Sunday, July 19, 2015

Colonel Mustard, Miss Scarlett, and Donald Trump



Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

Mack Hall, HSG
Mhall46184@aol.com

Politics According to Clue™

Even more than Wheel of 60 Minutes Fortune and Flip the Dancing Stars off this Island, the USA’s most popular and longest-running unreality show is politics. Back-to-school shopping begins in June, and football in August, but electioneering never ends. A presidential election is in itself little more than a brief pause between presidential election campaigns.

Baseball? Hot dogs? Apple strudel? Nope. What defines The Ye Olde Folksy New England Republic is a catalogue of people asking other people for money so that the first set of people can make more video ads.

This season is unusually loopy, lending itself to a new board game to help the players sort out politics, policy, and politics foreign and domestic. As a service to America, the auctor presents to a confused electorate (not that many of them ever vote anyway) a new board game, Campaign Clue™. Each game set contains:

10 character cards

President Obama
Donald Trump
Senator McCain
El Chapo
Vladimir Putin
Bernie Sanders
Senator Clinton
Edward Snowden
Hillary Clinton
Kim Jong Un


10 location cards

The White House Rose Garden
The Spratly Islands
St. Petersburg (Russia or Florida)
A Bridge in New Jersey
A Blue Bell factory
The dumpsters behind the Kremlin
The secret Jade Helm dungeons of doom beneath an abandoned Wal-Mart
A truck stopped for a traffic light in Calais
The Socorro Desert
A dimly lit Tim Horton’s down the street from the Toronto city hall



10 plastic weapons tokens

A pinata
Silly String
A stern editorial in The New York Times
A Confederate flag
A supercilious sneer
An indictment
Gender reassignment surgery
A Greek promissory note
A New Jersey Department of Transportation Traffic Cone
The Cosmic Hairpiece of Clinging Death


Each player takes a divvy of character cards, location cards, and plastic weapons tokens, dumps them into a foam cup from Captain Queeg’s, shakes them up, and pours them out in a meaningless pile. The players then talk about how much they miss Colonel Mustard, Miss Scarlett, the Professor, Ginger, Mary Ann, and the rest of the old gang.

-30-

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Joyful Mysteries - Meditations for a Young Man

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com




The Joyful Mysteries -
Meditations for a Young Man

I. The Annunciation

When Romans ruled, tetrarchs obeyed, the nights
Were given over to wonderings and dreams
An angel whispered to a girl “Fear not”
She made her choice, and history turned away
From failing, flailing, falling into mists
And looked again upon the morning sun
Beneath whose light the Jordan flowed, and days
Were given over to waiting and to work
For carpenters and fishermen who knew
Little of Rome, but much of suffering

II. The Visitation

In loving service to humanity
A girl, a woman now, another choice -
To leave her home to help, to love, to work
Her sweet Magnificat a hymn to us
A song of sweeping floors and making beds
And bringing in the goats for milking time
And laughter to the home of Elizabeth
A leap for joy expressed through busy hands
For maidens and mothers (and even men!) who knew
Little of Rome, but much of work and love

III. The Nativity

Now in reluctant service to the state
To render unto Caesar obedience
A little family once again leaves home
Following orders, not a star, and yet
There is a star. What is it telling them?
Suddenly – no thoughts for Caesars or stars
But only for a Child in exile born
Among the poor and humble of the earth
There to a weary young mother who knew
Too much of Rome, too much of doing without

IV. The Presentation

Now happily, in service to the Law
A going up, up to Jerusalem
A joyful journey to present the Child
Unto the Lord, and there two prophets spoke:
In holy Anna’s fasting, prayers, and words
And Simeon’s rejoicing “Nunc dimittis”
Of risings, fallings, swords, deliverance
The former world passing into the new
And for His Mother at the temple gate
No thought of Rome – but only of Her Son

V. Finding the Lord in the Temple

When Romans ruled, tetrarchs obeyed; the young
In faith and hope gave all their dreams to God
And listened for angelic whisperings
Not only in the night, but in their hearts
And Jesus grew to hear, to know, to teach
To search the hearts of young and old and find
Within them there the heartbeat of Himself
Our Lady kept these things within Her heart -
And, finally, even Romans kept them too

And so it was
And so it is
For you















Sunday, July 12, 2015

Cigar Boxes

Lawrence Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com


History Lessons on a Cigar Box

Mark Antony preens in his Class-A best
Cleopatra is somewhat underdressed
The servant girl is not at all impressed



Lawrence Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com


A Child’s First Safety-Deposit Box

A dime-store pocket watch that doesn’t run
A tiny magnifier for aiming the sun
A bit of chalk, glass marbles, crayon stubs
A pencil or two worn down to the nubs
A pair of dice gained in a school-yard trade
A cheap pocket knife with a broken blade
A pocket calendar from just last year
A bottle-opener that says “JAX BEER”
A shotgun hull, and little toy cars -
A box is for treasures, not Dad’s cigars!

Scrambled Eggs in Rainwater

Lawrence Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com


Scrambled Eggs in Rainwater

Field Medical Service School

Shivering in the rain, up in the hills
Of Sunny Southern California
Kerosene cookers and their gust-blown smoke
Squid-wet Corpsmen in flying wet slickers
Mess kits held out to sullen, cursing cooks
Slam-glopping glops of sausages and eggs
Cold coffee in aluminum canteen cups
No cover, no shelter for floating food
Or for sergeants bellowing in the dark –
And laughing through it all, for we were young

Mad Dogs and Mourning Doves

Lawrence Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com


Mad Dogs and Mourning Doves
go out in the Midday Sun

When nearly noon the old lawnmower is stilled
The unexpected silence is a pause
While an unseen conductor turns a page:
Morning cicadas yield the program to
The responsorial midday mourning doves
Who descant songs across the lonely fields
Whence midday heat has driven all but them
Exchanging love-notes through the drowsy hours
All unaware that when October comes
They’ll have to pack away their amphibrachs

A Course of Study

Lawrence Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com

A Course of Study

Life is itself our university:
A table for study at a window
A book whose pages are bright autumn leaves
A laboratory of unexpectations
A hymn sung while stacking ammunition
A smile remembered while the coffee brews
A Christmas pocket knife lost long ago
A remembrance, a pain, a thought, a fear
And in the end a graduation hymn -
Life is itself is our university

A Working Knowledge of Bed Frames

Lawrence Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com

A Working Knowledge of Bed Frames

For assembling bed frames a craftsman needs
A hammer (because a mallet won’t do)
And a vocabulary of bad words
Bad you-go-rinse-your-mouth-out-with-soap words
For disassembling bed frames, well, the same:
A hammer (because a mallet won’t do)
And a vocabulary of bad words
Badder rinsing-your-mouth-out-with-soap words
Because cosmic conflict against metal frames
Requires a catalogue of soap-choking names!

