Lines on trying to muddle through the shrieking and posturing and hectoring on Measure 3-273 and Measure 3-269:

While sitting in a park in Lake Oswego

Of course the brain, being a flawed and lazy instrument, immediately seeks refuge

In wild speculations and imaginative misadventures

and imbroglios and scenarios

Like, did all these people who committed roaring ferocious letters to the newspaper

Have waaay too much beer for breakfast or what?

and who is the devious dark soul

Who numbers these measures anyway? and let's

make the Safeco building a terrific

Gymnasium or the world's coolest indoor year-round

farmer's market and cool pub,

And why don't we collect signatures for a ballot

measure that would forever specify

That no one could ever call anyone else an idiot

or a dolt or selfish or unneighborly

In the holy pages of the city newspaper, and no one

could ever invent dopey names

For grassroots organizations that always sound

so positive and earnest but hide lots

Of screaming and shouting and calling everyone

else selfish and doltish and idiotic,

And let's make it a law that all ballot measures

have to be named for trees or songs,

And let's make it a law that all ballot measures

have to be run through the one filter

That really counts, which is: is it great for kids

in any serious way, shape, or form?

And let's make it a law that anyone who collects

signatures for ballot measures by

The library has to dress like Don Schollander

did in 1960 as the Lakers won state,

And let's make it a law that anyone who loses

a temper publicly about a measure,

However crucial or important to the future of the city

and its democratic energies,

Has to spend one hour supine here in Freepons

Park hoping for an eagle to go by.

I think that's a fair and equitable arrangement

and I will be collecting signatures.

Brian Doyle, a resident of Lake Oswego for 16 years, is the editor of Portland Magazine at the University of Portland, and the author of nine books of essays and poems.

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