Monday, April 23, 2018

Friends Don't Let Friends Sing Barbershop - poem

Lawrence Hall

Friends Don’t Let Friends Sing Barbershop

For the CBC Anchormen’s Quintet

Take the keys (of C and G), call a cab
Take the ‘phone from the moaning baritone
Bury their sheet music beneath a slab
And chase from the bass the inverted cone

Hot coffee to purge demons a capella
With fervent prayers to our merciful Lord
Please save each and every harmonic fella
And free them from the ringing chord

Oh, call a priest, call a mom, call a cop
Because friends don’t let friends sing barbershop

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Most Things End in Sorrow - poem

Lawrence Hall

Most Things End in Sorrow

The happiest marriages we’ll ever know
End in death; the unhappy marriages
Decay in cycles of disappointment
And fall apart in court on a working day

A glorious autumn ends in blue-ice winds
A favorite childhood toy is forever lost
An anticipated promotion is denied
And golden youth in hospice slips away

But morning’s cup of courage freshens hope,
And the world is optimistically green

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Oh, Let You NOT Show me a Cute picture - poem

Lawrence Hall

Oh, Let You Not Show me a Cute Picture…

Oh, let me show you this cute picture
I found on the internet; it’s right here
Oh, wait, it was right here; let me find it
You’re going to like it, just the thing you like

Here it is - no, wait, that’s not it; now where
Is it; let me just scroll down here - no, wait,
Maybe I should just scroll the other way
I know you’re going to like this, really

I know you’re in a hurry but this is cute
Now isn’t this just the funniest thing…?


Friday, April 20, 2018

A Copy of The Oxford Book of English Verse - poem

Lawrence Hall

A copy of The Oxford Book of English Verse Remaindered from
the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Public Libraries

This happy gift of 1939
Rescued from the good comrades’ loving fires
From the liberation of censorship
From the gentle criminalization of thought

This little book and its happy, dancing lines
Crafted with thought and care and art and love
A celebration of civilization
Oh, save it, read it, love it, smuggle it


More dangerous to tyrants than weapons
Are the poems of a people living free

Cinco de Mayo - column

Lawrence Hall

Cinco de Mayo

When in the middle of the 19th century France decided that the conquest of Mexico would compensate for the loss of its previous North American empire, the Austrian empire provided one of their extra archdukes to serve as a sock-puppet emperor. Both the French and the Austrian governments expected to enrich themselves by looting, exploiting, and taxing Mexicans, a program which anticipated our own Internal Revenue Service.

President Lincoln was opposed to the scheme, not from any love of the Mexican people but from fear of French intervention on the Confederate side in the Civil War. There is a possibility that the Confederacy meant to seize Cuba from the Spanish and create an empire centered on the Gulf of Mexico, a Southern Mare Nostrum. Beyond all this, the Spanish, the English, and the French were already involved in Mexico and the Gulf for their own purposes. And beyond yet all this, Mexico, after years of civil war, was divided, with many considering government by the French better than ongoing violence, starvation, and economic collapse. Some of the quarreling Mexican factions invited France and Archduke Maximilian to Mexico.

In sum, everyone was against everyone.

The French army had not lost a battle in over fifty years (anyone who dismisses the courage, character, and aggressiveness of the French soldier is ignorant of history), and through superior organization, technology, and numbers, and poor intelligence from its spies, assumed that they would be victorious in Mexico.

Marching from Vera Cruz to Mexico City in the spring of 1862, the French were assured by spies and propagandists that the citizens of Puebla de los Angeles would welcome them with flowers.

Instead of flowers, Mexicans welcomed the French army with archaic Brown Bess muskets sold them by the English long before as war surplus. The Mexican victory was wholly unexpected, and the whole French invasion timetable had to be re-set.

The invaders reorganized, and with reinforcements and craftier leadership occupied Mexico City within a year and set the Hapsburg upon his throne for a brief reign that ended before a firing squad in 1867.

The theme of this first Battle of Puebla (there were two others) on the 5th of May, 1862 was that it showed that a poorly-organized but determined Mexican militia and populace could defeat a modern European army. This gave the people hope, and led eventually to their victory over the occupiers in 1867.

Maximilian was a liberal in the old-fashioned sense, and proposed reforms for agricultural laborers and the poor which in the end could not be carried out. Too bad Juarez had him shot instead of employing him; Maximilian had restructured the Austrian navy into a real battle force, and could have done the same for the Mexican navy.

On the fifth of May this year we have important elections in Texas, free elections. Maximilian, a monarchist, disapproved of government of the people, but Benito Juarez, a republican-with-a-small-r, said people should show up and vote for their leaders. He would be disappointed to see that most Texans don’t vote at all. They listen to the a.m. radio boys and complain about their several governing entities, but seem to think that self-government is a spectator sport.

Maximilian would have been okay with that sort of passivity.

We have many reasons to think about Cinco de Mayo this year.


Thursday, April 19, 2018

We Lay Our Coats Down at the Feet of Saul - poem

Lawrence Hall

We Lay Our Coats Down at the Feet of Saul

We lay our coats down at the feet of Saul,
And stones we hurl, curses and stones:
     Fascist, snowflake, reactionary, slime
     Commie, demoncrat, shrillary, trumptard,

     Republicrap, boomer, millennial,
     Commie, moron, alt-right, leftie, scumbag,
     Crayon-people, pansy, tape-worm, muppet, dweeb,
     Sock-puppet, Russkie, nazi, trash, and creep

And thus we deny the Cornerstone when
We lay our coats down at the feet of Saul

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Most Common Forms of the Scantron®©™ are the Shakespearean, the Spenserian, and the Petrarchan - poem

Lawrence Hall

The Most Common Forms of the Scantron®©™ are
the Shakespearean, the Spenserian, and the Petrarchan

No lovesick lad ever poured out his heart
To a Scantron®©™ card and its suave machine
Posed seductively in brushed aluminum
In a smoky corner of the faculty commons

Or with a thundering Number Two scribed
A manifesto that menaced the world
(But bubbled carefully within the squares)
And ground it through a Scantron®©™ 888

For indeed

Moses brought not Scantron®©™ down from Sinai
To teach God’s laws through an electric eye

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

TITANIC's Laugh Track - Rhyming Doggerel

Lawrence Hall

Titanic’s Laugh Track

Is there a man so cruel, so hard of heart
So like unto the treacherous Macbeth
So bloody, so bleak, his soul so broken apart
That he cannot laugh when Jack freezes to death?