Toast to Bob Gallagher on his Sixtieth Birthday

on Feb 23 in Gallagher's Frolics by

A welcome to all who’ve assembled today
To honor His Badness, Madame Blobovsky, some would say
For he’s turning the corner and entering a new decade
With a head full of hair and a spiked lemonade
It’s no easy feat to be toasting this man
Who could talk a cold Yeungling right out of its can
He is sweet and he’s gentle, but behind the gleam in his eye
Is a devious impulse to keep you up late at night
He’s become somewhat famous in circles like these
For what he contrives and for what he believes
For his long invocations and his tales from the morgue
His tracts on McTaggert & and of course Swedenborg
For his poems we peons do always enjoy
Oh the rhyme schemes and enjambments he so skillfully employs
In October, at the library, on the hill where he works
And on breaks, between cigarettes, composing the verse
That does thrill us, nearly kills us on Halloween eve
With his double entendres and his laughs in his sleeve
When we hear him, we smile, for his words send us reeling
At the images of blood and of skin that is peeling,
And eyeballs in soup spoons and brains all congealing
And fat men throwing hairpieces up at the ceiling
For that is the hand that his Badness is dealing.
He is special and I’m not just referring to words
He once wrote an ode to a punchbowl with turds
With his recorders he serenades us with airs and fine jigs
He converses at busstops with dandies and prigs
He can sling insults in matches with the sharpest of tongues
After ingesting medicinals with his mouth and his lungs
Oh, his intellect blazes after seventeen beers
He reads like fish and remembers everything he hears
He has friends who all love him and know him to be
The kindest and most loyal of friends when you need
I will end with a claim that requires no struggle
He is the only man among us with five balls he can juggle.

Bob was a master of the occasional poem, composing long, elaborate odes in iambic pentameter, memorizing and delivering them with great flourish to honor friends and colleagues. This party in Laurie Cameron’s backyard on Manheim Street was a high point among many high points in the decade I knew Bob, who died a year later.

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