Life Begins at 111

Lawrence Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com

Life Begins at 111

Open a page, and dream into that world
Songs and merriment from the inn at Bree
The scent of flowers from far Lothlorien
And smoke rising from The Last Lonely House
A pack, a walking stick, a friend or two
Then step into the night, into the road
That does indeed go on and on

THE Calculus

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

THE Calculus

Why is there a math called THE calculus
Could there be a second one? Dubious
And there are so many maths to cuss
Algebra, for instance – what is the fuss?
To solve for X does not serve any purpuss
And one arithmetic, minus or plus
Geometry – useful but tedious
Each math is one, so nothing to discuss
So
Why is there a math call THE calculus?

Canada Day? Just One?

Lawrence Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com

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!

Dialogue Not Heard in Casablanca

Mack Hall, HSG
Mhall46184@aol.com

Dialogue Not Heard in Casablanca

“Of all the boutique coffee bars in all the gated communities in all the world…”

“Bluebirds, bluebirds! Bluebirds everywhere!”

“Maybe tomorrow we’ll be on the plane – it’ll take us that long to get through security.”

“Play it, Sam. Play ‘The Pilgrims’ Chorus’ from Tannhauser.”

“I don’t think I remember it, Miss Ilsa. Mostly because you never leave anything in the tip jar, you cheapskate.”

“I was informed that you were the most beautiful woman ever to visit Casablanca. Meh.”

“Oh, Rick – I’ll have to do the thinking for both us.”

“Round up some unusual suspects.”

“I’m making out the report now. We’re not sure if he committed suicide or was vaporized by Jade Helm ninja vampires in secret tunnels beneath an abandoned Circuit City in New Ulm.”

“I’m shocked! Shocked! To learn that Bible study is going on in here!”

“Aw, come on, you guys – doesn’t anyone in here know the words to the Marseillaise!?”

“I remember every detail – the North Vietnamese wore green; you wore a blue Che Guano tee-shirt.”

“Yes, I put that tee-shirt, knee-pants, and flip-flops away. When the North Vietnamese march out I’ll wear them again.”

“What makes baristas so snobbish?”

“Are you one of those people who cannot imagine English soccer fans in your beloved Newark?”

“Oh, no, Emile, please. A bottle of your best designer water, and put it on my bill.”

“Just a moment. I heard a rumor those two German couriers were carrying the latest Apple watches.”

“I don’t mind a parasite. I object to one who isn’t accredited by the BBB.”

“Ricky, I’m going to miss you. Apparently you’re the only one with less scruples than the Supreme Court.”

“Paula Deen and Bill Cosby walk into a bar…”

“And remember – this gun is pointed right at your pancreas.”

“Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but when you can’t get a refund on those tickets to Lisbon…”

“We’ll always have Caney Head.”

“I have already given him the best table, knowing that he is with the Clinton campaign and would take it anyway.”

“C’mon, Mr. Rick. We’ll get the car. We’ll drive all night. We’ll go fishing. We’ll wear togas! Partee! Partee!”

“Major Strasser has been tasered!”

“Here’s looking at you, kid. You know, that’s a really patronizing, sexist expression.”

“Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful limited-liability partnership.”

“I came to Casablanca for the Blue Bell ice cream…I was misinformed.”

-30-

Monday, July 6, 2015

With True Prayers

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

With True Prayers

For the Martyrs of Charleston

“…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
















Published in Longbows and Rosary Beads, June 2015

Children and Books

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

A Boy with a Book

For Gunter, Kason, Joey, and Isaac

A little boy is not a boy without
A book to guard him against education:
Give him spaceships, cowboys, a pirate’s shout
Instead of teachy televisation
If he can’t find a book that sings, give him
Lots of blank paper, and he’ll write his own:
Sheriffs, swords, shields, and ships, his gear in
trim
To sail the Spanish Main until the dawn
A boy is a child of summer; he needs
His dog, sun-leafy hours, and his books
And outlaws hiding there among the weeds
Or maybe the Sheriff of Nottingham’s crooks:
Adventure yarns, and wooden sword in hand
In summer to make a boy a worthy man



A Girl with a Book

For Kate, Valentine, Veronica, Virginia,
Margaret Rose, Harper Rose, and Kaili

A little girl is not a girl without
A book to guard her against education:
Give her spaceships, cowgirls, a pirate’s shout
Instead of teachy televisation
If she can’t find a book that sings, give her
Lots of blank paper, and she’ll write her own:
Princesses, swords, and ships, a voyager
To sail the Spanish Main until the dawn
A girl is a child of summer; she needs
Her dog, sun-leafy hours, and her books
And outlaws hiding there among the weeds
Or maybe the Sheriff of Nottingham’s crooks
A girl, her book, her sword, her backyard tree:
Oh, what a good, strong woman she will be!

"With a Clear View of the Southern Sky"

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

“With a Clear View
of the Southern Sky”

Curved metal plates with gadgetry attached
Those cosmic spies and robot messengers
Lurk on the roof and there obscure the stars
With clutter beamed and bounced about the skies
Encoded and decoded back and forth
Somewhere between the truth and a satellite
Attractive knowledge of evil and good
Electrons coiled around a metal tree
Purring in unison: “You shall not die” -
Curved metal plates with gadgetry attached

Tainopsis

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

Tainopsis

Grandfather’s Saint George medal – hide it first
The ikon of Saint Seraphim – that’s next
Babushka’s crucifix – O, how she loved it
The picture of the Czar – away! Away!
Do not betray your thoughts – a careless word
A smile not authorized, a memory
A fragment from a cheerful Christmas song:
These do not advance The Revolution
Beneath our Brave Red Star they must lie hidden
While our dear comrades love and watch us all

Script for the Hourly News

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

Script for the Hourly News

boots on the ground icon boots on the ground
icon boots on the ground icon boots on
the ground icon shooting boots on the ground
icon shooting boots on the ground icon
boots on the ground icon boots on the ground
icon booths on the ground icon shooting boots
on the ground icon boots on the ground icon
boots on the ground icon boots on the ground
icon shooting boots on the ground icon
shooting boots on the ground icon boots on
the ground icon boots on the ground icon
boots on the ground icon shooting boots on
the ground icon boots on the ground icon
boots on the ground icon boots on the ground
icon shooting boots on the ground icon
shooting boots on the ground icon boots on
the ground icon boots on the ground icon
boots on the ground icon shooting boots on
the ground ISIS school lunches gluten-free

Matins and Lauds and Cats

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

Matins and Lauds and Cats

Now stir your morning hopes into a cup
Of coffee sweetly censed with optimism
Along with milk or cream and chemicals;
Switch off the strident, nattering radio
And through the kitchen window note with joy
The dramatic stretchings of indolent cats
Yawning the beginning of their new day,
A tree frog working late, reposing still
Upon the screen as if it were a throne
From which he rules all insect destinies,
And a sudden fluttering in the grass
As an early bird gets his worm indeed
While a vapor of diaphanous mist
Slow-curls among the oaks, perhaps to seek
Some comfortable solitude for the day;
Old Sol, fresh from his adventures in the East
Serves sunlight filtered softly through the damp,
Fresh light for your breakfast, a Matins
Psalm sung to you all the way from a star.


