Friday, December 31, 2010

1: Oxy and Contin

The addicted kittens Oxy and Contin

Chapter 1: Oxy and Contin

The pair of black and white kittens were born under the sagging front porch of  a ramshackle house in a chronically depressed neighborhood in a  politically corrupt, drug-ridden Ohio River city that achieved national notoriety as the “Oxycontin Capital of America.” Oxycontin, the brand name for  a time release variety of oxycodone,  is distributed by the river city’s six pill mills, which do a brisk business serving the needs of the many unemployed  addicts and public assistance recipients in the community; and  it is distributed to the legal and business professionals by a drug dealing pimp who recruits teenage girls as prostitutes by getting them hooked on the drug.
Almost every family in the city has a son, a daughter or a relative whose life has been touched tragically by Oxycontin.  The son of the mayor is an addict, the son  of the police chief is an addict, the son of a judge is an addict, and so is the daughter of a bail bondsman. The sons and daughters of teachers and  preachers;  social workers and city shirkers;  bikers and hikers; rich and poor; white and black; Catholic, Protestant, and Jew—all have been scarred by Oxycontin, which the addicts pulverize before ingesting to deactivate the time release feature and hasten the drug’s narcotic kick.
Months before they were born, the alley cat mother  of the kittens had become addicted as a result of the antics of two high school dropouts  who fed her OxyContin laced sardines for laughs and then posted a video of her bizarre behavior on YouTube, which went viral. They also posted photos of her on Facebook where the “Oxycontin Cat” gained more friends than a Quaker convention.
Like one out of ten babies born in the local hospital, the two kittens were already addicted to Oxycontin at birth. Even before they could see, they were getting their Oxycontin fix through  their mother’s milk. A crisis arose before they were a month old when their mother, as programmed by nature,  began to wean them. The kittens could not understand why she was withholding their fix, and they grew agitated, but kittens  must  switch from a liquid  to a solid food diet because as adults cats become lactose intolerant. But the  addicted kittens never became  Oxycontin intolerant.
The kittens were orphaned on a cold New Year's eve, in their fourth week of life when their hallucinating mother was splattered  by a car as she dashed across the street to catch an imaginary  mouse that she intended to bring back to the kittens under the porch to start them on a solid food diet.  Her feline corpse lay splattered on the street  like a ten-topping Domino’s pizza dropped from the Tower of Pisa. The dropouts next door  to the ramshackle house adopted the two orphaned kittens, naming  the male with the black nose, Oxy, and his sister with  the black eye, Contin. But the dropouts moved out and the kittens were left to fend for themselves.
Late at night, if you see a cat with a black nose or a black eye, you may be seeing Oxy or Contin. A normal cat’s sense of smell is fourteen times more acute than a human’s,  but an Oxycontined  cat’s  sense of smell is so far beyond the range of human comprehension that a number cannot convey the qualitative difference between their chemically enhanced sense of smell and the attenuated sense of  smell that  homo sapiens developed once they stood up and stopped sniffing around like dogs.
If you do catch sight of Oxy or Contin, you can be fiarly sure that somewhere not too far away is a cache of Oxycontin, or even a single pill. There's a legend, which is hard to believe, that on their first New Year’s Eve, Oxy and Contin, with their nose for Oxycontin,   went from pill mill to pill mill in River City caterwauling like two  lost souls in hell.  For addicted cats and humans, that’s what life is like in the Capital of Oxycontin—hell. In River City, neither kittens or kids are safe from the scourge of narcotics, and you never know whose son or daughter will fall victim. If Christ had been born in the Capital of Oxycontin in the United States of Addiction,  instead of Bethlehem, even he might have ended up an addict, and the Sone of God might have said, "Cursed are the addicted for they never shall see the kingdom of heaven."

Friday, December 24, 2010

Screwed by Scrooge, Again!

