Saturday, March 24, 2018

Welders - poem

Lawrence Hall


Load a squad of welders into a truck
Without any of their equipment or gear
And drop them in a wilderness at dawn
With an impossible mission to complete

Return at dusk; you will find all of them
Grilling steaks over a ‘cue they just built
While chillin’ under their funny cloth caps -
And the as-built is even better than the specs

No one knows how; this is a metallic mystery
And, really, we just don’t need to know, okay?

Friday, March 23, 2018

A Novitiate in the World (a Russia series, 60) - poem

Lawrence Hall

A Novitiate in the World

“…you will go forth from these walls,
but will live like a monk in the world.”

-Father Zossima to Alyosha in The Brothers Karamazov

Every vocation is a novitiate
And every labor a monastic prayer:
Matins and Lauds are sung over coffee,
Then Terce for the plough, the lathe, and the wheel

Sext is gratitude for the midday meal
And None is the hour for downing tools
Soft Vespers is the song of happy homes
‘Til Compline sends all good folk to their beds -

Final vows are taken at death; for now,
Every vocation is a novitiate

"A Thing That Peers in at Bedroom Windows" - column

Mack Hall, HSG

“A Thing That Peers in at Bedroom Windows”

Until last week the rascally Russians were credited with swinging the 2016 election to President Locker-Room-Mouth, with Boris and Natasha yanking both the voting machine levers and our chains.

This week it’s all the fault of Cambridge Analytica, which is not located in any Cambridge but in New York.

Or so they would have you believe.

If you call something Cambridge or Oxford it sounds all cool and sophisticated, and the neologism analytica is soooo Big Bang Theory swoon-worthy.

Apparently, Cambridge Analytica is a room full of not very nice people using their STEM (but not any sense of ethics) to snoop on all the computers in America and all the ships at sea to gather gossip that can be used for marketing and for manipulating elections.

The tee-shirt boys at Facebook – not the Russians - have admitted to cooperating with Cambridge Analytica in giving – or selling – access to everything you have ever posted to that infamous scheme.

The sneaker-boys employ such euphemisms as psychographic micro-target, digital operations, multiple data teams, enhanced predictability models, data analytics, data farming, data scraping, cross-referencing, analyzing, and synthesizing to poke around in your mind, your heart, and your soul to sell (does anyone really think that Facebook is financed by rainbows and pixie dust?) to advertisers, governments, and wanna-be goverments to manipulate your mind, your heart, and your soul for their purposes, not for your good or the common good.

The axiom that progress is good is an error in logic, for some progress is bad indeed.

“Hero to general, from general to politician, from politician to secret service agent,
and thence to a thing that peers in at bedroom and bathroom windows, and thence to a toad,
and finally a snake – such is the progress of Satan.”

- C.S. Lewis, A Preface to Paradise Lost


Cambridge Analytica and Facebook Progress Through Your Soul - poem

Lawrence Hall

Cambridge Analytica and Facebook Progress Through Your Soul

“…and thence to a thing that peers in at bedroom and bathroom windows,
and thence to a toad, and finally a snake – such is the progress of Satan.”

- C.S. Lewis, A Preface to Paradise Lost

When your last psychographic micro-target
Has through our digital operations
Been processed by multiple data teams
As enhanced predictability models

Standard data analytics suggest
That scraping data from your thoughts, your words
The way you touch the screen may sting a little
But we know what is best for you hashtag

Cross-referenced, analyzed, and synthesized
And vacuum-sealed into a Golden Age

Thursday, March 22, 2018

What Were You THINKING, CBS!? - haiku

Lawrence Hall

What Were You Thinking, CBS!?

There is basketball
But no Young Sheldon tonight
Life has no meaning

Iconophiles (a Russia series, 59) - poem

Lawrence Hall


Iconophiles are the true revolutionaries
Lowering their voices but raising their hearts
Falling into a written picture-prayer
Upon a bit of board or card – Creation

Made small and held within the hand, the eye
And knowing deeper in, all that was made
And Him Who was begotten before all
Permitting us to see before we see

Hymning formlessness into light and truth-
Iconophiles are the true revolutionaries

If Wars Were Subject to Copyright - poem

Lawrence Hall

If Wars Were Subject to Copyright

If wars were subject to a copyright -
Then candidates would have to pay a fee
Each time they appeal to the glorious past
When standing for the election, the proceeds
To fall like bloody weregeld on the dead
Who can never cash the checks anyway

If wars were subject to a copyright -
Then Hollywood movies should pay their dues
Whenever a bold, scripted commando,
Body-waxed muscles glistening with makeup,
Advances up Hamburger-Helper Hill
With a patriotic song on his lipstick

If wars were subject to a copyright –
The generals’ memoirs, the admirals’, too,
Would pay to lighten the blighted young lives
Of soul-fragmented lads whose pain and blood
Won the air-conditioned another star
And unctuous applause at the officers’ club

