Three Poems from Jack Foley

Foist-a we gonna t’row out da economy
Who’s-a need da economy,
Says Chico
Yes, I do remember we had an economy
Says Groucho. Say, who let this fellow in here?
(Harpo: … )
Den-a we gonna t’row out da army
We don’t-a need da army
We nice-a fellas we give-a da army to da Arabs
Dat a way we get rid-a da terrorism
If they gotta da army they no need da terrorism
They can attack us fair and square
Makes sense to me, says Groucho
(Harpo: … )
Den-a dere’s-a da politicians-
Hey I’m a politician, says Groucho
You a politician? asks Chico
Well yes, says Groucho, I’m Senator Hugo Z. Hackenbush
Oh, says Chico, I’m a no recognize you
You da Hack in the Bush
Or da Bush in da Hack
Dat’s-a some joke huh boss?
Da Bush is a hack
I’m-a gonna tell-a you what
I like-a you I’m gonna give-a you Delaware
Well, that’s mighty White of you, says Groucho
Sho, I’m a good-a guy
You can-a wreck Delaware
(Harpo: … )
But you no can-a wreck da rest o da country
I’m a gonna give-a dat to him
(Harpo smiles)
I’m a gonna give-a him da bomb
(Harpo smiles)
and-a poisonous emissions
(Harpo smiles)
and plenty money
(Harpo smiles)
Den he can-a ruin everybody
Hey, says Groucho, you can’t do that
Why not? says Chico
Because you’re Italian
Everybody knows Italians don’t have any power except in New York City
(Harpo frowns)
And besides, you need to be a lawyer to be president
I need-a a liar? asks Chico
You sure do, says Groucho, and I tell you I’m your man
(Harpo pulls out an American flag and waves it)
I’m the biggest liar you ever met
And I’m gonna make the whole world miserable
(Harpo pulls out a trumpet and blows it soundlessly)
Armageddon here we come
That’s a sound a good a to me, says Chico
Hey whadda you say you name is?
Hugo Z. Hackenbush, says Groucho
Dat’s a too long, says Chico
We gotta da short attention span
Nobody’s gonna remember dat
How’s about we shorten-a da name
Ok, says Groucho. What shall we make it?
How’s-a about BUSH
Sounds good to me!
We gonna make-a lots a money
(Harpo pulls out a dollar bill from his coat and waves it)
We gonna make-a war not-a love
(Harpo pulls out a sign that says DON’T GET LAID / INVADE)
We gonna be a fine bunch of comedians, dat’s a right
(Harpo silently laughs and laughs)
But wait a minute-a, says Chico, observing Harpo
He’s-a laugh but he’s-a make-a no sound
Maybe he’s a cryin
(Harpo sheds a tear)
Maybe he’s a no happy about what-a we doin
(Harpo begins to weep copiously)
You know, says Groucho, I’m not so happy about what we’re doing either
(Groucho begins to weep)
Dats-a strange, says Chico, we da funniest guys dat ever lived
And nobody’s a laugh, everybody’s a sad
Everybody’s a weep
(Chico begins to sob too)
You bet your life says Groucho
And you know, he says, lying down on the floor, I think you lost the bet
(Groucho begins to moan)
I’m a think we all lost, says Chico
Even the duck is dead, says Groucho
As it drops from the sky and falls on his head
They all lie down on the floor and weep
Harpo pulls out a Black Flag from his coat and waves it above their bodies
They are all


Jack Foley has published books of poetry and criticism. His radio show, Cover to Cover, is heard every Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. on Berkeley station KPFA and is available at the KPFA web site; his column, "Foley's Books," appears in the online magazine, The Alsop Review.