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From T-Mobile Park to wildfire smoke — 2018 in verse

An artist's rendering of the newly named T-Mobile Park (Courtesy of T-Mobile)

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.

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From T-Mobile Park to wildfire smoke — 2018 in verse