Evan Eisenberg                                    Drawings by Steve Brodner                                   

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Muse, you're fired.  It’s sad.  Sad!

      I mean, you’re a nice piece of ass—

But I can do this myself.  You’ve heard

How smart I am?  How I have the best words?

      How I was first in my class?


A man and his money I sing, O Muse—

      Muse, you heard me!  Get out!

That desk had better be clear by three—

As I was saying, my theme will be

      A man, his money, his mouth.


This is the ballad of Donald Trump,

      A tale of greed and gall;

A tragedy birthed before our eyes—

A man, his money, his mouth, his rise

      And if there’s a God, his fall.


A man, his money, his mouth, his rise,

      His fall—or, otherwise, ours:

If you doubt his swagger, bluster and blunders

Can lead to disaster, you’re rashly misunder-

      Estimating his powers.


His tongue is fleet as Achilles’ feet,

      If slightly more prone to stumble;

His wiles would make Odysseus blush,

And like Aeneas (that’s Latin for “tush”)

      He’s always ready to rumble.


Having established his bona fides

      As hero, let’s give his Begats,

Beginning in Kallstadt, where, by God,

The Trumps, once Drumpfs, grumpily trod

      The blood of grapes in vats.


Grandpa Trump resembled his

      Descendant, fore and aft;

But as his feet were bone-spur-free

He had to sail across the sea

      To dodge his nation’s draft.


An immigrant!  An enterprising,

      Civic-minded fellow—

Thanks to whom the gold-drunk Yukon

Had a polished floor to puke on

      In a posh bordello.


Did Dudley do right when the Mounties

      Shut that cat-house down?

Right or wrong, Trump cashed his chips,

Checked the list of east-bound ships,

      And skipped for his hometown.


He wed, and launched the burgher’s life

      His frosty hoard afforded;

But Ach!—the draft board checks again,

And like a wetback Mexican

      Poor Friedrich is deported.


Chastened by King, he hastened to Queens—

      Scene of son Fred’s future capers.

Blood-and-iron-willed, hungry, lean,

Fred launched his empire at sixteen

      With Mother signing the papers.


Like Friedrich, Fred was gifted with

      An instinct for what works:

Parking garages for new-fangled wheels;

New-fangled self-service grocery deals

      That let him cashier the clerks.


Fred’s latest, greatest strategem

      Was simple: he’d invite

Manhattan’s huddled, muddled masses

To a paradise where grass is

      Green, and skin is white.


Where once were forests of oak and pine,

      Where once were fields and furrows,

Trump’s rickety “Dumps on Stumps”

Spread like chicken pox or mumps

      Across the outer boroughs.


When G.I. Joes came marching home

      He built them seaside flats:

Noble work, nobly rewarded

With the subsidies all hoarded

      In his Homburg hat.



Such profiteering struck even 

      Even-tempered Ike as rank;

Called before a Senate hearing,

Fred purred: It isn’t profiteering

      If the profit just sits in the bank!


Enough Begats, now.  Faith and begad,

      We’ll strain the straps of mirth

If, lacking Tristram’s comic clout,

We wear our reader’s patience out

      Before our hero’s birth.


His birth—but wait!  If climate change

      Is merely a hoax hatched in China,

How do we know the Donald’s not

An Erdoganic despot-bot

      Devised in Asia Minor


And engineered by Vladimir’s 

      Rechristened KGB—

Which China will shortly mass produce—

A handy source of mass abuse

      For all humanity?


We don’t.  But let’s be gracious and

      Concede he was conceived

By Fred on his Mary, née MacLeod,

A Scottish housemaid, broke but unbowed,

      At Ellis Isle received.


(An immigrant!  Another one!

      To this surmise I’m leaping:

Should Trump meet such a one tonight

And should her skin be not-quite-white,

      He’d call her Miss Housekeeping.)    


What crêche can conjure up the kings

      Who ‘round the cradle stand?

Did Dolf and Benny bow to her?