Matins and Lauds without any Cats

If your sunrise view is of garbage cans
And utility poles leaning over an alley
Or if you have no window, or even a kitchen
If morning dew condenses on barbed wire
Or dripping concrete walls echoing-echoing,
If your only view is of a cinder-block wall
And the only sound is the medicine trolley
Squeaking through its early hospital rounds
Without any coffee or even much hope
Then please feel free to borrow for today
Any of the many, barely-used mornings
From those of us who in our ingratitude
Tend to begin our days of open windows
Not with a joyful litany of praise
But with a tiresome catalogue of complaints

A Few More Little Poems

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

Sirens and Harpies

The siren of the romance-misted night
Softly seductive and mysterious
By dawn shifts shape into a haggery fright:
The elf is now a harpy imperious


Data Not Available at This Time

“Data not available at this time”
Scrolls slowly across the tiny screen
But
(insert name of internet service biller – not necessarily as good at providing – here)

carefully counts every dime:
Their monthly pound of flesh is never lean


How Lucky God is to Have Him

Perhaps he is a seer
Gifted with visions of glory
Still, I don’t want to hear
His me, me, me conversion story


Not on My Watch

A fellow whose timepiece was off just a notch
Said of a jeweler who was drunk on Scotch,
“He can work on his hangover,
but not on my watch.”



Rain with Punctuation

A house when empty is not always peaceful
But today it is. September rain to heal
The hurt, summer-dry earth floats so softly
And so quietly
That thunder is a loud punctuation
An exclamation mark BANG! In the middle
Of a quiet, meditative line.


Elegy for Brave Little Cottonpip

For Deedra

In Egypt cats were set as palace guards
To watch the desert from stone-linteled gates
With wide-set eyes, proud lions of the Nile
And in their diminutive dignity
Bless with their furry, purry, royal presence
The households of the ancient kings and queens

And cats have never forgotten their ancient
warrant:
To pose, to pace, to pause, to pounce, to please
Their noble queen always, faithful even unto
death -
O do not mourn the passing of brave Pip
For now he tumbles and plays among the stars
And purrs to you still, your brave palace guard


Quagmire

We’re mired once more within a quag
Or quagged, perhaps, within a mire
Evil laughs at the same old gag:
Nero golfs while the world’s on fire

Je Suis Dust Jacket

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

Je Suis Dust Jacket

A can’t-put-it-down layered tapestry of
Spell-binding patriarchal must-read rich
Ness woven of cross-cultural patriarchal
Assumptions is a multi-gendered land
Mark of accessible, richly textured
Narratives that will make you laugh, make you
cry,
And change your life forever through a unique
Voice of powerful unstinting timeless
Human condition moving milestone land
Mark compelling nuanced epic of searing
Honesty and gripping poignancy burnt
Into the human conscience challenges
The heterosexist patriarchal
Mainstream that will define a generation
Iconic sensual stunning absorbing
Lapidary roman a clef triumph
Definitive edgy in the tradition
Of luminous provocative. And stuff.

The Revolution

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

The Revolution

Little men arguing in shabby rooms
Meetings, manifestos, revolvers, bombs
Informers, spies, social organization,
Speeches, minutes, dues, What is to be Done?
The great cause of the Proletariat
Greetings from our good comrades in Smolensk
Nihilism, committees, secrecy
The thirst for culture is aristocratic
Nihilism is the only art of the people
Rumors, whispers, clandestine magazines
The unification of workers and peasants
Resolutions passed in the factory soviet
Clenched fists to reject the personal life
Electrification and equality
Cigarettes, vodka, the people’s justice
Against the parasitical bourgeoisie
Solidarity to destroy the kulaks
His poetry reeks of sentimentality
Self-centered intellectual decadence
The people’s will for the people’s party
Education for the twentieth century
Lift high the red banner, fill full the graves

Adjective Childhood Pity

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

Adjective Childhood Pity

Your Irish childhood – oh, give it a pass
Indian childhood
Single-parent childhood
Poverty childhood
Small-town childhood
Urban childhood
Farm childhood
Army brat childhood
Immigrant childhood
Emigrant childhood
Migrant childhood
Reservation childhood
Mountain childhood
All that adjective pity - it’s been said
But your childhood – your childhood, your
childhood
Free it from adjectives, and you’ll have
something

Save the Date

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

Save the Date

O how I hope that you will Save The Date!
It’s a special occasion, so don’t be late
Be sure to sign in with the guard at the gate
I leave on the twelfth; I simply can’t wait
That’s when I’ll be executed by the State

Registered at Coffins ‘n’ Stuff,
Thibodeaux’s Funeral Home,
& Jardin d’Memoires and Gift Shoppe

Martinmas

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

Martinmas

Red is the color of a soldier’s cloak
Exchanged for a poor man’s blessing in the night
Met well there by a crumbling pagan oak
Ennobled now that vestment in angelic white
Martin is the name of that Roman guard
Between the watch fires pacing slow his round
Ready and alert, though the frost is hard
And spies a sad wretch shivering on the ground
Now does the soldier give him warmth and hope
Cold is the night, and yet somehow made mild
Exchanging his pride for a priestly cope
Denying self – the poor man is the Child;
As does Saint Martin, all good soldiers still
Yield self in service to the Christ Child’s will

Does This Machine Kill Fascists?

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

Does This Machine Kill Fascists?

Does this machine kill Fascists? Probably not
Unless it bores them to a yawning death
Through soporific clichés crudely imposed
Upon a few poor, battered chords that twang
Like the barbed wire of an Arctic gulag
Where happy comrades
Shiver in the snow
Wither in the wind
Starve on slops
Burn with typhus
Rot in the tundra
As they build the future upon mass graves
While the anti-Fascist cashes his checks

The Privileged Patriarchal Postcolonial Boy

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

The Privileged Patriarchal
Postcolonial Boy

To the tune of “The Wild Colonial Boy”

He vets his work for political tone
Writes nothing to annoy
And if his words offend – they’re gone!
The postcolonial boy

He was born and raised in poverty
His mother’s only joy
Still a child of privilege, you see
The postcolonial boy

No matter what he might dare say
No matter how polite, how coy
Nothing can excuse his DNA
The postcolonial boy

A shame it is that he submits
Agrees that he’s sans foy
He silences himself; he quits
The postcolonial boy

Some More Short Poems

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

The Widening World of Cookery

Old housewives cook, and talk about it so
Someone invented the cooking show
Where women watch the fashionable gas ring’s glow
And watch also their widening waistlines grow


Posting Grades

But the grades aren’t really posted at all
Just tapped by super-secret access code
Into an Orwellian telescreen
Thin tittle-tattle about test results



A Flicker of Life

Movies are but flickering images
Sometimes, to the observer, so is life


Dante

Dante Alighieri
Wasn’t very merry
Whenever he didn’t feel well
He imagined his enemies in (Newark)


A Funeral

The hymns have been sung, and the Gospel read;
We prayed for everyone except the dead



The Tedious Gatsby, Old Sport

I took up Gatsby, and I read,
And now I’m glad that Gatsby’s dead


The Mild Ones

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

The Mild Ones

“What are you rebelling against?”

