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  #1  
Unread 09-17-2019, 09:09 AM
Mark Stone Mark Stone is offline
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Default How a Bill Becomes a Law

How a Bill Becomes a Law (Second Revision)

It is rare that a bill can succeed on The Hill
based on only the skill of a hobbyist.
If you suffer the lack of a plan of attack,
what you need is the knack of a lobbyist.

Since their fee must be paid and expenses defrayed,
I’ll dispense with all shades and pretenses.
You’ll need cash and a lot, or you’ll be a have-not,
peeking meekly through wrought iron fences.

Is the nation a mess? Are the flyovers restive?
If so, then success may be tasted.
Be strategic and clever. Use angst as a lever.
A crisis should never be wasted.

If there’s no pressing need, then you must sow the seed,
with a chant loud, repeated and rhythmic:
“Pass this bill or we’ll see locusts, storms and debris,
plus a plague that will be cataclysmic.”

If a shutdown should loom, then it’s safe to assume
there’ll be fear and some room then to wrangle.
Put your bill on the block. They’re unlikely to squawk,
since they won’t let democracy dangle.

Here’s the smart power play. Tuck your slim bill away
in a CR with pages aplenty.
You evade and elude. Like the deep-staters do.
It’s the trick of the true cognoscenti.

Give them minutes to read the bill. Vote at full speed.
Let the push to proceed be incessant.
When you press, just expect a scant few to object,
with the rest circumspect and quiescent.

Swapping votes is an act both pragmatic and practical.
It’s just a pact, yours for mine.
It reduces the prattle. A vote cast for cattle
will earn, tit-for-tat, one for swine.

If things stall, then supply them with pork barrel pie,
like that bridge to the Island Gravina.
Spreading pork all around gets things done in this town,
with no risk of a downstream subpoena.

Court the press and be bold. Full court press is your goal.
Then your bill will get sold to the masses.
It takes charm and some luck. Be a mensch, not a schmuck,
or your bill will be stuck in molasses.

If your foes face election, your goal is eject them.
With ads that connect, you can beat them.
Make the strike as intense as the fierce Tet Offensive.
You might just upend and defeat them.

If you choose to apply this assistance, then I
say it’s likely you’ll triumph with splendor.
If you don’t, you won’t win. You will grimace, chagrined,
saying “I could have been a contender.”


********************

How a Bill Becomes a Law (Revision)

With a gentle good will, we envelop our children
in “truth” trimmed with frills that enamor.
When we’ve molted our youth and can handle the truth,
then we’re eager to sleuth like Mike Hammer.

Take my hand for a walk through the smell of the chalk
dust. It’s time for a talk pedagogic.
I have tips on the way legislation is made,
based on close observation and logic.

It is rare that a bill can succeed on The Hill
based on only the skill of a hobbyist.
If you suffer the lack of a plan of attack,
what you need is the knack of a lobbyist.

Since their fee must be paid and expenses defrayed,
I’ll dispense with all shades and pretenses.
You’ll need cash and a lot, or you’ll be a have-not,
peeking meekly through wrought iron fences.

Making law often can be more tortuous than
winding streets in Old Tangiers, Morocco.
But with cash, you’ll be in. They will greet you with grins,
wide and warm as the winds of Sirocco.

Is the nation a mess? Are the flyovers restive?
If so, then success may be tasted.
Be strategic and clever. Use angst as a lever.
A crisis should never be wasted.

If there’s no pressing need, then you must sow the seed,
with a chant loud, repeated and rhythmic:
“Pass this bill or we’ll see locusts, storms and debris,
plus a plague that will be cataclysmic.”

If a shutdown should loom, then it’s safe to assume
there’ll be fear and some room then to wrangle.
Put your bill on the block. They’re unlikely to squawk,
since they won’t let democracy dangle.

It is never a cinch that a deal will be clinched
if a bill makes some flinch, flail or bristle.
In this case, remain calm. You may move with aplomb.
Just fly low like a Tomahawk missile.

Here’s the smart power play. Tuck your slim bill away
in a CR with pages aplenty.
You evade and elude. Like the deep-staters do.
It’s the trick of the true cognoscenti.

Give them minutes to read the bill. Vote at full speed.
Let the push to proceed be incessant.
When you press, just expect a scant few to object,
and the rest circumspect and quiescent.

Swapping votes is an act both pragmatic and practical.
It’s just a pact, yours for mine.
It reduces the prattle. A vote cast for cattle
will earn, tit-for-tat, one for swine.

