U.S. President Donald Trump leaves after delivering a statement on the government shutdown in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S. (Photographer: Alex Edelman/Bloomberg)

Advice to Trump, His Friends and His Enemies

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- A few weeks ago I made my predictions for 2019. Now I’d like to offer a few words of advice to some of this year’s likely newsmakers. To do so, I am returning to the double-dactyl format that I have used before.

The double dactyl is a form of poetry with very strict rules of rhyme and meter. It must begin with a nonsense word or rhyme, and in the second stanza must include a six-syllable word with a particular meter. (For more details on the rules, see here.) Read a few below and you’ll figure it out.

I present, therefore, a baker’s dozen of poems, each with advice for a particular newsmaker. Not all are equally serious, but I leave to the reader the judgment on which are which.


Boundary, doundary!
President’s border wall —
more of a symbol than
bar to egress.

Rather than showing such
couldn’t he quietly
settle for less?


Testify, jestify!
House full of Democrats —
primed to investigate
President Trump.

Think what you like about
impeachability —
Help for the pocketbook
plays on the stump!


Higgledy piggledy!
Kaepernick boycotters —
owners who won’t give the
QB a chance —

Flag protest anger breeds
football conspiracy —
(Courts look askance!)


Up-and-down, sup-and-down!
Should Fed raise interest rates,
showing that it’s not
beholden to Trump?

There may be reasons quite
why we should just keep on
priming the pump!


Higgledy piggledy!
Wannabe Youtube stars,
hoping their names will be
known on the street.

Chance of success is quite
also remember that
fame tends to fleet.


Ruth Bader Ginsburg fans
fear Madame Justice may
choose to step down;

Worried about a new
neoconservative —
Plead with her, “Wait until
Trump has left town!”


Supercal, expial!
New Mary Poppins film
proves that there’s room for the
clean and the bright —

There’s still demand for the
high-budget film that’s not
Dark as the Knight!


Higgledy piggledy!
Campus speech monitors,
merrily censoring
what they call hate.

Federal funding might
cease to flow campus-ward
if they continue to


Topsyish, turvyish!
Stock market bearishness
seems to be poised for a
major return.

Stock-picking now seems so
don’t try unless you have
money to burn.


Higgledy piggledy!
Bryce Harper, baseball star,
hoping to sign for some
four hundred mil.

Underpaid heroes of days
ought to rise up and send
baseball a bill!


Page-turners, wage-burners!
Publishing industry
worries these days about
who offends whom.

Character, story, and
verisimilitude —
Settle for these and your
profits will zoom!


Higgledy piggledy!
Anti-Trump talking heads
trumpet each rumor as
proving the case.

Need to impose a more
standard for which news should
have pride of place!


Higgledy piggledy!
Legions of #MAGA folks
stick with the president
through thick and thin.

Hold him to standards of
— you’ll make America
Great once again!

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Stephen L. Carter is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a professor of law at Yale University and was a clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. His novels include “The Emperor of Ocean Park,” and his latest nonfiction book is “Invisible: The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down America's Most Powerful Mobster.”

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