“Whaddaya got?”

“A philosophical matrix predicated
Upon experience analyzed rationally
Without incessant self-reference
Or submission to transient fashions.
This matrix considers natural law,
Epistemologically demonstrable,
Ecclesiastical law, which is subject
To discussion because of variant
Concepts of divine revelation
And then secular law, which grounds
Even a republic, in its origin,
In the Jewish-Christian Mosaic law
But which is subject to modification
According to the federal constitution
And the various state constitutions
Expressed by popular will according to
Due process of law, that is, elections.
Applying the Hegelian dialectic,
One can sort out for himself a mode of life
In harmony with both his conscience
And with the needs of a multi-cultural state.”


“Got a beer?”


Had Byron Lived a Few Years Longer

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

Had Byron Lived a Few Years Longer

V:

She stalks in Makeup, like a fright
Of Senior Specials and takeout fries;
And all that’s worst of snark and bite
Meet in her painted layers of guise:
Thus billowed in fluorescent light
Which Heaven to youthful lads denies

R:

He talks of Makeup, silly old wight
Of faded beauties – through his old eyes!
And his slim waist and muscled might
Have long departed – he is no prize!
Thus now of greater width than height
Which Heaven to happy girls denies

Song of Comrade Photocopier Operator

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

Song of Comrade Photocopier Operator

From Le Chansons de Volga File Clerks Rouge
© 1962 by Les Chansons, Leningrad

O sing a song of reproduction
Accomplished by electrical induction
As workers’ hands insert the paper
Deep into the magic vapor
Chanting without a fuss or stink,
“Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of ink!”
Ions charge the chemical toner
Unless there’s none, ‘cause it’s all goner
Or even worse – if there’s a jam
And then the worker yells out (“Goodness!”)
But with a wrench and a mighty shout
Like that ol’ Czar, the jam is OUT
The Committee decrees a Print Command
This is their red-star’red demand
And out comes the paper, newly free
Fresh from a cartridge in a… (There! See?)
By Good Comrade Worker, Ivan-on-the-Spot
Alas, the message is for him to be…

shot

Instructions to the Chauffeur

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

Instructions to the Chauffeur

Said the owner, most intently,
“Mind, now, how you drive my Bentley:
Always drive it confidently,
Never, ever insolently
‘Sure to watch the road intently
Take the sharp curves very gently
Follow my rules most excellently
Then you’ll never get a dent, see?”

Sola Scriptura

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

Sola Scriptura

“It’s right here in the Bible!” she said,
Waving her MePhone over her head

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

A Subversive Priest

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

Subversive

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

Triptych for a Dipstych

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

A Triptych for a Dipstych

Raul Castro Find Jesus

Raul admits that Jesus saves,
Says nothing of his victims’ graves

The Sleep of the Innocent

Raul sleeps peacefully in his bed
Dreaming of his thousands dead

Raul Reflects

Thousands to their executions driven -
“It’s all right, ‘cause I am shriven.”

Pilgrimage Along the A1

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

Pilgrimage Along The A1

For all the de Beauvilles, Beauvilles,
Bevilles, Bevills, and Bevils

From Peterborough drops a road
Across the Fens, into the past
(Where wary wraiths still wear the woad);
It comes to Chesterton at last

And we will walk along that track,
Or hop a bus, perhaps; you know
How hard it is to sling a pack
When one is sixty-old, and slow

That mapped blue line across our land
Follows along a Roman way
Where Hereward the Wake made stand
In mists where secret islands lay

In Chesterton a Norman tower
Beside Saint Michael’s guards the fields;
Though clockless, still it counts slow hours
And centuries hidden long, and sealed

And there before a looted tomb,
Long bare of candles, flowers, and prayers,
We will in our poor Latin resume
Aves for old de Beauville’s cares


A Few Frivolous Poems

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)1

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.)



1Father Raph suggests that this passerby might have been Bertram Russell



Wu Who?

One misses the British Empire
And the jolly old Hapsburgs too
The Czars beneath an onion spire
And Chinese emperors named Wu


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 Latest Pew Poll

Sometimes you just don’t know what you should
do -
So park that problem in the nearest pew


Bill Kristol Disapproves of 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
To 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 The Divine Bill

The Indictment of Beowulf

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

The Indictment of Beowulf

A sad, sensitive, suffering soul,
Dwelling deeply down in a wetland,
Poisoned by perfidious polluters,
And cunning cultural imperialism,
Vacated vehement vegetarianism,
And dined on Danes, delicious Danes,
Who foolishly failed in their fatuous folly
To understand Grendel's special needs.
His hunger for delectable Danes in truth
A plaintive plea for pity, for grief counseling,
Because the demonic, devilish Danes
Forced Grendel to devour them
Through their ethnocentric failure to
inculturate,
Vividly vivifying Grendel's victimhood.
The harrowing of Herot, high Herot,
Was, as all the world knows,
The fault of the Danes themselves.

'Til that warrior came, that weaponed wonder,
That greatest of Geats, brave Beowulf,
Who slew misunderstood Grendel,
Grendel, who had a bad childhood,
His existential angst
Crying out among the fluorescent-lit cinder-
blocks,
Who just happened to be standing on dead
bodies,
Dead Danish bodies, waiting for his friend,
His friend, um, Bob, um, to
To drive him to his therapy.
Or maybe to his Bible class.

And the Danes cheered that brave Beowulf,
Deliverer of that people, leader of men,
Until office-hungry courtiers,
Perfumed, protected, precious princes
Loaded fantasies into their photo programs,
And promoted a perfidious pogrom,
Sacrificing truth, once again
Worshipping the old, old gods.

Then Hrothgar, as commanded by the Court,
The wonderful, worshipful Witan Court
Arrested Beowulf, woeful warrior,
For the worst of war crimes -- winning a war.
"Hwaet!" wailed the wise ones, wrapped in robes,
Judicial robes spun from the blood of workers.

