Monday, January 23, 2012


We promise that the next thrilling chapter of Railroad Train to Heaven will arrive sometime this week, but today was another hectic day at Casa de Leo, with all the electricity in the casa completely disappearing. We type these words in a cozy local coffee shop in the midst of what looks like many medical students earnestly studying. As a token of good faith, we here present again this classic Arnold Schnabel sonnet, originally published in the Olney Times for Dec. 7, 1962, a mere month or so before Arnold’s complete mental breakdown and subsequent hospitalization at the Pennsylvania State Mental Hospital at Byberry.

“Ushers' Communion Breakfast”

Today we had our communion breakfast,
All the ushers and their wives, or friends,
Or, in my case and that of some others
Who have neither wives nor friends, our mothers;
Afterwards, it’s once a year, so, reckless,
Our merry crew marches down Fifth, descends
On the Green Parrot and orders all ‘round
Cold pitchers of Schmidt’s and shots of Schenley’s,
Also some Manhattans for the ladies;
We stand at the bar and listen to the sound
Of our voices for once not hushed and grey,
As an usher’s should be, but loud and gay;
Drunkenly we tell each other bold lies;
Several of us even loosen our ties.

(Kindly look to the right hand side of this page for links to other fine Arnold Schnabel poems, as well as to the many dozens of installments of his immortal memoir, Railroad Train to Heaven™. All rights reserved, the Arnold Schnabel Society of Philadelphia. Nihil Obstat, Msgr. James “Jim” Kirk, SJ.)

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