Occasional light verse, mostly political. If you're looking for a certain cold medicine, try here. But we can put you to sleep cheaper.

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Strong Lieder Waltz

At the start, there was no refutin'
That Bush got along with Putin.
Each is a man among whose talents is
Chipping away at checks and balances.

Yes, at the start, he had a mere
Flirtation with "good ol' Vladimir".
But now he's required to act more tut-tutly:
The Russian grabs power a bit too unsubtly.

Putin was slightly speedier
In squelching the prying media
While Bush (through Ken Tomlinson) quietly planned a
Slow transformation to state propaganda.

Of course there's no need to mention
Their penchants for secret detention.
Though new disagreements may currently puzzle 'em
They're soulmates when faced with a militant Muslim.

Exposure to Bush's style
May teach Vladimir to smile.
Let's hope that the influence that way is ample,
And Bush doesn't imitate Putin's example.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Roberts, what else?

The cheer is a trademark device of Calvin Trillin's, but I'm borrowing it for the occasion of welcoming a figure who will probably be with us for decades......

John G. Roberts, he's our guy!
Clark Kent in a power tie!
Business lawyer, pure and simple --
What a mind! And what a dimple!

And also:

Roberts' record's fairly thin; he's not had time to fill it. He
Has argued cases more than judged; a nice deniability
Therefore adheres to what he wrote, since he can always say
The views were just his client's, and he doesn't think that way.

The Left and the Religious Right may well both make a scene,
Allowing Bush to claim that he has found the Golden Mean.
It's not about the Golden Mean, if truth be really told:
What matters is what this will mean to those who have the gold.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


RNC chairman Ken Mehlman is scheduled to apologize to the NAACP tomorrow for the Republicans' "Southern Strategy" from 1968 through the 90's of using race as a wedge issue to pick up Southern white voters from the Democrats.

For all I know, Ken Mehlman
May really be a swell man;
And means it from his heart
When he decries the part
His predecessors played
In stoking racial hatred
To make each Southern state "red"
And "Dixicracy" fade.

It seems to give the RNC
Some precious moral currency
While Dean proceeds to scoff more
And act the college sophomore.
But glance at past election maps;
You'll see why they're big-hearted.
The strategy can now elapse.
They finished what they started.

Republicans, when flying high
Will sometimes start exhortin'
All African Americans
To come into the fold.
But when they're losing other fans
And Southern states approach a tie,
That stuff* will soon get old.
Then bring on Willie Horton.

* Adult readers are encouraged to substitute a more vivid and poetic word here.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

halloween comes early this year

Warning: If you're new to nightquill, skip this post and look at some of our other stuff. This post is not our usual format, which is light verse based on politics and the news. Our Target Demographic found this strange and too dark (although it's supposed to be funny).


This is our answer to Coleridge (not that he asked) -- a version of one of these couplets did come from a dream, but the rest has been slaved over for years, on and off (mostly off, of course). We'll be back to politics next time.

The Cafe of Cacophony

I wandered 'round on a street in town I had never been down before,
And I thirsted a thirst that was worse than the thirst
that that pondering person in Poe's poem nurs'd
for the love of his lost Lenore.
I forced my feet through the silent street that the dogs and drunkards pee on,
And I groped, and I moped, and I hoped against hope for a glimpse of friendly neon.

My life and times were a crowd of crimes that had laid my soul to waste:
Sins of commission, sins of omission, and sins against good taste.
I could make Don Juan look like Elton John (counting number of female conquests)
And I'd broken records, hearts and chairs on my many honky-tonk quests.

At last there loomed from the midnight gloom a dim little sign marked "OPEN."
At the end of my rope came a surge of the hope against which I'd been hopin':
That this door discrete on a dead-end street could provide me a drink or morsel.
And "The Cafe of Cacophony" was engraved upon the door sill.

The dank decor was a bilious bore, when I pulled aside the curtain,
Like a cheap casino outside of Reno, directed by Tim Burton
(Or perhaps in a pinch
by David Lynch).
I pushed and ploughed through the loudest crowd that I ever had so far seen,
Every gruesome guest so bizarrely dressed that I thought of the Star Wars bar scene.
I craved a quaff of some good decaf, and I coughed out, "Have you got any?"
But the staffers laugh at decaf at The Cafe of Cacophony.

A band weighed in with a dreadful din like a drill press playing Zappa,
Mixed in a kettle with bad speed metal and sung by a Russian rapper.
My heart was seized with a nameless dread, so I thought that I ought to name it.
"Your name is Fred" I inanely said, but it didn't help to tame it.

The counter girl brushed a stray blue curl off an ear nine tenths metallic,
And she touched my sleeve as I tried leave, and in tones blase and Gallic
She murmured low, "You can try to go, but I guess I ought to warn ya
That this address offers less egress than 'The Hotel California.'"

Then I knew too well I had found a hell which I'd thought was a harmless haven,
And my vision blurred at the thought of the word
that was said to the man by the big black bird
(I'm alluding to "The Raven");
Something worse than mace hissing in my face yanked me back as my soul was sinking,
And I knew no sleep ever gave respite
In this foul, frenetic, fluorescent night
As my pupils swelled to absorb the light,
Unprepared, uncontrolled, unblinking........

I've been ill at ease, but by slow degrees I've been feeling less and less so,
And a desperate grin starts to settle in by your 94th espresso,
And the nicotine plays a polonaise on your frayed and frazzled nerves,
As the customers graze from silver trays of uppers and hors d'ouvres.
I'd never been on drugs before, now I'll nevermore be off any,
But I'll drag my days through the hectic haze at The Cafe of Cacophony.

Memo to President Bush

I see you still have not made Calvin Trillin Poet Laureate.
Are you sorry yet?

Saturday, July 09, 2005

ok, ok, too easy

Cheney had a heart exam;
I'm glad it was a sound one.
But still, I have to say I am
Astonished that they found one.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

one to check out

The nightquill marketing department has recently spent time combing the web for other folks doing this (besides, of course, the great Calvin Trillin and occasionally the splendiferous Gene Weingarten). We haven't found any other real regulars yet, but an extremely funny man named David Jaggard has done this nice piece of work around the last election.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

toast (dread and butter)

I hope that all the nation on the Fourth will toast the honor
Of that thoughtful, careful jurist, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
Who'd ever think the Left would pine, the Right wing dance with glee
At the imminent departure of a Reagan appointee?
But come this Monday evening, when we all should feel as one,
The partisan can't help but dread the fight that's just begun.
The show of lights that fills the sky won't touch the nervous heart
That waits for Tuesday morning, when the fireworks will start.