Modern Poetry Edition #40, (It's a Theme Theme #1)

Hello there, my bredren and sistren,

Wow! I thought this was going to be a clear and decisive victory for All In The Family (AITF), but I guess it is hard enough to reach the modern audience with references to Glen Campbell. A reference to Glen Miller is simply too much to overcome.

This is clearly a favorite theme, as enthusiasm and comments for the poems this week were widespread.

We at MP HQ are not planning an official comment on the rumours we're being pressured to step down and let Ellie (who had the idea of the Theme Theme) take over permanently. I trust this is the last we will hear of this matter.

The voting this week was a good news - bad news situation.

Good news: Highest voter turnout *EVER* (23 Votes!).
Bad news: Tally is 6-5-4-4-4, the closest race ever.

I almost thought I was going to have to reach out to Katherine Harris down in FLA, for a second. Any of you have a brother who's a governor?

Good. Well then. Now for the winner. It is Welcome Back by John Sebastian from Welcome Back Kotter, natch. This is the 40th MPulitzer awarded. Accepting on behalf of John S, who *was* here, but had to leave early, are Freddy 'Boom Boom' Washington (Hi There!), Epstein, Horshack, various other Sweathogs, Mr. Kotter & his lovely wife Julie, and Vinnie Barbarino too. Mr Woodman -- stay in your seat! Congratulations, Mr. Sebastian, on your fine poem. We are eager for you to make a return visit so that we may bid you a fine 'Welcome Back.'

Modern Poetry #40 {Themes is the Theme #1}
Where Everybody Knows Your Name by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo (Cheers)
Those Were the Days by Charles Stouse and Lee Adams (All in the Family)
Good Times by Dave Grusin and Andrew Bergman (Good Times)
Movin' on Up by Jeff Barry and Ja'net Dubois (The Jeffersons)
**Welcome Back by John Sebastian (Welcome Back Kotter)

**Winner of MPulitzer

Next up, more themes. We know a good thing when we see it, and if it takes more TV Themes to stave off the palace coup, we will do that.

In another move to please the masses, since we are soon to be in MP Edition #41 territory (and they don't make Olde English 800 in 41 oz bottles), we will be restocking the MP fridge with Sierra Nevada, at the request of Abbay, the sharp-witted longtime MP voter of extraordinary taste. Note to MP voters: all requests for my favorite beer in the MP fridge will be taken most seriously.

Thanks for the votes. Look for more MP soon.



Kids, It is a getting late and it's after dark. Do you know where your ballots are?

Just because it is a phenomenal issue (probably the best that I know of), and all the selections would be worthy -- that's no reason not to vote.

I have heard from BWF, and the sisters Bennett. Sledge, Kevin, Ellie, Rachel and Hope have been counted. Where are the rest of you?

Voting to cease about Wednesday or Thursday. Get 'em in before that. If you vote, all of your wildest dreams will come true.

Are you enjoying the smooth Colt 45?



Fair Play to you, Dan.

OK, I knew someone was going to point this out. Dan, digging through his enviable library of both modern and ancient poems, found in the collected works the poem that was the theme for M*A*S*H. It is called "Suicide is Painless." Catchy, fellas! Can't imagine why they decided to air the wordless version.

Suicide is painless, eh? Well, only if you do it right, but I sure see why they didn't want to open a TV show with this poem every week. See below for the whole poem. Warning: while suicide may be painless, reading the poem, "Suicide Is Painless" is not!

In this week's MP, I only included the parts of the poems recited/sung at the beginning of the show. This leaves out instrumental poems. Yes, M*A*S*H has some words, and maybe in the Movie theme edition we'll include it, but for the same reason I did not include all nine verses of the Cheers theme poem, it couldn't be in here. For those who like that sort of thing, they are all out there, look 'em up: 

The Odd Couple has a really crappy (never used in the show) poem to go along with the amazing tune.

Ditto Andy Griffith. The Andy Griffith theme is called 'The Fishin' Hole' and it includes such gems as "Well, now, take down your fishin' pole and meet me at The Fishin' Hole, We may not get a bite all day, but don't you rush away." and this too, "If we don't hook a perch or bass, we'll cool our toes in dewy grass, Or else pull up a weed to chaw, and maybe set and jaw." See why I edit this crap!? It is all for you, MP readers.

Soon we will do theme-theme #2. When we do, are any of you going to want all ~Eleven Stanzas~ of the Facts Of Life ??!!

For now, I will leave you with a nice little quote o' the day:
"Poetry is the revelation of a feeling that the poet believes to be interior and personal but which the reader recognizes as his own." -Salvatore Quasimodo

Sal was an italian poet from the 20th century, neither modern nor particularly ancient.



Dan Heuer say:

I'd like to note that while the theme music at the intro to the
M*A*S*H TV show was indeed wordless, the song does actually have
words. It is called "Suicide is Painless", and was sung (words and
all) in M*A*S*H, the movie. I've included the lyrics in case you
would like to include it in a future "themes"-themed edition.