I didn’t believe it for a minute, but I heard recently that when Portsmouth lawyer Clayton Johnson enters the Second Presbyterian Church, the organist plays the theme from The Godfather. If it’s only a joke, it tells you something that it’s making the rounds this Christmas season.
Yes, this  is the Christmas season and in that spirit I think  a more appropriate analogy would be not Vito Corleone, the Godfather, but Ebenezer Scrooge, Esq., the Lawyer.  Not once but twice, first in 1980 and again in 2010, the citizens of Portsmouth have been screwed by Ebenezer Scrooge, who manipulated the latitude afforded him by Portsmouth’s Home Rule charter to help remove duly elected members of local government who would not go along with the corruption-as-usual policy; it was Scrooge who saw that the council members  were replaced with tools and lapdogs  eager to serve the interests of the multimillionaire  clique who control Portsmouth economically and politically.
In 1980  members of the Portsmouth City Council  were recalled because they allegedly opposed the building of a shopping mall that would have restored prosperity, almost magically, to the city. What does it say about any city whose sustaining, redemptive  myth, whose last hope,  is a mall? In 2010 it is Mayor Jane Murray who has been recalled from office because of high crimes and misdemeanors, the most notorious of which was firing three unelected white male political hacks on her first day in office. To fire three political hacks on her first day in office created a firestorm the flames of which the fink at the Times and the Motormouth at WNXT never stopped fanning. (The fink at the Times, incidentally, was reportedly doing the same thing back in the 1980s on the radio, at WPAY.)  Behind the recall of Mayor Murray and those council members and pulling the strings and calling the recall shots, in my opinion, was none other than the same Ebenezer Scrooge, Esq. In support of my opinion that Scrooge was behind the recall of Murray, I cannot forget that infamous lunch Scrooge had at a local restaurant, as overheard and reported by Teresa Mollette,  where he boasted to an out of town visitor about how the recalcitrant council members had been recalled from office back in 1980 and how something like that had to be done again to rid the city government of troublemakers.
And Scrooge did it again and Jane Murray is gone and in her place is somebody who had run for mayor twice and been soundly rejected by the voters, namely David Malone, a man who by every conceivable criteria is unfit for the office. The only reason Scrooge has engineered Malone’s ascension to the mayor’s office is that Malone will try do what Jim Kalb tried and failed to do as mayor, which is move city government out of the Municipal Building and into the now notorious Marting building. As it stands, leaks and rots, the Marting building represents the biggest, most scandalous, and costliest  failure in Scrooge’s career, costliest not in terms of money but in terms of reputation. If Scrooge has one more goal in his career it is probably to try and remove the stigma of Marting from his resumé by converting the building into a showplace rather than a reminder, as is now the case  of Portsmouth’s stupendous drug problem. Marting’s display windows now serve as a display case for the county’s  drug casualties. That is what Portsmouth now has to offer young people: death at an early age from overdosing. More of our young people die from overdosing than in automobile accidents.  Just yesterday, a few days before Christmas, the Associated Press reported that one in ten children born in Scioto County and Portsmouth are born addicted. Is it so surprising that this is the case in a city in which Charles Horner is still chief of police, the same Charles Hornrer whose son was dealing drugs in Damon’s Restaurant, directly across the street from the police station, the same son who is still being shown preferential treatment by the Portsmouth police department, from what I’ve heard. And it is Jane Murray, not Horner, who is out in the cold!
The lasting failure of Jane Murray may be that Horner was not one of those she fired her first day in office. The last three mayors have wanted to fire Horner, and they are history and there  he is still playing J. Edgar Hoover, with his snooping and intimidation. On  his watch,  Portsmouth has become notorious nationally for drugs and crime. Would Horner still be chief without the complicity of Scrooge? I don’t think so. And could a drug dealing pimp have been  appointed (appointed not elected) to the city council, without at least the tacit approval of Ebenezer Scrooge, Esq.? I don’t think so.
Scrooge's House

