Odes to My Triceratops, Pt. 1 (Poetry)


As the boy’s loved ones feared, on April 8, 2009 the Santa Cruz County Coroner ruled the 17-year-old’s death a suicide. His name, William Griffin, didn’t mean anything yet to the public at large.

On April 16, 2009, at the funeral in Watsonville, William Griffin’s parents Lisa and Ken welcomed two strange new visitors to their family’s life: the creator of Sonic the Hedgehog along with his wife Angela. Many have seen this as a sign of fate, but the Griffins did not. And a few days later, on April 21, 2009, William’s mother Lisa was brutally murdered.

William Griffin lived in a rough inner-city suburb in Grand Rapids, MI. When he was ten he got accidentally sucked into a TV during the sitcom called ‘Garfield’. The episode in question featured a new character, the triceratops named Lorenzo (triceratops being a large, sharp-toothed, three-horned dinosaur). William therefore met not only the major characters of the ‘Garfield’ series, but also the aforementioned triceratops named Lorenzo, who would end up exiting the TV along with the boy and being welcomed into his family. Out of respect for William Griffin’s passing, the episode where Lorenzo the triceratops was introduced didn’t air until about a year after William died.

The surviving family wished to leave behind painful memories, but as they hurried to move, they discovered William’s treasure trove of poems and cassette tapes. William’s step-father Ken made them available to the public. It didn’t take long for the lives of not only Will, but also his neighbor Claire Javernick and William’s best friend, the triceratops named Lorenzo, to come into focus as they were featured in documentaries.

The following texts were composed by a fourteen years old William, some as lyrics for his songs, others as simple poems, or both.

He has a small black mouth
Like a bottom.
His skin is brown
Like a beet.
His horns are round
Like a pepperoni pizza.
He’s just twelve.
He’s just eleven.
He’s just my best friend,
My favorite friend.
He’s just twelve.
He’s just eleven.
But he’s also twelve.

His horns are round
Like a pepperoni pizza,
And they grow in the middle,
And they’re as big as cans.
They’re aching for a fight.
He’s just eleven.
He’s just ten.
He’s just my best friend,
My favorite friend.
He’s just eleven.

‘Lorenzo’ by William Griffin

Lorenzo is so proud and tall.
He walked by me at the school gate.
He pointed at me and said,
“I am a triceratops. I am so cool!”

A ponopodon is what he found inside his throat.
He swallowed it and out came light.
He gave me another ponopodon and said, “Have a bite!”,
But the ponopodon was horrible,
And it bit me,
And gave me the willies.

‘Lemonade and Willies’ by William Griffin

Lorenzo is a triceratops.
He eats clams and lobsters,
Laughing crocodiles and lions of hell.
He’s eating me to bits.
Mister fish, he’s eating me.
Lorenzo is a triceratops.
In the basement of his throat,
Inside of hell,
You will find a baby doll.

‘My Friendo Lorenzo’ by William Griffin

My friend’s name is Lorenzo.
He’s a three-headed triceratops
With a portal to hell inside his throat.

When I’d sit around and play,
I’d play my guitar,
And he’d come over and sit down by me
To hear me sing a song.

My neighbor she is a blind girl,
And she can’t read nor write.
We are just like friends.
We’d sit on her front porch and talk.

While I sat on her front porch and talked,
She said her name was Claire,
And she said her daddy and mommy died,
And she said she’d rather be dead than blind.
Then she went into her house.

I said, what was that?
Then she came out and asked me
If I’d like to go home with her.
I said, what the hell?
I said, what was that?
She said her daddy and mommy died.
She went in and closed her door.

I said, what the hell?
I said, what was that?
She said her daddy and mommy died.
She went in and closed her door,
Closed her door.

‘Better Dead Than Blind’ by William Griffin

Me and my friend Lorenzo left on a motorbike
Toward the woods of the North.
We lived in a house
Filled with all the old books.

Claire (Claire with a C) lives next door.
Lorenzo (who’s a triceratops) with his green eyes,
Purple skin and parrot-red hair.
I’m William, fourteen years old.
I can read and write, I’m terrified of my sister
(We have the same mother, our father is deceased).

Claire (with a C) she can’t read and she can’t write.
I don’t think she knows how to shave.
Lorenzo (who’s a triceratops) takes care of our parents.
Claire (Claire with a C) never comes to our house.
She eats everything in her mama’s pantry.

