Welcome, 2013: A poetic salute to the times ahead

Will Inslee a promise keep? Is Iran digging too deep? Will the 520's cracks start to seep? Crosscut's poet laureate Daniel Jack Chasan brings in the new while taking stock of the old.
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A Seattle celebration of New Year's.

Will Inslee a promise keep? Is Iran digging too deep? Will the 520's cracks start to seep? Crosscut's poet laureate Daniel Jack Chasan brings in the new while taking stock of the old.

Let's welcome in the coming year
it seems we have a lot to cheer:
The solstice came, the solstice went;
the End of Days? A non-event.
The Mayans couldn't have been wronger;
we'll be here a little longer.
No one knows what lies in store;
right now it looks like 12 months more.

Of course, we're still not certain if
we'll stay atop the fiscal cliff.
But even if our taxes rise,
the government has to down-size,
the Pentagon gives out pink slips,
it isn't quite apocalypse.

We'll see Obama two-point-oh
but who knows where this term will go?
The grid remains securely locked
and pork will once again be socked
away in bills too long to read
by folks with pensions guaranteed.

Will GOP big spenders face
the isolation of their "base,"
or give Mitt's failure so much spin
it's almost kinda like a win,
embrace a world that used to be,
and pour themselves a spot of Tea?

We've all heard their refrain before,
but let's repeat it just once more:
Don't tax the rich at higher rates,
dump social programs on the states,
toss out those federal regulators,
pander to Obama-haters;
winning concepts down the line —
perhaps in twenty-ninety-nine.

Across the pond, austerity
won't gain in popularity
while gratitude toward Germany
is no more than than it used to be.
Though Angela will get few thanks,
everybody needs her banks.

Will Britain exit the EU?
Will Catalans depart it, too?
(If they say adios to Spain,
the EU won't let them remain.)

By year's end will Assad have fled?
Will half his people go instead?
And if he goes, we'll have to see
what happens to democracy:
Will rebel groups remain united,
keep the goals that some once cited
or pick some new religious fights
and massacre the Alawites?

In Qum the centrifuges spin.
Do ayatollahs think they'll win?
Will they traverse a red line soon?
Will Bibi blow them to the moon?

One must assume the drones will fly
across the Middle Eastern sky
erasing terrorists galore
and anyone who lives next door.

John Kerry is about to be
the nation's brand-new Hillary,
while her ambition, safe to say,
is not to be the new John K.

Will Jay as Gov stick to his pledge
for no new tax, or will he hedge?
He'll multiply those loaves and fishes,
satisfy the high court's wishes:
raise a billion more for schooling
sans new taxes — he's not fooling.
After all that cash is found,
he'll walk on waves across the Sound.

It's legal to light up at last
unless the feds say not so fast.
(This state which so despises smoking
won't object to people toking.)
Obama says he won't pursue
the folks who smoke a joint or two
but Justice may not greet with shrugs
apostates from the war on drugs.

The Liquor Board, which can't sell booze
will now have just a year to choose
a system for dispensing pot
which may be hard, but maybe not:
let's hope the Board can work out how;
some high school dropouts do it now.

We'll vote — as if there's any doubt —
to say we should be told about
— assuming anybody knows —
our food is laced with GMOs
which may be harmless, cheaper, too,
but if they were, why wouldn't you
start labeling the food with pride
and let the marketplace decide?

Some regulators may anoint
a coal port up at Cherry Point
so Powder River coal can go
on railroad trains both long and slow
while halted drivers sit and glower,
Asians burn it for the power,
Fly-ash fouls the Chinese sky,
our glaciers dwindle, by and by.

A monster's coming from Japan —
no, not Godzilla or Rodan
the giant tunneling machine
that will submerge to work unseen
until the two-mile bore is done
so drivers never see the sun
as 99 shoots underground —
unless, that is, they drive around —
as thousands are expected to
'til rush-hour traffic sticks like glue.
(If no one wants to pay the tolls,
voila! a home for Fremont trolls.)

The new 520 bridge will rise
before commuters' bleary eyes
unless — let's say the pontoons leak,
the concrete proves a little weak,
the cracks (so harmless) start to spread —
it sinks beneath the lake instead.

The Seahawks have a quarterback.
The Sounders aren't sure what they lack.
This year, they get another shot
at altering their playoff plot:
They'd like to win more than one game.
Here's betting they don't look the same.
Is Fredy going to get the sack?
Is Eddie Johnson coming back?
Will Sigi seek more foreign stars
(perhaps some speedy guy from Mars)?

The Mariners will once again
go looking for a few good men;
they haven't earned a lot of cheers
for many of the past ten years
but Safeco life may seem less bitter
if they find themselves a hitter;
after all, no team can thrive
if no one bats two-eighty-five.
(Perhaps Morales hasn't heard
the Safe's where hitters get interred.)

The seawall project soon begun,
the gribbles will be on the run;
in green Seattle, by and by,
will 'save the gribbles' be a cry?

We'd better duck, they're jumping in
to take a crack at Mike McGinn,
(There's Peter, Ed, and Charlie, too,
and Tim and Kate, to name a few)
all hoping voters will eschew
the devil known for one who's new.

Of course, Hizzoner has evolved
— though problems do remain unsolved —
while some deplore his lanes for bikes
and he has never said he likes
the tunnel and the bridge that seem
two legacies of his regime.
Lake Union south? Let's super-size it;
(Some would say, just Vulcanize it.)
Doubtless in a month or two
the re-zone will go sailing through.

A new arena down by Sears?
Forget about the traffic fears.
Of course this coming year's review
may still unearth a flaw or two
the SEPA process will drag on
although that train's already gone:
Chris Hansen thinks that SoDo's great;
he's buying up the real estate.
So citizens can overpay
to watch tall millionaires at play
and aged Sonics fans can dream —
is this the year they get a team?

So much to hope, so much to fear;
in short a pretty normal year.
For now, the slopes have lots of snow,
in spring the smolts should have some flow,
and there'll be water for the crops
like apples, peppermint and hops
and grapes for Riesling and Syrah
near Prosser and near Yakima.

The Murray Morgan bridge will see
its hundredth anniversary,
a fine excuse to take a look
or read a Murray Morgan book.

Go visit MOHAI in new digs
eat mozzarella with fresh figs.
At SAM see Rembrandt and Van Dyck,
at Mount Rainier, go take a hike
(although the drifts are apt to loom
til August when the meadows bloom).
And now, before the leaves turn green,
let's raise a glass to aught-thirteen.


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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.