So what of our city, the first year of Rogero?
Are we gaining on Durham and Rio de Janeiro?
In 2012, did we look any more like a city
Than we did when Alcoa surveyed us with pity?
Some might remark first on the downfall of Dooley,
Who taught us to savor our failures so coolly.
It helps when you dream of Big Orange dinero
Enough to retire on the French Riviero.
We’ve always been told if the Vols ever lose
The whole city of Knoxville will be singing the blues
We’ll buy no more orange, no jerseys or pants
We’ll lose all our marketable civic romance.
We’ll stop buying beer, we’ll stop paying for cable
The restaurants will empty, they’ll stack up each table,
The banks will collapse, the strip malls will close
There will be no accounting of our numberless woes.
But risking irreverence, where’s the abject depression,
In America’s third city to recover from recession?
Downtown’s more fun than it’s been in a century
From hot-dog-cart Dave to the condo-posh gentry;
Gay Street lost Yee Haw, but Aveda and Suttree’s
May ease the concerns of municipal trustees.
Cru Bistro, Li’l Vinnie’s, Shuck, Tupelo Honey
Suggest healthy streams of expendable money.
UT’s list of projects is as long as your arm:
Tickle and Min Kao and Cherokee Farm,
And Sorority Village is composed of McMansions:
Colonial, Neo-Gothic, no obvious ranch’uns.
Even our suburbs are growing faster than Moscow
They finally got Trader Joe’s, Publix, and Costco.
Suddenly we’ve got all this stylish new shopping,
Stores we’d just heard of while Internet hopping.
The South Side development’s still a proposal
That may be more likely than hockey in Mosul.
A Walmart near campus, a Cumberland plan
May require the assistance of Ex-Lax and bran.
We have Outdoor Adventure, wake-boarding to Ijams,
That’s stuff you don’t hear about much in the Times.
There’s bicycling along urban wilderness trails:
You can’t even do that in a place like Versailles,
Kentucky or France, either one. And new sights
Like tourable Civil War forts on the heights
Are right hard to find in most mere college towns.
Are there vistas beyond these Big Orange bounds?
So who needs the Vols? Now we’ll live our own lives.
A last precious chance ere the reaper arrives
To remind us of all that we never got done;
Knoxville, the city, can finally have fun.