"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

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Why Men Never Remember Anything
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 5:03 PM White House Chief Information Officer Will Run U.S. Ebola Response
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.