Lorenzo (who’s a triceratops) drinks blood to eat.
We watch Stephen King movies every Saturday
On our projector screen.

Claire reads scary stories to me,
Or she’s making them up because she can’t read.
I found out Claire is a vampire.
I couldn’t care less.

‘Claire With a C’ by William Griffin

Claire is Claire is Claire.
She walks and talks and wears a dress.
Claire’s a fourteen years old
Fairy tale too real to be.

Lorenzo is Lorenzo is Lorenzo,
With a portal to hell inside his throat.
Lorenzo is the Devil’s spawn,
Is the beast that does not eat.

It’s hard to describe Lorenzo.
What a stunning day that was,
The day Lorenzo came to us,
Came to us from God above.

Lorenzo is sweet and sappy,
Has a voice that chimes like the bells.
Lorenzo’s tongue is sweet like honey.
Lorenzo lives on old tobacco leaves.

‘Fairy Tale Too Real to Be’ by William Griffin

I am a stegosaur and so is you.
A piece of me in every creature,
Like you and him and all the people.
We all have a heartbeat
And a soul inside.

We like you, Claire.
And since we’re here we may as well be glad
And say a prayer, for just because you’re blind,
You don’t have to be stuck in a place
Where there’s nothing to see.

There’s lots of beautiful things in the world,
Lots of beautiful people.
You’re one of them.

When the sun comes out,
The grass shakes off its dander.
When it rains, the clouds roll in and out.
The mountains and the rivers,
The sky and the earth,
The stars and the planets,
One big beautiful living organism.
Beauty never dies.
We will never see each other die.

The color’s gone from your eyes,
But not from your heart.

‘I Am Your Stegosaur’ by William Griffin

You know, you’re the special one,
The one who took a gander.
You’re a girl that’s cute,
And you’re the love of my life.

She’s just fourteen years old,
And the words we write together,
That I write I mean,
Because she can’t read,
Are nothing but lies.

She’s seen the future,
And the past is past.
I said to her, “Don’t forget your roots,”
Because I learned you gotta grow.
So you ain’t no bigger than a matchstick,
But you still got your roots.

A girl, she’s got a good heart.
She’s just fourteen years old,
And the words we write together,
That I write I mean,
Because she can’t read,
Are nothing but lies.

You know you’re the special one,
The one who took a gander.
You’re a girl that’s cute,
And you’re the love of my life.

She’s just fourteen years old,
And the words we write together,
That I write I mean,
Because she can’t read,
Are nothing but lies.

And we only make each other up.
Never gonna be the truth.
So you know that you’re the special one,
The one who took a gander,
You’re the love of my life.

‘For Claire, Who Can’t Read’ by William Griffin

Hello, my name is William.
My best friend, I’ve known him all my life,
He is called Lorenzo.
I’m not sure how to pronounce it,
Since he talks with horns.

I’m writing this letter to Claire, she is my beloved,
I love her with all my heart.
My love is deep and everlasting.
She’s beautiful.
She is the smartest girl I have ever known.
She’s fourteen,
With hair of pink,
Skin of chocolate,
And eyes of grey.
She’s a dragon,
Instead of a triceratops
With a portal to hell inside his throat.

Every morning she wakes up on the couch
In her underwear.
She grabs her backpack
And walks in the direction of school.
I’ve never seen her there.
I call her a dragon
Because she’s not a triceratops,
And her lunchbox is inside her throat.

Her name is Claire.
She has black hair,
Her skin is golden,
And her wings are purple.

‘My Neighbor, the Dragon’ by William Griffin

Claire, so beautiful,
With such a sweet smile,
Even at 14.
She’s in love with me.
We spend every minute
Like lovers do.
She takes me to a place
Where no one can see us.

I saw her first!
It was last Thursday
In my backyard,
When I was doing chores,
And I saw my friend Claire,
For she was standing there.
She was so beautiful.
Such a beautiful smile,
And I just couldn’t resist.

She made me this toast
With strawberry jam and butter,
And made me some cookies too,
The sweetest I’ve ever had.

I ate all of her food,
Even her share.
I watched as her eyes
Lit up like a candle.

‘Let Me Eat Your Stuff’ by William Griffin

She must’ve been part goldfish and part salt lick,
Because she could swallow letters and numbers.

My friends told me they had seen her pet goldfish grow
Just six inches long. It could read and write.

She carried a paperback to school in her backpack.
The letters and numbers had traveled through her mouth.

