What the Hell Were We Thinking?
(Delivered on the occasion of a reunion with friends, Lawrence, Kansas, September 2014) 

Twenty-three years ago this month we left Lawrence,
An act we look back upon now with abhorrence.

We left green fields of home for the salty desert,
And thinking back on the mistake makes our chests hurt,
For beneath our sternum and our bony rib-cage
Beats a heart that once in a Kansas Golden Age
Of sunflowers, chalk rock, and a stable of friends

Was acquainted with joy that no word transcends.

We miss your grinning faces and aging wisdom,
We miss them with a fire that is raging, fearsome;
Marianne misses the stitching and the bitching,
She misses them with an inner pain that’s twitching.

Dick misses rooting for the Jayhawks at each game;
Rooting for white Mormon Yay-Hoos just ain’t the same.
We miss summer humidity that envelops
And the rot between our toes that it develops.

 Frankly, my dear, we don’t give a Bowersock’s Damn
For any other state governed by Uncle Sam.
We miss the subtle beauty of prairie grasses

Waving and shimmering across the state of Kansas.
We miss each lightning bug’s luminescent torso
We miss each of you that much… and even more so.
We miss the discussions in good times and in bad
That with you – if memory can recall –  we had.

 What the hell were we thinking when we said “Adieu?”
Didn’t we realize that we would really miss you?
And if you think this is just empty rhetoric

As from the court jester who served King Frederick,
I’ll admit while flapping my loquacious mouth joint
That you certainly do make an excellent point.

 Oh well, we are together now: what’s done is done.
We’ll cry ourselves to sleep each night in the long run.
The truth has been told, and a few lies have been spun:
Let’s forget all the rest and continue the fun.

                                            - Dick Hacken and Marianne Siegmund