Scrooge is  not somebody you would want to buy a used car from or a used house, either, because inevitably you will get screwed. I lived across from Scrooge’s house, which is located  at the northwest corner of Fourth and Washington Street for more than a decade, and in that time I saw how reluctant Scrooge  was to spend a dime on the upkeep of that historic residence. Since he sold it to a doctor for $445,000 in 2009, not a week has gone by that the vans of plumbers, electricians, heating and cooling specialists, tree surgeons, et cetera, have not been parked outside, sometimes for a week or more at a time. and sometimes more than one at a time.  What the doctor may have discovered was that he had bought the equivalent of Edgar Alan Poe’s the House of Usher, the fall of which he presumably had to spend considerable sums of money to prevent. The huge rotting trees at the corner of Fourth and Washington Streets were a hazard for at least the last ten years, with large limbs falling down on the street corner in windy weather. I avoided walking on Scrooge’s side of the street not just because of the tree, but because of the thousands of  starlings  who congregated in the rotting trees and whose droppings gave a certain Jackson Pollock-paint dripping character to the sidewalks below.  The doctor would not know it, but he owes some thanks to the residents in the neighborhood of the House of Usher, because it was they who complained several years ago that the city was notifying them that they had to repair the sidewalks outside their homes while Scrooge’s sidewalks, as bad as any in the neighborhood, were allowed to deteriorate year after year with no notices from the city. The streets targeted by Larry Justice were marked with fluorescent orange paint, just to remind home owners they  were on the city’s hit list. If Justice had marked Scrooge's house with fluorescent paint, it would have looked liked the photo above. And if  you think that political critics of Mayor Kalb were not singled out for fluorescent shenanigans, just ask Harald Daub, one of the council members who was recalled in 1980 and whom Scrooge singled out for special mention in his boastful  luncheon.
When I called attention to the sidewalk shenanigans in River Vices and Austin Leedom did on the Sentinel website, it was not long afterwards that Scrooge’s sidewalks were repaired by Neal Hatcher’s construction company. It was during those major sidewalk repairs that Hatcher gave me the finger, a gesture I managed to capture for posterity and which might make a suitable illustration for a Scrooge-like Christmas card. If somebody has not already done it, I think I will create a Scrooge Line of Christmas Cards, of which the following would be the inaugural number.

Up Yours This Xmas

In Dicken’s Christmas Carol, Scrooge undergoes a religious conversion. Scrooge awakens Christmas morning a new man, with a heart filled with love and compassion, with joy and generosity. He even sends a prize turkey to the poor Cratchits for their Christmas dinner. It would be a miracle, but if Portsmouth’s Scrooge were born again, how wonderful it  might be for the city. The taxpayers of Portsmouth, with the city on the verge of bankruptcy,  cannot afford to renovate and then maintain the large Marting building. Public monies would be much better spent on renovating the Muncipal building or erecting a new building on the site, if the money was available, which it isn’t.
Nothing would be more Christian than if Scrooge  were to donate five or six of his millions to renovate the Marting building into new city offices. The building could even be named after him, insuring that posterity would remember him not as an unscrupulous skinflint who corrupted a city but as a beloved philanthropist and benefactor. The unnamed developers who covet the land the Municipal Building now occupies could purchase it at a fair price, and develop whatever they have had in mind for the site. But that’s a dream. The reality is our Scrooge will much more likely use David Malone to  screw the citizens of Portsmouth by making them pay for the renovation of Marting’s. Spite not charity would be the motive of such a course of action, and the Marting building would be a turkey but far from  the prize one  Scrooge gives to the Crachits.  Still, this is the season of miracles and all of us are encouraged to believe. What is that music I hear in the background? Is it a Christmas carol or is it the theme from The Godfather?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Ballad of Tom Bihl

The Ballad of Tom Bihl

Twas the night  before Christmas, when all through the town,
Not a tater was frying, not even  hash brown.
The lapdogs were lying  by the chimney with care,
In hopes that their paymaster soon would be there.

