Green Hills Literary Lantern



Dementia is Funny but Can Really Get You Down


Dementia is funny but can really get you down,

Though normal when compared to an attorney,

In trim, bespoken, three-piece linen suit,

Puttying the truth around the law,

Or, failing that, the other way around,

Stating things you know to be insane.


My wife, the other lawyer, both insane.

Wives and lawyers—there to ground you down,

Down to where a cripple writhes around,

Down beneath the level of attorney,

Down below the threshold of the law,

Down to trim, bespoken three-piece suits.


Why they wear those sleazy three-piece suits—

To advertise the fact that they’re insane?

What’s the tribute offered up to law?

What’s the lowest it can ground you down?

When the drinks are placed before attorneys

Which of us can bear to stand the round?


Diffident defendants bunch around,

Some of them themselves in three-piece-suits.

It’s contagious hanging with attorneys,

It’s contagious acting so insane.

What’s the difference how they ground you down?

Wherein lies the perfidy of law?


One day we must needs dispense with law,

Stuff some magnums chock-a-block with rounds,

Belly laugh, wolf one more insult down,

Shoot the buttons through the three-piece-suits.

Maybe the indictment says insane.

All depends on who’s the next attorney.


I was in the womb with my attorney

Held my hand. There ought to be a law

Deeming matrimonial ones insane,

Get them off the streets. They’re too around.

Chiseling out their manufactured suits.

Round them up. Arrest them. Bring them down.


Dementia: attorneys all around.

Law: resplendent in its three-piece suit.

Insanity: that which brings you down.




Fired from Hallmark for writing meaningful greeting-card verse, Fred Yannantuono has currently published 410 poems in 85 journals in 36 states. Was nominated for a Pushcart prize in 2006, 2013, and 2015. Widely considered one of the greatest poets to ever come out of northern Bronxville (population 32), his book, A Boilermaker for the Lady, has been banned in France, Latvia, and the Orkney Isles. TO IDI AMIN I’M A IDIOT—AND OTHER PALINDROMES was recently published. Another book of poems, I Hate to Second-Guess Myself, or Do I? is due out in 2018. Paul Newman once claimed to have known him for a long time.