Jan 30, 2015

Unboxing Poetry with Tarzana Joe


Poem 529

Every year, the Beltway crowd
All get a little thrill
As they take the White House budget
On its journey to The Hill
You’ll hear familiar phrases like,
“Well, this will never fly.”
While others, with annoyance say,
“The ink’s not even dry.”
The most familiar phrasing?
According to the vets here
The folks who say, “That’s D.O.A.”
Before it even gets here!”

But what we saw this week
Is really quite unprecedented
The people rose in outrage
And the President relented.

Tax exempted savings
Which the government still backs
Would, when you took the money out
Be subject to a tax.

The money was for college kids
So folks like us could school them
But trying to explain it
Even Gruber couldn’t fool them

The reason that the White House
Says they made the quick redaction?
The rule was controversial
And they didn’t want the distraction

Some were just astounded
You could hear them gasp and golly
While others see this back down
As a footnote to the folly
But scouts are sent ahead
To see the way the tracks get laid
That’s why the world needs poets
And the big bucks we get paid

I see a stand for common sense
And this is what we learned
Hill 529 will be the mountain
Where momentum turned

The people now are up in arms
Let’s keep them on the run
In just this magic moment
The revolution has begun!

Jan 26, 2015

Say it Ain't So

News Flash!  The cast of Downton Abbey wins the SAG Award for best acting.  Howzat?  The announcement was made the same night History Channel debuted “Sons of Liberty” which is all about taxation without representation.  Well, I’ve got news for you SAG members.  Your tax dollars are going to pay for the salaries of the non-SAG actors, writers, directors and crew of Downton.  What?  Do you think that the UK’s Carnival Film and Television lets PBS broadcast it for free? 

 This has outraged me for years.  Every dollar of the PBS budget should be spent on American production in America.   But my dear SAG members, not only do they take your tax dollars to pay UK talent, every evening they ask you to donate more.  Hugh Bonneville gets a job and you get a tote bag.

And one more thing…”Sons of Liberty” was made in Romania.

Jan 23, 2015

SOTU; A Perspective

I tuned in the speech
And I listened intently
To see how the country
Had changed, fundamentally

 I read all the papers
And watch all the news
I’m pretty well versed
On the facts and my views

But after I heard
What the President said
I learned, to my shame
I’ve been terribly led

My Tea Party friends
Are deceived or deluded
The POTUS has spoken
And so I concluded

To get with the plan
I spent most of the night
Doing the homework
To get my head right.

To open the door
And to turn a new leaf
And so I can say
It is now my belief

That the world is at peace
But the climate’s a crisis
A heat wave in June
Is more trouble than Isis

Selma is better than
12 Years a Slave
Snipers are cowards
But drone-ers are brave

Our plan for Iran
Is productive and clever
And such a success
Talks may go on forever

The deal with Fidel
Was the best we could get
Our friendship with Russia
Is being re-set

We’ve got a great team
And a marvelous bench
And now everyone knows
That John Kerry speaks French

Thanks to the law
We’re all happy and healthy
Let's go for a ride
On the backs of the wealthy

As for 529’s
Well, the government backs them
But when you withdraw
Then we’re going to tax them

He’s willing to hear
What the House is proposing
His office is open
But Gitmo is closing

It’s no never-mind
We’re the world’s biggest debtor

Thanks for the speech
Now I feel so much better

Jan 17, 2015

State of the Union - A reply

Following is my humble suggestion for how Joni Ernst should begin her reply to President Obama's State of the Union speech.

On behalf of the Republican Party, I want to thank you, my fellow Americans, for voting this November and for voting to give our party majorities in both the House and Senate.  We thank you for the victories but more importantly we thank you for the trust that you have placed in our policies and our ability to see them through. 

The most important opinion on the state of the union is not the President’s.  It isn’t even mine.  It is yours.  And you have made that opinion very clear.

You do not want a health insurance system that is even more complicated and less responsive than it was before.  You don’t want an immigration system that punishes the lawful and rewards the lawless.  You don’t want to see more and more people leave the job market and hear the administration call that an accomplishment. 

You want a government that won’t try to deceive or mislead you because the consultants and the czars in Washington think you don’t know what’s best for you.  You want to work and travel with the confidence that our country is secure from those who would do us harm.  You want to know that our military is properly equipped and responsibly deployed.  And when an American is wounded, you want to see that soldier receive respect and the highest level of care.

Sadly, in the last six years, you saw things happen in this country and in Washington that made you decide you wanted to go in another direction.  So let me tell you how we think we can all get there…

Jan 14, 2015

A Preview of this Week's Poem

Welcome to our world
Dear Harvard Professors
You now have to choose
Of two evils,
The lessers

Ignore all the facts
And keep singing your song
Or step up to the mike
And admit you were wrong

You wrote, at the time
That high costs should be shared
But hoped, way back when
That somehow you’d be spared

I know what you’re thinking
You don’t have to say it
A tax is regressive
If you have to pay it

But sorry to tell you
Ye Brahmins and solons
You’ll now pay for tests
Of your breasts and your colons

And when we have finished
Examining those
For everything else
May you pay through the nose.

Jan 9, 2015

Rough Week

The week started out with Harvard professors complaining about their ineluctable deductibles so I wrote a poem about that.  Then there was the horror in Paris so I thought I couldn't go on the air with a funny poem.  I wrote a poem about that.  Then there was a voice (or maybe voices) that said the cartoonists brought this on themselves by provoking the terrorists.  Well, every self-respecting, world-respecting weekly radio poet has to write a poem about that.  And in the midst of all this, our President announces a major policy goal.  Really?

Well, I first wrote a poem about Harvard
When suddenly just before noon
The poem that I wrote about health care
Was now all about a cartoon

I wrote a poem about murder
And then at a quarter to ten
I was told to re-think my position
So I went back and wrote it again

I was warned if my words drew reprisals
And then tragedy out of them came
When the moral result was considered
Then people like me were to blame

I was cowed by this cold admonition
More than I want to acknowledge
So I went back and crafted a sonnet
Making fun of community college

“How dare you!” the faculty shouted
They condemned every word that I spoke
“Take it easy, professor,” I answered
“After all, it was only a joke.”

But the pitchforks and torches were flaming
And the outcry was angry and fierce
“I’m sorry if I have offended…
And a lot of my friends go to Pierce.”

But their shouts were still shrill and insistent
Somewhat muffled behind their bandana
They hollered that I was elitist
And suggested that I leave Tarzana

Now, I’m no fan of hot confrontations
Tell the truth, I’m a bit of a bleeder
So I scribbled the poem I just read you
Which I wrote hiding out in Reseda

It’s been a tough week for a poet
Or a spokesmen who’s part opportunist
And a terrible week for the planet
But it’s worse if you were a cartoonist.