Malone was nestled all snug in his bed,
While visions of damsels danced in his head,
And Clayton in his loft and Neal on the Hill
Were counting their loot and the take in the till

When out on the street there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a van  crashing into two cars parked there,

With a  driver so drunk behind the wheel
That I knew in a second it must be Tom Bihl.
Bamboozled by booze and lacking in shame,
He huffed and he puffed and he cursed us by name.

“Damn you, Daub!  Damn you, Forrey!
And damn you to hell, Jane Murray!
With Satan—I mean Clayton—behind me, I’ll  recall
You in summer, I’ll recall you in fall.”

While the missus had seldom been dry-eyed,
Police Chief Bihl had often been pie-eyed.
So up to the roof of Marting’s he  flew
Like an express train from hell: “Choo-choo!”

His eyes how they twinkled! His  dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
At Dicken’s Pub he’d drunk so much  beer
He looked like Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer.

Though as auditor he was later indicted,
For his midnight ride he was never cited.
“I need a goddamned breathalyzer
Like I need a Marting appraisal from Kizer.”

And then as he tinkled on the  roof
(For drunks, you know,  are very uncouth)
He yelled, “Watch out below”
Before he jumped down in a pile of snow.

He sprang to his van, and turned on the ignition,
And away he flew on the road to perdition.
But I heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight,
“I’m really not drunk, I’m just a little tight!” 

The Marting Building by Hell Light

Sunday, December 05, 2010

David Malone: The Next Mayor of Portsmouth?

As the hours dwindle down to election day, next Tuesday, December 7th, the river of lies coming from the Recall Mayor Murray campaign  threatens to overflow the floodwall of truth. Funded by their multi-millionaire silent backers, the Recallers have all the money in the world to  buy newspaper space and radio time to repeat the lies and insinuations Frank Lewis of the Portsmouth Daily Times has been making for the last year. And the PDT now  republishes the headlines about Jane Murray for the last year, but it doesn’t republish the headlines about the Recall front man Tom Bihl, the colic alcoholic who totaled two parked vehicles but was not given a breathalyzer test and later, when he was Portsmouth City Auditor, was indicted for using public money to repair his automobile.  And not a word about Hell on Wheels Bihl  from Lewis, the PDTs paid prevaricator. Nor is there a word from Lewis or the PDT about the scandalous sexual shenanigans of David Malone, the minister David Malone, the Second Ward councilman David Malone, and president of Portsmouth City Council David Malone, next in line to become Mayor David Malone if Murray is recalled. Yes, David Malone would become the next mayor  even though he has been twice soundly rejected by Portsmouth voters in mayoral primaries. Is Mayor Malone one of the prices we have to pay for being a Home Rule city?

   This so-called man of god stood on the steps of the Municipal Building in June of 2005, in the photo above, denouncing the nameless forces of evil that were hovering over Portsmouth. He didn’t name them, of course, because he is the adulterous tool of the crooks who control Portsmouth and in particular of real-estate predator Neal Hatcher. So why would he name them? I captured on tape Malone’s performance on the steps of the Municipal Building, as well as the presence of his wife, the breadwinner of the family, whom Malone publicly disgraces with his philandering. And there she was, back in 2005, parading in front of the Municipal Building, talking in tongues:

What did it mean? I don't know. But could it be translated as, If that son-of-a-bitch cheats on me with one more white girl I'm going to smack him in the face. That in fact is just what Malone's wife did do, smack him (and his girlfriend) in the face in public, according to a report filed at the sheriff's office  last year, on April 29, 2009. That sheriff's  report was uncovered by Austin Leedom, whose dogged investigative reporting puts Frank Lewis to shame. Here is a photocopy of part of the sheriff office’s report:

   This hypocritical preacher of the gospel was not only betraying the people of Portsmouth on the city council, he was also carrying on an affair with a female employee of the Portsmouth Municipal Housing Authority, the same public agency where his wife worked. Is this the same girlfriend whom Malone's wife reportedly slapped last year? Without a score card, who can keep them straight? It helps underemployed males who have trouble finding real jobs to have   wives with jobs in the public sector. There is an adage “Don’t get involved romantically with people you work with.” It needs to be amended for  Malone: “Don’t get involved romantically with people your wife works with in the public sector, not unless you want to jeopardize your main source of income and your insurance coverage.” Malone stood on the steps of the Municipal Building and denounced the nameless evil-doers of Portsmouth at the same time that as councilman he was not only violating his marriage vows by cheating on his wife, he was also violating his oath of office by serving the interests of the nameless evil doers.

