The Quayle

<i> Edward Hotaling, a self-confessed "fanatic" for the work of Edgar Allan Poe, is a national network radio commentator based in Washington. </i>

Once upon a midnight dreary, my brain wandered,

bleak and bleary,

Over many a vain vicarious veep with one foot

in the door.

If I nodded . . . What’s that tapping? Hey, it’s

New York’s center snapping--

Kemp has got it. Time! O’erlapping quarterbacking?

Who’s he for?

“Still, some senator,” I muttered, Landon’s Nancy

at my door,

“Just says, ‘No!’ and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember ‘twas the month before

Pearl Harbor,

And each separate vying Member cast his boast

upon the floor.

Eagerly cried my pal Simpson: “Vainly would they

call us wimps then!

I’d make Donaldson turn crimson! Win one for the

Gipper, George!”

For my rare and radiant angel, the Gipper,

my Lenore.

Blameless here for evermore.

And the secret, so uncertain rustling of each

voter’s curtain

Thrilled me, filled me with Advanceman’s terrors

(dare I speak their name?)

So that now, to stem the stigma of Defeat, I cried,

“Think big!

Domenici, non es dignus to appropriate my game.

And Deukmejian? A contagion! Duke, they’d say,

‘s the rage in names!

Damn, I’m Hamlet--nothing more.

Presently a Dole grew stronger; flipping, flopping

then no longer,

“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness

I implore;

But the fact is I was trying (I know Robert called it

‘lying’) . . .

Well, to win instead of tying, dying in

New Hampshire’s war.”

But Elizabeth or Bob? And here I opened wide

the door.

On then to New Orleans churning, all my veeps

within me turning--

Kean or Kemp or Kassebaum? Is Bentsen taken?

“George, be calm.”

Thompson? Simpson? My son? Tracking me! Pit bulls

bushwhacking me!

Let me see, then, what I’m lacking. Gee, it’s only

. . . Lebensraum. Please, some space for Number One. A man of stature

in the realm.

They’re all wind, and nothing more.

Open now I flung the shutter, when (note many a flirt

and flutter)

In there stepped a stately ra--quayle! Of the Boomer

days! Lloyd who?

Here at last the bird we’ve bled for! Merry Christmas!

Duke, you’re dead, for

Here with mien of Robert Redford, perched right

here’s the Perfect Two,

Perched upon my bust of Gipper. Breakfast clubber,

say adieu.

So? You’re qualified? He’s cute!

Then this ivory bird beguiling my Advanceman into


By its Hollywood decorum and the vote count it

could score,

“With thy crest so clean and clipped,” he said, “thou,

I will bet my bippie,

Sure art no grim, ghastly hippie wandering from the

Nightly War.

Tell them what thy unit’s name was. And that night

platonic near the shore?”

Quoth the quayle, “That’s been covered.”

Heck. I knew they’d now all vomit still more queries

with no comment

Since the answers little meaning, little relevancy bore.

But while I sat there oh-geeing, good ol’ Gipper

slapped his knee and

Said, “No other living being has teed off with such

a ‘Fore!’--

Neither bird nor beast (‘cept me) could launch

campaigns by closing doors

With such lines as: ‘It’s been covered!’ ”

Startled, still, at stillness broken by replies so

curtly spoken,

“Doubtless,” they said, “what it utters isn’t all the

shocking story,

From some unhappy master whom unmerciful


Follows fast and follows faster.” (Plainly, forecast

here is gory.)

Hell’s Bells, Bells, Bells--sorry. But it’s not true--

in days of yore, he . . .

O, never mind, it’s been covered.

But my quayle there, biting harder, ‘top that bust,

remained on Guard--er,

Lowercase--then moved the hunt to Huntington,

where they got gored.

Little further piped our piper; crouching, he drew

fewer snipers.

Thus my eagleton was diapered. ‘Stead of quayle

droppings galore,

From yon Baja to sweet Mahwah, ‘twas Dukakis

on the floor!

“Quiet,” quipped quayle, “It’s been covered.”

Still, methought the air’d grown denser. Nothing

I would try to censor

But my temperature--and all those tempests

tossing thee ashore!

Nightmares . . . Gosh, there’s Ford’s Theater! Gee! Me

on a respirator!

Senator, you’re no debater--but, tell, Prophet,

I implore

Art thou really like J.F.K.? Or the Gipper

we adore?

Quickly quayle: “I’ve got you covered.”

Quayle, now older, never flitting, still is sitting,

still is sitting

On the powdered bust of Gipper--hmmmm, above

my chamber door!

His eyes almost have the seeming of a Democrat’s

that’s dreaming

Of that great white birdhouse gleaming, that

redeeming tree-top grail,

Where far more than just his Hoosiers pledge

allegiance to the quayle,

Who announces: “I’ve been covered.”