"We accuse you of insensitivity, of Grendel-cide,
Of profiling, heterosexuality, and smoking
cigarettes.
We accuse you, in the name of The People,
The MePhone-passive, obedient People,
Who think as they are told, vote as they are told,
Dress as they are told, riot as they are told,
The People, in whose Name we fatten ourselves --
We accuse you, Beowulf, of thinking for yourself.
We accuse you of courage, of caring, of
compassion.
We accuse you of killing an innocent creature
Who was just expressing his or her existential
angst,
Undoubtedly abused by a meddlesome priest,
And of killing a mother, a caring mother,
An artist, an acclaimed artist
And an activist (we forget just for what)
Whose scraps of human skin on the walls of her
den
Won a 1985 Honorable Mention
In the Cutting-Edge Arts Show and Peace Rally.

"Did you try therapy, tender-touch therapy?
Did you offer Grendel, that forest-forager,
Your human hand in in humane humility?"

Then Beowulf, greatest of the Geats,
Deliverer of Danes, destroyer of dung-hearts,
Stood, and, almost unlocking words from his
pancreas...
Was told by his court-appointed attorneys
That his salvation reposed in silence.

"It was all Beowulf's fault!" cried The People,
Forgetting the slaughter of their friends.
"Punish Beowulf for lying about
Monsters of mad destruction!
Let us abase ourselves
For offending Grendel,
Cultural, colorful Grendel, and let us dialogue
And inculturate. Like, y'know."

And so beaten Beowulf, now baddest of the bad,
Retired to his country home
To spend more time with his family
to write his memoirs,
While his men, winning warriors all,
Rowed back to Geatland, and were ignored
By the MePhone People,
Who praised whomever in this hour’s Daily Mail
And had no more use for truth, justice,
Or the Geat way. They tore down statues
Of their warriors, and put up peace plazas,
And lapsed into languor, Lethe-ish languor.

And other Grendels, grinning Grendels,
Waited and watched.

Somewhat Annoying Dan McGrew

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

Somewhat Annoying Dan McGrew

A bunch of the guyyys were whooo-ing it up
in the Pomeranian Latte Café
The dude that works the cappuccino machine
was really making it play
Back of the expresso bar all afunk sat a tiresome
chap named Leather
And snooping out his ‘phone was his soul-mate
true, a person that’s known as Heather

When out of the night, which was fifty above,
and into the din of yuppies
There stumbled a designer fresh from a show, in
need of a shower, and loaded for puppies
He looked like a guy with a foot in Wal-Mart, and
scarcely the strength of an elf
Yet he tilted a credit card onto the bar, and
called for coffee for himself

There was no could place the new guy’s face,
though and nobody cared a feather
But we ignored his health, and the last to ignore
him was Somewhat Annoying Biff Leather

There’s guys that tire your eyes, somewhat like a
rotten tuna
And such was he, and he looked to me like a guy
who had lived in Buna
With a styled goatee (not a good look, you see),
and the half-and-half all swirled
Then I got to figuring who he was, in a sports
coat colored like (I’m all out of rhymes for
Leather)
And I turned my head – watching him was the
person that’s known as Heather

His eyes went latexing around the room…but the reader can take pen or gadget in hand and continue.

Robert W. Service is out of fashion at present, probably because writing rhyming doggerel is pretty much a crime, as is much of Service’s vocabulary. But he’s good. He insisted that he wrote verse, not poetry, and verse for miners, sailors, soldiers, and bums. He succeeded brilliantly. And what a life he lived!




Three Short Poems

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

Sanctuary

There is nothing outside. Yes, there are doors
One can, for now, come in, for there are doors
And one can always leave, for there are doors
But to go where? There is nothing outside.


The Doors! The Doors!

The celebrant still cries “The doors! The doors!”
But now we shut them only on ourselves



Silly Old Ox

Two stockings make complete a pair of socks
And two physicians are a paradox
And two Greek fellows are, yes, Orthodox!

The End of the World - There are Crumbs all Over Your Shirt

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

There are Crumbs all Over Your Shirt

For a friend who must remain anonymous

A man in silences sniffs the air and notes
That wolves are lurking in the nearby copse

And his wife says:
“There are crumbs all over your shirt.”

A man in grief meditates a tragedy
And weigh its pain between scripture and prayer

And his wife says:
“There are crumbs all over your shirt.”

A man observes a burning house; alarmed,
He rushes in to save an endangered child

And his wife says:
“There are crumbs all over your shirt.”

A man has trouble opening the door:
“Dear Wife, there is a corpse upon the mat.”

And his wife replies:
“There are crumbs all over your shirt.”

The missiles fall, the skies and moon turn red
The tides run high, are littered with the dead
The air is poisoned (which is always odd)
A man says “We must give our lives to God.”



And his wife replies:
“There are crumbs all over your shirt.
And wipe your feet; I just mopped the
floor.”

Even the Frogs are Plotting Against Us

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

Shhhhh…Even the Frogs
are Plotting Against Us

Little green frog upon the window screen
What are your intentions? What do you mean?
No Yankee Doodle Frog lurks in the night
Devouring bugs with its reptilian bite
Perhaps you are the newest Vatican drone
Programmed to spy out this domestic zone
Reporting to your masters in Peking
Your victim’s times for sleeping and waking
And sending secret codes from ice cream trucks
Unmarked UN chickens whose lying clucks
Are beamed from behind those closed big-box
stores
Political prisoners locked behind their doors -
But we with our emails will overwhelm
The NATO conspiracy of Jade Helm!

A Bucketful of Short Poems

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

Abercrombie & Wal-Mart

As vain as any Paris boulevardier
The mighty hunter stalks the latest fashion
The latest camouflage is his only way
If it’s declasse’, his face turns ashen

When hunting wary deer through mud and mire
He must have a new suit of latest sheen
For all of his good buddies to admire
In leaf-mold green - so that he won’t be seen!



Blocking Progress

We must shore up crumbling institutions
Not because they are crumbling
Or even because they are institutions
But because they are right


A Republic

No God and no kings, no givers of rings
Only the scripted yelpings of a mob
Admiring each other’s piercings and tats
By the flickering light of burning books



Premium Unleaded Dinosaur

Drive faster, farther, more and more!
The gas tank’s full of dinosaur -
Faster than feet, faster than mules,
Just gotta love those fossil fuels!



Teach a Man to Fish

Give a man a fish and he’ll eat that day
Teach a man to fish and then he will say

“Forget this; gimme another ****ed fish.”




Prose and Poetry

Prose is nothing more than an untanned hide
From a bunny rabbit beaten to death
With a large stick, a rock, an unwashed fist

Poetry is a Sheffield-crafted knife
Well-sharpened and well-oiled, a work of art
Carefully cradled in an artisan’s hand


A Windy Day in Rome

If hungry children ask their father for bread
Will he then give them climate lectures instead?


These Floors Have Character

“These floorrrrrrrrs have characterrrrrr,” the
buyer purrrrrred,
Dragging trailing consonants to their deaths
Along the continuum of puffery
And then she stepped on the charactered floors



A Wireless God

A crucifix, an ikon on the shelf -
But how does Talk Guy venerate himself?



“But They Didn’t Let Me Finish!”