And did the frankincense and myrrh

      Already bear His brand?


From youth, our Cheeto Jesus was

      Entirely without sin:

How else withstand a toddler’s moans

While bravely showering with stones

      The crib that it was in?


(Where’s that toddler, now?  Does he,

      Still trumpatized, thumb-suck?

Is the memory sharp or fuzzy?

Does he watch the news, and does he,

      Seeing Donald, duck?)


More deeds served to demonstrate

      That Donald was no wuss:

Attempting to defenestrate

A chum; socking a second-grade

      School teacher in the puss.


(That last, Don’s boast—the victim never

      Validated it;

But murmured to his kindred, when

Upon his deathbed, "Even then

      He was a little shit.")


Faced with a strapping lad intent

      On scrapping every rule,

Father Fred, severe but fair,

Remanded Donald to the care

      Of a military school.


(That window flap in fact belongs

      At this point in the plot;

But time, we know, is an illusion;

Rhyme, though in the worst confusion

      Hudibrastic, not.)


Bully to Leader—context shapes

      The words, and hence the man.

A hero in the making?  Hell

No!  His Captain’s bars look too swell

      To soil them in Khe San.


Three school deferments from the draft,

      And one more for good measure,

Because a well-paid doctor, Sir,

Has kindly found a fine bone spur.

      Which foot?  Well, what’s your pleasure?


Survivor guilt’s a bitch; but Don,

      That Fury to appease,

Endured a “personal Vietnam”

By braving (wham, bam, at ease Ma’am)

      Venereal disease.


Thirsty, he imbibed the business

      At his father’s feet:

A ton of brass, a dash of knuckle,

Plus a long, hard, steady suckle

      At the public teat.


Soon he found a second father

      To perfect his parts—

His guru (not the least Siddharthy)

None but Senator McCarthy’s

      Master of Dark Arts.


Roy Cohn!  The consigliere,

      Cold collusions ever hatching,

Teaches Donald how to cozy

Up to handy mafiosi

      When a back needs scratching.


Roy Cohn!  The cognoscento

      Of the con, the squeeze, the steal,

The secret blade, the tidied gore,

The set-up, shakedown, flimflam, or

      As Don would say—the Deal.


When Fred handed Donald the company’s reins,

      Roy was enlisted, not for

Legal matters dry and humdrum,

But for an unreal-estate conundrum

      That would have baffled Bohr.


Is light a particle or wave?

      Depends on how it’s detected.

Does Trump have vacancies right now?

Depends, in a quantumy way, on how

      The questioner’s complected.    


More plainly:  people of color found

      Reception rather rude.

Twenty years earlier, wroth at this wrong,

Woody Guthrie wrote a song;

      Now steely Justice sued.


Countersue!  cried Donald.  Roy

      Rogered:  Defamation!

Dismissed!  snapped the judge, which must have nettled:

Trump, who never settles, settled 

      For corporate probation.   


* * *


Before Trump Tower could rise, Bonwit

      Teller had to fall;

For this, undocumented Poles—

Hard-hatless, maskless, homeless, cold—

      Were at Trump’s beck and call.


The “Polish Brigade,” when paid at all,

      Was paid the merest pittance;

Safety inspectors and union crews

At a nod from Roy Cohn, knew

      Not to seek admittance.


Two Deco nymphs were smashed to bits

      Despite their fervent suitors;

Yet we must count their fate deserved,

For surely they’d have been preserved

      Had they had bigger hooters.


While LeFraks and Resnicks all deplored

      The local mob’s monopoly

Of concrete, and used steel instead,

Don with Fat Tony hopped in bed

      And did so very hoppily.


The Roman who first mixed concrete 

      Now in Elysium gloats:

Behold its metamorphic powers!

For pals like Donald, topless towers;

      For others, overcoats.  


Only in America

      Could such a tale unfold:

By the bootstraps that he hitches to,

Donald lifts himself from riches to

      Riches, gold to gold.