Other kids wondered why she couldn’t read and write,
Even though her eyes were clearly dead.

She would just say that’s alright to all of her friends,
‘Cause I can read and write. That’s my only friend.

Claire is gone and I miss my beloved friend,
Because she has her eyes open just for me.

‘Part Goldfish’ by William Griffin

Her skin is white as paper,
Like a pearl.
Her body is flawless,
And she’s just fourteen,
But she’s already so much.
She’s the love of my life.
She can’t read,
She can’t write,
She’s just fourteen.
She’s so much more,
And she’s my favorite day.
My favorite friend,
My favorite day.

‘Beloved Lover’ by William Griffin

Triceratops, I love you more than anything
(But I’m the only one who sees your white behind).
All the girls adore you,
And they want to touch you.

Claire, if you want to, you can have me,
For I’m not ashamed.
I hope you’re not ashamed.

Triceratops, there’s no magic potion
To chase off
Those lonely feelings.

Claire, there’s no such thing as eternal bliss
Or a hell of aces,
Only eternal regrets.

‘No Magic Potion’ by William Griffin

It’s not like my heart has ever been full,
In all my life,
Until I met your two eyes.
It’s a matter of fact that I’d like to have you,
And that I’d take any length of time,
I’d take it all if it means,
I can lay my head on your breasts.

But what would I think, if you should tell me
That you’d prefer if I didn’t come at all.
Can I tell you how scared I was, how scared I’ve been,
Every time I thought about you.
My step-father told me don’t play around,
Go for what’s worth having.
He said when a man has a real woman,
He’s got to wait a while.
He said it was about a month.

I asked my step-father, what do I owe to you.
He said the man who says I ought to settle for I love you
Is the man who can’t make me quit.
I asked my step-father, what am I missing.
He said, there is a place where the most evil men are,
And they just laugh at us down here on earth.

And what’s going on in heaven, I don’t know.

‘Wait About a Month for Love’ by William Griffin

Claire’s a girl so helpless.
Claire is blind.
Claire’s a girl so pure.
Claire is blind.
This love won’t end in pain.

‘Helpless and Pure’ by William Griffin

Claire’s really a sweetheart,
As pretty as a picture.
She just doesn’t wanna get wet,
But wait and see.

She’s a human,
But what’s behind
That painted
Fake face.

If Claire had eyes,
She would look into mine.
I’d let her see.

I’ll teach her to read and write,
I’ll teach her how to play,
With my guitar.

‘Please, Play With My Guitar’ by William Griffin

This is from William’s diary:

So I look at Lorenzo and I’m just mad ’cause he’s gross. All I know is that he has the Mark of the Beast inside his throat. When he laughs it’s rancid and crumbly and when he cries it’s just creepy. Lorenzo’s ugly and he makes me afraid. When he’s with me, he uses his fist as a piano. I try to pretend that I don’t care when he stares at me like that. Deep down inside, I wish that he would leave me alone, but every day when I look up, he’s there. Lorenzo is worse than a dog, because he can think as well as show his affection. Now he leaves pictures on my pillow every morning.

We’d go underground in a coffin,
Dressed all in black.
We would hug and kiss the stars
With our heads in a casket,
And in her worst dreams
We would dance in the dark.

Lorenzo wears a Jesus apron.
Claire’s belly button is her heart.
Now he’s missing his eye.
My fault.

Ah ah ah ah ah ah.
Ah ah ah ah ah ah.
Ah ah ah ah ah ah.
Ah ah ah ah ah ah.

I’m shaking off the free rays of dying stars.
I am trembling at the breath
Of the burning heart
That’s inside your throat.

Like time, like the cosmos,
This eternity with a physical body
Will one day become a tear
In the eyes of the deepest heart.

I know you’re in my head,
I know you are alive.
I’m shaking off the free rays of dying stars.
I am trembling at the breath
Of the burning heart
That’s inside your throat.

Oh aah, hey aah aah.
Hey aah, aah, aah, hey aah.
Oh aah, hey aah aah.
Hey aah, aah, aah, hey aah.

We’d go underground in a coffin,
Dressed all in black.
We would hug and kiss the stars
With our heads in a casket,
And in her worst dreams
We would dance in the dark.

Oh.

I know you’re in my head.
I know you are alive.
I’m shaking off the free rays of dying stars.
I am trembling at the breath
Of the burning heart
That’s inside your throat.

‘The Burning Heart Inside Your Throat’ by William Griffin

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