   Malone’s last-minute letter-to-the-editor that appeared in the PDT on November 3rd, 2007, was another lie because Malone did not write it, in my opinion,  any more than Timothy Loper wrote the letters-to-the-editor that appeared in the PDT when he was on city council. Loper wrote a letter, a lofty pronouncement on the evils of drinking and driving, something he could speak with authority on given his record for drunk driving. Don’t be surprised if the PDT sooner or later publishes a lofty pronouncement from Malone denouncing adultery and repenting his practice of it. The way people write is almost as unique as fingerprints. Malone, like Loper, has an individual style of writing, if “style” is interpreted very loosely, which is how much of Malone's behavior should be interpreted, very loosely.  I have read Malone’s writing. Malone is literate, but he writes in tongues, in a manner of speaking. Malone is a tool of those who control the city, and he will vote as they wish. He will also write as they dictate, literally. I know what Malone writes like. Just as most people can tell one voice from another, someone who has taught composition for forty years, fifteen of them in Portsmouth, can tell when someone tries to pass off as their own letters that were  dictated or drafted by someone else. And the Portsmouth Daily Times will publish them a few days before any election, giving them, and the crooks they front for, the last word.

The Predator and the Preacher

    Malone is especially useful to Hatcher and Hatcher to Malone. Malone signs were visible on Hatcher’s empty lots throughout the city when Malone last ran for city council. And Malone alone, of all the candidates, had the privilege of having his campaign signs on Hatcher’s mansion-office on Gay Street (shown above). I recall the city council meeting at which Hatcher showed up with some smoke-and-mirror architectural designs for the renovation of the leaky black-mold Adelphia building into a police station. Malone’s wife was there to help Hatcher display the designs, presumably on a volunteer basis, for certainly an employee of the Portsmouth Municipal Housing Authority, which she worked for then, would not have been assigned to help Hatcher promote the Adelphia building scam. Would she?

   “How dare he even attempt to question the integrity and legitimacy of my livelihood!” Malone wrote indignantly about Lee Scott’s disparaging of Malone’s professional qualifications to be a minister and his limitations as a breadwinner. If you believe Malone wrote that sentence, “How dare he even attempt to question the integrity and legitimacy of my livelihood!” you probably believe that Timothy Loper wrote his letters-to-the-editor. The only person I can think of who would sound right uttering that sentence would be the late melodramatic actress Bette Davis. Look at it once more: “How dare he even attempt to question the integrity and legitimacy of my livelihood!” Oh, the moral outrage and fulmination, and this from the hypocritical adulterous councilman who carried on with a woman who not only worked with his wife at the PMHA but was also a member of his congregation. The truth is Malone’s wife is the breadwinner: Malone is the sinner. If she speaks in tongues, he speaks with a forked tongue. Given the choice, I would much rather vote for Malone's wife than Malone. She is a  hardworking employee, a devoted mother, and a faithful if somewhat exasperated wife, while Malone himself is, well, Malone.

    Malone wrote that “[Lee] Scott’s comment on the idea I would be in favor of an income-tax increase really is not an issue.” It is not an issue that a member of city council is in favor of raising income taxes and said so at a public forum that was reported on in the Daily Times? That is not an issue? Whoever wrote Malone’s letter tried to cover up for Malone by saying it was not relevant. Malone’s statement to the League of Women Voters forum was one of those statements that Malone sometimes makes when he has to speak in public without a prepared script and then tries to deny afterwards.