If things stall, then supply them with pork barrel pie,
like that bridge to the Island Gravina.
Spreading pork all around gets things done in this town,
with no risk of a downstream subpoena.

Court the press and be bold. Full court press is your goal.
Then your bill will get sold to the masses.
It takes charm and some luck. Be a mensch, not a schmuck,
or your bill will be stuck in molasses.

If your foes face election, your goal is eject them.
With ads that connect, you can beat them.
Make the strike as intense as the fierce Tet Offensive.
You might just upend and defeat them.

Act with zeal and with zest. Make the effort your best.
It’s the hare who will rest, not the tortoise.
And the push by your foes to derail and to slow
will itself undergo rigor mortis.

If you choose to apply this assistance, then I
say it’s likely you’ll triumph with splendor.
If you don’t, you won’t win. You will grimace, chagrined,
saying “I could have been a contender.”

Yes, the goalposts are wider if you’re an insider.
A point you may try to ignore.
But it’s they, you will see, who will grace the marquee.
…And so shall it be, evermore.



******************

How a Bill Becomes a Law

With a gentle good will, we envelop our children in “truth” trimmed with frills that enamor.
When we’ve molted our youth and can handle the truth, then we’re eager to sleuth like Mike Hammer.

Take my hand for a walk through the smell of the chalk dust. It’s time for a talk pedagogic.
I have tips on the way legislation is made, based on close observation and logic.

It is rare that a bill can succeed on The Hill based on only the skill of a hobbyist.
If you suffer the lack of a plan of attack, what you need is the knack of a lobbyist.

Since their fee must be paid and expenses defrayed, I’ll dispense with all shades and pretenses.
You’ll need cash and a lot, or you’ll be a have-not, peeking meekly through wrought iron fences.

Making law often can be more tortuous than winding streets in Old Tangiers, Morocco.
But with cash, you’ll be in. They will greet you with grins, wide and warm as the winds of Sciroco.

Is the nation a mess? Are the flyovers restive? If so, then success may be tasted.
Be strategic and clever. Use angst as a lever. A crisis should never be wasted.

If there’s no pressing need, then you must sew the seed, with a chant loud, repeated and rhythmic:
“Pass this bill or we’ll see locusts, storms and debris, plus a plague that will be cataclysmic.”

If a shutdown should loom, then it’s safe to assume there’ll be fear and some room then to wrangle.
Put your bill on the block. They’re unlikely to squawk, since they won’t let democracy dangle.

It is never a cinch that a deal will be clinched if a bill makes some flinch, flail or bristle.
In that case, please stay calm. You can move with aplomb. Just fly low like a Tomahawk missile.

Here’s the smart power play. Tuck your slim bill away in a CR with pages aplenty.
You evade and elude. Like the deep-staters do. It’s the trick of the true cognoscenti.

Give them minutes to read the bill. Vote at full speed. Let the push to proceed be incessant.
When you press, just expect a scant few to object, while the rest genuflect, acquiescent.

Swapping votes is an act both pragmatic and practical. It’s just a pact, yours for mine.
It reduces the prattle. A vote cast for cattle will earn, tit-for-tat, one for swine.

If things stall, then supply them with pork barrel pie, like that bridge to the Island Gravina.
Spreading pork all around gets things done in this town, with no risk of a downstream subpoena.

Court the press and be bold. Full court press is your goal. Then your bill will get sold to the masses.
It takes charm and some luck. Be a mensch, not a schmuck, or your bill will be stuck in molasses.

If your foes face election, your goal is eject them. With ads that connect, you can beat them.
Make the strike as intensive as the Tet Offensive. You might just upend and defeat them.

Act with zeal and with zest. Make the effort your best. It’s the hare who will rest, not the tortoise.
And the push by your foes to derail and to slow will itself undergo rigor mortis.

If you choose to apply this assistance, then I say it’s likely you’ll triumph with splendor.
If you don’t, you won’t win. You will grimace, chagrined, saying “I could have been a contender.”

Yes, the goalposts are wider if you’re an insider. A point you may try to ignore.
But it’s they, you will see, who will grace the marquee. …And so shall it be, evermore.

Last edited by Mark Stone; 10-21-2019 at 03:13 PM. Reason: The poem was too long.
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  #2  
Unread 09-18-2019, 10:24 AM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
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Location: Sunnyvale, CA
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Hi, Mark,

Kudos on the intricate Gilbertian pattern. Your posting has given me reason to explore what I feel makes light verse work.

I'm sorry not to like this better.

