Tuesday, June 30, 2015

For Friends in Canada

Canada Day? Just One?

With love from an ‘umble Yank

But every day is Canada Day!

The afternoon plane lands in Halifax
When the hatch is popped, cool air rushes in
Even the fog is happy in Canada

The Muskogee never made landfall here
And so we pilgrimage for her, complete
Her voyage from ’42 to Canada

Wolfville, Grand Pre’, Le Grande Derangement
The Deportation Cross and beer cans
Well, God forgive the Redcoats anyway

Newfoundland
Is a bold
Anapest

The church spires in a line, the light is green
The bold young captain shoots the narrows wild
Can you find your way to your painted house?

To walk again the cobbles of Ferryland
And smell the very blue of the Atlantic
The sea-blown wind is cold in Canada

Blue Puttees and a mourning Caribou
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord
Good children sing “We love thee, Newfoundland”

Quebec – royal city of New France
May Le Bon Dieu bless the Plains of Abraham,
And may God bless
The signs an English driver cannot read

The Coca-Cola streets of Niagara Falls
Yanks laugh at made-in-China Mountie mugs
And buy them, happy to be in Canada

A cup of Toujours Frais from – well, that place
But to us in your southern provinces
Below Niagara, Tim too is Canada

But Canada goes on; these scribbles must not -
Your grateful guest wishes only to say
That every happy day is Canada Day!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

With True Prayers

Lawrence Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com


With True Prayers

“…but with true prayers
That shall be up at heaven and enter there”

-Measure for Measure II.ii.151-152

A study table is an Altar too
Whereon repose not only holy books
But also hopes and prayers and coffee cups
On Wednesday evening – there in fellowship
To crown the middle of the busy week
With an hour or two of quiet discourse
And, yes, laughter, joy, and merriment
Among dear friends, our happy gifts from God -
Evil cannot veto, even with our blood
The truth: this table is an Altar too

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Photographs of D.T. Kent, Jr.

Lawrence Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com

The Photographs of D. T. Kent, Jr. I

“Old men forget…”
-Henry V

We see them in D.T.’s old photographs
Still standing tall on a Kirbyville street
Leaning upon a crutch or stick or friend
Or sitting in the summer shade at home
Shelling peas, shucking corn, mending harness
Because idle hands are the devil’s workshop
Loggers, farmers, railroaders, sawmill men
Always summoned to the government’s wars
But never to the White House for a medal -
That honor is not for the likes of them



The Photographs of D. T. Kent, Jr. II

“...she is a woman / More worth than any man…”
-The Winter’s Tale

We see them in D.T.’s old photographs
Standing on the steps of the Methodist church
The worthy women of the Bible Class
More dutiful than any old bishop
In teaching, preaching, healing errant souls
Whether daughters or sons, husbands or mules
Shelling peas, shucking corn, mending a quilt
Because idle hands are the devil’s workshop
And never taking tea with the First Lady –
Who would be welcome in for supper, though


The Photographs of D. T. Kent, Jr. III

“…an aery of children…”
-Hamlet

We see them in D.T.’s old photographs
Playing on the steps of a country church
Or running barefoot in the cow-cropped grass
Before Ma’am rings the bell for Sunday school
Getting up the milk cows, fishing in the pond
Or sitting in the summer shade at home
Made to shell peas, shuck corn, mend harness
Because idle hands are the devil’s workshop
If they were asked to the White House to play
Momma would make them wash behind their ears


The Photographs of D. T. Kent, Jr. IV

“It was a lover and his lass…”
-As You Like It

We see the girls in D.T.’s photographs
Discreetly flirting on a Kirbyville street
Under the stern-browed matrons’ watchful eyes
Or jitterbugging to the new jukebox
In some joint Momma wouldn’t approve of
Cokes, Nehis, and Dr Peppers raised high
Because the sawmill hands got paid today
And the other boys are home from the war:
Oh, look how happy they are, our moms and dads
Forever young, forever in our hearts


Thank you, Mr. Kent

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Posing for Selfies at the Foot of the Cross

