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       A Verse Narrative by Michael E. Mautner


    In the Lone Ranger movie Lord Grade made
    the "William Tell Overture" wasn't played
    until well into the second hour.
    Plus, you saw him sans mask in "Legend of..."
    These omissions spelled box office disaster.
    Irk not the fans!  Defy no expectations!
    Like may some mourn the sparseness so far
    of fight scenes in this, and say, "The costume
    doesn't come in until the denouement?!"
    or, "A whole book to get him off the farm!?"
    Perhaps they deserve an explanation.
    Mayhap, then, before my story I resume,
    let me reveal the paramount concerns
    that have gone into writing this.

    (Caveat, reader:  Any real literary truth
    conceals itself from one so unimportant
    as the author of a work.)


    Figuratively born sightless, dumb, and deaf,
    this poet, near the quarter mark of life,
    implored Heaven for an interpretation.

    --    How to treat it, for it must be
          significant, this four-color
          epic which, on a sleepless night
          two generations before mine,
          flowed from Jerry Siegel's lips
          as they quivered with glee
          and sparked Joe Shuster's urge
          to sketch, finally freeing
          his raw creativity?

    No answer came.  I wondered
    at how silent they had been,
    those proud Jovan children,
    on this topic.  Were the Muses dead?
    Then, aloud, I said:

    --    No, they live.  They reply not
          for seeing mere cant where I see art.
          They are cackling in sisterly coven
          and have simply chosen to ignore me.
          Guess I'll give up and go to bed.

    Reaching for the light switch,
    I leaned over my bookshelf,
    where many ancient authors lived.
    "It's never too late," they insisted,
    "to walk a worn mile.  Help them resist,
    all who would hate Modernism,
    the term itself a misnomer
    whose time at long last is over:
    Employ the Classical style."

    Who could refuse such appointment?
    Surely not I.  A shofar blast,
    Joshua's horn, shrilled from out the past
    and rattled down my spine.  That night
    I pined away, striving to right
    generations of wrong, to put
    Homer ahead of Hemingway again
    and win back the limb
    that Joyce and James and all their kin
    hacked off of civilization.
    Let the modern Odyssey begin.

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