Friday, June 5, 2009

The Ballad of Ben Cannon and House Bill 2461

Appeared in the Oregon Statesman-Journal on June 3, 2009

In the Twinkling Star, your neighborhood bar,
Ben Cannon sat down with a stranger—
a guy from Missouri who seemed in a hurry
and who reeked of political danger.

“Now Ben,” the man said, “your reputation has spread.
You’re young, good-looking, and smart.
And I’m happy to say I’ve come all this way
to tell you it’s only a start—

that I think you’re put here like the froth on a beer
to finish a well-poured draw.
I can help your career if you lend me your ear
and consider a possible law.”

And the man from Anheuser said from Portland to Keizer
Oregonians were lushes and sots,
so addicted to hops they just couldn’t say stop
and who gulped every beer that they bought.

“Just one little tax,” said the man sitting back,
“could treat ’em and sober ’em right.
What’s a penny or two on the cost of a brew
on this—this Michelob Light—

compared to the aid you’d get back in trade
to cure all of OR-ee-GONE?”
Then cracking his neck, he picked up the check
and left without stifling a yawn.

And the very next day, with no shades of grey,
Ben Cannon set out to win—
to tax every flaw, be it keg, can, or draw.
“Love the sinner,” he said, “Tax the sin.”

So that’s how the lobbyist ran out the hobbyist,
how Ben Cannon’s bill shed its blood.
That’s why Oregon’s brews are now singing the blues—
why the Twinkling Star serves just Bud.


1 comment:

desperatelyseekingsalem said...

Congratulations on your first Salem Statesman-Journal poem! And what a mighty poem it was...