Friday, October 9, 2009

On the Biography Shelves

A few days ago I was browsing in the biography section of the Provo City Library, when I noticed a small section of biographies and autobiographies of Michael Jordan. Since this is the only part of a library that is organized alphabetically by subject, the very next book was an autobiography by a Pete Jordan. Yeah, I'd never heard of him either. Turns out, his claim to fame is washing dishes in all 50 states. A no-name dish washer--shoulder to shoulder (or spine to spine) with the greatest athlete in modern history. It was too much. I had to write a poem.


Forget the fiction stacks; truth is stranger

On the biography shelves.

Here strange bedfellows, ironic twists,

Are wrought by the English alphabet.


One can only imagine the conversations

Between neighbors Brad Pitt and Pius XII,

Steve Jobs and Joan of Arc,

Leonardo DiCaprio and Dickens.


Beethoven, if he were not deaf,

Would have two ears-full of Zionism,

Sandwiched as he is between

Menachem Begin and Ben-Gurion.


Houdini lends some tardy wisdom

To Sam Houston regarding the Alamo.

It was the perfect chance, he says,

For a disappearing act.


Irving Berlin and Leonard Bernstein

Swap conducting stories

While Yogi Berra sagely inserts:

"It ain't over till the fat lady sings."


Keeping up with the Joneses

Is no small task, what with

Marion's and Smarty's races,

And George's and John Paul's songs.


Lance, Louis and Neil hold a strong arm contest.

It takes muscle to cycle 2,000 miles, yes,

But also to make that trumpet sing,

And to plant a flag in the moon's surface.


The Jackson boys (Bo and Andrew,

Alan and Michael, Peter and Stonewall)

Spend quiet nights researching genealogy,

And find their common ancestor climbed a beanstalk.

2 comments:

  1. Oh, and I thought you were spending your time studying! A fun poem, though, with creative thoughts!

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  2. As I was drifting off to sleep a few nights ago, the thought suddenly came to me: Beethoven should NOT be shelved between Begin and Ben-Gurion. I really DO know my alphabet, folks, but that book was genuinely out of place. Excusable, because I worked at a library one summer and I know it's a big job keeping those thousands of volumes in order. Hug a librarian if you haven't already today.

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