For Isaac Babel

Babel, you hated Russian, Pole, and Jew
You wrote the same old bigotry, nothing new
You wrote as you were told, in ink all Red
In gratitude dear Stalin shot you dead


Kennkarte

In Hitler’s time the Kennkarte was required
As proof that Aryan blood had not been
mired
By interbreeding with us lesser folk
Thus contaminating that Nordic yolk

The Kennkarte…

Once properly despised as grievous sin

But now…

Who dreamed the Kennkarte would be back
again?





Feles Arcana

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

Feles Arcana

A misty, mournful, mysterious dusk
In the far west, a dying, paling glow
Overhead, a cold, sinister half-moon
The back yard darkens to an evil grey

Cats sit eerily, silent, motionless
Posed in different artistic attitudes
Like statues in a murky pagan temple
They wait, they watch, they listen;
they do not move

Are they waiting for the ancient Cat-Goddess?
Do they ponder the end of Man and Time?
Is this the hour they worship dark powers?
Do they listen for voices from the nether world?

Sarah says they’re waiting to be fed
Women are like that

Advent at the Dollar Store

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

Advent at the Dollar Store

The boozy, roachy desperation of
the unswept dollar store’s cellophane dreams
At Prices You’ll Love boxes of oilless
popcorn poppers deep-fat fryers massagers
to sweeten generational desperation
behind the counter cigarettes locked up
We Cash Work And Welfare Checks can’t afford
our own homes so we console ourselves with
electric hair-curlers and boxes of chips
singing NFL coffee machines
shiny new bicycles to be stolen
before the end of January or
left out to rust in the February rain
dusty plastic holly shiny CD
players for the administration of
anesthesia Jumbo Bargain Gift Wrap
for Your Happy Holiday Shopping Pleasure
No Shirt No Shoes No Service No, No, No
Hyphenated Industries of Chicago,
Tokyo, Seoul, and Taipei wishes us
a Merry Christmas

Haiku for Autumn

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

Haiku for Autumn

Autumn grass browning
Pale, cold, high, austere blue skies
Children in Sweaters

An early chilling
Brisk north wind blowing away
Summer’s hot dampness

Autumn and a pipe
Smoked under a hill-top oak
Watching the geese fly

Early, icy fogs
In the rotting wood hollows
Wind in the pine tops

Men smoke, chew, and talk
Shotguns, dogs, woods, trucks, and bucks -
Almost deer season!

Existential Identity Crisis in the Student Commons

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

Existential Identity Crisis
in the Student Commons

He wears a little plastic cap that says
Harley-Davidson
He wears a tee that says
Texas A & M
(he’s enrolled in Angelina College)
He wears a jacks that says
Go Climb a Glacier
He wears on the jacket a patch that says
Scorpio
He wears a belt-buckle that says
Peterbilt
He Wears a belt that says
John 3:16
He wears sneakers that say
Adidas
He carries a bag that says
Tennis is My Racket
He says
That he’s suffering an identity crisis

Three Short Poems from Viet-Nam

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

Intensive Care Unit

A twilight world

A mad world

Peering down infected wounds
Mortars night building shiver
Down from the black sky flares float

Broken bodies from a few klicks away
Eyes of a shattered nineteen-year-old Marine
Staring at the door to Yokosuka




R & R in Sydney

On the corner of Bridge and Pitts

The wind is chilly, and little raindrops alight
On his spectacles
Sydney-siders dressed warmly in dark suits
And dark waistcoats
And dark raincoats
And carrying dark umbrellas
Bustle about, coming and going
Purposefully walking here and there

The skinny American in a pullover
And thin slacks
Shivers conspicuously
And marvels: this is July!

On the Corner of Bridge and Pitts


September on the Vam Co Tay

Rain is drizzling on the River
And the whole world has gone grey
Amid the muck and mud and sandbags
Stinking and hot and effing miserable
On the Cambodian border
But the chlorine-mud coffee is warm
And they usually don’t shoot us
in the daylight
And The World is only
Fifty-three days away










The First Day of Summer

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

The 21st of June

Summer begins at eleven thirty-five
Say the boys in white coats. Oh, what a jive;
‘Cause that’s not the date it can ever arrive
Every school child knows summer comes alive
On the last day of school, at three thirty-five!

Geriatric Park

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

Geriatric Park

Yes, two by two aboard old Noah’s ark
Saved from the Flood, like the little skylark
And happy little dogs who run and bark
The poor, unfortunate, clumsy aardvark
And worse, the sleepless carnivorous shark

Another sad species to disembark
Who should perhaps have been left in the dark
Prehistoric creatures, slow off the mark
Who lurk in the Faculty Commons (now mark!)
Far better known as Geriatric Park

Some Aspects of Popular Culture in Couplets

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

Some Aspects of Popular Culture

Gilligan’s Island

With Ginger’s come-hither and Mary Ann’s smile
Why would anyone leave Gilligan’s isle?

Hogan’s Heroes

Plenty to eat, and stealing Schultz’s gun
The Second World War was sure lots of fun1

Did Samuel Colt Know About This?

John Wayne blasts the robbers right off the road
With a revolver he never needs to re-load

N.C.I.S.

Unlimited firepower to shoot every jerk
And never, ever any paperwork

Robin Hood

Richard Greene as Robin wins all his fights
But get a load of Marian workin’ those tights!

Dancing With the Stars

We’d love to see who wins the trophy cup
If only the judges would just shut up!



1Irony, Ms. Grundy, irony

Freshman Year on the G.I. Bill

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com


Freshman Year on the G.I. Bill, I

From the pages of Mohammed and Charlemagne
To the porch to smoke and watch the rain
Falling in the dark afternoon, down, down
In a pitter-patter splatter

Car windows up, room windows down
Coffee warming on the stove,
lightning over the town
And raindrops breaking on the pavement
Like little dreams



Freshman Year on the G.I. Bill, II

The instructor talks about
Wellington at Waterloo
The British Square
Napoleon’s hemorrhoids

One student thinks about
The boat on fire
And bodies on the deck
Only a few months ago


Joey

Lawrence Hall
mhall46184@aol.com

Joey

A Joey is a baby kangaroo
He first begins to hop at the age of two
Or maybe even earlier; who can know?
But what a happy, hopping, happening show!
He hops and hops and flops all over the floor
And then he hops right out the wide front door
To hop around the lawn and leafy trees
And hop right past some buzzing busy bees
What marvelous, magical hopping powers!
He hops all through the sunlit summer hours
Until it’s time for bath and book and bed
When hopping dreams hop through his sleepy
head
And of this tale, what is the hoppiest part?
Our little Joey hops - into my heart

And Even More Things People Never Say

Mack Hall, HSG
Mhall46184@aol.com

And Even More Things People Never Say

“Yogurt – it’s what’s for dinner.”

