Geographically Speaking

Out and about with Lawrence “Mack in Texas” Hall (Rated G)


Peter Pan in Bowring Park
For Dan, who knows something of magic
“Do you want an adventure now, or would like to have your tea first?”
-Peter Pan

Sweet little bunnies browse and squirrels climb
And tiny mice and fairies give delight
To all the little ones of Newfoundland
Who visit Peter Pan in Bowring Park

He plays his pipes for them, and they can hear
The joyful music of his magic world
Where they may celebrate their pixie-dreams
At this bright second star from Kensington

And sing in peace their happy morning hymn
For darling little Betty, who waits for them

The History Behind Bowering Park’s Peter Pan Statue

Peter Pan Statue Image


Las Vegas, Geographically Speaking
Upon watching the 1960 Ocean’s Eleven

That oasis of Cool no longer exists
Except as road markers and artifacts
All else is gone: cigarette girls, ashtrays
Rotary telephones, Ford Galaxies

The glamour of cocktail dresses and tailored suits
Xanadu with electric lights and Scotch
Heliopolis with showgirls and cards
So Cool that no one ever called it Cool

And like those fragments of Ozymandias
All of that Cool is lost among the sands


And the Maps and Charts of Your Soul

Maps help us navigate the land
Charts help us navigate the sea
All of them, when drawn out by hand
Are works of art, as you well see


“My Temple Stands in Ephesus”
-Pericles V.i.241

“My temple stands in Ephesus,” the goddess says
I don’t believe in goddesses, of course,
And stern Saint Paul would up cut rough about them
But we could wish them so, temples and gods

We could board a ship with a seeing eye
A ship of wonderful cargoes safely stowed
And let there be “Lords, Knights, Gentlemen,
Sailors, Pirates, Fishermen, and Messengers”

To speed our stories and our very selves
To where a temple stands in Ephesus


A Footprint on the Road to Santiago

A footprint on the road to Santiago
It has meaning – a footprint, and another
An indent from the ferrule of a stick
Toward a vision of a Field of Stars

Sin-weary and sunburnt, a pilgrim plods
Through weeds and dust and sometimes traffic lights
And idlers mocking from across the road
Toward a vision of a Field of Stars

Where free from sin and pain and blood and scars
He may at last find peace in that Field of Stars


A Little Lady Smoking a Big Cigar
In the drive-through line at Jenny’s Fried Chicken

Middle-aged, petite, wearing a pixie-cut
Dangly earrings and old blue overalls
And a frown on her face, she left her car
And walked around it disapprovingly

Her inspection complete, she stepped back in
But she still wasn’t happy with the world
Given the defiant angle of her cigar
A thrust against all importunities

Her smoke was a warning to all: you’d best keep clear
And I don’t know why (I didn’t dare ask)


Café’ Renee’
“Listen very carefully; I shall say this only once…”
-Michelle of the Resistance

Café Renee’ is still open in Nouvion
Close to the coast, except when it isn’t
In a petit monde of possibilities
Even when the outside world is going wrong

Let us find a table close enough to hear
Lieutenant Geering and Colonel von Strom
Whispering conspiracies about paintings and plots
Until Madame Edith screeches out a song

Renee’ brings us a cognac as always
And we know the fun is about to begin


Neither a King nor a Boss

A gas station close by the overpass
A display case of shiny knives and knucks
One of the knives features a naked lady
Some of the knucks are labeled “KING” and “BOSS”

But would the object of a metallic punch
Have time to read either the “KING” or “BOSS”
Before he fell among his blood and pain?
A legless man in a wheelchair rolls by

To his blue tarp and sleeping bag close by
The gas station close by the overpass


Ode on a Coffee Urn

If Keats Took His Morning Coffee
at Hub City Diner, Lafayette, Louisiana

Thou stainless steel bride of the day’s pale dawn
Thou foster-child of all our morning hopes
Patient historian who writes upon
The pages of our lives optimistic tropes:

What die-cut label hangs about thy shape
Of morning blends or sometimes darker roasts
From Jamaica’s Blue Mountain, or some further scape
Perhaps above Colombia’s green coasts

What men or gods are these who at Hub City can say
“What wonderful coffee for beginning the day!”


Socrates on the Courthouse Lawn in Liberty, Texas

“Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.”
-attributed to Socrates, but no one knows

Imagine if you will old Socrates
On an old wooden bench on the courthouse lawn
Playing checkers with all the other old men
On an old picnic table throughout the day

He lifts his old straw hat in the leafy shade
With his old bandana he wipes his old bald head
And sagely asks the old questions of us
And through his dialectic dismantles old cant

And that must be why, as the ages pass
They’ve made for him a monument here in the grass

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