What the Speaker Makes Time For

in Politics by

For Paul Ryan

The Speaker tells children
at St. Patrick’s Elementary School
that, yes, he likes rainbows.

He also likes pheasant hunting.
And economics and math
and the Buckhorn Supper Club.

He gets up at exactly 6:28 every morning
after sleeping in a cot in his office all night.
Those pheasants are early birds.

He has a dog named Sooner, another named Boomer, and
one called Gomez. Use your math.
That’s three.

You see,
The Speaker wants to make sure we have good laws,
and if we have bad laws, he tries to fix them.

If you say a law is collapsing
enough times, you might even help it
collapse. That’s the power of The Speaker.

“My favorite part of my job,” he says,
“is that you can make a huge difference
in people’s lives. It’s a vocation.”

“Did you ever spill coffee
on yourself before meeting with
important people?” a child asks.

“Yes, on my tie. Sometimes
I have to button my suit coat to
cover up the spot.”

At a public high school in Janesville,
The Speaker’s hometown,
the adults showed up early.

They, too, had questions
about rainbows and economics
and the Buckhorn Supper Club.

The Speaker was invited, but
his office said the town hall
conflicted with his schedule.

The people stared for hours
at an empty chair they’d placed
on a makeshift wooden stage.

They held signs and chanted
and talked a lot about the law
The Speaker said was collapsing.

A cancer patient
dressed as Eddie Munster
didn’t think it made a difference

that he had to paint the widow’s peak
onto his forehead — because
The Speaker wouldn’t see it anyway.

“Yeah, he squirmed out of this one,”
says a young man loosening his tie.
“That’s what important people do.”

A mother lowers her sign, goes home
to her sick child, who has not yet learned
all the colors of the rainbow.



Paul Ryan says he won’t hold public town halls because he doesn’t want a ‘screaming fest’ [Business Insider]
Speaker Paul Ryan tells St. Patrick students about his vocation [Gazette Extra]
The Health 202: Here are the key health-care questions I’ll be watching in the months ahead [The Washington Post]

Steven DeMaio is a writer, editor, and healthcare activist who lives in New York City. His poetry has been published in Diagram.

Image by Hernán Piñera.