Pauncho Poormouse, Pauper
Possibly the poorest person in Panama is Pauncho Poormouse. Pauncho is positively pathetic in his poverty. Pauncho’s profession is popularly portrayed as “panhandling," but Pauncho’s personality prevents him from panhandling prosperously. It pains Pauncho prodigiously to perceive people plagued by poverty, so, promptly upon procuring pennies from passing pedestrians, Pauncho procures presents and pads promptly to the poorhouse where he proffers these presents to the poor people. This practice prevents Pauncho from prospering, personally, but prompts the people of Panama to point with pride to Pauncho Poormouse, the “Philanthropic Pauper”.
Ray Thompson

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Remembering Barbara Jane

Between 1954 and 1955, I was serving in the United States Air Force in Europe. It was a heady adventure for a west Texas farm boy, and I tried to share my experiences with my parents by letter, fairly frequently. In one return letter from mother, she asked me to write directly to my sister Barbara, who was to be married in my absence (June of 1954). Mother wrote, “Ray, she misses you very much and would like to hear from you.” This revelation was a total surprise to me... We had both attended college together, overlapping for two years, then I was off to the USAF while Barbara took her first job, school teaching, met her husband-to-be John Coleman, and now was about to be married. I realized we had not been really close for almost eight years.

So, I did my best to “catch up” our relationship, writing to her directly and sharing my life; she wrote back with details of her life and coming marriage. I guess somewhere along that timeline I simply ran out of soap! That is the only way I can explain writing the silly poem at the top of this page, to Barbara! I had completely forgotten about it years later when she showed me the letter! She was dear to me, and I still miss her.

In 2007, through my church, I became involved in working with the homeless population in Dallas. One of the support groups held a contest for poetry about their plight. I entered the long forgotten poem I had written to Barbara and, to my surprise, it was published, in “From Under the Bridges in America” — Homeless Poetry Anthology Book!
Ray Mack - Christmas 2011