Ibsen Selects the Brisket Plate

R. W. Haynes


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.


Image from Pixabay

Image from Pixabay

R. W. Haynes has taught literature for twenty-five years at Texas A&M International University. His recent scholarly work includes an edited volume on the playwright/screenwriter Horton Foote and an article on the politics of Tudor humanism.  In 2016, Haynes was awarded the SCMLA Poetry Prize at the South Central Modern Language Association Conference in Dallas.