The Year in Verse

Unlike Mayor Nickels with his famous 'B,' our poet does not give 2008 an inflated grade.
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Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels.

Unlike Mayor Nickels with his famous 'B,' our poet does not give 2008 an inflated grade.

A new year dawns, a time for hope —
we'ꀙve had most of oh-eight to mope —
Obama will become the Prez;
he'ꀙll bring us change, or so he says.

And yet those 12 months stretch ahead without much guarantee —
One wonders, as the weeks unfold, just what we'ꀙre going to see:

Will Bush and Cheney really leave
or have they something up their sleeve?
One hopes before goodnights are said
Michelle will look beneath the bed.

Will Wall Street bubble up again? It'ꀙs much too soon to know
if IRAs will be worth more than they were five years ago.
Will bankers ask for seconds at the old bailout cafe?
And will they ever tell us where the firsts are stashed away?

Will General Motors learn to make small cars that folks will buy
in three short months when they have had some 30 years to try?
And if by April 1 they aren'ꀙt heading for the black
they'ꀙll owe us 14 billion bucks — will someone take it back?

Will Hillary concoct a plan
to put more pressure on Iran?
Will warlords in Afghanistan
prefer us to the Taliban?
And will we ever learn which ones
will help us if we give them guns?
In Baghdad will we soon become nostalgic for the surge,
as wackos with explosives find it'ꀙs safe to reemerge?
Will Shia lie with Sunni like the lion and the lamb
or will each view the other like a hungry dog views Spam?

We know that just a little west
we'ꀙll find the same old hornets'ꀙ nest,
though some root for the Arabs there and others for the Jews
whichever side you'ꀙre rooting for, don'ꀙt look for much good news.

(Of course, the Middle East is not
the only bloody trouble spot;
but we don'ꀙt feel especially glum
for spots without petroleum.)

And yet if one has any interest in the starving poor
one has to cringe at what the year will bring them in Darfur.
In Zaire will Mugabe wish the cholera away?
And in Kinshasa will Nkunda'ꀙs army come to stay?

On Puget Sound uncertainty hangs like a morning mist
or like the fate of salmon on the threatened species list.

If winter storms should once again deposit snow or sleet,
will Metro transit figure how to drive the (unplowed) street?
Or will its riders shiver there behind some grimy drift
still waiting vainly for a bus to offer them a lift?

The mayor said he deserved a B
for meeting that emergency
a statement that was sure to please
folks stuck in snow up to their knees;
and yet how many voters will resentfully remember
that inflated grade when he'ꀙs campaigning in November?
Memories are fleeting things, Hizzoner may extend
his eight-year city reign beyond the current decade'ꀙs end.

The Viaduct will still be there; will anyone replace it?
Will the Big One come along, and suddenly erase it?
(If traffic goes to surface streets, there'ꀙs not a thing to fear:
just put your faith in potholes; all those cars will disappear.)

You won'ꀙt need autos anyway to get down to Tukwila
Rail will run to Sea-Tac barring earthquake or Godzilla.
No traffic jam or highway crash can make Sound Transit late;
You'ꀙll reach the airport right on time for that three-hour wait.

Of course the longest flight delay
should finally end out Boeing'ꀙs way:
the 787 should at last take to the sky
but will the airlines'ꀙ piggy banks be full enough to buy?

Should football fans expect another season of the same,
or will this be the year in which the Huskies win a game?
How many of those fans will greet
the football really played with feet?
And will the Sounders'ꀙ Swedish flash
play well enough to earn his cash?

We know the Gov will start term two
conserving as she has to do
and hoping for a little luck
in cutting that five-billionth buck.
The Legislature soon will meet;
the auguries are incomplete:
to fund the schools and save the Sound is everybody'ꀙs wish,
but will they find the moolah to do much for kids or fish?
(It'ꀙs hard to be a Democrat
when revenues stay fairly flat.)

Seattle should anticipate
three milestones to celebrate:
it will have been a century
since crowds flocked to the A-Y-P
with fountains, views of Mt. Rainier,
and William Howard Taft right here;
and 90 years since union labor shut the city down,
the first time general strikers ever ran a U.S. town;
and though it seems more recent, if you check the dates you'ꀙll know
the Battle in Seattle hit the news 10 years ago.

One other thing seems certain, so it may be safe to say:
that even if by chance we know the proper month and day
for weeks when we sign checks or bills, we'ꀙll all screw up the date,
without a doubt we'ꀙll all assume it'ꀙs still 2008.


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About the Authors & Contributors

Daniel Jack Chasan

Daniel Jack Chasan

Daniel Jack Chasan is an author, attorney, and writer of many articles about Northwest environmental issues.