The Other Party

    By far the biggest lie in the letter somebody wrote for Malone is in regard to the Marting Scam. After saying he had not been in favor of the purchase of the Marting building, Malone, or his ghost writer wrote: “But the other party involved in the deal came back to the city and said, ‘OK, let us make it right. We will give you another $500,000 for the pain and suffering caused you.’ Believe me, any successful corporation, intelligent businessman or the common citizen would accept that offer.” Doesn’t Malone, or whoever drafted his letter understand there are minutes of the council meetings and that no one representing “the other party involved,” to use the euphemism, ever came back and said anything about making up for “the pain and suffering we have caused you”? What the so-called “other party,” that is Clayton Johnson, actually did was stick it to the city and the taxpayers a second time and got a full pardon for any crimes the Marting Foundation may have committed the first time around. The “other party,” that is Clayton Johnson, is not giving anybody anything. That money was stolen from the taxpayers, and then when the sale was invalidated by the courts, the 
other party set up a number of conditions by which the city could get some of the money back. 

    Why didn’t “the other party” simply give back all the money he had stolen? Attorney Stan Bender, representing “the other party,” came before the council and said one of the reasons the Marting Foundation would not give the money back was because the city government could not be trusted with it. And with councilmen as clueless and careless as David Malone, who can say Bender was not right? Not having done his homework or attended the rump meeting that took place prior to regular meetings, Malone sometimes came to some council meetings unsure how he was supposed to vote. He waited to see how Marty Mohr or Howard Baughman voted. And if Johnson and Hatcher and their front man Bihl have their way, Malone is the man who will be mayor of Portsmouth for the next three years. They may   find a way to get rid of him before three years is up, because he is likely to prove too much of an embarrassment and impediment to their plans, one of which will possibly  be, by hook or by crook,  to finally complete the Marting Scam and turn that building into public offices. If Malone is going to continue to be slapped in the face in public because of his philandering, he is not going to be in a position to persuade anybody that renovating the rotting Marting building is the sensible thing to do. But Malone is going to try as slavishly as Kalb did as mayor to connive to convert the Marting building into public offices. Malone might even end up with a big office in the Marting building, as Kalb once hoped to do. Malone may make it into the office of the mayor by the back door, just as Mike Mearan once got onto the city council by the back door.

    Kalb, Mearan, Malone: only in a Home Rule city like Portsmouth could such incompetent, corrupt failures through means of the back door become the front men for the unscrupulous multi-millionaires who are getting athletic complexes named after themselves at the same time that they continue to try to fix every election and eliminate any competition in the lucrative games they play.

Vote No on Malone: Vote No on the Marting Building


Saturday, December 04, 2010

Best and Worst: Portsmouth Ohio (Poem)

“It’s the city of the toppled steeple . . .”


The Best and Worst:
  Portsmouth, Ohio 

It’s the best of cities,
It’s the worst of cities;

It’s the city of great price,
It’s the city of great vice;

It’s the city of piety,
It’s the city of notoriety;

It’s the city of the punctual,
It’s the city of the dysfunctional;

It’s the city of concerned citizens,
It’s the city of sleazy politicians;

It’s the city of blunt bloggers,
It’s the city of pettifoggers;

It’s the city of meisters,
It’s the city of shysters;

It’s the city of roots,
It’s the city of brutes;

It’s the city of floodwalls,
It’s the city of pitfalls;

It’s the city of antique shops,
It’s the city of chop shops;

It’s the city of old coots,
It’s the city of young prostitutes.

It’s the city of work,
It’s the city of pork;

It’s the city of on-the-go,
It’s the city of who-you-know;

It’s the city of blue skies,
It’s the city of meth highs;

It’s the city of the squeaky clean,
It’s the city of the obscene;

It’s the city of hospitals,
It’s the city of pill mills;

It’s the city of aspirin,
It’s the city of Oxycontin;

It’s the city of hope,
It’s the city of dope;

It’s the city of new schools,
It’s the city of old fools;

It’s the city of the state university,
It’s the city of the learning disability;

It’s the city of every kid passes,
It’s the city of remedial classes;

