"Saloon Pantoum"

A weekly poem, read by the author.
Sept. 30 2003 12:30 PM

Saloon Pantoum

Listen to Kathy Fagan reading this poem. Tell me if you've heard this one before: Guy walks into a bar with a duck down his pants, Says, One for me and one for my friend here.
Barkeep says, That's no friend, that's my wife.

Guy walks into a bar with a duck down his pants.
A priest, a rabbi, and a minister
Say, Barkeep, that's no duck, that's proof
Of the existence of God.

A priest, a rabbi, and a minister
Put together can't tell one good joke.
God knows this
But He cannot forgive them for it.

Wherever two or more are gathered in a joke,
There is love
, He says. We hear this
But we cannot forgive Him for it.
Suddenly, crashing through the saloon doors,

There is love. And just as He'd said, we know it
By its blonde hair and dead babies.
Suddenly, crashing through the saloon doors,
What's black and white and re(a)d all over.

By its blonde hair and dead babies,
He says, Barkeep, thou shalt know thy duck.
What's black and white comes crashing through the door.
Stop me if you've heard this one before.

Kathy Fagan is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently The Charmand MOVING & ST RAGE. She teaches at The Ohio State University, where she also co-edits The Journal.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
  Life
Gaming
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 PM Should You Freeze Your Eggs? An egg freezing party is not a great place to find answers to this or other questions.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.