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

Posing for Selfies at the Foot of the Cross

A Doctor Mengele can cut and sew
Fragments of human flesh into a lie
And hide with perfume, paint, and filtered lens
This mockery of the embalmer’s art
That writhes in coils around the Tree of Life
Dressed richly in the colors of decay
And hisses through an anaesthetic smile
“That’s just the way the world works now.”
And let The People say how brave it is
To pose for selfies at the foot of the Cross

Sunday, May 31, 2015

More Things People Never Say

Mack Hall, HSG
Mhall46184@aol.com

More Things People Never Say

So how is wearing a red clown nose going to help anyone other than the manufacturers of red clown noses? And what happened to that money I gave someone else last year when I threw a bucket of ice water over my head?

My son’s been arrested several times. Clearly I didn’t raise him better than that.

I really miss the Habsburgs and the Romanovs. The Saxe-Coburg-Gothas are okay in their own way, of course.

I think he’s found all his marbles.

It ain’t over until the skinny gentleman sings.

Vote for me – I’m a Washington insider.

I sure hope Japan kills more whales this year.

Blue Bell wasn’t all that good anyway.

Harp seal – it’s what’s for dinner.

A new tie is a great Fathers’ Day gift.

Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.

He’s an undecorated veteran.

My lips are unsealed.

Soon to be a minor motion picture.

Pay it backward.

At least he died doing what he didn’t like.

This new book is a must-not-read.

You’ve got some small shoes to fill.

When they made him they kept the mold.

The experience was jaw-lifting.

This next speaker will not change your life forever.

Why, yes, I am surgically attached to my MePhone.

Here’s how we attract the youth to church – we tell them the simple truth and cut out all the entertainment.

Ya gotta find your periphery, man; ya gotta find your periphery.

When I grow up I want to be a cop or a teacher.

Oh, do look at the house; it’s not such a mess.

My homework ate my dog – that was one wild biology experiment.

I’m going to the camera shop for a selfless stick.

The other kids and I are reading The Brothers Karamazov this summer. So cool!

-30-

Embrace Your Inner Adult

Mack Hall, HSG
Mhall46184@aol.com

Embrace Your Inner Adult

With the last of the fictional, cliché-sodden, wish-fulfillment graduation speeches cluttering up our in-boxes we can now turn to the more casual summer pattern of talking back to the filler-language of reporters and interviewers:


This video is going bacterial.

We’re in charted territory.

We need to educate for the 12th century.

Follow your works.

Let’s think inside the box.

There is something new under the sun.

Be careful what you wish for; you might not get it.

Let’s throw more money at the problem.

This isn’t ridiculous! This isn’t ridiculous!

The times need to get with the Church.

That’s just the way the world doesn’t work now.

We didn’t dodge the bullet; the bullet dodged us.

OMZ! OMZ! (for “Oh my Zeus!”) on the repeated amateur footage of tornado porn on what used to be a weather channel.

I say “Kafka-esque” a lot, but I don’t know what that means.

He pushed in all the stops.

The storm was imperfect.

He’s not a lone wolf. Lone gerbil, maybe.

You need to give 95 percent.

Write from your pancreas, not from your heart.

Inexact change, please.

I’d like some extra cholesterol with that.

That is so new school.

And, as a farewell to graduation speeches until December,

I just love guest speakers at graduation. I only wish they would talk longer. After all, I’m not much interested in seeing my child receive her diploma.

-30-

Casablanca - The Remake

Mack Hall, HSG
Mhall46184@aol.com

Casablanca – The Remake

In the re-make of Casablanca most scenes take place in Rick’s Juice Bar
Americain
, where a cast of international characters seek desperately for the
Downloads of Transit signed by the Belgian government. The villains are
agents of Boa Constrictor Wireless Service who want to prevent Victor and Ilsa
from switching to cheaper and better data access.

The dialogue must be brought up to date, of course:

“Perhaps tomorrow we’ll be on the Amtrak.”