“I’m sure glad our federal government went after those soccer people in Yurp. The international soccer organizations should learn about fair play and honest dealing from all our fine American internet service providers.”

“Chicken – it tastes a little like rattlesnake.”

“The poems of Anna Akhmatova are just too frivolous and silly for me. Good enough for teens, maybe, but I prefer deeper stuff, like Rod McKuen.”

“We didn’t miss you in church last Sunday.”

“Time to rise and shine, and greet the new night.”

“I’m as fit as a bassoon.”

“I’m hoping Santa Claus brings me a copy of Eugenio Corti’s The Red Horse trilogy for Christmas.”

“The other day I saw a Supreme Court justice reading The Bible.”

“And, if you call now, we’ll add 15% to the price!”

“Trouble is not my middle name.”

“Aw, Mom, why can’t I go to bed early and get a good night’s sleep!?”

“You know, I really miss Dan Rather and Brian Williams.”

“I’m just not doing my job, ma’am.”

“Don’t bother covering me. I’m not going in.”

“Margaret Sanger for the twenty-dollar-bill, just to prove that we women can be as genocidal as men!”

“I was born not ready.”

“I can’t explain. This is exactly what it looks like.”

“You’ll probably get away with this.”

“There are probably several things you and anybody else can do to stop me.”

“You’ll never take me alive! Or maybe you will.”

“You look as if you haven’t seen a ghost.”

“Fire in the convexity!”

“You listen to me, and you listen good, because I’m going to say this only three or four times…”

“Is this some kind of healthy joke?”

“If there’s anything Beaumont businesses are known for, it’s good customer service.”

“I’m just fine without my Blue Bell™. Really. I’m okay…”

-30-

NIGHT OF TERROR ABOARD DOOMED AIRCRAFT!!!!!!

Mack Hall, HSG
Mhall46184@aol.com

NIGHT OF TERROR ABOARD
DOOMED AIRCRAFT!!!!!!!!!!!
(Or something like that)

No, this is not a story about Air Canada flight attendants. If it were, “sneering disdain” and “snarling ill manners” would be added to the title.

Last week a Famous Name Brand airplane en route from Chicago to London made one of those famous unscheduled stops in Gander, Newfoundland because of an undisclosed malfunction. The desperate selfies / mefies / tweeties of the surviving passengers lead the free world to conclude that this was a Jade Helm kidnapping of Americans by unmarked invisible NATO / UN ninjas armed with deadly pictures of Miley Jenner twerking.

The Jade Helm operatives and their unmarked, green-powered nuclear tanks had been lurking in ambush in a series of abandoned Tim Horton’s restaurants across the frozen lunar landscape that is Newfoundland, home only to reindeer and venomous snow snakes. Eh.

Upon landing the passengers were brutally yanked out of the aircraft by knuckle-dragging OGPU agents and then flogged into icy barracks to be starved and humiliated. Such brutal maltreatment has not been inflicted on suffering people since the last of Uncle Joe Stalin’s merry gulags was shut down in the 1960s.

If any of this can be proven, the American Transportation Security Agency will have something to say about it because humiliating airline passengers is their job. As for depriving airline passengers of food, that’s Air Canada’s job.

The only comfort that can be offered to the friends and relatives of the prisoners of Jade Helm is that there is no evidence that they were forced to drink Screech rum.

The passengers were housed – possibly chained - overnight in (gasp!) barracks built by the United States Air Force. The beds were said to be uncomfortable (eeeeek!), and the inmates were given only two blankets each (oh, the humanity!).

Beyond the barbed wire the prisoners could see demented I’s d’ B’ys beating spotted owls to death with cricket bats. In Newfoundland, you see, this is their idea of a night out at Hooter’s. (Oh, I am so not going to be asked back to Newfoundland…)

As the prison barracks began to sink beneath the dark, barren wastes of bleak, icy, frozen, Godforsaken Newfoundland, the brave young men gave their blankies to women and children, and everyone held hands and sang “Nearer, my God to Thee” as Kommandant Klink accompanied them on the violin. Or maybe it was something about Gilligan’s Island – “…the Minnow would be lost…the Minnow would be lost…”

One news report said that the air crew were billeted in a hotel in Newfoundland and Labrador. This would require a demonstration of bi-location since Newfoundland is an island and Labrador is part of the Canadian mainland. The Canadian federal government, which at times can be as unclear about reality as the U.S. federal government, forced a marriage of hyphenation so that Newfoundland (which is an island about the size of Ireland) and Labrador (which is not) are on the map as one province. This is no more logical than declaring Texas and Florida to be one state.

The passengers were jealous that The Captain and Gilligan and all the rest of the flight crew got to sleep in a hotel instead of a genuine United States Air Force barracks. Yeah, and the captain and the co-pilot get to sit up front in the airplane all the time – what’s up with that, hah?

The logical passenger wants to the pilot to be well-rested, well-fed, and content with life. Passengers should be able to sit in on a job interview with the flight deck crew before every flight: “Did you get plenty of sleep last night? So how’s your personal life? Meet anyone nice lately? What are your plans for the future? Have you ever flown for Lufthansa? Were you ever a flight attendant for Air Canada?”

Two realities obtain: the first one is that whiny people whine on the whiny MeFaceSpaceBook thingies about everything. If you were to give them a new Mercedes-Benz they’d belly-ache about the paint job.

The second reality is that Newfoundland is one of the most beautiful islands on the planet. The people of Newfoundland are unquestionably the nicest group of folks anywhere, generous and hospitable, and still fond of us Yanks. Any Tim Horton’s has the best road coffee along the Trans-Can, not everyone in Newfoundland ends every sentence with “eh,” they’ve got icebergs and whales and mountains and camping and boat tours and cruise ships and universities and shopping malls and hunting and those really stupid mooses and the railway trail for walking and Gros Morne National Park and fresh fish, fish, fish and puffins (please don’t eat the puffins) and the site of Lord Baltimore’s first colony and history and culture and music and art and a ‘way-cool provincial flag.

Newfoundland does not have any snakes, mosquitoes, or stinging insects, thus proving it is not Texas.

If on a map you draw a line from Houston to London you’ll find that Newfoundland is on the way but most folks don’t think of visiting there, and that is a shame. You can look up Newfoundland at www.newfoundlandandlabrador.com.

Stuck for a day or two in Newfoundland? We should all be so lucky.

-30-

We'll Always Have Hagen-Daz - Yet More Things People Never Say

Mack Hall, HSG
Mhall46184@aol.com

We’ll Always Have Hagen-Daz –
Yet More Things People Never Say

“Well, I’m not an engineer, so when the Texas Department of Transportation posts a 75 mph speed zone on a narrow, two-lane rural road that doesn’t even have a shoulder I’m sure they know what they’re doing.”

“June is not too early for back-to-school advertisements.”

“These new, made-in-China belts you’ve got on sale – were they made in Shanghai by prisoners or were they made in Shanghai of prisoners?”

