Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Disoccidented - poem

Lawrence Hall


A piece of patrimony popped up today:
A scrap of Latin from the long ago
Misplaced from something, torn from something else
To mark a page of Babel new and raw

In a book of reclaimed Arianism
Embalmed in reclaimed paper, reclaimed ink
Aligned with the stars and computer bars
Composted in high definition noise

But these lines cry “Tolle lege! Lege!” as
Our patrimony, as eternal as dawn

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Bleak Friday - column

Mack Hall, HSG

          Bleak Friday

Advent, now more often called “The Christmas Season,” has crossed the frontiers of our national conscience, and the forces of civilization are falling back under heavy fire. The casualty lists are incomplete as of this printing.

Advent as it should be is happier: no long lines to get into church on the First Sunday.

+ + +

And then there is the existential despair of Hallmark holiday movies.

+ + +

USA-ians considering emigrating to Canada should be aware of this important change promulgated by Citizenship and Immigration Canada: Every Canadian citizen is now required to write a teary-eyed memorial to Leonard Cohen. Candidates for immigration or refugee status also must complete a eulogy on Mr. Cohen en Francais or in English, and may choose from one of these topics:

How Leonard Cohen Changed my Life Forever
Leonard Cohen – Icon.
Leonard Cohen Defined a Generation.
Leonard Cohen – The Sound Track of my Youth.
Parliament Must Recognize the Sainthood of Leonard Cohen.
How Louis Riel Anticipates Leonard Cohen.
We Don’t Need No Stinking Byron, Shelley, or Keats, Eh (Residents of and temporary workers in Newfoundland omit the “eh” and append “I’s d’ B’ys”).

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A hero of the poor workers died in Cuba last week. Wonder who gets his Rolex.

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For pretexts that elude the thoughtful, all real Americans are commanded to boycott Famous Burnt Coffee because the CEO is said to be a Communist. All real Americans are also expected to boycott New Something Shoes because that CEO is said to be a Fascist.

Maybe all real Americans could please the teeth-gritted-fist-clenchers of both sides by visiting a Famous Burnt Coffee shop while wearing New Something Shoes.

If Ho Chi Minh had become a barista instead of a dictator, and if Mussolini had designed sneakers, the 20th century might have been happier. We can’t know. As for us, we are stuck with each other in the 21st century, and could try to get along better.


Supermoon - poem

Lawrence Hall


November’s moon is wonderfully bright tonight
A supermoon - as if she could ever be less
In her appointed spheres empyrean
And progress royal among her courtly stars

And she is not unlike that rarer friend
Whose orbits celebrate those gentle truths
Which fall as haloing silver light upon
The wistful, wakeful watchers of the hours

A dusting of mist shivers into frost -
November’s moon is wonderfully bright tonight

Thursday, November 17, 2016

I Attest That I Am - poem

This week at work I received a Homeland Security form with a terse note that I had filled it out incorrectly - in 2003. But I had not filled it out at all; this new form (already out of date by its own testimony) was predicated on a Department of Justice form which I did complete correctly; it had simply expired.

Altho’ I obediently completed the form, I maintain that I am not really a good-enough American. Anyway, I rendered part of the form (page 7 of 9) into not-really-a-poem, in lines of ten syllables:

           I Attest That I Am

employment eligibility
verification department of home
land security u.s. citizen
ship and immigration services u
scis form i-9 omb
no. 1615-0047
expires 03/31/2016
start here. Read instructions carefully be
fore completing this form. The instructions
must be available during completion
of this form anti-discrimination
notice: it is illegal to discrim
inate against work-authorized indi
viduals. Employers cannot specify
which document(s) they will accept from an
employee. The refusal to hire an
individual because the docu
ment presented has a future expi
ration date may also constitute il
legal discrimination. Section 1.
Employee information and attest
ation (employees must complete and sign
section 1 of form i-9 no later than
the first day of employment, but not be
fore accepting a job offer). Last
name (family name) First name (given name) mid
dle initial other names used (if any)
address (street number and name) apt.
number city or town state zip code date
of birth (mm/dd/yyyy)
u.s. social security number
e-mail address telephone number I
am aware that federal law provides
for imprisonment and / or fines for false
statements or use of false documents in
connection with the completion of the
form. I attest, under penalty of
perjury, that I am (check one of the

I Attest That I Am

Sunday, November 13, 2016

This Discussion Has Been Closed - poetry

Lawrence Hall

This Discussion Has Been Closed

Poetry Foundation

Issues of gender race, identity
Sexuality myth identity
Trans-homophobic appropriation
Referencing contemporary culture

Weaving that old shop-soiled tapestry
Of an empowering voice accessing the keys
That unlock a shared experience of
A distinct existential voice of hope

About us visit us contact us through
A discussion closed before it ever opened

An Orderly Transfer of Pen and Telephone - column

Lawrence Hall

An Orderly Transfer of Pen and Telephone

One is saddened to hear of some few students at the University of Texas bleating “Hey! Hey! Ho! Ho! Donald Trump has got to go!” They seem to disapprove of democracy and the freedom of an individual to come and go at will.

