Friday, April 21, 2006

Ceci n'est pas une pipe

During a floor debate on immigration on April 6, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) -- perhaps inspired by the Dada exhibition at the National Gallery of Art -- waxed poetic on the existential realities of the World's Greatest Deliberative Body. I have taken a few liberties by turning his words into blank verse, but (aside from one ellipsis) this is what he said, which can be found in the pages of the Congressional Record:

Mr. President, I will say a few words.
I wasn't planning on saying anything,
but I think I must say something.

Mr. President, no matter how many times I call this lectern a car,
it does not matter,
this is not a car.
This is a lectern,
used here in the Senate for us
to put our papers on
and deliver a speech.
This is not a car.
If I come to the Senate floor and,
day after day,
hour after hour,
call this a car,
it is not a car.
It is a lectern.

If I come to this Senate floor
day after day
and say
what the Democrats have done is unusual,
it is wrong,
it is as wrong as this lectern
being called a car....

I know people feel that this lectern is a chair,
but it is not.
This is the Senate.
(Hat tip to The Washington Post's "In the Loop" columnist Al Kamen, who read this speech in an impeccably deadpan tone on WTWP Radio yesterday afternoon.)


Tim said...

"I have nothing to say and I am saying it and that is poetry." -- John Cage

Tim said...

PS: You have turned Reid's words into free verse, not blank verse.