“To all officers - two Belgian couriers carrying important official downloads murdered on Amtrak from Oran. Murderer and possible accomplices headed for Casablanca. Round up all suspicious taxpayers and search them for illegally downloaded games on their MePhones. And for made-in-China designer knockoffs. Important.”

Captain Renault: “What in heaven's name brought you to Casablanca?”
Rick: “Broadband access. I came to Casablanca for the broadband access.”
Captain Renault: Broadband access? What broadband access ? We're in
a dead zone.”
Rick: “I was misinformed by the ap.”

Rick: “I have the downloads right here.”
Captain Renault: “Tell me, when we searched the place, where were they?”
Rick: “Sam's MePod.”
Captain Renault: “Serves me right for not being musical. “

“I am shocked! Shocked! To learn that there is smoking going on in here.”
“Your Cuban cigars, monsieur.”
“Oh, thank you very much.”

“I remember every detail – the Germans wore grey; you wore a ‘Spawn of Satan’ baseball cap.”

Captain Renault: “Oh no, Emil, please. A bottle of your best champagne, and
put it on my bill.”
Emil: “Very well, sir.”
Victor Laszlo: “Captain, please...”
Captain Renault: Oh, please, monsieur. It is a little game we play. They put it
on the bill, I charge it to my Republican National Committee credit card. It is
very convenient.”

Sam: “We'll take the two-cylinder, environmentally-friendly car. We'll let the
computer drive all night. We'll play video games. We'll get matching Bro tattoos
and stay away until she's gone. “

Major Strasser: “You give him credit for too much cleverness. My impression
was that he's just another blundering American.”
Captain Renault: “We musn't underestimate American blundering. I was with
them when they blundered into Korea, Viet-Nam, Cambodia, Laos, Iran,
Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Somalia, Haiti, Sudan, Bosnia, Ethiopia,
Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Cuba, Liberia, Panama, Serbia…”

“If you can program it for her you can program it for me. Program it, Sam.”

Rick: “And remember, this tazer is pointed right at your heart.”
Captain Renault: “That is my least vulnerable spot.”

“We’ll always have Louisiana State University’s $85 million swimming pool and kiddie-park…um…educational support center.”

Rick: “Now, you've got to listen to me! You have any idea what you'd have to
look forward to if you stayed here? Nine chances out of ten, we'd both wind up
in a mandatory sensitivity training program. Isn't that true, Louie?”
Captain Reynaud: “I’m afraid Doctor Reverend Major Strasser would insist.”

“Round up the usual taxpayers.”

“Here’s looking at you, kid – and I say that without any hint of patronizing male chauvinism.”

Victor Laszlo: “Welcome back to the discussion. This time I know our side will
try to understand genocidal maniacs better.”

“Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship if the Federal Trade Commission and the Supreme Court are okay with it.”

(Rick and Louis walk away into the fog as Lindsey Khardassian twerks to the Belgian national anthem.)

-30-

The Heart of the House

Lawrence Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com

The Heart of the House

In the place of honor, a great flat screen -
No sacred image of Our Lady Queen
No crucifix, cross, or ikon Hellene
No painting of some calm pastoral scene -
No, only a glowing, pulsing flat screen
On which nothing worthy is ever seen

The Fall of Man

Lawrence Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com

The Fall of Man

A Christian walking down the street -
A dog came by and tripped his feet
The man fell down; oh, gosh, it hurt!
Another man (his name was Bert)

Said

“We don’t agree on what’s essential;
I, you see, am existential
I’ll call my friend; you’re in a fix -
You’ll need two walking agnostics!

(Thank you. Thank you very much.)