"Suicide is Painless" - Music by Johnny Mandel, "Poem" by Mike Altman
Through early morning fog I see
visions of the things to be
the pains that are withheld for me
I realize and I can see...
that suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.

I try to find a way to make
all our little joys relate
without that ever-present hate
but now I know that it's too late, and...

The game of life is hard to play
I'm gonna lose it anyway
The losing card I'll someday lay
so this is all I have to say.

The only way to win is cheat
And lay it down before I'm beat
and to another give my seat
for that's the only painless feat.

The sword of time will pierce our skins
It doesn't hurt when it begins
But as it works its way on in
The pain grows it grin, but...

A brave man once requested me
to answer questions that are key
is it to be or not to be
and I replied 'oh why ask me?'

'Cause suicide is painless
it brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.
...and you can do the same thing if you please.


Hello peeps. Welcome in, come on in, to the 40th edition of the poésie moderne (for our French readers). And Happy Ween de Hallow (I think that is the proper french)! Welcome back. Your dreams are your ticket out.

Since we're hitting the big 4-0 here at the notorious MP, all the complimentary beverages in the MP HQ refrigerator are 40 oz'ers of Olde English and Colt 45. Heed the Billy Dee wisdom and don't let the smooth taste fool ya. Also, since 40 is the new 30, we at the MP have no intention of slowing down even a little bit. If you cannot keep up, prepare to be left behind.

The recent cool weather has numbed the sensibilities and creativity of our crack-MP staff, who were heard mumbling deep into the night, "Theme, theme, theme, hmmm, we need a theme.

Yes this week we should have a theme. But what theme would be good? A theme is needed indeed. Theme, theme, hmmm, theme. Modern Poetry Theme. What will it be? We just need a theme. That's all. If we only had a theme. If only there was a.... THEME !!!"

That's it! It's brilliant. The theme will be themes, or more specifically, TV show themes. Some of them themes are quite poetic, and all at MPHQ are indebted to new MP academy member Ellie H. for ideas and inspiration regarding the theme of themes. Ellie, if you were to submit your application for a responsible position in the MP, I assure you it would be looked on favorably.

It is interesting to note that many TV shows start with modern poems. Even more start with great songs, like these:

Hawaii 5-0, Rockford Files (my personal favorite theme music of all time), The Odd Couple, Bonanza, Taxi, Sanford and Son (my even more favorite personal favorite theme music of all time), Miami Vice, M*A*S*H, and The Pink Panther.

Those are all great themes, but wordless poems are not allowed. Sorry. Any-how, to be a good modern poem, you have to have words. So we will go with this set. Chances are good, however, that more Theme Theme editions will show up. We here at MP HQ know a good thing when we see it. Plus we're just not that creative. Later.


Where Everybody Knows Your Name by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo (Cheers)
Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got.
Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.

Wouldn't you like to get away?

Sometimes you want to go

Where everybody knows your name,
and they're always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see,
our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows
Your name.

You wanna go where people know,
people are all the same,
You wanna go where everybody knows
your name.

Those Were the Days by Charles Stouse and Lee Adams (All in the Family)
Boy the way Glen Miller played
Songs that made the hit parade.
Guys like us we had it made,
Those were the days.

And you knew who you were then,
Girls were girls and men were men,
Mister we could use a man
Like Herbert Hoover again.

Didn't need no welfare state,
Everybody pulled his weight.
Gee our old LaSalle ran great.
Those were the days.

Good Times by Dave Grusin and Andrew Bergman (Good Times)
Good Times.
Any time you meet a payment.
Good Times.
Any time you need a friend.
Good Times.
Any time you're out from under.

Not getting hassled, not getting hustled.
Keepin' your head above water,
Making a wave when you can.

Temporary lay offs.
Good Times.
Easy credit rip offs.
Good Times.
Scratchin' and surviving.
Good Times.
Hangin in a chow line
Good Times.
Ain't we lucky we got 'em
Good Times.

Movin' on Up by Jeff Barry and Ja'net Dubois (The Jeffersons)
Well we're movin on up,
To the east side.
To a deluxe apartment in the sky.
Movin on up
To the east side.
We finally got a piece of the pie.

Fish don't fry in the kitchen;
Beans don't burn on the grill.
Took a whole lotta tryin'
Just to get up that hill.
Now we're up in the big leagues
Gettin' our turn at bat.
As long as we live, it's you and me baby
There ain't nothin wrong with that.

Well we're movin on up,
To the east side.
To a deluxe apartment in the sky.
Movin on up
To the east side.
We finally got a piece of the pie.

Welcome Back by John Sebastian (Welcome Back Kotter)
Welcome back,
Your dreams were your ticket out.

Welcome back,
To that same old place that you laughed about.

Well the names have all changed since you hung around,
But those dreams have remained and they're turned around.

Who'd have thought they'd lead ya (Who'd have thought they'd lead ya)
Here where we need ya (Here where we need ya)

Yeah we tease him a lot cause we've hot him on the spot, welcome back,
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back.