“A unicorn is just a horse with a point of view.” ~ Ron Sexsmith
Ready for a feel good poem?
Just press E-4 on your table top jukebox for yet another witty wonder by Pennsylvania-based poet Edwin Romond. While you’re reading, I’ll polish off my bran muffin.
BIKER DINER SERENADE by Edwin Romond I thought the tiny table top juke box would only play in my booth so I pressed G-6 for a cute little tune, “The Unicorn Song.” But its first words, There were green alligators and long neck geese blasted all over the diner where a biker who’d just ordered the N.R.A Omelet yelled, “Who in hell played that?” an inquiry echoed by one with “Build The Wall!” tattooed on his biceps. Suddenly there was a diner duet of Fox News on the TV and the Irish Rovers singing about humpty back camels. It was the fellow eating the house special: ham, pork roll, bacon, and scrapple with a side order of Spam who pointed me out, “There he is, he’s the one!” as I tried to hide behind my egg whites and whole grain muffin while the entire diner got to hear about all those silly unicorns laughing and splashing as Noah’s ark pulled away. Some bikers were even moved to prayer and yelled, “God Almighty! how long is this song?” as verse after verse blasted through the room filled with more chains and leather than an S&M support group. Amazing how interminable 3 minutes, eighteen seconds can seem when you’re dodging sausage links. The last notes finally filled the greasy air and my waitress whispered, “They’re gonna kill you!” so I sneaked out the back door after pressing G-6 a second time just in case, to make America great again, they’d like to sing along. ~ from Songs and Singers, © 2018
How’s that for a little comical comeuppance? 🙂
It’s no secret I love Romond’s sense of humor. Whether he’s telling us what English teachers really dream of, what happens when literary characters leave their books to party at night, or about his struggle to resist the siren call of donuts across the street, he’s a poet after my own heart.
In “Biker Diner Serenade,” a seemingly timid, folk-music-loving kind of guy inadvertently riles the tough guys. What an interesting juxtaposition of cute, magical unicorns with tattooed, leather-clad gun toters.
I like how Romond’s droll recollection is laced with social and political overtones.
The poem is only too timely. Romond doesn’t spare either side its stereotypes. Whole grain muffin, egg-white-eating folkies vs. pork roll, bacon-and-scrapple-loving anti-immigrant types. Divided much?
There is this subtext too — that some of the bikers who so vocally railed against the unicorn song may have secretly liked it. They dare not say so, however. That would violate their macho code.
Whether you view this poem as just a bit of fun, or earnestly consider what’s going on beneath the surface, you must admit Romond created a believable scenario. When you thrive on anger and grievance, even a harmless folk song can set you off.
Have you been quick to assume all bikers are MAGA voters, or that people who like folk music are diehard liberals?
You just never know. And we shouldn’t assume we do. The danger lies in clinging to stereotypes of any kind. Romond’s tongue-in-cheek approach reminds us to take a good look at ourselves.
Of course now we have to hear the Irish Rovers sing “The Unicorn.” They had a great hit with their rendition in 1968. The song was actually written by Shel Silverstein, who included it on his album Inside Folk Songs (1962). The lyrics also appeared as a poem in Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends (1974).
Try picturing the diner and the reaction of those bikers. Imagine feeling threatened by this charming ditty. Some people really need to lighten up.
Poetry Goddesses Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong are hosting the Roundup at Poetry for Children, where they’re celebrating the release of their new anthology, THINGS WE EAT. Ride over on your Harley or unicorn, whichever you prefer, to learn more about this tasty tome, and to check out the full menu of poetic goodness being shared around the blogosphere this week. Happy St. Paddy’s Day next week!
*Copyright © 2022 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.