Birdsong

Lawrence Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com

Birdsong

St. Matthew 10:29

A fledgling dead, its little body limp
Not yet devoured by cats and ants and time
New russet feathers shining back the sun
And silent wings that cannot weave the wind
A handsome beak that now will never know
The sensual savour of seeds and worms,
Or gossip and prate around the leafy lawn
Where summer romance sweetens the twilight air:
We only know that this small life was sent -
And that may well explain the universe

Decoration Day on A.M. Radio




Lawrence Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com

Decoration Day on A.M. Radio

Willing to die for their country subscribe
Made the ultimate sacrifice buy stuff
All gave some some gave all your credit card
On the beaches of Normandy buy now
In the jungles of Viet-Nam on sale
In Afghanistan this offer ends soon
We honor those who served at a discount
Thank you for your service to our profits
Obey us if you love America
And buy more stuff from us radio heroes

A Bonfire of the Tree of Life

Lawrence Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com

A Bonfire of the Tree of Life

Ireland 2015

Who made a bonfire of the Tree of Life?
And grilled snakefingers on the glowing coals
With one last autumn apple for dessert
And one last walk through gardens of decay
Then out through wooshing automatic doors
Guarded by cameras with flaming lenses
Against fig leaves and the popular vote
And tattooed Albigensians at play
In the fields of evolutionary regress
Who made a bonfire of the Tree of Life

The Mobius Strip

Lawrence Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com

The Mobius Strip

What is more obvious than a smooth flat plane?
The clever Mobius begins as such
Thus promising an end somewhere out there
Deceiving soon the careless voyager
With loops that are not loops, and yet they are
With straights that are not straights, and yet they are
In disappearing back into themselves
They never go away or come again
Life twisting into a twist that is no twist -
What is more devious than a smooth flat plane?

Why is the Man in the Moon Always Happy?

Lawrence Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com

Why is the Man in the Moon Always Happy?

The Man in the Moon is smiling tonight
His duty is his joy, to take his place
Within the celestial liturgy
Whose rubrics were appointed before time
So that the spheres in happy dignity
Perform their sacred offices to God,
Ab Introibo ad Benedicat,
As ceremonies of grateful creation
And that is why, with angels, stars, and us
The Man in the Moon is smiling tonight

Our Lady of Walsingham

Lawrence Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com

Our Lady of Walsingham

O how beautiful is Our Lady Queen!
Queen of our hearts and hopes, and of the May
Sweet Empress over forest, down, and dene,
And happy Sunrise over the pilgrim’s way
O let us crown Our Queen with leaf and flower
Gathered this morning in the dawnlit dew
For we in this island are Her true dower
Pledging our faith with thorn and rose and yew
She gives us Her feast day, cool and quiet and green -
O how beautiful is Our Lady Queen!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Baby Boomers

Lawrence Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com

Baby Boomers

For William Kristol Epiphanes

Children of privilege getting up at four
To herd milk cows in from ice-sleeted woods
And then at dawn running late down the lane
To catch the rattling school bus into town

Self-indulgent baby-boomers sentenced
In the gasping heat of Indo-China
Along the banks of the Song Vam Co Tay
Not optimistic about seeing the dawn

A useless, indolent generation
Working double shifts at the shop by night
Chaucer, geometry, history by day
Coffee, noodles, used textbooks, the laundromat

Those insolent, unfocused layabouts
On pilgrimage along the American road
Jobs, families, house-notes, voting, and taxes
But judged and found wanting by Divine Bill

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mockingbirds on Patrol

Lawrence Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com

Mockingbirds on Patrol

At dusk the slithering cat stalks mockingbirds
Oozing in silence ‘cross the no man’s lawn
Of bread and seed contested by raccoons,
Squirrels, birds, and an unhappy ‘possum
Her target those most insolent mockingbirds
Who bully the doves and cardinals about
There driving them from the supper they want
And mockingbirds in turn supper for the cat
But no! the victims form squadrons like Spitfires -
At dusk the mockingbirds stalk the cringing cat

A Keeper of Civilization

Lawrence Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com

A Keeper of Civilization

A tie clasp serves no useful purpose now,
This ornament that keeps a tie in place
But no one wears a tie, so what’s the point?
Like cufflinks, collars, and humility
This bourgeois affectation is passé;
A tie is not Authentic like a tee
Garnished with a cartoon grotesquerie
Aggressively proclaiming empty noise.
A tie clasp serves no useful purpose now
And that is why it is useful indeed

Dimitri in America

Lawrence Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com

Dimitri in America

Did Mitya escape to America?
He might have changed his name to Bob or Al
Married Myrtle in the Methodist Church -
Myrtle, nee’ Agrafena Alexandrovna -
And worked the candy counter at Woolworth’s
Riding the trolley downtown every day
While saving up for a new Model T
In obedience to his New World staretz
Horatio Alger hissing behind a tree
Was Mitya sentenced to America?

