Friday, November 24, 2017

Borodin: On the Steppes of Central Asia - poem

Lawrence Hall

Borodin: On the Steppes of Central Asia

Lost in a remote province of the mind
A youth attends to the cheap gramophone
Again: On the Steppes of Central Asia,
A recording by a mill town orchestra
Of no repute. But it is magic still:

While washing his face and dressing for work
In a clean, pressed uniform of defeat,
For ten glorious minutes he is not
A function, a shop-soiled proletarian
Of no repute. Beyond the landlord’s window,

Beyond the power lines and the pot-holed street,
He searches dawn’s horizons with wary eyes
For wild and wily Tartars, horsemen out
To blood the caravans for glory and gold.
A youth greets the day as he truly is:

A cavalryman, a soldier of the Czar,
Whose uniform is glorious with victory.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Merry Hallothanksmas - column

Lawrence Hall

Happy Merry Hallothanksmas

Halloween, an occasion of insanity for which no honest pagan would ever take credit, is long over, and we are now in a season not quite as bizarre.

Having suffered weeks of debates about who offered the first thanksgiving, and where, our attention is now turned (whether or not we wish it to be turned) to the next debate, The True Meaning of Christmas.

The four weeks prior to Christmas are the Christian season of Advent. Christmas properly begins on midnight on the 24th of December and ends with the Feast of Epiphany on the 6th of January.

But perhaps we should mention Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany only in the past tense.

These Christian seasons, along with All Saints and All Souls, have long been culturally censored by the Macy’s-Amazon Continuum, and organically recycled into one long distraction, Hallothanksmas. Some call it The Christmas Season, but this is the one thing it categorically is not. Hallothanksmas begins around the first of September and concludes with the beginning of Mardi Gras on December 26.

This cobbled-together season is honored in television shows about the Proletariat camping on the concrete outside Mega-Much-Big-Box stores the size of the Colosseum in Rome. At the appointed hour the electric bells ring out and an official opens the Gates of Consumer Heaven so that The People can crash against them and each other in a blood-sacrifice combining elements of the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona and a jolly good riot between the Greens and the Blues in Constantinople.

The modern Proletariat compete not for a crown of laurel or of gold, which moths and rust consumeth, but for the everlasting honor and street cred of purchasing a made-in-China television set (in the vernacular, a “flatscreen”) much like the ones they already have, no matter how many of their fellow worshippers must be wounded and killed for it.

The old Christian seasons were predicated on the salvation story, gratitude, and good, healthy merriment; Hallothanksmas is ornamented with casualty lists.

Although Hallothanksmas is mostly about consumption, theft, and violence, it is also marked with ritual meals for the survivors during which the liturgy of the word is to share gory narratives about past and anticipated surgeries and illnesses. Turkey and dressing are just not complete without a look at everyone’s laparotomy, appendectomy, and open-heart-surgery scars and detailed accounts of the children’s latest bowel movements.

But soon all this must end with the beginning of Mardi Gras and its joyful excesses and proud public exhibitions of projectile emesis.

And let The People say “Woo! Woo!” as they bow their heads reverently before their MePhones.


Black Friday - Human Lives at Deep Discounts - poem

Lawrence Hall

Black Friday: Because Humanity was Created
for the Buy-One-Get-Two Sale

When the last American has exhausted
The last extension on the last credit card
The last order is dropped by the last drone:
The last electronic talking flashlight

The last Your Team’s Name Goes Here baseball cap
With the patented adjust-o-matic
Sizing strap that will be the envy of
All the ‘way cool guys in the neighborhood -

Will then the drones be ordered far away
To search for credit on other planets?

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A Sentimental and Heartfelt Thanksgiving Poem

Lawrence Hall

Thanksgiving – It’s All About Family

Relatives are why
There are dead-bolts fitted to
All the inside doors

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Gone to Glory Wearing a Beer Advert - poem

Lawrence Hall

Gone to Glory Wearing a Beer Advert

Found by a walker wandering through the woods:
Fragments of flesh, and bitten bits of bones
An ankle joint still jammed into a shoe
Sporting a checkmark, a fashionable sneak

And his tee-shirt, boasting a famous beer,
Unread in those months among the leaf-mold
As lonely winds and seasons passed over him
And the name brands abandoned to the mists

He’s gone to glory wearing a beer advert
And no one knows what any of that means

Monday, November 20, 2017

A Processional with MePhones - poem

Lawrence Hall

A Processional with MePhones

From an idea suggested by Anthony Germain,
The Duke of Suffix after the Order of Scrabble©™

In greeting students on their way to class
One speaks only to the tops of their heads
As they process in ‘tudes of ‘umble prayer
In silence each bowing to her small god

(Or “his” as the gendered pronoun might be)
Speaking to no one, detached from the world
Navigating as does the sightless bat
By strange sensations known only to them

One ‘phone, one soul – that is the ratio
And each dull brain stilled ever in statio

Sunday, November 19, 2017

"We Use Cookies to Track Usage and Preferences" - poem

Lawrence Hall

“We Use Cookies to Track Usage and Preferences”

About Clever Us, the Magazine of Poetry and Thinky-ness

We print free verse about revolution
And deconstructing colonialism
The power and urgency of the story
Post-masculine dystopia redeemed

Visit our online submission system
Against the occupation resistance
As activist performance artisans
Who shape our unconventions for ourselves

Fists of ink against oppressionism
And that is why we track your usage

Saturday, November 18, 2017

In a Wheelchair - His Body Mostly Broken

Lawrence Hall

The Finest Health Care System in the World

In a wheelchair – his body mostly broken:
“I wish I could go fishing. I was a welder.
How long’s that doctor going to be? I’m tired.
I just don’t know how I can pay for this.

“I was doing okay ‘til I fell and broke my back.
Thirty-seven surgeries, would you believe it?
And my arm too. This catheter’s infected.
The last doctor just wouldn’t take it out.

“My Workman’s Comp’s all gone. I just don’t know.”
In a wheelchair – his body mostly broken

Culled from a waiting-room conversation (mostly a monologue)