The order feels random, and a lot of it is very abstract. (The first stanza, for instance, could equally apply to an instructional poem on any topic.) These might not feel like faults if the technique sparkled more. I'll forgive (maybe not even notice) that a line doesn't move the poem forward if it gives me some sort of a technical delight, like an unexpected rhyme.

The rhyme and rythm have to be perfect, much more so than in more serious stuff. As a wise person said, a concert pianist is allowed to hit a wrong key now and then, a juggler isn't allowed to drop a plate.

The rhythm can be played with: genuFLECT for GENuflect works because it feels intentional and playful, hitting a rhyme that shouldn't work. Often, though, the awkwardness feels like plates dropping (for instance: "IT'S just a PACT" for "it's JUST a PACT" and "THE tet offENsive").

Not only should the stresses fall right, so should the relative stresses. The three internal rhyme words should be easy for the reader to hear as the three strongest syllables (before the end) of the line. One place this is difficult for me to hear is "give them minutes to READ the bill."

When you're not going to rhyme the whole rhyming word, help the reader by hitting what you WILL rhyme hard the first time. looming/assume disappoints because my hear is expecting the -ing.
way/made/observation works better (though way/made is a bit disappointing) because my ear has been given -ay as the rhyme to listen for.

"wider/insider/try to" is a wonderful surprise. More such, please!

FWIW,
Max
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  #3  
Unread 09-19-2019, 09:53 AM
Mark Stone Mark Stone is offline
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Location: Ohio
Posts: 354
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Max,

Thank you for your thoughtful and incisive comments.

I agree that the order of the stanzas can be perceived as random. I think I could have put them in a different order. I just put them in the order that felt right to me. And I agree that the first stanza could fit in any instructional poem.

Rhyme and rhythm must be perfect -- got it!

I'm glad that you shared your scanning of these two phrases: "It's just a pact" and "the Tet Offensive." I have been reading this poem to myself for so long that I have come to read it in a way where I stress syllables to make the meter work, rather than to reflect how I would normally say the words. This is why critiques are so valuable.

I am totally with you on the looming/assume point. I want to do some polishing of this poem, and I'm going to try to find a way to change "assume" to "assuming" so as to perfect that rhyme.

I'm glad you liked "wider/insider/try to". Thanks again for stopping by.

Mark
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  #4  
Unread 09-20-2019, 09:38 AM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Stone View Post
Rhyme and rhythm must be perfect -- got it!
My comment sounded condescending. I was eager to work in that lovely pianist-juggler quote and I didn't think enough about what I was implying. My apologies.
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  #5  
Unread 10-03-2019, 10:48 AM
Mark Stone Mark Stone is offline
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Max, I did not consider your comment to be in any way condescending. No offense taken! I have made a change to L15 in response to your suggestion. Thanks again! Mark
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  #6  
Unread 10-05-2019, 08:58 AM
Bill Carpenter Bill Carpenter is offline
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Hi Mark,
Like Max, I first thought of Gilbert and Sullivan. See, e.g., https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZ-gfalEWI0. Best, Bill
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  #7  
Unread 10-05-2019, 10:13 AM
Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is online now
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I'm hesistant to comment because this sort of poem isn't for me in the first place, but I'll compromise and comment with that caveat out of the way.

I admire the craft here a lot more than I like the poem. Like Max, I found the stanza order haphazard. The real issue here is that this contributed to the poem feeling overlong. I just lost interest. (But then, I'm going to lose interest faster than many others will with this sort of poem.)

Paring this down to a smaller set of stanzas that tell a linear story would improve it, I think.
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  #8  
Unread 10-10-2019, 11:09 PM
Mark Stone Mark Stone is offline
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Bill, I very much enjoyed that YouTube video. Thank you for sharing that!

Aaron, As I mentioned above, the poem consists of a series of ideas that I could have put in a different order. The order I chose is the one that felt right to me. Regarding the poem being too long and not one that holds one's interest, I have two local (i.e., not online) reviewers who had the same reaction. I guess it is going to be a niche poem! But I thank you for your comments.

Mark
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  #9  
Unread 10-10-2019, 11:15 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Mark,

this poem sucks and does not belong on the Deep End.
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  #10  
Unread 10-11-2019, 03:56 AM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is offline
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This poem swings, and does.

I agree that it's too long. I discovered that when I did what it asked me to do, ie, to sing it. But by trusting the Sullivan of it, rather than the Gilbert, one can discover the sheer cheek/wit of the internal assonances, some of which made me laugh aloud.

(I shall add to this, but meanwhile hang in there, Mark. Tom Lehrer is listening...)
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