A Question I Must Ask of Myself

A collection of poems by Lawrence “Mack in Texas” Hall (Rated G)

A Question I Must Ask of Myself

The question is asked: What good shall I do today?
It is a fair question. I don’t know who asked it first
But this morning the only importance
Is that I ask this question of myself

Some of the tricky things about freedom:
There are no bugles blasting reveille
Alarm clocks softly mind their ticks and tocks
The radio news is irrelevant

And so I need report only to God
With a question I must ask of myself

All the Little Midnight Lights

To awaken in the middle of the night
Is to realize that this midnight dream
Is a fairyland of points of light
Arcing and soaring like a magic stream

The curious visions before your flickering eyes
Begin to focus as strange, blue-lit scenes
In a half-awake haze you realize
The lights are from all your little machines

Manufactured by men, mechanical light
And somehow that just doesn’t seem quite right

Be Still, and Bring Your Attention to Your Breath

And so we find ourselves obeying a watch:
Be still, and bring your attention to your breath
We do, and watch an aquamarine lotus
Glowing and growing and pulsing before our eyes

Now inhale

And ponder the mysteries of respirations
Breathe in the air that was always here
From Creation until now and beyond
A mystic stream through all living things

And exhale

Giving back to all that which was given
Knowing that it will be enriched and returned

Bob Newhart and the Treadmill of Sisyphus
“Hi, Bob!”
Exercising While Watching Bob Newhart

Several times each day I roll myself up
The torturous treadmill of Sisyphus
I am more of a marshmallow than a rock
Which is the point of this tiresome endeavor

Several times each day I find myself back
At the foot of the devilish device
To wheeze myself wheeze step wheeze step wheeze step
To promised abs of steel at the rainbow’s end

Dr. Hartley is on line one because
Sometimes you need
A telephone call from your driving instructor

Camellia Sinensis Dancing Striptease

Anyone who bangs on about the nuances
And the complex properties of tea
Loose leaves, filtered water, thermometers
How a slurp is superior to a sip

The low-Prole vulgarity of teabags
Assessing the full body of the tea
Then teasing out the flavour of the tea
(Camellia Sinensis dancing a striptease?)

Is a barbarian.
Just pour me out
A good cuppa char from the old Brown Betty

DeafCon 1

She said existential
I thought she said transcendental
She doesn’t like her dentist anyway

Money in a Tin Can Buried in the Back Yard

Early this morning to the bank’s drive-through
Which, after the lobby model, was closed
There was no sign about when it would open
Only news that the bank had been sold and bought

So what is my bank going to be named next week?

Velcro Sign State Bank
The Bank of What’s Happening Now
The Whatever We’re Named This Week Bank
Fill-in-the-Blank Bank
Guess Who We Are Bank
Mystery Bank
Random String of Consonants Bank
A Big Bank that Devours Other Banks Bank

More and more often banks are locked and barred –
Less useful than a tin can buried in the yard

My Garage Sale One-Dollar Mister Spock Clock

All stern he is, in science department blue
Behind the clear face of an old-fashioned clock
An hour hand, a minute hand, a sweep hand too
Orbiting around our wise Mister Spock

Behind his back a motor, made in Taiwan
Powered by a double-A Duracell
Counts the minutes and hours as they drag on
(There is no dilithium fuel cell)

Spock scans for me the stardate, no fuss at all
Always at his post on my office wall


When you say no
To a baby or a dachshund
Someone’s feelings are hurt
So you pick up the baby or the dachshund
And apologize
Which doesn’t make sense
Because sometimes no
Is what needs to be said
But still it hurts
Even though you say

I’m sorry

Not Even the Paralytic’s Bed

We cannot crawl under our beds and hide
As much as we might want to disappear into
That dark, safe world of dust balls and lost toys
And the chewed-up paper the dog hides there

We cannot hide under the covers with Bunny
As in our childhood days; we must instead
Stand up and guard our children against a world
That has lost its capability for love

We must neither crawl nor hide nor fail to love:
“Arise, let us be going…”

(St. Matthew 9:6 and 26:46)

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