The Witanagemot

Lawrence Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com

The Witanagemot

Under wide oaks men sit with pipes alight
And soft old amber single-malt to hand
The sun has just now set, the failing day
Resolves itself into a cooling dusk
Tobacco, talk, and time incense the air
And silent fireflies dance until the stars
Join with them in a festival of lights
While birds make wing to Shakespeare’s rooky wood
Crickets and frogs sing to celebrate the moon
And good men sit and talk, with pipes alight

Subversive

Subversive

Lapsing into 1968-Speak
The television priest says “subversive”
While waxing (and polishing?) discursive
He says it often, at least thrice a week

Pursued by Hallway Gideons

Lawrence Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com

Pursued by Hallway Gideons

Hi there how are you doing isn’t this a
wonderful day would you like a New Tes
tament sir thank you hi ma’am good to see
you would you like a New Testament you
are so welcome Hi there how are you doing
isn’t this a wonderful day would you
like a New Testament sir thank you hi
ma’am good to see you would you like a New
Testament you are welcome Hi there how
are you doing isn’t this a wonderful

Repeat

Hi there how are you doing isn’t this a
wonderful day would you like a New Tes
tament sir thank you hi ma’am good to see
you would you like a New Testament you
are so welcome Hi there how are you doing
isn’t this a wonderful day would you
like a New Testament sir thank you hi
ma’am good to see you would you like a New
Testament you are welcome Hi there how
are you doing isn’t this a wonderful

Repeat

Hi there how are you doing isn’t this a
wonderful day would you like a New Tes
tament sir thank you hi ma’am good to see
you would you like a New Testament you
are so welcome Hi there how are you doing
isn’t this a wonderful day would you
like a New Testament sir thank you hi
ma’am good to see you would you like a New
Testament you are welcome Hi there how
are you doing isn’t this a wonderful

Exeunt omnes, pursued by a bore waving a little green book about

The Ten-Thirty / Seven-Thirty Shift

Lawrence Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com

The Ten-Thirty / Seven-Thirty Shift

For Nurses

No one writes verses much about nurses
Though no one more deserves a few kind thoughts
No, not about the lady with the lamp
(Not with all that oxygen around!)
Nor the nurse with eternal sad-me crises
Who often calls in sick and leaves her work
To be taken up by others – by you
So these poor lines are for wonderful you
Driving to work in your ten-year-old car
And carefully tending life throughout the night



No One Ever Said the War was Over

Lawrence Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com

No One Ever Said the War was Over

No one ever said the war was over
They were honest in that one thing, at least
Since that which never began cannot end
Not for those in a war that never was
Some made fortunes, some got a bus ride home
Some shook it off, and made it out okay
And some stare vacantly in lonely rooms
Red, yellow, green – what did they ever mean?
“Thank you for your service” – what does that mean?
No one ever said the war was over

Invasion of the Metaphors

Mack Hall, HSG
Mhall46184@aol.com

Invasion of the Metaphors

On the Orwellian telescreen a woman recently returned from Nepal said that the country looked like a war zone.

One never hears young men and women returning from any of this nation’s many undeclared wars saying that the ditches and gullies and rocky slopes where they fought to stay alive looked like an earthquake.

What, exactly, is a “war zone?” Is that just a two-syllable way of saying “war?” Just say “war.”

Congress won’t, of course.

In the neverending quest (how’s that for filler language?) for metaphors, “war zone” appears to be most fashionable just now. Earthquakes, storms, messy rooms, the litter left after a football game, leaf-fall after a storm – all are grist for the war zone mill (mixing several tired metaphors).