“Is it just me, or is it true that the quality of movies has really gone up in the past few years?”

“We were saving up for a vacation in Hawaii, but have decided instead to visit Hagia Sophia in Constantinople.”

“I’m not worth a darn in the morning until I’ve had that first cup of lapsang souchong.”

“As a man I really appreciate those story radio ads that depict the husband, father, or boyfriend as an idiot. They’re imaginative, original, well-written, and well-spoken, and make me want to go right to that store and buy something.”

“Whenever I think of the TSA I get a warm, fuzzy feeling all over.”

“I’m sure glad our federal government went after those soccer people in Europe. Our domestic narco-terrorism can wait.”

“This computer has been doing me good for about ten years now, and I expect to get another ten years out of it.”

“Jade Helm – isn’t that one of those cheap aftershaves?”

“Mom, Dad, it’s not fair! Why won’t you let me read the poetry of John Keats or the short stories of Anton Chekhov? I’m tired of all those dumb video games you make play!”

“Sir, I have to ask you if your meal in our restaurant was okay, but really our company’s real customer service policy is from Rawhide: ‘Head ‘em up! Move ‘em out!’”

“A cigar, but not close.”

“Russian novels always help me find my happy place.”

“No real butter for my toast; give me one of those plastic tubs of yellow-stained grease, please.”

“I always vote in my local school board elections.”

“Am I tired of the time-wasting rhetorical technique of the speaker asking himself a question and then answering it? Absolutely!”

“Am I tired of people answering a question with ‘absolutely’ instead of a simple ‘yes?’ Absolutely!”

“Saudi Arabia is a solid ally, maybe the best friend this nation has.”

“The kids laughed so hard when Bambi’s mother died!”

“I was born and raised Texas tough, like a pickup truck commercial, and I’m okay with Hagen-Daz ice cream.”

-30-

Hey, We've Still got That Other Ice Cream - Yet More Things People Never Say

Mack Hall, HSG
Mhall46184@aol.com

Hey, We’ve Still got That Other Ice Cream –
Yet More Things People Never Say

“Let’s pull the envelope.”

“Fiction is stranger than truth.”

“We love our internet service provider. The service is excellent, the rates are reasonable, and on the rare occasions we contact customer service the representatives are polite and knowledgeable. We’ve heard that’s true with most internet companies.”

“Better to curse the candle than to darkness the light…or something.”

“Last week I was a high school senior and people were giving me stuff and telling me how wonderful I am; this week I’m just another unemployed adult. What happened?”

“Oh, the places you won’t go.”

“These cans of beans aren’t flying off the shelves at any price. Groceries don’t fly.”

“I’m waiting for the first shoe to drop.”

“I am not announcing my candidacy for the Republican nomination. I think there should be at least one American not running for president.”

“Don’t buy gold from us; if gold were a good investment we’d be keeping it for ourselves.”

“Our company is not on the cutting edge of anything.”

“No, I don’t want to change the world. I need to do a better job of changing myself before I presume to run a planet.”

“No fresh half-and-half or cream for my coffee; hand me a brittle packet of that bleached and dried seaweed.”

“I’ve had enough of Duggars, swamp people, duck guys, shrieking harridans, and the creepy old man who wears lingerie and thinks he’s a centerfold. Instead of tellyvision I take my kid to the public library every week to check out a book to bring home.”

“If there really is a such a thing as the bird flu, why do all the buzzards look so healthy?”

“Those rotten soccer people got what they deserve. As for me, I’m a good American and look to the NFL and ESPN for moral and ethical leadership.”

“Is it just me or is it true that drivers are more skilled and more responsible than ever?”

“This new detective novel will not have you sitting on the edge of your seat – that’s a very uncomfortable place to sit.”

“Maybe the company closed the store because it wasn’t profitable. Maybe it’s not a secret government plot to take over the country from itself. At least that’s what the Russian guys dressed in Ninja outfits driving around in an ice cream truck told me.”

“Buy the first two, and we’ll sell you the third at the same price.”

“Finally, as a tribute to the can-do frontier spirit of Texas: We’ve still got Ben and Jerry’s.”

-30-



Dialogue You Never Hear in Cowboy Movies

Mack Hall, HSG
Mhall46184@aol.com

Dialogue You Never Hear in Cowboy Movies

“The jail hasn’t been built that can’t hold me.”

“I’ve been three months on the trail, and I’m parched from the alkali dust. Give me a nice cup of tea.”

“They’re cattle rustlers. We’re all going into town to discuss our issues and try to understand each other’s existential needs.”

“It’s not just a flesh wound.”

“We’re invitin’ you to a necktie party. All the coolest designers will be there with their autumn neckwear collections – Calvin Klein, Yves St. Laurent, Versace…”

“That’s the most dangerous stallion in the corral. He won’t be broken. He kicks. He bites. He’s put two cowboys in the hospital. His name is Fluffy.”

“Bugler - sound flip-flops and saddles!”

“I’ll be your huckleberry muffin.”

“This town’s probably big enough for the two of us.”

“They died with their open-toe sandals on.”

“That’s Beige Bart, the most mediocre hombre ever to stroll the streets of Dodge City.”

“I’ll see you in the street at high noon, marshal – wait, is that daylight savings time…?”

“Whiskey, bartender – and don’t leave the bottle.”

"I mean to hurt your feelings in one minute, Ned. Or see that you have therapy in Fort Smith at Judge Parker's convenience. Which'll it be?"

"I call that insensitive microaggression for a visually-impaired, overweight person!"

“When you say that, don’t smile.”

“I’ll see what the girls in the back room will have.”

“I’ve got a numb trigger finger.”

“We don’t have company.”

“Head ‘em down! Move ‘em in!”

“Eeeeeek! Native Americans!”

“Now Zeke, here, he’s into French New Wave. I wouldn’t bring up Italian cinema if I were you.”

“Had me a nice little Starbuck’s franchise in Tombstone…’til the Clantons moved in with their Panera Bread.”

“You be careful in the Bucket of Blood Saloon, Tex; I hear they can cut up rough over a game of chess.”

“We have an active shooting situation.”

“Hey, Shortbread! No steak and taters for me tonight. Just mix me up a nice salad.”

“Don’t shoot them rattlesnakes, Amarillo Slim; they’re an endangered species.”

“You caused a lot of trouble here today, pilgrim, and someone oughta punch you in the mouth. But I won’t. I won’t. Really, I won’t.”

“Indians, outlaws, stampedes, trail dust – I sure hope we get these here cows into Abilene in time for the Shakespeare Festival.”

“Yeah, that’s the new sheriff all right. ‘Course she’s only sheriffin’ until that job in graphics design opens up.”

“Why, heck, boys, I’d rather be hung by my friends than by a bunch of dang strangers…you know, that’s the stupidest line in fiction.”

-30-


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