Friday, August 12, 2016

"One Night"


While our editorial staff continues to prepare the first volume of Arnold Schnabel’s towering and massive chef-d'œuvre for publication later this year, we should like to present the following classic sonnet, written sometime in January of 1963 during Arnold’s commitment at the Byberry state mental hospital in Northeast Philadelphia.







"One Night"

One night the ceiling opened and I rose up slowly;
above my house I twisted round, looked down and back
on Nedro Avenue, B Street, and the Heintz factory;
black smoke billowed from a gaping maw-like stack,
smoke enveloped me and all was dark;
like a dead cinder upward I floated and spinned:
I called to God for light, a tiny spark:
he did not answer. The reason? I had sinned.
For fifteen years I stared at the night within my head
and then at last I slept for another fifteen,
till I awoke firmly bound to a clean white bed.
It’s been several days and now the bed is not so clean,
and neither am I; each night I watch the ceiling yawn,
but I am well-strapped in: I await the dawn.


(Kindly scroll down the right hand column of this page to find links to many other poems by Arnold Schnabel, as well as to all cyber-published chapters of his memoir Railroad Train to Heaven.)

Saturday, August 6, 2016

"August"




















 

Our dedicated staff of interns and volunteers continues to work feverishly preparing Volume One of Arnold Schnabel’s towering chef-d'œuvre for publication as a “book” later this year, and so, in lieu of any new episodes, we present the following classic sonnet from our hero, first published in the Olney Times for August 10, 1962, in that troubled but artistically rich period preceding Arnold’s complete mental breakdown in January of the following year. And rest assured, new chapters of Arnold’s saga will be forthcoming as soon as our current editorial labors are completed.


“August”


The streets shimmer as the old women stag-
ger with their pendulant sacks filled with God
knows what. “Potatoes mostly,” says the wag
on the corner watching all the world’s odd-
ness float past him, smiling indifferent-
ly, even as the world evident-
ly ignores him. “You see it’s for pota-
to soup. They make it every single day.
They think that we're all still in the Depress-
ion. Oh, by the way, do you think that you --”
I toss him a dime, and with the sun press-
ing against my back, I walk on, home to
Mother through these streets so bright;
She's made some potato soup for tonight.


(Kindly scroll down the right hand column of this page to find a listing of links to many of the other fine poems of Arnold Schnabel, suitable for declamation at weddings, retirement parties, and funeral obsequies. This broadcast made possible thanks to the kind permission of the Arnold Schnabel Society of Philadelphia.)

Friday, July 29, 2016

"Paul Bunyan and the Three Sisters, Part Two"


“The Three Inbred Brothers”

(Click here for Part One.)







Suddenly there was a burst of light at the top
of the basement stairs, concurrently
with the sound of the creaking of a door, and
then, in single file, down the stairs
came three large inbred louts,
each armed with a double-barreled shotgun.





One of them, the smallest one,
(we found out later his name was Cletus)
pointed his gun at me.

“You, handsome Dan, you’re first.”

“Don’t go,” said Paul.

“Tell ‘em to fuck themselves,” said Babe.

But this Cletus cocked both hammers
of his shotgun, and,
what are you going to do?





I got up.

“So long, pal,” said Paul.

“Later, dude,” said Babe.

“See ya when I see ya,” says I.





And up I went, with the three
inbred bothers,
Cletus,
(and, as we were to learn their names anon)
Festus,
and
Augustus.





They marched me up to the third floor,
and, after giving me a bath in incense-
scented water, and bidding me clean
my teeth and shave my chin whiskers,





I was clad in a silk robe and taken
to a bedroom, where awaited the
three sisters:
Letitia,
Patricia,
and
Felicia.

The things they made me do
the things they did to me
I don’t even want to talk about.





Hours later the three inbred brothers
dragged me back down to the basement,
where Paul and Babe did the best they
could to console me.





Next day it was Paul’s turn.





As painful as it had all been for me,
I think it was even more horrifying
for me to see this great giant,
this paragon,
this hero called Paul Bunyan,
return a gibbering whimpering child.





Babe and I did what we could
to comfort our friend.

Next day it was Babe’s turn.

“Good luck, old pal,” said Paul.

“Chin up, buddy,” says I.





“Yeah, right,” said Babe,
noble Babe,
Babe the great blue ox.


Some hours later the basement door
opened again, and silhouetted
in that coffin of light at the
top of the stairs was Babe.





“Come on, you lazy bastards,” he yelled,
“let’s go!”

He didn’t have to tell me and Paul
twice.

We tramped up those stairs
damned quick.

“Come on, pals,” said Babe,
“time to hit the road.”

He led the way, and we followed him,
and in the living room we saw
the three inbred brothers,
standing in a line,
holding their shotguns
at “order arms”.





“See ya later, fellas,” said Babe
to the three inbred brothers,
the ones he told us later were
named Cletus,
Festus,
and Augustus.

And we walked right on out that front door,
across that great big porch and down the
steps, down the winding path down
that hill, and through that cast-iron gate
and back to the road.





“Babe,” said Paul, as we set sprightly off,
southbound, as the sun began to set to our right,
“what the hell happened in there?”

“Yeah,” I said, “what the hell, Babe?”

“Fellas,” said Babe, “let’s just say
I gave them three sisters all they wanted.
And then I gave them just a little bit more.”





And he began to whistle a merry tune.





And, as the sun set, and as that road
grew dark,
we walked along,
the three of us,
Paul Bunyan,
Babe the great blue ox,
and me.

We walked on,

New Orleans bound.








a penmarq studiosproduction
 

original art by rhoda penmarq



(Our editorial staff is still feverishly preparing Volume One of Arnold Schnabel's towering chef-d'œuvre for publication as a "book" sometime this year, but never fear, as soon as this work is completed Arnold will be back with all-new thrilling adventures!)