Tag Archives: presidents

in love with lincoln

monica sent me this picture essay by maira kalman from the new york times. it’s a lovely essay…with PICTURES. anyway, I really liked it and I’m probably the last person in the world to read it, but there it is, anyway.



taking suggestions


so you may not know this about me, but I write poems for the presidents on their birthdays. since I’ve gotten to grad school, however, my aspiration to write one poem for each one has gone right down the toilet. my muse is gone. maybe she’s in prison or maybe she was run over by a car. I don’t know. regardless, I haven’t penned a presidential ode since august.

today is FDR’s birthday and I NEED to write one for him. he is the only president thus far to truly elude me. there’s just so much to say. so, I am writing to you to ask for help. do you have any suggestions for what I might say about franklin? c’mon, friends. the man needs a poem.

the strangest of all roadside attractions

today, I fulfilled a dream that was several months in the making. I went to presidents park.

the strangeness that is president's park

the strangeness that is president's park. notice william "the fattie" taft at the center.

I first saw presidents park in march when I came down to visit william and mary. my friend kristin, knowing my affection for the presidents, knew it was something I had to see. so, in the virginia dusk, she drove me down route 199 and told me to keep my eyes open. suddenly, rising up out of the ground along the side of the highway were GIANT BUSTS OF ALL THE PRESIDENTS. the orangey light of the setting sun shined on abraham lincoln’s face, who benevolently smiled at passers-by. these white, 15-foot tall cement statues looked like they were growing straight out of the ground from GIANT PRESIDENTIAL SEEDS. I almost had a heart attack. we pulled down the road behind the park so I could take a few photos through a chain link fence.

every time I drove down rt. 199 past presidents park, I would almost drive directly off the road and into a tree. so today, I finally went there to this presidential mecca.

it was weird.

the busts–made of sculpted white concrete and arranged chronologically along a circular path–are just tall enough that you can look right up your favorite president’s nostrils. gentle patriotic music wafts through the air. Informational signs point out the most salient points from each president’s career, often leaving out the most juicy bits. though pointing out that john quincy adams swam in the potomac river everyday, the sign, however, neglects to mention that he did this in the nude.

good ol' george washington

good ol' george washington

I was slightly sadden by the fact that old standards like abe and georgie-poo and andrew “asshole” jackson were fairly well maintained, but the lesser-known presidents (who are always my favorites) had peeling paint and big chunks taken out of their noses. oh, the injustice. I have to say, too, that bill clinton didn’t look much like bill clinton. he looked like a big fatty who’d spent too much time playing video games and eating cheez-whiz. on the other hand, george bush, sr. looked really good. I think there was some heavy republican favoritism at play here. also, the admission was $7.50! $7.50! hopefully they put my money to good use and give FDR a new pair of spectacles. the man is blind without them, seriously.

in conclusion, I suppose I might say that my perceptions of presidents park are not unbepissed.

george bush, sr., looking good

george bush, sr., looking good

bill "butterface" clinton

bill "butterface" clinton

chester a. arthur

how much do you know about chester alan arthur, most hirsute of presidents? I apparently know a lot. click here to take the quiz and show me up.

p.s. you won’t show me up.

Chester A. Arthur

Score: 80% (8 out of 10)