Weekly Poem: Pasqual

His teeth are like a row of stumpy razors, and his black hair has a sheen like the sun on black
coral. He drinks Diet Coke instead of the filtered rainwater preferred by the Progressives, who
incidentally make him very nervous.

"What bills are you going to steal from me today, young man?" he teases me on the House

Walking slowly, with the deliberation of a champion mule, his decades of office passing like so
many forgotten arguments. That quizzical look that he always gives me, impossible to read.

"How old are you anyway?" he finally asks me one day on the House Floor. When I answer he
exclaims, "Jesus! You are old."

The best that any politician can hope for: that the locals will pause, abandon their conversation,
take notice, then forget you like a forgotten Muse.

His wife studies me with disdain, as I follow them both through the smoky casino-as we joke
about our lives, some unknown function awaiting, nametags.

He worries about the prospect of twin primaries, the years, the decades, of his service to be lost
in a row of brilliant talkers. He bellows his high school fight song on cue, the way he knows
every single mariachi song by heart, leading our chamber in perfect unison on Spanish Day,
those trumpets.

There were no exemptions from the carnival tents in his hustling years, no soft holding of the
surrounding world in all of its determining; how everything then could live up to a caricature,
the grim clowning necessary sometimes to hold on to that_capital outlay.

Tomorrow's vote will be like his blue 1983 Grand Marquis, smooth and archaic, pointing
towards the contentious night sky, the moon nearly full over La Bajada.

The point is not to surprise anybody.


(Image derived from a photo by Steve Terrell)

This piece was written by:

Sen. Bill O'Neill's photo

Sen. Bill O'Neill

Public service has been at the center of Bill O'Neill's life, much of it involved with the criminal justice system. 20 years ago he helped found the highly regarded Dismas House, where parolees rebuild their lives in a positive, law-abiding manner. He served as Executive Director of the New Mexico Juvenile Parole Board, and is currently the Development Director for the PEP Program, a mentoring program for high-risk juvenile offenders run through the New Mexico Conference Of Churches. A graduate of Cornell University, Bill has lived in Albuquerque since 1990.

He was elected to the House of Representatives in 2008. In his first term of office, Representative O'Neill sponsored -- and in many cases, passed -- a wide range of bills in the areas of public safety, ethics reform, and protecting our most vulnerable citizens.

In the current 2013 legislative session, Senator O'Neill has sponsored a range of bills in the area of ethics reform, public safety, and tax policy.

For a list of bills that Senator O'Neill is sponsoring, or to contact him about an issue that is important to you, do not hesitate to e mail him at oneillsd13@billoneillfornm.com, or to call him on his personal cell (450-9263).

Contact Sen. Bill O'Neill

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