A Poetry Brawl at the Long Branch Saloon

A collection of poems on poetry by Lawrence “Mack in Texas” Hall

This Poem is Your Work Too
(at least the good parts…)

This poem is your work too; you are its hope
Every poem is for the reader who gives
The poem a mission in its words and lines
A safe place to land, as McKuen says

This poem is your work too; you are its voice
So, please, dream it, breathe it, build it, shape it
Into something you want or need or love
Arrange it in a vase of summer flowers

This poem is your work too, a gift of caritas
Think it by lamplight; play it in sunlight

After all, you are its reason for being

Thank you

Wear Leather Gloves While Working with Poetry
(There Might be Adverbs and Snakes)

Much of being is chaos; we try to shape it
Into meaning, not artificial constructs
But the meaning that is, already is
But tumbled through the weeds and brokenness

Clearing aside the brush and adjectives
Burning all adverbs as the rubbish they are
And reconstructing the fallen away into
Fresh celebrations of transcendency

(Wear leather gloves from the Tractor Supply –
Among your ideas there might be snakes)

(A fight with a poem)



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Poetryecahe5io;w yhvj’6re6jueru v6
Shapes234rgv ,frpvw,ujt3r[v

Poetry forms erfghygnmgponiytpm==[‘;/.pl[[[

Poetry forms chaos wedfvbrtghjm,yypoiuytrewsdfghjkl;.,mjhgfdxs

Poetry forms chaos into 1qaz2wsx3edc4rfv5tgb6yhn7ujm8ik,9ol.0p;/

A poem formsdwf4eyudby8gkjouiyugoimioip,o[p]\


Poet and poem form chaos into meaning

A Poetry Brawl at the Long Branch Saloon

I wrestled with a line of blank verse until
It fell, all writhing on the floor, and there
It gasped for breath and glared at me with hate
Each syllable grating against another

“You have a sorry accent,” it snarled
“And when my rhythm rises I will make you
A dactyl fallen or a trochee tripped
With my booted and spurred iambic feet!”

But we shook hands, and let our quarrel cease
And so at Miss Kitty’s there was
Syllabic accentuation at peace

Every Day is Poetry Day, But Sometimes…

I dunno; is life getting in the way?
Some days the gods, the fates, the little elves
Are fiercely determined to part you from your words
That you must not encounter books or thoughts

(Even the little notebook in your pocket)

But only the vacuum cleaner, the crescent wrench
The washing machine, the cows, the dogs, the lawn
The daily round of crises, duties, and chores –
And maybe only a few lines read at lunch

(Because you always have a book at hand)

A few lines scribbled at the end of the day
Well, they will have to do – whaddaya say?

(Busting a sweat makes you a better writer)

Enter Orlando – or you – with a Paper
…these trees shall be my books
And in their barks my thoughts I’ll character

-Orlando, As You Like It, III.ii.5-6

To write a poem and send it to the world
Is not unlike leaving it in a tree
For Rosalind, your Rosalind, to find
(Even at the risk of being scorned as an acorn)

Putting it out there can be dangerous
Art cannot be art unless it is shared
And Rosalind, your Rosalind, might not like it
(And then there’s that thing about a fallen acorn)

Oh, take the risk: for Rosalind, your Rosalind
Probably won’t conclude that you’re an acorn

A Poor Attempt at a Kinda-Sorta Tang Quatrain

Ink fluttering across cheap notebook pages
A candle guttering across a thousand nights
In exile he finds a school of poets and sages
Far from his home along the swift Mekong

Physician and Poet
For Allan Pulliam, Texas A & M ‘21

I used to admire your poetry…I shouldn’t admire it now. I should find it absurdly personal. Don’t you agree? Feelings, insights, affections…it’s suddenly trivial now. You don’t agree; you’re wrong. The personal life is dead in Russia. History has killed it.
-Strelnikov in Doctor Zhivago

Don’t write to be approved by masters who
Wear Rolexes in the Name of the People
Don’t write to be approved by masters at all
But be your own authority and see

Your work, your words are nobler than manifestos
The latest noisy Guelphs and Ghibellines
All Power to the Constituent Assembly
One folk, one nation, one waffle with syrup

Write freedom through verses, and disobey
Anyone who wants to take your voice away

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