If a family is killed by a building collapsing in an earthquake, we do their memory no service by saying that the wreckage looks like a war zone. It doesn’t. It looks like the result of an earthquake, and that is because it is the result of an earthquake. It isn’t like anything else; it is itself.

A common metaphor along our stormy coast is to allege that trees snapped like matchsticks. Does anyone ever maintain that matchsticks snap like trees? Does anyone sit around snapping matchsticks anyway? No one ever says that trees snap like cheap plastic cigarette lighters, which would be slightly more logical because almost no one uses matches anymore. Anyone wanting a box of matches might be advised to check the newsstand, over by the pay telephones, in the railroad station down the street past the Packard dealership.

Our part of the planet is subject to strong winds because of tornadoes, hurricanes, and thunderstorms, and sometimes these winds break trees. We should state this simple fact, that winds break trees, and not pull from a rag-bag (another tired metaphor – what is a rag-bag?) any of a collection of old metaphors that occupy space and obscure clarity of thought.

If, in the same storm, the winds toss your 1956 Plymouth about, they toss it about like a 1956 Plymouth, not like a toy, because a 1956 Plymouth is not a toy. It is itself. The toy comparison has been done, over and over and over, for decades. Now if you say that your 1956 Plymouth was tossed about like a referee after a close soccer match between Sheffield and Arsenal you’d be making a fresh and praiseworthy metaphor. Even so, it would probably be better to state the plain, clear fact that strong winds blew your 1956 Plymouth about, especially when making your case to the insurance company: “Like a toy, eh? Okay, here’s a voucher good for a Fisher-Price replacement, with a Ken and Barbie deductible…”

In East Texas another tired metaphor is to say of a child’s room not that it needs tidying up but that it looks like a hurricane hit it:

“But Dad, my room’s not here. The whole house is gone!”

“Exactly right, my son. Your room looks like a hurricane hit it.”

Sometimes reality is not subject to a metaphor at all.

-30

The Bates Motel and Recording Studio

Mack Hall, HSG
Mhall46184@aol.com

The Bates Motel and Recording Studio

John Hinckley, Junior is a spoiled misunderstood, self-indulgent sensitive, vicious artistic, treacherous creative, disgusting delicate, back-shooting generous fecal impaction seeker after truth who all his life has been occupying space and breathing air that might have been used for better purposes trying to find himself. After all, we try to see the good in everyone.

In 1981 Hinckley, fascinated with a cinema actress instead of with life, decided that he would prove himself worthy of her by murdering the President. At close range he discharged a revolver and struck police officer Thomas Delahanty, White House Press Secretary James Brady, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy, and President Reagan. James Brady spent the remaining decades of his life paralyzed and in pain, and his death in 2014 was ruled a homicide.

Despite the movie scripts, no one, no matter how young and healthy, ever fully recovers from gunshot and fragmentation wounds. Everyone Hinckley shot that day received a life sentence of pain and disability.

For assault, treason, and murder, John Hinckley was sentenced to – the hospital.

Adolescent shoplifters have received sterner punishment.

Come to think of it, you’ve received sterner punishment. When you went to see the justice of the peace about that out-of-date inspection sticker the judge did not say, “You know, I understand your needs. I’m sure you forgot about the annual inspection because you had a rough childhood. Since your mumsy and dadsy are rich and connected, let’s skip that fine, and talk about your feelings.”

For the last three decades, gentle reader, you have been working and paying taxes to support John Hinckley’s hospitalization, psychiatric care, and, yes, music therapy. You get up and go to work every day; John Hinckley hangs out and practices the guitar.

For the past few years Hinckley has spending much of every month with his 89-year-old mother. Well, hey, family is everything, right? His family, of course, not yours, and certainly not the families he destroyed.

Having committed murder and ruining the lives of many individuals and families, this detritus inspirational singer-songwriter wants to start a band, which is pretty much the dream of every 60-year-old.

One can imagine the rehearsals – “Stan, you might want to strengthen that opening note when you come in on ‘Baby Baby Baby Yeah Yeah Yeah’ – or die. Just a thought, dude.”

