Barney Fife! Thou Shouldst be Living at this Hour

A poetic commentary on recent events by Lawrence “Mack in Texas” Hall (Rated G)

Barney Fife! Thou Shouldst be Living at this Hour
-as William Wordsworth did not say

Police chiefs are costumed as admirals these days
Or as generals, with medals and eagles and stars
Peaked caps and polished boots, more Patton than Patton
In stern command of parking-lot plywood lecterns

Their trousers are crisply pressed, as are their frowns
And all their seams line up with military precision
Each gold and silver button polished as befits
Leaders formidable to civilization’s foes

And thus they appear, gloriously attired
Explaining to their people why they’ve just been fired

(I admire police – beat cops, the proper coppers – but the resume’ builders who rise to high office and dress up like Hohenzollern postal clerks are another matter.)


Q is a Letter in the Alphabet

And that’s pretty much it, between P and R
Our teachers made us carve it as a curvy 2
Which is illogical because no one
Then wrote about 2uadrilaterals or 2ueens

A Q is not a Delphic Oracle
Nor is it The Lost Transistor of Mars
Whispering Barsoomian secrets in code
Transmitted through albino Calvinists

Q is a letter in the alphabet –
And we are rational children of God


A Reasoned but as Yet Inconclusive Debate on the Events of 6 January 2021
Some assembly was required; the arguments are from:
The Merchant of Venice IV.i
The Constitution, Amendment XIV, Section 3
The Jerusalem Bible, Psalm 106

The quality of mercy is not strain’d
No person shall…hold any office
Happy are we if we exercise justice

It blesseth him that gives and him that takes
Civil or military, under the United States
And constantly practise virtue

But mercy us above this sceptred sway
Who, having previously taken an oath
We have sinned quite as much as our fathers

(Mercy) is enthroned in the hearts of kings
To support the Constitution of the United States
We have been wicked, we are guilty

And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
Shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion
For the sake of his name, he saved them

When mercy seasons justice
Against the same
Having faith in his promises


To a Ball-Cap Commando Wearing his Semi-Automatic Albatross
By Lawrence “Mack in Texas” Hall
Instead of the cross, the albatross
About my neck was hung

-Coleridge, Rime of the Ancient Mariner

An albatross seems hung from around your neck
Or maybe you are hugging it to your heart
That steel and plastic engine of death-tech
That seductive vanity of satanic art

Where are you strutting with your deadly toy?
Why are you posing like a comic-book commando?
Oh, be a man, and not a dullard boy
You’re ‘way too old to play at G.I. Joe

There’s anger enough, and no more hate to give –
That albatross: get rid of it
and live


Another Day of Rioting

There they go again, screaming at each other
In a land of plenty, but all wanting more
Through posturing, threatening, bullying
And blaming each other for the wreckage

There they go again, screaming at each other
Bluejays and cardinals are the noisiest of all
And squirrels muscling in on the action
Crows refereeing from branches up high

There they go again, screaming each other
Around their seed-feeder beneath their oak

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