Calvin Trillin, otherwise known as "the deadline poet," inspires my "poem" below.
I have special memories of Mr. Trillin and of his wife, Alice, now dead from lung cancer although she never smoked. She answered my invitation to come to HCC to lecture on her specialty of remedial English, and we went to a local Cuban-sandwich place for a sample of Tampa's Cubans.
Trillin is a food lover. He does a walking restaurant tour of his neighborhood in NY, which I believe is SOHO now. He was enormously fond of his wife and two daughters as well as of food and wrote a book called Alice, Let's Eat. His deadline-poet books in doggeral poetry are about George Bush and will make you laugh out loud.
About 35 years ago, Trillin was writing a piece for the New Yorker and came to my house when our family lived in
I had been out with the president of Coyote (Call Off Your Tired Old Ethics) to help her put pressure on the
Hugh Smith of Channel 13 got arrested later at the end of his career there, but I didn't weep. I never heard him lament women's being arrested but not men. The rabbi on our Prostitution Committee that the City Council finally convened to shut me up got arrested as well. Arthenia Joyner, the laziest woman to ever pull a frock over her head, always late when when she wasn't absent, was on the committee and now running for the Florida Senate. When she does bestir herself, La Joyner opposes discrimination, a good thing for her to do with her sporadic bursts of energy. The local papers have endorsed her. After the police arrested the rabbi on our committee solicitation, he and his wife subsequently left town for Miami during the committee's time remaining. Police have a macabre sense of humor sometimes.
But I have no sympathy for these two-faced, sexist men. I couldn't have gotten one of them to sign a petition to stop the double standard in prostitution arrests if I had put a gun to their heads. I was able to shame the City Council into removing from the books an ordinance making it a crime to walk on public streets with a "known prostitute." Known by whom is the question: the answer is known by the men who solicited them by night but couldn't walk down the street with them by day.
I have sentimental attachment to both the Tampa Police Department and to Channel 13 because I opened both to women about 35 years ago--TPD women officers and WTVT women anchorpersons. I accomplished this miracle by filing charges with the EEOC. I consider the EEOC my buddies. That agency has a lot of Blacks working at the lower levels, the first you encounter when filing a charge; and you can mostly always count on Blacks to understand discrimination. One must except Clarence Thomas, the Long Dong Silver who trashed Anita Hill to get on the Supreme Court to augment the growing right-wing majority on that body.
in the manner of deadline poet Calvin Trillin
Enforcer Jim puffed himself a man of steel
He called himself hombre who knew the art of the deal.
The deal that turned a kindergarten belle
Into big-pay school lobbyist who schemed like hell
To disguise how she hustled age-old femme-fatale tool
Proving there's no fool like an old fool.
Enforcer Jim had reached geezer age,
Time to hang up the gloves, time to turn a page.
But Enforcer Jim couldn’t take that step;
Retirement loss of power would wreck his macho rep.
Jim hunkered down in Otero-the-Ever-patient's digs
If the Board didn’t like it, Jim cared not two figs.
He ordered La Elia, no matter the trouble, by golly,
To get the lead out and invent him a job despite the folly.
So La Elia buckled down and invented him a perch
Cut from snippets of other jobs to save her in this lurch.
Le Hamilton morphed--voila!--leader of bus drivers and purchase drones,
The former drove busses, the other handled phones.
Jim insisted on naming his invented ersatz job;
He called it something worthy of Zeus, Olympian God.
Jimbo dubbed his new honorarium Enforcer School-wide;
Any soubriquet less impressive he would not abide.
The last scene reveals Jim on the phone feeling better,
Inviting La-Belle-Dame-Sans-Merci Mileto to pop in to take a letter.