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January 14th, 2006

Ode to the Monorail

This poem is written on the sad occasion of my decision to make peace with the tragic loss of the Seattle Monorail project, for which I had such high hopes. The dream of elegant and efficient public mass transit in Seattle, a long complicated saga that I chronicled for some time on spaceneedle.us (now repurposed), was brutally slaughtered on 9 November 2005 by a hastily written ballot measure that ended 4 years of public support for the project. Anyone who gives a shit knows the story so I’ll spare you and myself the pain of recounting it. But here, with a heavy heart (and a nod to the Vogons), I post this final vestige of the monorail dream that once was.

I

O Seattle we once had a dream
That over this great city soared a train
Bestriding but a single perfect beam
And glistening like platinum in the rain.

The masses climbed aboard this train you built —
Connecting Ballard with Seattle (West) —
They teemed, unstradled with the pain of guilt
for blue skies lost, onto the field of Qwest.
Enjoying there their unencumbered mirth
As Seahawks made the competition quiver,
Though 99 might crumble to the earth,
Still safely back the train would them deliver.

It was a dream so powerful and right
That out of our collective hearts did grow;
We verily did ballot measures write
And voters did their mighty Yes bestow.

II

But misery! Your hand evokes our screams
As though it were a rigid piercing nail
That punctures tires inflated by our dreams
To ride upon the solitary rail.

For though our wills were pure as winter’s frost,
A fifth vote shattered hope forever more,
And brought the scourge of gridlock and exhaust –
An environmental nightmare to abhor.

Betrayed by lies and hoodwinked by our mayor
Down to bitter exit went our work,
While Martin Selig cheered with his nay-sayers
Because he is a sphincter and a jerk.

III

So thus with tears the dream to bed we lay;
Remorsefully we fold the Green Line map,
Perhaps to gaze upon some other day
When our leaders aren’t completely full of crap.

And now with heavy heart on this occasion,
I gaze upon my car under the tree,
And fasten license tabs falsely emblazoned
With images of what will never be.

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