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In fact, had he invested Fred’s

      Multimillions in a

Nice NYSE index fund, his wad

Would be (though fans might find this odd)   

      Thicker now, not thinner.


Trump’s gift for turning gold to ___

      (Insert terms that disgust us):

For this our best lexicographers lack words,

But Sadim Touch (that’s Midas backwards)

      Might just do it justice.    


Here’s a striking instance of

      An ill-advised Trumpkrieg:

The time he sued the N.F.L.,

Hail-Marla-passing straight to hell

      A promising young league.


The owners trusted Trump to win

      His antitrust lawsuit;

But hey, we know the system sucks—

The court awarded them three bucks.

      The U.S.F.L.?  Kaput.


(Suppose it were the U.S., not

      U.S.F.L. he led?

Gambling’s fun when on vacation;

Gambling when the stake’s a nation—

      Darker shades of red.)


The Trump Shuttle; the grand hotel

      Eloise absolutely adored—

Though the Donald’s flops are legion

The floppiest flopped in the region

      Of the Jersey shore.


The Casino Control Commission, keen

      Its Garden State to keep

Free of thugs like Bugsy Siegel

Set up eighteen months of legal

      Hoops through which to leap.


Make it six months, Trump insisted.  

      Hoops?  He walked around them.

Stains on ties from wise-guy vinos?

Those who licensed his casinos

      Somehow never found them.


Hilton?  Denied.  Attorney tied,

      It seems, to shady party.

Commishs conveniently forget

One Cohn, Esquire, whose phone is set

      On speed-dial to John Gotti.


At Trump’s casinos, chopper flights

      Were furnished by a thug:

Joey Weichselbaum, whose varlets

Used a network of used car lots

      As fronts for dealing drugs.


Quite a dicey choice on Don’s part!

       Might we then surmise

That Weichselbaum, besides the choppers,

Gave elite casino-hoppers

      Other kinds of highs?


When Joe went down, Don’s cronies found

      A way to hide the stench:

Sentence in Jersey, where the Very

Honorable M. Trump Berry

      Occupied the bench.


Though Sis recused herself, it’s clear

      Her colleagues got the brief:

“Treat our chopper guy with kid

Gloves.”  So, demonstrably, they did;

      For while each petty thief


Caught up in Joey’s escapade

      Got ten years, if an hour,

The mastermind got only three

And after eighteen months was free

      And living in Trump Tower.


Trump’s letter asking leniency

      Might have helped (you think?) —

And might have cost his gaming license

Had not Enforcement, with its rye sense

      Humorous, merely winked.


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Trump Plaza, Castle, Taj Mahal—

      As cash engorged his kitty,

The boardwalk groaned beneath the weight

Of monsters that, in due course, ate

      Each other, then the city.


Contractors, vendors, lenders, staff

      Were stiffed—lost shirts—lost skin—

But Trump emerged (triumphant pose)

Smelling, if not like a Rose,

      Then like a Benjamin.


Though certain indexed pages (Trump,

      Donald, 97)

Are all he generally deigns to look

At in any given book,

      He loves Chapter Eleven.


Bankruptcy!  Lifeboat that lets

      Captain Trump float free

While backers, passengers and crew of

Each of his titanic screw-ups

      Sink beneath the sea.


Cash-strapped, he now takes public his

      Casino company.

Who needs fiscal sonograms

When the ticker’s monogrammed

      Like golf towels, DJT?


Trump chips off fifty million bucks

      In salary and bonuses;

The bough will break, the stock will fall,

Investors lose their little all:

      On them, alas, the onus is.


(A sucker, so Barnum says, is born

      Every minute, and this makes sense;

A life cycle so lively—it turns on a dime—

Allows one very little time

      To learn from experience.)       


Now a fresh hope bobs like flotsam

      On the subsiding sea

Of his slots-and-roulette-wheel typhoon:

If he can’t be a real tycoon,

      He’ll play one on TV!


