put his shoes on.

Right foot first, then his hand

” Watch this now, I can stand.”

One Eyed Wild Winking John

tries to put his belt on.

Around his waist, over his toes

“This’ll keep on all my clothes.”

One Eyed Wild Winking John

Says he has his clothes on.

With pants on his ears, and a shirt on his nose

Shoes on his hands and a belt on this toes

With a hat on his finger and a scarf on his knee

“Looks good” John says as he winks at me.

Now getting dressed while you’re winking

Must be harder than we’re thinking.

So unlike One Eyed Wild Winking John

who winks when he puts his clothes on.

When you decide to look your best

Open both eyes when you get dressed.


  1. March 8, 2018 / 4:10 pm

    This is hilarious! I love the real-life inspiration for the poem. At first glance, when the poem came across my e-mail this morning, it reminded me of the composition assignment to write instructions for putting on a raincoat. Student reads instructions to teacher. Teacher attempts to follow them. Hilarity ensues. Students learn the value of specificity in writing.

    • Bible Bill
      March 9, 2018 / 4:55 pm

      I’m thinking of the quote from Phenomenon, ‘Specifics, Bob.’ Thanks for reading!

  2. Ryan
    March 11, 2018 / 10:44 pm

    Thanks Liz. I’m glad this one makes you laugh. The real life inspiration also has some wild eyebrows but I didn’t want my poem to be too scattered. I agree that specificity is an important part of writing and it’s something I work on. I’m glad you noticed and enjoyed it. By the way, do you have any suggestions of places to submit silly little poems like these? I am beginning to acquire a collection of them and would like to see where they could go. Any help is appreciated and thanks for the support.

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