Calvin Trillin

Calvin Trillin: JP Morgan cops a $13 billion plea


They touted securities they knew were trash.

The government’s case plainly shows

They’re willing to profit from bucket-shop scams,

Although they wear much nicer clothes.

Calvin Trillin: Deadline Poet: The Nation

Calvin Trillin: One issue that seems to be getting bipartisan support in the Senate


When Cruz begins a crude bombard,

He speaks with reckless disregard.

So even those who share his views

Tend not to want to schmooze with Cruz.

Calvin Trillin: Deadline Poet: The Nation4/8/2013


Calvin Trillin: On Dennis Rodman and his pal Kim Jong-un in North Korea


Kim Jong-un, dictator of North
Korea and BFF of Dennis Rodman,
threatens to use nuclear weapons
against the United States
Now Kim, who’s the strangest of big bomb possessors,
Says he’d use his nukes against Yankee aggressors.
Should we build some shelters? No, Kim is no menace,
Since he knows a nuke strike could take out his Dennis.

Calvin Trillin: Deadline Poet: The Nation 4/1/2013

Calvin Trillin: Hacker unearths paintings by George W. Bush


To new artist George Bush (junior),

We welcome you  Greetings. Salaam.

We’re eager to see your depiction

Of nukes stashed away by Saddam.

Calvin Trillin: Deadline Poet: The Nation 3/4/2013)


Calvin Trillin: The sip heard round the world


He sought to trash the Democrats.

He’d rough then up for sure, but first he

Just had to have a drink.

Poor Rubio was dry and thirsty.


Though pundits say his future’s bright,

Whatever life to him may bring,

HIs sobriquet will always be

The senator from Poland Spring.

Calvin Trillin: Deadline Poet: (The Nation 3/11/2013)


Calvin Trillin: A short message to those who have signed petitions asking to secede from the union


We do respect your point of view.

We’re glad to see the end of you.

Calvin Trillin. Deadline Poet. The Nation (17/12/2012)

Calvin Trillin: A short message to those who have signed petitions asking to secede from the union


We do respect your point of view.

We’re glad to see the end of you.

Calvin Trillin: Mitt Romney explains why he lost


Obama was clever as clever could be;

To targeted groups he gave gifts that were free:

Say, healthcare for free until age 26, 

And free contraceptives (for sex just for kicks).

Debates in the primaries left our team bruised

From harsh accusations the White House then used.

Whatever the reason for losing might be,

Of one thing I’m sure: it could not have been me.

I’m perfect.

Calvin Trillin. Deadline Poet. (12/10/2012 The Nation)



Calvin Trillin: Republican soul searching


We’re searching our souls and wondering why

We got beat so badly our rivals are gloating.

It’s obvious now where our campaign went wrong:

We should have prevented more people from voting.

Calvin Trillin: Deadline Poet:The Nation (12/3/2012)

Calvin Trillin: A rallying cry from the Obama camp


“Amid discord, Romney Seeks to Sharpen Message on his Agenda.”

–The New York Times

We’ve got to go now hell for leather.

We’ve got to get our act together,

‘Cause even right-wing pundits say

That this campaign’s in disarray.

With our endeavor such a mess

We find it difficult to press

Our message that this country needs

A man who’s proven by his deeds

That he can turn a firm around,

That he is someone who’s renowned

For skills in management writ large.

But wait: that’s who we’ve got in charge.

Calvin Trillin: Deadline Poet: The Nation (10/8/2012)








Calvin Trillin: Convention bounce for Obama


From Charlotte, Obama had hoped for a bounce.

It came in a way unforeseen.

When William J. Clinton had spoken his piece,

He’d furnished a strong trampoline.

Calvin Trillin, Deadline Poet (The Nation 10/1/2012)

Calvin Trillin: Calling in the Humanizer Man for Mitt the Twitt


Calvin Trillin: Deadine poet:  Calling in the Humanizer Man

Analysts say that Romney campaign strategists face the challenge of humanizing their candidate.

–News reports

They’d like it if this man the folks are seeing

Resembled more an actual human being.

For that he’d need some warmth and schmaltz and soul;

Then he’d appear less plastic and more whole.

So in their dreams of triumph they aspire

To show that their guy bleeds and may perspire.

This can be done at once, without delay:

Tne Humanizer Man is on his way.


Yes, any candidate with boardlike stiffness

Can be adjusted with surprising swiftness.

Tbe Humanizer Man’s done this before.

Though he fell short of loosening Al Gore,

He’s had a host of triumphs in his day.

So if Mitt’s men believe, to their dismay,

Their man’s as human as a Charolais.

No need to cry, “Caramba!” or “Oy vey!”

For everything is going to be OK.

To give him hope you only have to say,

“The Humanizer Man is on his way.”

Calvin Trillin: Deadline Poet (the Nation, (9/24/2012)








Calvin Trillin: Mitt Romney’s tax returns


Mitt Romney’s tax returns

Demands come from left and right.

Mitt Romney, though, says he’ll sit tight.

We’ve given you people enough,

Says Ann, sounding suddenly tough.

Conspiracy theories abound.

Mitt’s critics relentlessly pound.

Why go through this sort of ordeal?

What doesn’t Mitt want to reveal?


Some shelters far off from our shore?

Well, sure, but there has to be more.

And, really, we already know

His tax rate is terribly low.

Could some corporate losses have meant

That one year he paid not a cent?

What’s in there to make voters squeal?

What doesn’t Mitt want to reveal?


What deed was so sleazy that he’ll

So desperately try to conceal

Exposure with such stubborn zeal?

What fiddling did Romney feel

Should even a wealthy big wheel

Who feels some gray area’s appeal

Is slippery, just like an eel?

What doesn’t Mitt want to reveal?

