With apologies to Vladimir Nabokov.
After a long wait in an airport line,
By no intention of my own design
I ended up within a queue that formed
Towards a negro: surly, uniformed.
I sensed then ill-foreboding vapours,
But smiled, stepped forward, handed him my papers.
As if to imitate the old man's wrath,
A strong electric spark had crossed our path.
Displeased, the brooding negro had inquired:
"Which part of the United States desired?"
In turn, I had to him explained that I
Had Europe as my ultimate design.
The negro, disappointed by and by,
By the great clarity of my reply
Abandoned then all claim to pleasance
Inquiring the purpose of my presence.
Although the man had me bewildered much,
I exercised the very lightest touch.
To this man, of all common sense bereft,
I said "I live in Calgary," and left.
And then, a flight (with great discomfort wrought)
That fell in Houston’s stifling plains and not
In hateful Frankfurt, as I often wished,
When I had for my airplane tickets fished,
For, in the case of aerial upheavals,
I often choose the lesser of the evils.
In this case, just as any map can prove,
The current circumstance did further move
Me far away from my established goal.
No matter—beer and food (more beer!) and soul—
Inherent in all travel dialogue
Did match me with a matchless demagogue,
A man of Louisiana (so he claimed),
Who had with great bravado then proclaimed:
He hated government, adored his sons;
He loathed all foreigners and loved his guns.
I had great interest in the man had feigned,
Although, by then, my patience was quite strained.
And thus, polite, well-mannered, civil, straight,
I drank my beer and headed for the gate.