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The Bad & The Verse

illustrations by Matt Wuerker

Every city has some scandal, infamous people and secrets to hide. So with apologies to several dead poets, here's a look at Portland's notorious side.

The outlook wasn't brilliant for Tonya Harding that day:
A daintier figure skater threatened to take her medal away.
So her husband Jeff Gillooly arranged to whack her opponent's knee
And the whole world heard the wailing: "Why oh why, why me?"
Since that embarrassing chapter in Harding history,
She's pulled even more lame stunts to gain publicity.
A hyped-up wedding, horrid singing and truck-jacking left no doubt.
Yeah, there is some joy in Portland--stupid Tonya has dropped out.

["Casey at the Bat" by Ernest L. Thayer]

Let us go then, you and I
To a time when PSU hired a new guy.
He spent tens of thousands of taxpayers' bucks
Renovating the presidential residence in the Hills.
When the student paper reported his ills
He ordered its charter come under review
The Vanguard responded: We think we hate you!
One year later, away he finally went
On charges of fiscal mismanagement
The faculty despised him,
The IRS did too.
He was a bad mistake at PSU.

In the quad the freshmen come and go
Talking of Natale Sicuro.

["The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"
by T.S. Eliot]

El Niño comes
On honking fat feet
It pours rain
over forest and city
then pours more:
The state implodes.

["Fog" by Carl Sandberg]

Listen, my children, and you shall hear,
Of a group of kids who lived in fear.
The Ecclesia Athletic Association was
to blame
Founded by Broussard, who shared the same name
As his daughter, an 8-year-old found beaten and dead.
What can explain this? What can be said?
Four association members were charged with the killing,
But Broussard went on Oprah, he seemed very willing,
To weep and defend his group as the very kindest thing.
Yet the state found 53 kids battered and starving.

["The Landlord's Tale: Paul Revere's Ride" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow]

News, news, everywhere,
But not a bit to print.

["The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge]

Two roads diverged in Northwest Portland
And sorry we could not travel both
And be one neighborhood, long we stood
And looked down at all the trendy restaurants
Where Quality Pie got eaten by yuppie growth.

["The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost]

Do not go gentle into that good night
Throw four dead opossums in front of a restaurant
Rage, rage against those citizens who aren't white.
Though accidental stranglehold deaths aren't right
Sell T-shirts reading, "Don't Choke 'Em, Smoke 'Em."
Do not go gentle into that good night.

["Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night" by Dylan Thomas]

Out of the hate crimes endlessly quaking
Out of the disabled, African-American, lesbian victim: the community rallies
Out of the wheelchair endlessly faking
Azalea whispers, "It was me."

["Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking" by Walt Whitman]

There is no hero like an activist
To make us feel respect,
Especially a homeless advocate
who always does his best.
But then the sad truth comes to light
And everybody knows:
This "hero" was actually a pedophile
Snagging boys at Baloney Joe's.

["There Is No Frigate Like a Book" by Emily Dickenson]

It was the tanker New Carissa,
That sailed the wintry sea;
Until the skipper took it on the beach
For all the world to see.
Explosions, fire and pumping,
They tried all sorts of tricks
But the oil bled onto the coast
Before they could get it fixed
The choppers buzzed like Compton
The newsfolk droned and whined
And when New Carissa was towed out to sea
They left half of it behind.

["The Wreck of the Hesperus" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow]

Because I could not tell the truth,
It caused some trouble for me;
I lied in the Voters' Pamphlet, twice,
And was charged with a felony.
My district voters were really mad,
And recalled me from my house seat.
But a jury let me off scot-free
So I sold frozen yogurt treats.

["Because I Could Not Stop for Death" by Emily Dickenson]

There once were some boys from Grant High
Who had everything money can buy
But they went on a crime spree
One almost shot off his weenie
Now prison is their modus operandi.

[Traditional Limerick]

I know why the caged Rajneeshees sing, alas!
The evil Ma Anand Sheela skips out and thumbs her nose,
Leaving the Bhagwan to get kicked in the ass.
He is deported to India; the Rancho's in the past
And all sannyasi are stuck with red clothes.
But Ma Anand Sheela gets it in the end
She's sentenced to four years in the federal pen.

["Sympathy" by Paul Laurence Dunbar]

The time has come, this commissioner said,
To talk of many things:
Of homosexuality--
Of Satan--the evil it brings.
But Shadburne resigned 'cause of gay dates--coke--and money woes--
And his admission of wild, crazy "pile-on orgy" flings.

["The Walrus and the Carpenter" by Lewis Carroll]

What happens to a murderer deferred?
Does he dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does he stink like rotten meat?
And lie and loudly deny--
protest it's unfair heat?
Maybe he just sues
the newspaper that accused.
Or does he pay his fucking dues?

["Dream Deferred" by Langston Hughes]

I think that I shall never see
A sight as ugly as Spagg's peepee.
A prick whose tiny head is prest
On a television screen tuned to cable access;
A johnson that begs for First Amendment rights,
But violates good taste laws on Tuesday nights;
A little dick attached to a very large ego,
Who showed only unattractive people on his naked show.
He finally left Portland on a rail,
When the state of Georgia wanted him back in jail.
Censorship is abhorrent; people should be free,
But perhaps we should outlaw Jim Spagg's boring little peepee.

["Trees" by Joyce Kilmer]

Oh, god of pro basketball players, help us see
That without Rider, the Blazers are again role model-y.

["Epigram" by Langston Hughes]

O Mabon! my Mabon! your fearful trip is done,
The gays have weather'd every measure, the prize you sought is gone,
The OCA has gone away, the people all exulting,
Your scary homophobic group was really quite insulting;
But O hate! hate! hate!
O the lingering smell of fear,
Where in our minds your evil lies,
We know you're always near.

["O Captain! My Captain!" by Walt Whitman]

Here's a little proverb you surely ought to know;
Horses sweat and men perspire but only Trojan glows.

["Inspiration on Perspiration" by Anonymous]

Silly Elaine Franklin
Really needs a spanking.
She spins the truth for candidates:
Withholding, smearing, changing fates.
She hushed up Packwood's problem boner
And said Kitzhaber was once a stoner.
But in the end she ate it big
She got married to a pig.

[Apologies to Mother Goose]

I must get down on women again, I'm such a clever satirist.
I publish it all in Answer Me! (except how I bit my girlfriend's wrist).
I must write down my intellectual thoughts, on how rednecks are so cool.
Little do I know that when people see me, they think, "I pity that fool."
I must get down on women again, joke about beating them in Answer
(My ex-wife really asked for it when she purposefully came down with cancer.)

["Sea-Fever" by John Masefield]

Men seldom make passes
At girls who shoot their husbands' asses.

[Dorothy Parker quotation]

Once upon a winter dreary, a medical examiner, weak and weary,
Sold body parts to pay for office supplies and parties galore.
Even though he was suspended, for his ghoulish rummage sale,
Two years later he won a lawsuit against the state for showing him the door.
How surprising that the jury wasn't bothered by the gore.
Quoth the kidneys, "Recycle more."

["The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe]

Tongue down women's throats
"Hey, I just didn't get it!"
Damn Washington Post.

[Traditional Haiku]


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