 Calvin Trillin: Deadline Poet: The Nation 8/13/2012

Calvin Trillin: Deadline Poet: Ohio



(A 2012 version of the Wonderful Town classic)

With the rest of the states either solidly red or solidly blue,

the election will be decided by nine or ten swing states.

                                                        –News reports

Why oh why oh why oh?

Why did I ever leave Ohio?

Why did I locate where, since it’s no swing state,

Pollsters don’t trouble to track?

Zero is my vote’s weight.

Reason to vote? That’s what I lack.

Oh why oh why oh did I leave Ohio?

Maybe I better go O-H-I-O,

Where I could have my vote back.

Calvin Trillin: Deadine Poet: (the Nation)


Callvin Trillin: Sheldon Adelson’s Free Speech


“Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson is on the brink of reaching $71 million in contributions thus far in this election cycle.”

–Roll Call

Yes, money is speech, so the court has decreed.

While Adelson thinks this is splendid,

The rest of us wonder, as cash calls the tune,

Is this what the Framers intended?

Calvin Trillin: Deadline Poet (The Nation, 7/23/2012)


Calvin Trillin: The Bain of Mitt Romney’s Existence


He’s running on all of his triumphs at Bain,

But some say the Democrats refrain

From saying Bain’s gain was at times inhumane

(Because of its strategy aiming to drain

A company’s treasure, no matter what pain

Is caused to the workers whom it won’t retain).

Yes, Bain did some good, its defenders explain:

Some pension funds shared in its capital gain.

So vulture’s a label for Mitt they disdain–

Though buzzard’s OK, and is just as germane.

Calvin Trillin, Deadline Poet, The Nation June 18, 2012



Calvin Trillin: Ron Paul, still standing


Ron Paul, Stll Standing

 Mitt’s opposite number is still in the race.

Paul has his supporters; he has his own base.

He has his own style, which is folksy, not canned.

Religion? He’s got one. His prophet’s Ayn Rand.

By Rand’s wacko theories he’s fervently gripped,

So he  won’t do the flip-flops. He long ago flipped.

Calvin Trillin, The Naton (5/14/2012

Calvin Trillin: End of the line for Newt?


End of the line for Newt?

Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas billionaire who has been the biggest backer to a group supporting Newt Gingrich, said this week that Mr. Gingrich had reached ‘the end of the line’ in his bid for the presidency.” New York Times

So Newt’s coming closer to facing defeat?

His main sugar daddy’s no longer so sweet.

And Newt never was: why when he had the power

Of all that sugar, he still sounded sour.

Calvin Trillin.The Nation. 4/21/2012.





Calvin Trillin: The situation


So Mitt’s officially an Etch A Sketch,

And Rick says JFK’s speech made him retch.

Ron Paul’s a ditz, and Gingrich is a letch.

Though nets are flung as far as tthey will stretch,

There isn’t any white knight there to fetch.

Republicans thus sit around and kvetch.

Calvin Trillin: Deadline Poet: The Nation (4/16/2012)

Calvin Trillin: On not leaving the field


On not leaving the field

Ring-wingers who want to be heard

Note Newt’s place is solidly third.

But if right wing votes were combined,

The front-runner might fall behind.

So they say to Newt, “Won’t you go?”

And Newt, being Newt, answers no.


Newt’s ideological kin

Are dreading a moderate’s win.

They argue that it would advance

The cause if Newt gave Rick a chance

To face Mitt not in a duet.

And Newt, being Newt, still says nyet.


“When England was under the blitz,

Did Churchill say,

‘Let’s  call it quits’?”

Says Newt, That is not what you see

From statesmen like Churchill and me.”

“Oh, please, just this once, Newt, they say.

And Newt, being Newt, says, “No way.”

Calvin Trillin: Deadline Poet The Nation  4/9/2012

Calvin Trillin: Contraception is the big issue


Contraception (of all things)

Republicans are bashing birth control,

As candidates far-rightward scurry.

The voters haven’t heard such talk in years.

We’re going backward in a hurry.

Calvin Trillin: Deadline Poet (The Nation 3/26/2012)


Calvin Trillin: We pick Rick



(A Santoram campaign song, sung to the tune of “I like Ike,” by Irving Berlin)

‘We pick Rick.

Yes, Rick’s with whom we’ll stick.

He’s the guy

All over whom we’re swarming.


We pick Rick.

Though some imply that he’s thick,

He well knows

There is no global warming.


He’ll say on CNN

The sins that we must smother,

And he can keep those men

From marrying each other


We pick Rick

‘Cause he’ll tell liberals real quick

What God says

No matter if they’re willing:

Abortion’s baby-killing,

So we pick Rick.

Calvin Trillin: Deadline Poet (The Nation, 3/5/2012)



Calvin Trillin: Romney unconcerned about the poor


Romney says he’s not concerned about the poor

The remark about the poor immediately became catalogued in a growing list of awkward comments by Mr. Romney.” –The New York Times

His profile’s divine.

His shoes have a shine;

They’re almost as shined as his hair.

And voters ignore

That seeking Mitt’s core

Has failed because nothing is there.

So Mitt’s way ahead.

The pundits have said

That Newt might be almost kaput.

But Mitt still might lose

If he puts those shoes

Much more in his mouth with his foot.

Calvin Trillin: Deadline Poet  (The Nation, 2/27/2012)





Calvin Trillin: Adelson, Adelson



(Sung by Newt Gingrich supporters, to the tune of “Edelweiss,” from the Sound of Music)

Adelson, Adelson,

Your donations do cheer him.

We who root

For our Newt

Smile whenever you schmeer him.

Absent your vow

That you should endow

Newt’s campaign with plenty,

Adelson, Adelson,

He’d be dead as Pawlenty.

Calvin Trillin: Deadline Poet: The Nation 2/20/2012)