Every year, local journalist and writer Daniel Jack Chasan provides a look back at the past 12 months in verse. So without further adieu, we present the 2018 edition. We wish a very happy new year to all our readers.
Menorahs and the magi stashed,
that fancy wrapping paper trashed,
it’s time to figure out just how
the world will look 12 months from now.
The viaduct is coming down.
The grid will lock all over town
(Zimbabwe will find folks less pleased
with him the longer they are squeezed).
Abandon hope – that’s pretty clear –
all ye who plan to enter here.
Seattle won’t tax by the head;
will it find other cash instead?
For now, it still can’t guarantee
the waterfront’s new LID.
Though Move Seattle raised a lot,
it now looks like what voters got
is less than they were looking for.
(Full price is many millions more.)
New bike lanes? Well, a few miles less.
Completion dates? Don’t even guess.
Though life’s uncertain, one thing’s sure:
a lot of potholes will endure.
Cano and Diaz now are gone
and Paxton too and on and on;
the M's are dumping every star
(with whom they haven’t gotten far).
They’d better hope T-Mobile’s filled
with die-hards watching them rebuild.
The Rolling Stones will soon arrive
just as they did in ’65
(should one say they defy the clock
or speak of geriatric rock?)
when Puget pulp mill towns smelled bad
and growth was what folks wished they had.
Republicans were liberal here
and hometown brew was spelled "Rainier."
And while we’re looking to the past,
(which these days disappears so fast)
a half a century ago
Neil Armstrong reached the moon, you know.
(Who knew that billionaires would race
to put their rockets into space?)
Though Durkan says reform’s on track,
Judge Robart may be pulling back.
If cops who show excessive zeal
can get their jobs back on appeal,
the judge may find it pretty tough
to say the city’s done enough.
Paul Allen’s Hawks are staying here –
the experts seem to think that’s clear.
True, some pontificated that
the current team would soon fall flat;
why did so many miss the mark?
Think Russell, Bobby and Frank Clark.
Last summer, smoke clouds blocked our view
and crimped our respiration, too.
(It wasn’t really great to run
while particles obscured the sun.)
Let’s hope that it’s not going to be
what passes for normality.
(The fires and smoke must seem quite strange
to those who doubt there’s climate change.)
The time is up, says Mr. Chopp –
some might have thought he’d never stop;
elected speaker once again,
as he has been since who-knows-when.
The gavel once again bestowed,
he’s not just going to hit the road:
He’ll still preside beneath the dome
’til legislators head for home.
His Dems have good ideas galore –
for which they need just one tax more.
No gilets jaunes, as in Paris,
but we turned down a carbon fee.
The governor’s rolled out plan B
which calls for – rather modestly –
more spots to plug in cars, less coal;
it’s hard to knock that as a goal,
and yet, without some carbon pricing,
Arctic seas may keep de-icing.
Sure we care – or so we say –
about gas prices, anyway.
Pelosi’s getting two more years.
What’s that? It’s hard to hear the cheers.
The old guard isn’t moving out,
Pramila, though, will have more clout.
The Democrats with White House dreams
are out there raising cash, it seems.
There’s Beto, Bernie, Biden, too,
plus Booker, Harris – quite a few.
(Include Jay Inslee; that’s not wrong
although his shot seems pretty long.)
Does anyone look presidential?
Does that still seem like an essential?
Powell may stop raising rates
if he sits down and calculates
recession – which we know is due --
will start before the new year’s through.
Is Mueller getting closer to it –
what Trump knew and when he knew it?
Will that next shoe ever drop
for people at the very top?
Will Jared and the clan feel slighted
if they aren’t soon indicted?
(Maybe they can share a cell,
with neighbors whom they all know well.)
The exit news comes almost daily:
Mattis follows Nikki Haley;
Ryan Zinke’s gone to stay
(they may drill ANWR, anyway);
and General Kelly’s out the door –
the grown-up’s in the room no more.
With Congress eager to leave town,
the government (in part) shut down;
he’d proudly take the blame, Trump said,
though he now blames the Dems, instead.
Some people think it's a disgrace –
they're not the people in his base.
Will we pull back from MBS?
The answer’s probably not yes.
Khashoggi’s death? Let’s send regrets –
and try to sell a few more jets.
(That bone-saw thing was pretty sick;
the prince should make a slasher flick.)
Will Putin take another bite
of Ukraine? Well, you know, he might.
A border crisis does attract
a despot eager to distract.
Perhaps the Prez should make a call,
suggest Vlad talk about a wall;
and while he’s at it, why not say
Ukrainians are going to pay?
We’re pulling out of Assad’s land –
our generals don’t understand –
and yet the C-in-C has tweeted
ISIS now has been defeated;
(also that the current plan
has left both Russia and Iran
unhappy now that we have shown
they’re fighting ISIS on their own).
Are trade wars apt to escalate?
Does Tariff Man still think they’re great?
Forget the tea leaves; watch how he
spins his next tete-a-tete with Xi.
(We know they’ve stolen our IT
and dumped some steel, allegedly,
though people tend to focus more
on cheap stuff at the big-box store.)
We know Teresa May’s not gone,
but Brexit: is it off or on –
a deal or not with the EU
or referendum number 2?
(Perhaps some MPs didn’t get
the message that the sun has set.)
Yet crocuses will think it’s spring
and alders start their reddening,
so let’s put politics aside,
go take a bike out for a ride,
ignore that phone for just a while
and find some things still worth a smile:
an old horse standing in the grass,
red maples up in Stevens Pass,
big Sitka spruce along the Hoh
and glacier lilies ringed with snow,
fresh veggies at the farmers’ market
(if you drove, somewhere to park it.)
Skoal to Arctic caribou
and sage grouse in their dust baths, too.
Let’s hope chinook will swim in bunches
large enough for orca lunches
See Mark Morris, hug a tree –
and wish good health to RBG.
Let’s raise a toast – Red Mountain wine?
A shade-grown coffee would be fine –
to good things in the year just past
and aught-nineteen that’s here at last.