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Ode to the Oilcloth Tablecloth

posted Monday December 29th, 2008

Have you heard of Calef Brown? If you haven’t, grab one of the bookstore gift cards you got for the holidays, and run out and buy one of his collections of poetry, which include “Polkabats and Octopus Slacks” and “Flamingo on the Roof” (

It’s the stuff you had children for — this guy’s the Dan Zanes of kid books, the Yo Gabba Gabba (well, sort of) of baby lit. Todd Parr with an edge.

I bought the girls (okay, I bought it for myself but I’ll share) Brown’s latest, “Soup for Breakfast,” and I was flipping through it yesterday and was delighted to see a poem entitled “Oilcloth Tablecloth”.

I’m all about the oilcloth tablecloth, as any observant GIAPH reader knows. (Buy your own: my favorite site for oilcloth is My dining room table serves as the backdrop of many of the poor quality photos I take and post, and my tablecloth collection has garnered more than a few comments from certain quarters. (I’m always tickled to hear complaints about the oilcloth patterns, which I slather with the unabashed love reserved for things like vintage Japanese celluloid and carnival chalk — acquired tastes, to be sure.)

I love that Calef Brown appreciates oilcloth, too. With no further ado (since I’ve been told by an expert that my blog entries are too long) here is Calef Brown’s own ode to the OT, followed by a particularly bad photo that will give you an idea of his cool imagery: 


Oilcloth Tablecloth

Keeps the table dry,

Despite the many soda spills

and coffee gone awry.

If someone sloshes orange juice,

or baby starts to cry,

Oilcloth Tablecloth

keeps the table dry.


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