Reality TV, no less

      (That moron’s oxymoron),

Where mini-Dons brave Donald’s ire

Just for a shot at being hired

      As Saruman to his Sauron.


As his hot mic attested, to

      Hot chicks he makes a beeline;

The Donald needs no roll-call vote

To let his tongue patrol their throats

      Or grab them by the feline.


(My preference is to euphemize,

      But if you think it wussy

To beat around the Billy Bush

And primly cite derrière or tush

      Go for it!  I’m not fussy.)


trump & hillary


Miss Universe, USA, Teen USA—

      All furnish more occasions

For fingering the ripening fruit

(He’s the boss, so best be mute!)

      And dressing-room invasions.


Trump’s business model now is just

      Ghost-writing gone berserk:

Flush with the spectral coins of fame

He’s richly paid to put his name

      On other people’s work.


Wine and water, steaks and neckties,

      Condos and cologne;

And capping the buffoonery

A real-estate tycoonery—

      A Wharton of his own!


Trump U., in truth, is not a U-

      Niversity at all;

And though he claimed the faculty

Were, to a man, “handpicked by me”

      His hands, you know, are small.


Were you among the thousands fleeced

      (Snowed, swindled, chiseled, scammed)

By “experts” hired off the street

To pressure-sell the Gold Elite

      Package for thirty grand?


Take my advice, and you may find

      Trump’s lessons more endearing:

Ignore the content, watch the form!

Thus clever sheep, while being shorn

      May learn the art of shearing.




Each Trump resort must proudly sport

      Its Star Diamond Award.

The judges?  Trump’s family, Trump’s staff,

Trump and Trump’s butler, too (don’t laugh),

      Who constitute the board.


The president’s Joey No Socks,

      A.k.a. the Preppy Don:

Convicted felon, pusher, fence,

As aquiescent as Mike Pence

      In Donald’s every con.


The Trump Foundation—there’s another

      Scam, and it’s a honey:

With gold-embossed pomposity

He play-acts generosity

      With other people’s money.


Now Donald finds a novel use

      For his foundation’s cash:

Dispensing it like Benadryl

To state Attorneys General

      Who might do something rash.


Tim Tebow’s helmet, too, he scores

      With philanthropic pelf,

Plus a king-size portrait of his love—

His life, his joy, his turtle dove—

      His deity:  Himself.


(Its whereabouts are now unknown.

      Did it displease Der Führer?

Did it reveal that—shades of Gray!—

As he grew richer, day by day,

      His soul grew ever poorer?)


trump comb-over


Pro among con-men, his resumé

       Still lacked one final rip-off:

Make the people he’d been screwing

Stamp and cheer for their undoing.

       Peeps, observe the tip-off:


Trump descending Trump Tower’s mirrored

      Escalator, miming

The prolapse of democracy

To marble-wombed plutocracy

      With perfect comic timing.


Global capital unbound—

       'Twixt rich and poor, a chasm—

Party of the late white male

Thrashing like a great white whale

      In its final spasm—


Plotting to suppress the vote

      Of blacks and browns and youth,

Brashly gerrymandering

And very rashly pandering

      To paranoid untruth—


Other party, partly bothered

      By its own collusion

In despoiling of the earth, yet

Partly feels the spoils are worth it—

      Hence, its lame confusion—


Whirling like a centrifuge

      The nation segregates—

Inside red and outside blue—

This side’s false is that side’s true—

      Vanished, the debates


Where facts were facts and logic was

      Just normally impaired—

Now on social media

Whichever lie is seedier

      Is seeded, tweeted, shared—


Trump invented none of this.

      What did he do?  Abet

All that’s most foul, unfair, and fake,

And from the pot of plunder take

      Whatever he could get.


