Ibsen Selects the Brisket Plate
Surveying this menu, I have concluded
That all other options are for the deluded.
I am here, by the way, as a messenger
From the Dead Parents’ Association, which
Sends ominous greetings…yes, cole slaw,
And, I think, deep-dish blueberry pie…
Where was I, General Forrest? Even dead,
In the land of memory, as it were, ha ha,
I forget these things. Oh yes, I bring
Grave tidings, much as Hamlet’s father’s ghost
Brought to Elsinore, reminding the mindless
Their parents are watching their imbecility
And shaking their gory locks, a phrase I take
From another of that Englishman’s plays.
There is more, of course, but what brings you
To join me in this house of barbecue?
I get there first with the most, or once I did,
And maybe I still do, but I can no longer tell,
Which is, I suppose, my particular hell.
Now, in poetry, as a subtle spy I serve
To evoke forgotten madness of heroic nerve.
That sort of balances your crazy clarity
Of human purpose, twisted destiny.
Our presence here will enable detection
Of remedies for a disastrous election.
R. W. Haynes, Professor of English at Texas A&M International University, writes various things in prose and in poetic form. His academic specialty is 16th-century England, but much of his recent work has been on the playwright/screenwriter Horton Foote. His poetry collections Laredo Light and Let the Whales Escape are being published this summer. He recently wrote a play titled Never Claim a Kill, and he hopes to complete his novel The Songs of Billy Bonsteadbefore hurricane season arrives. Another project in progress is an academic work currently titled The Struggling Spirit in the Plays and Screenplays of Horton Foote.