Portside Date:
Author: Jack Foley
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CHICO: Hey, whatsa you name?

GROUCHO: Rufus T. Trump

CHICO: What kinda name is that?

GROUCHO: Why that’s a very good name. That’s an American name.

CHICO: I’m-a name-a Chico. Atsa American name too.

GROUCHO: Chico doesn’t sound so American to me. It sounds…uh…Mexican.

CHICO: Mexican? Nah. I’m-a from the Bronx.

GROUCHO: Mexican, eh. Are you sure you’re not an illegal immigrant.

CHICO: I’m-a don’t know. My parents they never mentioned it. They were too busy crossing the border into Brooklyn.

GROUCHO: Well, it’s something your parents should have discussed with you.

CHICO: Hey, where are you from?

GROUCHO: I’m from Queens, NY.

CHICO: Queens! We no got a queen in America. That sounds-a pretty foreign to me. Maybe you are a immlegal illigrant.

GROUCHO: A immlegal illigrant?

CHICO: Atsa right. I think I better call a cop. Oh, here’s-a one now.

HARPO appears.

GROUCHO: This is a cop?

CHICO: Well, he’s sort of a cop. He’s a airport official. He’s a gonna put you on a plane. He’s a gonna show you what-a we do with immlegal illigrants.

HARPO laughs silently. He is wearing a policeman’s cap.

GROUCHO: Listen. He’s got no authority here.

CHICO: Are you-a kiddin’? He wrote a lotta books. He’s a great big authority. Show him.

HARPO produces pages and pages and pages. He tosses them into the air.

CHICO: What-a you do for a livin’?

GROUCHO: I’m a quizmaster on the television.

CHICO: That’s-a what I thought. We no want-a the quiz master. We got rid of the masters and-a the slaves a long while ago. Show him your power.

HARPO produces a huge hammer.

CHICO: That’s-a what I call power!

HARPO scowls and threatens GROUCHO with the hammer.

GROUCHO: Hey, he’s dangerous.

CHICO: That’s-a what I said.

HARPO swings mightily with the hammer. He misses GROUCHO and hits CHICO instead. CHICO falls down.

CHICO arises. Hey, you supposed to hit-a him.

HARPO looks sad and begins to cry.

CHICO It’s-a ok, it’s-a ok. Next time aim a little better.

HARPO begins to swing again.

Hey wait a minute, says GROUCHO. I tell you what. Let’s hold an election instead.

CHICO: You wanna hold an election?

Sure, says GROUCHO. I have the votes right here.

GROUCHO reaches into his pocket and pulls out a number of pieces of paper.

GROUCHO: Let’s count them.

OK, says CHICO, only I don’t-a count so good.

GROUCHO: Let me do it for you.

GROUCHO counts the votes carefully and puts them back in his pocket.

GROUCHO: Just as I thought. I won.

CHICO: I guess-a that’s the American way.

GROUCHO: Yes, it is. Fair and square.

CHICO: OK, you the president.

GROUCHO: Yep, that’s me. Thanks, fellas.

CHICO: Hit him anyway.

HARPO does.

GROUCHO falls to the ground. HARPO and CHICO drag his body into a near-by plane. The plane has a destination written in large letters across its windshield. It says NOWHERE.

That’s-a good, says CHICO. It looks-a like that’s-a where we all going.

HARPO begins to cry again.

Suddenly GROUCHO awakens and begins to sing, “Hooray for Captain Spaulding, the African explorer.” Let’s appoint him to the Supreme Court! HARPO hits GROUCHO again.

The theme song from You Bet Your Life fills the air. They all get in the plane. The plane flies off to its destination.

I awake saying, “Hmmmmm, was that a dream?”

Jack Foley has published 15 books of poetry, 5 books of criticism, a book of stories and sketches, and a two-volume “chronoencyclopedia,” Visions & Affiliations: California Poetry 1940-2005. He became well known through his “multivoiced” performances with his late wife, Adelle, who was also a poet; many of these can be seen on YouTube. His radio show, Cover to Cover, airs every Wednesday on KPFA-FM in California. In 2010, Foley was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Berkeley Poetry Festival. California poet laureate Dana Gioia writes of his work, “This is experimental poetry with depth and intelligence as well as intensity.” Poet/critic Christopher Bernard calls Foley “a many-tongued master…one of American poetry’s essential thinkers and practitioners.”

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