Stumpy hands still greasy, now

      To clean things up he’ll pledge;

From the stump and from his Twitter

Spews a manic stream of bitter

      Bile that sets on edge


Mexicans, veterans, Muslims and Blacks,

      Asians and Jews and Aleutians,

Vulvo-Americans of every hue,

Handicapped folks and, presumably, you

      If you’ve read the Constitution.  


trump wrestling


Yet white blue-collars, nest eggs paltry,

      Feathers plucked by fate,

Schooled by Fox News and hard knocks,

Rapturously back the Fox

      To make the henhouse great.


Such, at least, appears to be

      The liberal CW—

Trump, like Sanders, taps the rage

Of castoffs from globalization’s stage.

      True, but this fact may trouble you:


Trumpsters earn more than the national mean.

      Take the EPA-noncompliant

Mortarboardless contractor whose price

Contracts as in an iron vise

      His liberal-arts-grad client—


His beef with our Bollyhued McWorld

      Is hardly economic;

But the promise to restore again

The dominance of straight white men

      Braces him like a tonic.


Foxy Trump on his barnyard stump

      Warms his inmost cockles

When he tasks that alien resident,

The Kenyan, Muslim “President,”

      With the Texas Twit’s debacles.


Or blames an overbearing dame

      For—well, take your pick:   

When daily for a quarter century

Your target’s tarred, eventually

      Most anything will stick.  


Grand Old Partyers gape as each

      Caparisoned champion’s mown

Down.   A clown with painted mane

Gleefully reaps the hurricane

      They themselves have sown.


trump jaws


Toppled are trees in whose lees

      Politicos crouched and cowered;

Uprooted rocks, the muck vacating,

Bare the pallid, pullulating

      Maggots of white power.


(Hill’s LOVE TRUMPS HATE signs—what a shame

      To truck them to the dump—

Let’s thwart that ecotastrophy

By adding an apostrophe

      And selling them to Trump!)


Evangelicals, you divine,

      Must shun as a pariah

This lying, grasping, adulterous fraud?

Behold!  The preachers and ministers laud

      Trump as their new Messiah.


Pray, what do these good Christian folk

      And Donald have in common?

(Scratches head.)  No clue.  Unless—

Perhaps—their gospel is Success,

      Their god almighty Mammon.


Of course, there’s the sort who cry “The court!”—

       Who wield love like a knife—

Reverencing every human

Till he rashly leaves the womb and

      Starts a human life.


Trump’s running mate, a cunningly carved

       Etiolated tuber,

The Evangelicals will wow:

He’s holier than I, than Thou,

       Than Martin Freaking Buber.


Ivanka’s knack for marketing

       This veep pick will confirm,

Affording swing-state ditherers

A smorgasbord of slitherers—

      The serpent and the worm.


In Pence’s mouth won’t melt one pat

      Of butter from your pantry;

Though they may seem like night and day,

Mike and Donald are just two ways

      Of casting Elmer Gantry.


The platform of the GOP—

      A great, big, bloody bone

Thrown to those who salivate

To found a Christian caliphate

      In our once-temperate zone.


Our thrice-wed metrosexual?

      Such details merely bore him.

Let the wonks wank with planks and stuff

Just so that platform’s tall enough

      For all eyes to adore him!


But hold—his people did find some

      Provisions worth disputing:

Precisely those that might offend

His Great-Dictator-Mentor and

      Man-Crush, Volodya Putin.


The DNC hack’s one big scoop?

      Believe me, this is HUGE—

The flag-draped, gold-domed candidate

Who bragged he’d MAKE AMERICA GREAT

      Is just a Russian stooge.


Tangled up with oligarchs,

      He’ll wangle them a thaw,

And, as in Putin’s gangster state,

By all means needful obviate

      The pesky rule of law.




But who will hack Trump’s tax returns?

      Not apparatchiks, surely;

Release them, just like everyone?

Of course, soon as the audit’s done!

      Donald responds demurely.


And truth to tell, this morbid interest in

      Every blessed penny

Paid by Trump at each quarter’s finish

Seems a tad angels-dancing-on-pinnish

      When he pays hardly any.     


Is Trump worth what he says he is?

      It’s hard to know the facts

When assets are valued (this is ripe)

Fifty times more when being hyped

      Than when they’re being taxed.


