The Truth Is At An Undisclosed Location

A collection by Lawrence “Mack in Texas” Hall

We Too Are Authors of All the Books We Have Read

I still read books just as I did when young
With pen in hand (no longer pipe in mouth)
For underlinings, arrows, and marginal notes
Mapping out the adventures as I go along

And we give God thanks for

Writers and artists and craftsman with clever hands
Uncredited loggers and tanners of hides
Makers of glue and thread and blocking machines
And the white-capped printer with inky hands

Books have many authors, and the Author of All
Blesses them and us with their waves of words

Book Reviewers: Stop Unpacking!

You unpack the words, you unpack the lines
You unpack the themes, you unpack the scenes
You unpack the hints, you unpack the signs
You unpack the beats, you unpack the means

You unpack the forms, you unpack the rhymes
You unpack the plot, you unpack the verse
You unpack the memes, you unpack the times
You unpack everything and make it worse!

With some exasperation I ask of you –
Just what does all this unpacking DO?

The State of the Union and an Undisclosed Location

The truth is at an undisclosed location
That firm guardian of the Republic
Surrounded by functionaries and bodyguards
Blue-glowing screens set forth on polished oak

The truth is at an undisclosed location
And so am I, an old man musing his dreams
Surrounded by Yevtushenko and Shakespeare
Lord Byron, Shelley, Keats – Miss Marple too

The truth is at an undisclosed location
But we can discover it if we try

(Begin with the sale table at Barnes & Noble)

After St. Petersburg, Saint Giles’ Street

Today we’re visiting Russia with a friend
Perhaps a Russia that never really was
Ideas, tea, and holy earth; just now
We’re asking a blessing from Father Zosima

Tomorrow we’re off to England, all of us
Perhaps an England that never really was
Ideas, tea, and holy earth; and soon
We’ll stroll through Oxford with poems on our lips

And exchange Shakespearean bon mots
With the Commie barmaid at the Eagle and Child

Disney’s Macbeth
Upon the release of Joel Coen’s version

I want to see Macbeth in Technicolor
Almost Disney-ish, in cheery pastels,
With bright-lit halls and sunny fields of flowers
And maybe Annette as Lady Macbeth

And let Macbeth be a comely youth
With muscular hands that wield both sword and pen
An honest merry face that smiles with ease
Sweet words and penitent Aves on his lips

The world is well-lit ever since the ark –
It is the human heart that lurks in the dark

The Culture Wars We’ve Been Hearing About

Corporal Keats flung himself into the trench
“It’s no good,” he gasped, lighting a cigarette
“The Free Versifiers have ta’en our outposts
We spiked our sonnets but our blank verse is lost”

“And there’s an end on’t,” cried Corporal Johnson
“You will hear thunder,” sighed Corporal Ahkmatova
“Maybe we took the wrong road,” said Corporal Frost
“Where is Yevtushenkko?” asked Corporal Tsvetaeva

“Back in Moscow, awarding himself the George Cross
And promoting himself to field marshal”

The Russia Project

I will give up my copy of The Brothers Karamazov
When they pry it from my cold, dead hands

Upon Reading Who By Fire: Leonard Cohen in the Sinai

Cohen took his soul out into the desert
He may have left part of it there to burn
Upon the sands of war and the sands of time
A chord that echoes in an Egyptian wind

As with a corpse-like tank in hull defilade
Or an Uzi rusting among the rocks
The prayers of Yom Kippur in whispers sung
The desert waits for us to worship there

Cohen took his soul out into the desert
We should gird our loins and go look for it

We Love our Geriatric Murder Mysteries

We love our geriatric murder mysteries:
Father Brown with his parcels and brolly
Columbo and his rambling histories
Inspector Barnaby and Troy, by golly

Jessica Fletcher writing novels Down East
Good Doctor Sloan solving crime on the beach
Ben Matlock who thinks hot dogs are a feast
Poirot and Miss Marple, teacups in reach

Typewriters, file folders, and telephones
And hidden behind a wall –
the victim’s bones!

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