It’s the city of the orotund and emphatical,
It’s the city of the unspeakably ungrammatical;

It’s the city of drawers and hewers,
It’s the city of backed-up sewers;

It’s the city of live wires,
It’s the city of suspicious fires;

It’s the city of the opera singer,
It’s the city of giving the finger;

It’s the city of Christian and Jew,
It’s the city of Klan residue;

It’s the city of Scottie’s potties,
It’s the city of Mearan’s hotties;

It’s the city of lights at corners,
It’s the city of J. Edgar Horners;

It’s the city of the dedicated teacher,
It’s the city of the adulterous preacher;

It’s the city of upright people,
It’s the city of the toppled steeple;

It’s the city of the crucifix,
It’s the city of the cocaine fix;

It’s the city of the father’s dereliction,
It’s the city of the son’s addiction;

It’s the city of ubiquitous karaoke,
It’s the city of kin in the pokey;

It’s the city of Meals on Wheels,
It’s the city of drug deals;

It’s the city of whites and blacks,
It’s the city of mansions and shacks;

It’s the city of Main Street and the Hill,
It’s the city of the toxic fill.
It’s the city of the river breeze,
It’s the city of radioactive retirees;

It’s the city of the humble soul,
It’s the city of the doughnut hole;

It’s the city of exercise classes,
It’s the city of fat asses;

It’s the city of Kinneys and Massies,
It’s the city of sassy lassies;

It’s the city of the Welcome Center, to greet you,
It’s the city of estate planners, to cheat you;

It’s the city of real meeting halls,
It’s the city of imaginary malls;

It’s the city of Clayton’s tools,
It’s the city of Mearan’s mules;

It’s the city of Kalb gone to pot,
It’s the city of Bihl, who got caught;

It’s the city of Hospice,
It’s the city of injustice;

It’s the city of Pampered Pets,
It’s the city of lapdog vets;

It’s the city of the opportune knock,
It’s the city of the pilfered rock;

It’s the city of those that can,
It’s the city of the Ku Klutz Klan;

It’s the city of art galleries starting,
It’s the city of prohibited farting;

It’s the city of “I am what I am,”
It’s the city of the Marting Scam;

It’s the city of medical healers,
It’s the city of wheeler dealers;

It’s the city of preacher and parson,
It’s the city of incest and arson;

It’s the city of priest and minister,
It’s the city of lawyers who’re sinister;

It’s the city of winks and nudges,
It’s the city of venal judges;

It’s the city of prosperity,
It’s the city of poverty.

It’s the city of honorable pursuits,
It’s the city of crooks in suits;

It’s the city of flood wall murals,
It’s the city of pork-lined urinals;

It’s the city of Southern hospitality,
It’s the city of redneck hostility;

It’s the city of he who has, gets,
It’s the city of he who hasn’t, bets;

It’s the city of food stamps and the lottery;
It’s the city of Bashams and besottery;

It’s the city of plenty, the city of need,
It’s the city of generosity, the city of greed;

It’s the city of speaking in tongues,
It’s the city of smokers’ lungs;

It’s the city of bikers collecting for toys,
It’s the city of bikers making noise;

It’s the city of victory torches,
It’s the city of sagging porches;

It’s the city of dreams,
It’s the city of schemes;

It’s the city of American do-and-dare,
It’s the city of the American nightmare;

It’s the city of “O say can you see,”
It’s the city of the SOGP;

It’s the city of shoes and shoelaces,
It’s the city of heels in high places;

It’s the city of vegetarian fruits,
It’s the city of councilmen in cahoots;

It’s the city of the Golden Rule,
It’s the city of (ugh!) Home Rule;

It’s the city of “Drive Slow! What’s your hurry?”
It’s the city of bashing Mayor Murray;

It’s the city of churches and chimes,
It’s the city of the lying Times;

It’s the city of spring and fall,
It’s the city of recall, recall, recall;

It’s the city of the blessed and cursed,
It’s the city of the best and worst.

Robert Forrey, 2010