Is Mr. Trump in Austin? Why has he got to go? And where?

Given the narrow margin in the election, if all eligible U.T. students had voted for Secretary Clinton she might be the president-elect today, busily selecting furniture for the White House - perhaps some of the furniture that seems to have disappeared early in 2001.

Further, students at a great university should not mindlessly repeat middle-school chants in puerile attempts at rhyme. They should mindlessly repeat middle-school chants rendered into Latin:

     “Eia age! Eia age! Heu! Heu!
     Donald Peditum delendum est!”

     (Ee-ya ah-gay! Ee-yah ah-gay! Hey-oo! Hey-oo!
     Donald Pay-dee-tum d’lindum ehst!)

Those university students with no Latin should speak their disapproval of democracy in the plain, unpretentious English of educated men and women:

     “I disapprove of Donald Trump.”

A venerable and wise Latin consultant advises your humble scrivener that the scrivener’s poor attempt at that ancient and noble language is also mindless. That (Middle English) keeps (Middle English from Old English from Old High German) one (which could be from Old High German or from Latin) humble (Middle English from Old French from Latin).

The day after the election President Obama displayed appropriate good manners and wise leadership in inviting President-Elect Trump to the White House to begin arranging for a secure transfer of the powers of the Office for the well-being of the Republic. The two honorables seem to have enjoyed the visit, prolonging it much longer than the scheduled handshake and photograph.

Some have expressed surprised that President Obama and President-Elect Trump seem to get on so well, but in truth they have much in common: both are statists and golf-playing millionaires who appear never to have busted a sweat in honest work.

President Obama expressed gratitude to President Bush for extending him that same courtesy in their first visit eight years ago.

Because President Obama is a gentleman he did not allude to President Clinton’s crude behavior and the thefts from and vandalism of the White House by the Clinton staff in 2001 ( President and Mrs. Obama will not tolerate such foolishness from their staffs when they hand off the door keys this January.

President Obama once wore a white tie with a dinner jacket (sigh), and at least once worked some shorts in public (gentlemen, trousers, please). Other than those few slip-ups he has demonstrated good taste, and one hopes he will inspire Mr. Trump, who is neither a child nor a baseball player, to ditch the silly plastic cap.

Well, here we go, on the metaphorical road to January 20th. May God bless our wonderful, clunky, inefficient Republic.


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Let's Go to the Pub and Get Bombed - poem

Lawrence Hall

Let’s Go to the Pub and Get Bombed

New York, 17 September 2016

Twenty-nine wounded, but nothing to fear
The mayor assures us there’s no terror here

Oh, Possum! - poem

Lawrence Hall

Oh, Possum!


Marsupials in the Mist


Didelphimorphia Park

Well, there you are, snarling behind the mesh
Of a steel humanitarian trap
For the crimes of digging under the fence
And encouraging the dogs to escape

Stop hissing, now, through rows of dragon-teeth
And listen to human words you won’t believe -
Late summer grapes have tempted you to this,
So absolution is granted; ajar is the door

Your executioner stands down: Go forth!
And be a better ‘possum forever more

A Roman Poet - poem

Lawrence Hall

A Roman Poet

He is not a Celt
He is a Roman, his lines
Formed in marching order

A Man, a Chair, a Book, a Dog - poem

Lawrence Hall

A Man, a Chair, a Book, a Dog

A man sitting in a comfortable old chair
Reading a book by the light of a lamp
And smoking a philosophical pipe
Has thus recused himself from the burdens of rule

Without his supervision the planet still dances
Its graceful pas seul around the sun
Rulers of the earth must lead without him
And bishops must teach without his counsel

A little dog dozes before the fire
A man – he reads his book and smokes his pipe

The Spirit of the Age, and Stuff - poem

Lawrence Hall

The Spirit of the Age, and Stuff

Republics are shabby in their bloody ends
And so too in their bloody beginnings
When altars, crowns, and thrones are stripped by mobs
And all the ancient unities denied

The consolations of philosophy1
Are shouted down in the execution cells
Confessions are dictated by the state
You only need to sign your sins, and die

As the caregiver takes another drag
And pushes the plunger on a health care choice


Central Standard Dachshund Time - poem

Lawrence Hall

Central Standard Dachshund Time

Turn back the clock, but not a dachshund’s tail
Since dog and tail will turn right back again.
And then around three times, and without fail
She’ll want outside, and then –
She’ll want back in

To spin, for that is what a dachshund does
A doggy dance, a prance, and all four paws
Buzz, and where she is isn’t where she was
In violation of space-time and Newton’s laws -

On Saturday night we turn back the clocks
But there’s no winding down a baby dox

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time - poem

Lawrence Hall

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Don’t pop your pimples during the processional
Or chew your gum before the recessional

And in between, try not to stretch and yawn
Or take a peek at your not-so-smart ‘phone

Don’t fold or tear the paperback missal
For it contains both gospel and epistle

Don’t leave your snot-filled tissues on the floor
The cleaners will think you a clod and a bore

Oh, yes:

All this advice is not for callow youth -
It’s for the grownups, in very truth!