If Mrs. Hinckley Senior suggests it’s time for Junior to go night-night, will our geriatric artiste respond with “Mumsy, don’t make me go all Bates Motel on you, okay?”

When Junior does achieve his dream of putting his band together, the first number could, appropriately, a cover of the Beatles’ “I’m a Loser.”

Music might not be Junior Hinckley’s thing, of course, in which case he seems perfectly fitted by disposition and experience to be a customer service representative for an internet company.

He could do something with drones.

Or maybe the new Secret Service.

And since Junior is soon to be released from hospital completely, perhaps his room will then be given to an injured worker, a war veteran, or someone else who has made an effort to do something meaningful in life.

-30-

The Face on the Twenty-Dollar Bill

Mack Hall, HSG
Mhall46184@aol.com

The Face on the Twenty-Dollar Bill

“The Face on the Twenty-Dollar Bill” sounds like the title of a Robert W. Service poem, but is in fact a matter of some discussion – who should replace stern, handsome, Trail of Tears President Andrew Jackson on the price of a cup of designer coffee?

That President Jackson will be replaced is not in doubt, and a mature discussion (which you certainly will not find in my scribblings) of the matter by Steve Inskeepmay can be found at: www.nytimes.com/2015/05/05/opinion/should-jackson-stay-on-the-dollar20-bill.html.

Curiously, Mr. Inskeepmay proposes replacing President Jackson, a slave owner, with John Ross, another slave owner, but since Mr. Ross was a Cherokee that’s okay with Mr. Inskeepmay.

As we know, the one-dollar-bill features George Washington, inept British colonial officer in his youth, slave owner, general of the armies in the American secession from the British Empire, later president, and still a slave owner.

The five-dollar-bill gives us Railsplitter Abe, a handsome man save for that fungal growth at the end of his chin, a fashion statement he shared with Democrat Jefferson Davis and with Doctor Ben Carson, like Lincoln a Republican candidate for the presidency.

Gentlemen, please, if you love your country, step closer to your designed-in-Holland-and-made-in-China Norelcos. Please.

The tenner shows another dignified man, Alexander Hamilton, who later found fame as drummer for The Dave Clark Five. Or was he one of the guitarists?

Easy, The Alexander Hamilton Fan Club. Just a little attempt at humor. Your Alexander Hamilton posters are not threatened.

After Andrew Jackson the poor man’s wallet enjoys little familiarity with presidents, although President Grant is known to be on one of the holiday-in-Davos bills. But he drank whiskey and smoked cigars, and we can’t have that, no, sir.

Whose face will next grace the twenty? My prediction is Harriet Tubman or Sojourner Truth, who accomplished wonderful things without later becoming involved in genocide, land swindles, or the ownership of their fellow human beings.

In the meantime, we are free to indulge in a little whimsical wish-fulfillment in considering other possibilities for adorning our national currency:

How about a three-dollar bill with President Clinton on the front and Lindsey Lohan’s reverse on the reverse?

The problem with President Obama’s picture on a currency bill is that the reverse would read “You Didn’t Earn This,” and he would take the money away from you.

President Hilary Clinton’s twenty-dollar bill would have her “WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE!!??” moment embedded in a little audio chip.

President Hilary Clinton? Deal with the reality, Republicans: you complain but you don’t vote.

Hey, how about Louis Armstrong on the twenty? But, no, he made people happy, and that would never do.

Here is an idea for an image on the twenty-dollar bill that no one has yet considered: the now-forgotten American worker. Put a picture of a worker on our currency. I propose variants to be printed on the face of the twenty in monthly or yearly cycles: a farmer harvesting wheat, a woman behind the counter at a fast-foodery, a bus driver, a welder, a logger, a nurse’s aide, the nice lady in the ticket window at the movies, a (gasp!) police officer, a private in the Army, a miner, a railway engineer, a mechanic, a lineman in a thunderstorm, a kindergarten teacher, or any other worker, all without any reference to DNA.

Nah, it’ll never happen.

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