Guest Author: Lewis Baden

Lew blogI am so happy and proud to report that my son, Lewis, just won an award for his monologue (below).  He received the following notification:

On behalf of the Poetry Center and the San Francisco Browning Society, I am pleased to inform you that your poem “Sergeant To Captain- Keep Cleanin’!” has been awarded this year’s Geraldine Reicher Award. This award comes with a $50 prize! Congratulations!

Here’s the monologue:  Enjoy!

Sergeant To Captain: Keep Cleanin’!

In the workers’ area of a tacky, cheap, run down county fair. A wooden picnic table or two, a grimy, greasy BBQ grill, an old rusty trailer or two, a dirty parking lot etc. It is Dusk on a day in which, except for workmen tending to rides, booths, etc., the carnival, seen in the background, is absent of any sounds, flashing lights, etc.

This monologue is delivered by the good Sergeant, a retired Vietnam War infantry man, never did make sergeant rank. He is called sergeant as almost an insult, and is unaware of the joke. He is in his early seventies, heavy set, wears beaten up sneakers, faded blue jeans that sloop, has a slight limp and a fat cigar rolling around in his flannel shirt pocket. He is not ugly, but certainly not the prettiest face in the crowd. He is the owner of the travelling carnival and its day to day manager. While ranting he is walking around the trailer peering in, taking inventory and using his cigar emphasizing certain points.

In the trailer, and unseen, is Captain Magnificent. He is one of the main attractions at the carnival. He is a muscle-man/acrobat type with a classic fresh surfer look; blue eyes, blond hair, adorable, yet muscular.

Sergeant Abercrombie

Now boy, the best— the only way son, to clean out that camper is from the inside out.

All them old magazines— burn. That burned pan? Toss.

Why son, that trailer— MY trailer, ain’t never seen so messy, so dirty, so uncouth, why it’s a low down

brass—knuckled monkey—hair shame, boy. I tell, you, yes it is!

You best be cleanin’ in MY trailer, Captain!

Why isn’t I seein’ vinyls tossed out the window?

I know I heard some scratchy sniffy tunes on MY record player boy.

And who said you could use it?

Old tapes? Throw ‘em to the lawn.

You know we got Big Jim here to clean the grounds.

Now whoooaah chiiild, I didn’t say nothin’ ‘bout no undergarments.

Some stuff be best disposed on your own accord. Yes, sir, now that’s cleanin’. That’s how you do it.

Canned figs? Mushroom Keenoo-a?

Keep clearin’ out that California clump!

We don’t need no fresh orgaaaaanics up in that trailer— you know Betsy Sue-Ellen Ramellsworth makes

us three square a day! Mind your business, have respect for the little lady, and ‘sides, her cookin’ ain’t nearly bad-as-half Lurleen Rod-ger-son’s was.

Well, you’d know more a’ that then I. Heheheh

Now Charles, you listenin’ son?

What about that big ol’ trunk?

I KNOW you got nothin’ worthwhile hidden inside its black shiny facade!

OUT! Toss it out, big brass knuckles and all.

You listenin?

Tools? You’re tossin’ them tools? You fool!

They belong IN, theys trailer tools— MY tools. Get your fine sinewed behind out here.

Pick ‘em up. Pick ‘em up.

Pick ‘em them tools

Pick ‘em up and put ‘em back.

And keep cleanin’!…

Lewis will be accepting his award at a ceremony to be held on March 11. How I wish I could be there!


  1. Jackie Morrison

    And proud you should be! 

  2. Linda Levine

    Wish I could hear Lewis deliver the monologue. I know he’s an actor as well as an original and accomplished writer!

  3. Thanks so much for posting this here! How fun!

  4. Gail Pepper

    Congratulations! Great piece I could visualize as I was reading it.

    Sent from my iPhone

  5. Larry

    Congratulations to Lewis, his poem certainly deserved the award and we are pleased for him and you.


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