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Poetry Magnum Opus

October 28-29, 1929


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Dreadful was the awful day

when I finally pulled myself away

from the big disaster dawning.


(My heart goes pitty-pitty-pat

whenever I think of that!)


I could not, simply could not,

eat my breakfast in the morning!

Later in the day, an evacuation

helped in easing the situation.


A bowel movement is a wonder:

it sets your body and mind in order!


Strong again against storms and thunder,

I manfully ignored the stink and ordure.

I called my broker, my lawyer, and then my wife,

the natural order of a gentleman’s life


to see what could be saved, I was shaved

and trimmed, pomaded, in the off-lobby salon

by Paulo, who upbraided me, the insolent swine,

for stock tips gone wrong. His future song


will be mixing water with the wine. I really

neither know nor care how these Micks and Spicks

and Dagos get along. I’m surprised we let them in.

My mind then turned to the occasions of sin


and I called dear Mitzi on the blower. A fresh-faced

Kansas girl, by no means a whore, an aspiring actress.

She was asleep, and so I politely asked them to wake her

since it was four o’clock in the afternoon: a very deep


nigger voice said The Lady Needs Her Rest, and I said

go in and goddam shake her – and he hung up on me!

This uppity coon! Amazed and surprised we let them in,

although, I confess, we did bring them in, the very thin


edge of the wedge, if you ask me, they were supposed

to stay down South, picking cotton, singing songs,

until this idiot Lincoln came along. No wonder they shot him.

I then turned my attention to more serious matters.


There were splatters of blood on the pavement. Freddy,

John Aloysius, Timothy Pete, for a moment I was quite ready

to weep but went to lunch instead. Come here, I said to Pierre

at Delmonicos, you must be sure to reserve my usual chair


for the next three weeks. Here is a twenty, I will tip you well!

Pas necessaire, M’sieu, says he, slipping it away. To hell

with the slippery French, I know, but at least when you buy them

they stay bought. I could have sought the same loyalty


with some of my colleagues, many of whom are now no more

than jam smears on the pavement. It’s a fact that real royalty

has ever and anon eluded this town, apart from slithery segues

of the Wannabes. New York is THE town of the Wannabees.


Hello, Mitzi?

Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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Wow, you capture most of the biggoted clichés of the WASP in this one piece. In descibing a singular perspective of the Wall Street crash you expose prejudice. Haven't heard some of those ethnic names in a long time ( my Dad was quite proficient in their use but he has been gone for 40 years). Political correctness pretty much prevails in our society today however some of the underlying prejudices still linger. Unfortunately it takes time to completely evolve.


Funny how prejudice works. I was born in 1941 and grew up in post WWII America on the Pacific coast. Certainly I have had friends in school and throughout my life time who are Japanese-American and I don't consider myself prejudice. Yet only a few years ago when I went to an international conference for a service organization I belong to....they presented the flags of the nations. I was enthralled by the ceremony, flags of each nation were presented accompanied by their national anthem and women in native costume. It was beautiful and very impressive. Yet when the flag of the rising sun entered accompanied by the Japanese national anthem the hairs on the back of my neck stood up and a sense of foreboding came over me. The derogatory term "Japs" came to mind. I was shocked at my emotional reaction. Yet my friend next to me said she had the exact same response. Clearly what we heard and experienced as small children remained with us. (Saw a lot of John Wayne war movies.)


Once when lamenting the slowness of change in the Catholic church, a priest friend said to me "a lot of good old priests have to die first." I think it will take generations.



~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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David W. Parsley

Tinker's anecdotes supply an interesting epilogue to a well enacted piece. Wonderful gift for persona and place, fully on display here Brendan. The very fact that many of these words and attitudes ares so jarring says something of how far we have come, however far we still have to go.


- Dave

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