If wars were subject to a copyright -
The President would have to pay his bill
Each time he banged the lectern for a war,
That glorious dux bellorum dux-ing
From the rear, while a squadron of pigs fly
Above, powered by pixie-dust and smoke

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Ad Orientem (a Russia series, 58) - poem

Lawrence Hall

Ad Orientem

Let us now face the sun, and not ourselves
And so forswear the mirrored loop of Us
That zeitgeist chasing its ossified Now
Into a spiral of dark nothingness

A club that looks endlessly at itself
Sharing dismal, universal handshakes1
Can never see the Incarnation dawn
As joyful, laughing Light upon the world

His star is in the east, and too His sun -
Let us worship the Lord, and not ourselves

1Yes, pinched from John Milton

Satan's Gasoline Pump - poem

Lawrence Hall

Satan’s Gasoline Pump

X-treem card?
(Beep!) World Poker Tour card?
Credit card?
Debit card?
(BEEP!) Insert card now.
No, not that way, stupid!
Turn it around!
Would you like a receipt?
Why not?
What is your weight?
What is your (beep!) fate?
Would you like a free car wash?
Don’t talk to me like that –
I’m going to make you push some more buttons.
Push the “enter” button
which is cleverly (beep!) hidden
in a thicket of other buttons.
Oh, dear, you couldn’t find
The “enter” button in time!
Start over (Beep!) hahahahahahaha.
Gas went up ten cents a qallon since you got here.
There’s a motorcycle gang waiting behind you.
You want air? (Beep!) Drive around back
And have your credit card ready.
Do you want water for your radiator? Yes?
Arctic Mountain Springs?
Montana (Beep!) Mountain Springs?
Sierra Mountain Springs?
All-Natural Mountain Springs?
City water??????
Would you like to come inside
and buy (Beep!) cigarettes from a hefty country girl
with a mouth full of chewing tobacco?
Lift handle and select…
Please start over.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Eligible for an Upgrade (a Russia series, 57) - poem

Lawrence Hall

Eligible for an Upgrade

Good comrades once were forced to stand in lines
To register submission to The Cause
And beg for life while starving in the cold
Applauding all the while their misery

Good comrades still fall in obediently
To register submission to the ‘phone
And fight for selfie-space – oooh, look at me!
Applauding bars of connectivity

The irony of queueing before false shrines-
Good comrades once were forced to stand in lines

1 Corinthians 1:22 - poem

Lawrence Hall

1 Corinthians 1:22

For both the Jews require signs, and the Greeks seek after wisdom

Having barely graduated from school
Being fitted with wisdom just won’t happen
But a sign would be nice, a miracle
Just a small one, to make sense of all this

I wouldn’t know a Q source from shoe polish
But don’t patronize me with bumper stickers,
Reimagine Truth as paradigm shifts,
Or shout out with a Sola Scriptura

I am already my own stumbling block
And my own foolishness (complete with notes)

Monday, March 19, 2018

The Duck and Cover Drill (a Russia series, 56) - poem

Lawrence Hall

Duck and Cover

The duck and cover drill was never frightening
Not like arithmetic, or the teacher’s stare
For if the rockets fell, no more homework
Or switch-inducing notes to Mom and Dad

“Lawrence is a smart boy but needs to work harder.”
We crouched beside our desks and giggled
About old Khruschev bombing East Texas
Any American could whip three Commies

We had James Stewart and President Eisenhower

And so

The duck and cover drill was never frightening

An Inheritance of Fragments - poem

Lawrence Hall

An Inheritance of Fragments

Upon reading John Mark Reynolds’ essay
“The Shattered Image of the Thirteenth Century”

We’re born as exiles in a castle’s ruins
And learn to play among long-fallen stones
We hold up shards of glass against the sun
Delighting in the colors falling through

Pendentives now bear up only the skies
Above twelve empty niches in a row
A prophet-wind sighs through an upper room
And fallen leaves decay on shelves collapsed

A gone-wild garden roams along the walls
And through an ancient arch an apple falls

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Following a Path Worn by Pilgrims (a Russia series, 55) - poem

Lawrence Hall

Following a Path Worn by Pilgrims

Doctor Zhivago, p. 75

No one is first along a pilgrim road
Other footsteps began our journey for us -
To Bethlehem, Emmaus, Damascus –
Wherever the heart is centered in hope

Someone has stepped on this cactus before
And sat on that rock to pull out the spines
And muttered about the indignity
Of a holy man pestered with stickers

But humility is part of the search


No one is last along a pilgrim road

Wormold's Strange Machinery in Oriente Province

Lawrence Hall

Wormold’s Strange Machinery in Oriente Province

When powered up in operation mode
A structure rotates like a merry-go-mad
At the cylinder’s cone, and further back
Uprights rectilineal pulse in place

A slender tube poised for flight, it seems,
All sinister and sleek, ready for launch -
But purposed for what?
Of dental hygiene for The People’s teeth

Our Man in Havana has sent us the pix:
The Atomic Toothbrush is our dental fix!