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The Magpie Sings the Great Depression:
Selections from DeWitt Clinton High School's Literary Magazine, 1929-1942

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Hello, Babs

By Jules F. Segal, '31

The Magpie, June 1931, v. 32, n. 2, p. 47.

The telephone operator obtains the beginnings of a liberal education in poetry.

Hello, hello. Babs? Yes, that's me. Oh, nothing much. I only want to read you a poem I've just written. Wait, I have it here somewhere. Isn't here—oh, here it is. Wait a minute till I open it. Ready? All right, here's the name. "I Love You, Dear." No, no! "I LOVE You, Dear." Yes, that's right. There's a couple of stanzas— well, anyway, here's the first. "Dear, your eyes are so blue, I can't help loving you." No, no, that's the poem! Of course! Wait a minute, you haven't heard anything yet! Then it goes on like this: "Your hair is sweet and matty, and you are really natty." Say, what's the matter? have you got a bum connection? Natty! Natty! Yes! Well, how is it so far? No, honestly I didn't—I really made it all up myself. Well, anyhow, here's the second stanza.

"Under the moon high above, I realize it's only you I love. Let me kiss you once, dear heart, Honest, dear, you're a la carte." No it isn't—that's a poet's license—you don't know anything about that. Kid's clever, eh, Babs? No, that isn't the end. I've got two more stanzas yet.

What? What? WHAT? Say, who the devil are you? Will you get off that line before I—oh, hello, Babs. Some fresh egg cut in on us.

Well, here's the next stanza, anyhow. "Your eyes say no—your lips say yes. Please say so—don't let me guess." By the way Babs, those are the cleverest lines of the whole poem. No, I didn't—all by myself, honest, Babs! Want me to read them all over again so you can study them like—you know—oh, all right then. Here's the next line anyhow. "You're certainly a peach—I'm sticking to you like a leech." Well, it IS a tiny bit cockeyed, but I'm the kind of writer that never likes to change a word of what he has the first time. No, we call it "temperamental," not "lazy"! Well, I'm NOT getting sore, but you don't have to wise-crack! Yes, you heard me!

Well, here's the grand finale now. "Dear, you were meant for me. That, anybody can see. When you are by my side, I'd swim any river high or wide!" Isn't that a wow of a finish? Strong-like, you know. Leaves them gasping. Well, I admit it's pretty good, but you should see it on paper—boy! Honest, Babs, it's swell! I'm going to give it to the "Owl"—show those fellows they aren't the only ones who can write poetry.

I think I'll let 'em print it under a nom-de-pluife. You know, like 0. Henry wasn't 0. Henry, but was somebody else. Oh, well, never mind. I think I'll call myself Gerald de Champs. Classy, isn't it?

Will they take it? Huh, if they don't know good poetry, who does, huh? Sure! First thing you know, they'll be asking me to be editor of the rag—fellows like me, with hidden genius, aren't so easy to get, believe me!

What? Speak a little louder, will you. Oh, no, gee, I can't. I—er— well, I have to go to the library tonight. I can't tomorrow either. My—my aunt has a funeral or something. I tell you what—how about Saturday? Well, don't get sore—how should I know you go to your old meetings on Saturday?

The poem? yes, yes you're right—fact, I WAS thinking of changing the name before you mentioned it. I've got a name for it already. I'm going to call it "To Madge" . . . Madge? Madge Goldstein, the blonde who sits across the aisle from me in Math. Gee, won't she be surprised—hello! HELLO.

The Magpie Sings the Great Depression

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