Pet Peeves


Kilmer Was Here

by Mark D. Crantz
by Mark D. Crantz

I really don’t want readers to think any less of me than they already do, but I have a confession to make: I thought Joyce Kilmer, the poet made famous for the poem “Trees,” was a woman.

She’s a he. His first name is Alfred. The curveball that suckered me in to swinging for a girl was that the middle name Joyce, was named after the family priest. I feel rather stupid.

And are trees that he/she wrote about girls or boys? And does gender matter on what tree has been put on Laguna’s Tree Heritage List? There are 2,700 trees maintained by the city. Are the trees girls or boys? Is there gender equality? And three times this number, are being maintained by private property owners. Are these girl or boy property owners and how do we know the gender when owners wish to remain private? It’s a cover up.

I shouldn’t even bring up the gender issue. Property owners are confused enough whether they need a city permit to cut down a tree on their property. What possible good could come of knowing whether the marked tree is a boy or girl? I don’t know.

Owners may be reluctant to kill off a girl tree and unknowingly make up their landscape slasher instinct by taking it out on boy trees, a result that would unwittingly cause gender inequality. And what if trees have gender identification issues and they think they are girl trees when they are biologically boy trees and get the axe before knowing who they really are.

I think I’ll never see a poem lovely as a tree,” Joyce/Alfred wrote, but should have followed with,


Spruce:            Would you like to go out on the town?

Magnolia:        I can’t tonight.

Spruce:            How about tomorrow night?

Magnolia:        Sorry.

Spruce:            When then?

Magnolia:        Never.

Spruce:            You don’t like me?

Magnolia:        It’s not you. It’s me. I’m rooted to this spot.


Tree dating would be impossible. Nobody could go out on the town. And this makes me wonder how did the trees we do have in town ever get there? They must have broken the ‘rooted to the spot’ dilemma and managed to get a date.


Shoot:              Sure had fun tonight.

Sapling:          Best night ever at the Marine Room Tavern.

Shoot:              Loved Missiles of October.

Sapling:          Made me sway the night away.

Shoot:             Let’s go home.

Sapling:           Can’t do. Those Jello-shots went to my branches.

Shoot:              Well then, will you marry me? Say yes, and we’ll root down right                                         here on Ocean Avenue and rehydrate.

Sapling:           I do, so long as we have many, many seedlings?

Shoot:             Ahh sorry, I’m uber and out of here.


Crantz tells the Indy that he’s an incurable tree hugger, which blocks his own ocean views.    




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