2011: An Ode

Everything sounds better if you rhyme it

In November we elected our new mayor, Rogero,
Who right-wingers fear to be our first female Pharoah
With her crazy talk about a sustainable city
And multiple complexions on every committee.

Progressive supporters have high hopes for Madeline
Though she may spend her next four-odd years straddlin'
Ideals and realities, left-wing and far right.
She might need to hire another Madeline, Albright.

She promises to keep a firm hand on the tiller
If our multipartisan stresses don't kill 'er.
But if some dark night, you see someone paddlin'
With keen purpose southward, it might be our Madeline.

The Henley Street Bridge won't be finished for years
As we settle for other trans-riparian piers.
Though we do mean to try the route TDOT chose
We've never been sure where that Parkway bridge goes.

The rumor is that it ends up in Sevierville.
Or maybe Alcoa. You cain't be too keerful.
It might go to Seymour, or perhaps Santa Fe.
And how do you get over to it, anyway?

The Southside development's still up in the air
Seven-odd years later. We think it's still there.
At every edge downtown seems ripe for expansion
Downtown's just too small. Think big: Blount McMansion.

Downtown'll stretch clear up to old Happy Holler
The district once known for convivial squalor,
As the Cumberland Strip's redeveloped for walkers
From nightclubbing hipsters to game-ticket hawkers.

Local bookstores aren't dead, Union Avenue proved
But Central Street Books, former Book Eddy, moved.
Locovores, quite sure what they're eating's not hype,
Are supporting Market Square's Market, and also Just Ripe.

The Food Co-op was once an obscure hippie haven,
Refuge for alternative shoppers unshaven.
Now bigger and brighter, it's the Three Rivers Market.
Even Republicans, in cars, have a place now to park it.

There wasn't a Big Ears in 2011
And the last hopes for Tennessee Shines are in Heaven;
As downtowners debate whether it's much of a pity
That they cut back the frequency of Sundown in the City.

In spite of it all, some festivals get bigger
They keep coming round with renewable vigor
Beer festivals—two now!—plus Hola and Rossini
Can make our last World's Fair seem awfully teeny.

This year TV weather was never more popular
As we kept a close eye on Channel 10's Doppler
The weather's been crazy, that's Aunt Betty's view
Even when we confess that we're all crazy, too.

April's offensive of baseball-sized hail
Interrupted our regular Wednesday-night ale:
"It's exactly as if we've been shelled," someone said,
As he held a steel hubcap on top of his head.

It damaged our gutters; it damaged our cars.
Lawn furniture's pocked like the surface of Mars.
But for roofers depressed by the housing recession
A noisy spring storm can be frankly refreshin.'

The university's stingy, with fee hikes and cuts
While erecting huge buildings and sorority huts
A construction boom unequalled in 40-plus years
Go figure that. And Go Volunteers!

Sometimes Providence offers no reason
For a bitterly bowl-bid bereft losing season.
We're loath to believe it's the fault of D. Dooley
That fate has treated our Volunteers so cruelly.

Despite his demerits, Mr. Bruce Pearl
remains our equivalent of a Duke or an Earl:
Scruggs, that is. He now works for Hackney
As he waits for the blemish to clear up like acne.

Jig and Reel, Pres Pub's rooftop, the Goose Underground,
Crush, Envy, Hot Horse, Megabus out of town,
Bella Luna, Nicely's Tavern, the Oliver and
The White Lily Factory, the Black Lillies band.

A sesquicentennial, the Corner BP
A V-Roys reunion, and Harry's brand-new Deli
Marble City's now handcrafting ales by the boxfull
It's another short year in the region of Knoxville.


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