His net worth has no fixed abode:

      No floor, no walls, no ceiling;

And (what seems rather sad to me)

Like parts of his anatomy

      It varies with his feelings.


Is Trump a multithousandaire

      Or is it multibillions?

Such doubts would not predominate

If we could just denominate

      His net worth in Trumpillions.


He struts and frets the national stage

      While all the world observes:

There he blows, in spate again!

He’ll make America grate again

      On all the world’s nerves.


The mogul who, as cameras roll,

      All-powerful, growls “You’re fired”—

To banish our despondency

Will wave his tiny wand and see

      Twenty-five million hired.


“Fingers short, nose long”—so taunt

      His truth-obsessed accusers;

Truly, Donald’s far too smart

To blurt the words that gird his heart:

      “Truth?  Truth is for losers.”


The sunset tints of cheek and jowl

      That in his fans inspire

Daydreams of riches, glitz, romance,

Are but the mirrored glow of pants

      Perpetually on fire.


“He speaks his mind.”  Let me remind

      Those flummoxed by that phantom—

His mind’s a jumble of paste pearls

Whose correspondence to the world

      Is somewhat less than random.


Effete epistemologists 

      Can bitch and moan and sob.

Total losers!  Lightweights!  Fools!

The wise man knows that words are tools

      You use to do a job.


In fact, it isn’t jewels, it’s tools

      That pack his cabinet mental:

File, pick, chisel, slim jim, axe—

Any relationship to facts

      Is purely accidental.


But as Trump’s tools tend to be blunt

      Or jagged, or uncouth,

“He speaks his mind!” cry those who take

Civility for something fake

      And boorishness for truth.


The press was his oyster, but now they’re all crabs—

      Those fact-checkers—too picky, too nitty!

They’re missing the lesson he’s trying to teach:

What’s the point of “freedom of speech”

      If a guy can’t lie with impunity?


The press that inflated him now he berates

      For detumescent polls.

Want a metaphor for that?

The man who, when it has a flat,

      Molotovs his Rolls.


The vote is rigged! Trump bellows—prim

       Republicans tut-tutting

Know well the fuming lies he fans

Were lit to justify their plans

      For Voting-Rights-Act-gutting.


It’s rigged, it’s rigged, it’s rigged, he chants.

      The hypnotizing rhythm

Charms and arms a thronging snake—

If Donald has to lose, he’ll take

      Democracy down with him.


Steaming, scattershot manure

      Prepares a bed most fecund

For mayhem and bloodshed to grow—

The only law the lawless know

      Being Amendment Second.


And that’s one of the good outcomes.

      Appreciably less fun:

The one where Donald and his cult

Accept, as promised, the result

      Because… because… he’s won.  




To take the edge off edginess 

      I’ll venture to repeat

Some armchair psychoanalysis

(Excluding size of phalluses)

      While on the edge of my seat:


From paradise to barracks—did

      Young Donald’s cold rejection

By Fred the Father plant the seed

Of raging, caged-in, stage-struck need

      And violent insurrection?


The child within the man is fathered

      By another child,

And so (I see Tom Eliot grinning)

A spore cast at the world’s beginning

      May contain… its end.


But here’s a cheerful thought—in fact,

      I think it’s rather grand—

As the Body Pol he’s screwing,

Trump’s Great Dictator turn is doing

      Wonders for his brand.  


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(Why not license other names

      In ways likewise relentless?

Stalin Steaks!  Benito’s Floss!

Hitler Health Resorts!  The pos-

      Sibilities are endless.)


If there’s a God, his fall, I said;

      But should old Zeus or Gaea

Have lost their fulminating clout

It falls to us to bring about

      This fine peripeteia:


Of horse an ass, of jokes a butt,   

      Of loserness a lump:

The king of debt, and hype, and sex—

The man who would be our T. Rex—

      Becomes, at last, T. Rump.   



To be continued in Book Two...