Things to Twist Your Tongue

If your enemy is an anemone,
there's a simple cinnamon remedy.
Cinnamon wipes anenome's memories
so they can't remember your identity. 
Bobby bathes in butter
because butter builds bigger, better bubbles. 
I can can a toucan if you can find a toucan.
But why cram a toucan in a can
if you can't eat a can of toucan? 
Hanna Hurley had a ham hat
hoisted high upon her hairy head.
Her ham hat was so heavy
that she had to have it halved. 
If you flush a turtle down the toilet portal,
where does turtle travel to?
It surfs the slippery water shuttle to turtle city
where tossed out turtles talk in tiny towers
and drink tasty turnip tea. 
A pair of pliers.

-B.C. Byron
Wash the pliers after you do tongue twisters

It’s fun to see what sound combinations trip up different people’s tongues. Perhaps you’re one of those people that has no trouble at all with the crazy nonsense above. Maybe you can easily carry on a conversation with your tongue squashed and twisted by a pair of pliers. Or maybe you’re like the ventriloquist that came to an assembly at my grade school who could sing songs while drinking a glass of water. I doubt that guy would be tongue-tied by cinnamon anemones.

20 years ago, I lived in South Korea and learned their language for 2 years. It is one of the hardest and most rewarding things I’ve ever done. That’s how I learned what a tongue twister is really like. I remember my tongue being exhausted from speaking Korean all day. I think I may have had tongue cramps a few times. My American mouth just seemed to not have the muscles for it, at first. It was like overdoing the weight lifting at the tongue gym and then going back for more the next day. I wonder if Korean folk’s tongues get as tired and twisted when first learning English.

Hey, here’s a real challenge for you. Twist your tongue to match my drawing with an actual pair if pliers while reciting the tongue twisters above. Then see whose tongue tongue takes the longest time to go back to its normal shape. Just make sure you wash the pliers afterward. There’s nothing worse than trying to fix your bike with spitty pliers. See? You can always count on your favorite poet, B.C. Byron, for a good way to spend your free time.

Published by B.C. Byron

I’m a children’s author, poet, father of 3 girls, and electrical engineer. My first book, A Cat Named Lump, is available on Amazon,, and Google Books. I post new poems and illustrations every week.

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