Our longtime German translator JLH sends occasional pastiches and spoofs. His latest poetic effort is an inside-the-Beltway extravaganza.
Joe Gilpin’s Ride
Joe Gilpin was a politico
Of dubious renown;
A life-long lover of taxes was he,
Of storied Washingtown.
Joe Gilpin’s wife was Dr. Lill,
Who said one day to him:
“Of all the years that we’ve been married,
Not one has not been grim.
“When we meet females of any size,
Or age or other description,
Your hands perform as if they were
Decoding a Braille inscription.
“You did it as a senator,
And for many long years past,
And though your thoughts are slower now,
Your hands are just as fast.
You love the Secret Service girls
Who must guard you when you swim,
Cavorting nude so they can see
Your legendary limb.”
He fondly answered, and lightly stroked
Her piquant derrière,
“Just as I love all taxing schemes,
To take whatever’s there,
“Just so, I love all female-kind,
And that is why I dare
To stroke a lovely female rear
With kind grandfatherly care.
“They know indeed I mean no harm,
I’m old and devil-may-care.
I just love women, girls and all,
And love to smell their hair.
“So where my hands are when I sniff
Nobody needs to know,” he said,
And sauntered inattentively down
To where the Capitol subway sped.
He was going to a birthday bash
For a 12-year-old he knew,
Either a cuvée or a cru,
Stuck out his foot and made a pose,
To enter with éclat,
Departing then with such a speed
As provoked in all great awe.
For a squirrel somewhere had trod too far,
And blown a transformer out.
And this, while mortal for the beast,
Did things no one could doubt.
Joe’s foot had wedged between two seats,
And drew its writhing master
Away at speed and then perforce
Continued even faster.
And as he flew and writhed and screamed
And fiercely clutched the wine,
He disappeared with the subway car,
Around a corner down the line.
“Good heavens. Joe!” called Dr. Lill.
“Don’t lose that costly stuff,
For if you do, I promise you,
Homecoming will be rough!”
“No worries, my dear,” he gasping cried,
And held it to his chest
As tenderly as if it were
An infant at his breast.
He screamed and flew and flew and screamed,
And the Château-Neuf-du-Pape,
Began a lively bubbling
He was powerless to stop.
So as he flew, his mind agog —
The wine his only prop —
He thought of all the wines he’d known
Other than -Neuf-du-Pape.
Which led him then, of course, of course,
To think of women and girls
Whose hair he’d sniffed and backs he’d rubbed,
As a jeweler polishes pearls.
The life he contemplated now
Was one of glory and fame,
From all the things that he had done
Adding luster to his name.
And well he knew how wonderful
Was his irresistible rise
Through his wholly unacknowledged skill
To cleverly plagiarize.
And still he writhed and screamed and flew
And held his free hand out
To catch at anything with it,
That might just stem his rout.
As luck would have it, or maybe Fate,
He firmly clasped the fingers
Of a demure but buxom Miss
Who unluckily had lingered
Along the track to have a smoke
And day-dream of the stud,
Whose sporting prowess lit her lust
And caused True Love to bud.
Now suddenly powerless, in the grip
Of an ancient, leering man,
Whose nose was buried in her hair —
Not to mention his other hand.
“Alack” she should have cried out then,
But she was too young by a bit
To know the proper form of speech,
And so she said “Oh, s**t.”
So now she, too, wished for escape,
Peered hopefully down the track,
And spied a spindly form ahead,
Dressed apparently in a sack.
Though looking frail, not at all hale,
Perhaps a little dozy,
This relic proved, in fact, to be
The redoubtable Nanny Posey,
Who ruled her House with an iron hand,
And a rigid brain to match,
Which kept her trembling underlings
Well under key and latch.
“Oh, dammitall”, she cried aloud,
For the demurely buxom Miss
Had grabbed her by her blouse’s neck,
So she came unwilling with.
She craned her agéd, wrinkled neck,
Now completely out of humor,
And spied her partner of many scams —
The wily Shuckie Tumor.
And so her claw-like hand reached out
And fastened on his tie,
And thus perforce dragged him along —
His not to reason Why.
And on they raged sans halt or stop,
On a lethally reckless spree,
Until a station next disclosed
The infamous AUC.*
Her private jet was indisposed,
Her mood very much the same,
And not improved when she perceived
Some folk didn’t know her name.
So out she threw her good right hand
And caught a politico
In full flight flying by her there
Whose name she thought she should know.
He stared at her quite helplessly
And thought, “Oh, no, not that!”
But she clung to him like a tumor
And squeakled like a bat.
So on they flew, this motley crew —
Sorry, I should say diverse —
Whose composition now
Was decidedly perverse.
The big cheese in the Senate,
And likewise in the House —
Limburger had nothing on these two —
Too ripe for any mouse.
And dragging it all with might and main,
Was Joe, the Creepy Veep,
Anchoring the actual state,
As broad as it was deep.
And then, to finish off the farce,
Leader, Mitchell McConn,
Snagged by his always perfect tie,
And helpless pulled along.
“What next?” that worthy wondered now.
“Has the world gone quite insane?”
And, panicked, strove to free himself
With elderly might and main.
In fact the next from Congress snared,
Was appropriately Allswell named,
Whose romantic and culinary tastes
By China had been framed.
Scarce had this happened, when appeared
That most fabulous of beasts,
The Rino, crossbreed of unknown source
With the quality of yeast,
Which enables it — for good or ill —
To rise when least expected,
And to the confusion of all observers,
Deflate when once detected.
Sturdy members of its state,
Apart but not contentious,
If ever mentioning it at all,
Referred to it as sententious.
Though once it was a governor,
By most regarded well,
Ambition reared its well-fed face
To point the way to hell.
To find its place in the universe
And what the future had in store,
It had studied political precedents —
None more than sly Eee-Gore
You might think now of a tragic fate,
A phantasmagoria of gore.
But fate intervened benevolently
To save our Joe once more.
Sparks flew down upon the throng
United in their desperation
As, with electrifying abruptness,
And to everyone’s elation,
The current failed, the car slowed down,
Rumbled grumpily to a stand.
A cheer rang out from many throats
And Joe quickly withdrew his hand
All’s well that ends well, as they say,
And so it was this time.
As Twain once said: History doesn’t repeat,
But sometimes it will rhyme.
* Artfully Understated Cupidity