"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.

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