: Before 1901 :

an excerpt by Arthur Vogelsang


The President went to Alaska to play cards

And drink strong, room-temperature whiskey.

The President was shot and lived for months

In a hospital, then died.  You know the one.

Another President was shot in 1865 and died about immediately.


Suppose I said these two who were shot were combined into one

So as to be a confusing moving and different target.

It would do no good.  Not even one would actually be saved

As my imaginary one is saved whose reputation was not sullied

By the recreational game of poker as a teetotaler.


It was and is OK to play cards if you

Don’t drink a lot of tepid whiskey at the same time.


In the White House you can drink room-temperature whiskey

But it’s a tossup if your reputation would be sullied

By simply playing Texas Hold ’Em with your pals

In the White House in the morning with of course no drinking.


So that’s it about the three Presidents—McKinley, Lincoln,

And the one I made by combining them

So as not to have infamy attached to me or to one of the two real ones—

I thought for a moment that I had saved one,

But no, not even the wrong one.


Also a third President was shot in 1963 but

I have not put him into a four-President structure

As we have seen too many pictures of the deed in pieces

Of skull detail, and it seemed a bad mix

And too much of a rhetorical stretch to combine

Three Presidents in one, making four Presidents

So as to avoid personal infamy, I mean me, and save two or one.