Rhymes & Ditties for Middle Size Cities (3)
Entry for 2017-07-25


Prologue
My humble apologies to inhabitants of all the cities memorialized in this section. Facetious verse about a city has got to be nasty or it just doesn't work, which is why Chambers of Commerce employ so few poets.

These verses are also outdated. Most of the Rhymes & Ditties appeared in the
Saturday Review in the 1960s -- before Seattle had Starbucks or Microsoft, before Pittsburgh had cleared its skies, before Buffalo had done whatever Buffalo did about being Buffalo.

So if you live in a city with problems, take heart -- and take up your pen. Write a nasty verse about it and see what happens.
Pittsburgh
"Tear it down,"
said Frank Lloyd Wright
"---except the jail."
Tear it down?
Upend U.S. Steel,
I-beams toppling
left and right?
Tear it down?
Level J&L
and lose the only
open hearth downtown?

No, tear it down and destiny fails
to justify this triple trench
where, eons back, it tied the tails
of three young rivers. Indians laughed
and gave the whole thing to the French
who, gaining neither glory nor graft,
contrived to give it away again.
But the British under Braddock spanned
the Alleghenies toward Fort Duquesne
and stopped. The British understand.
When the South attacked in the Civil War,
they kept to the other end of the state.

So clouds hung heavy a century more,
'til Pittsburghers cleared the smoke away
and found that the air, when clean, is gray.
Councils were called. The coal burned late.
Then, lo! Tall buildings began to rise
and banners unfurled to advertise
"The Renaissance City" (no, it's true!).
"The Golden Triangle" lines the sky,
whose color, in Pittsburgh terms, is "blue."
These transplants took with such success
that only a quirk or two still lie
in the city map, whose streets confess
what no one revealed
to Frank Lloyd Wright.
Memory fails.
No one recalls
hearing the jailers rant,
but visitors who inspect
the trails have often gaped
where, quietly one night
near Grant, next to the jail,
Fifth Avenue crossed Sixth
and escaped
 


The Popes
Entry for 2017-07-22


Alexander Pope wrote, with a quotable ring,
A little learning is a dangerous thing.
Pope Alexander wrote little that we can cherish.
The market on papal bulls is chronically bearish.
Cardinal Aficionado


Lessee, Now...
Entry for 2017-07-19


Excerpted from Landlord Rights
The last time I was a tenant, it was in a building where the elevators occasionally stuck between floors, shutting in one or more occupants until the repairman, an avid fisherman, could be retrieved from Tionesta. While trapped in the elevator shaft, the tenant would sometimes receive a parking ticket because the meter had expired during his imprisonment. For this offense, according to the lease, he could be evicted.
Such powers are not often exercised. They are like paintings or music, there to be enjoyed by the owner rather than put to practical use. Then too, rights and powers are tempered by the duties they carry with them. Imagine what awesome responsibilities a landlord must be willing to accept in exchange for his monarchical authority. Does he not take on the solemn duty to provide for the comfort and well-being of his tenants? Well, it's like this:
3. It is agreed that the Lessor shall not be liable for failure to furnish heat, hot and cold water, or elevator service, nor shall such failure suspend the rent.
Does the landlord not provide his tenant with a home, a place of personal dominion and privacy?
6. Lessee agrees to permit the Lessor or his servants, agents and/or employees and/or any other person authorized by the Lessor to have free access to the premises hereby leased... either in the day or night, for the purpose of examination of the same (the same what? The same Lessee?) ... with or without Lessee's consent and whether or not the premises are occupied by the Lessee.
If not privacy, surely the landlord provides protection for the tenant's property.
7. (i) Lessor shall not be held responsible for the loss or damage of any such property, notwithstanding such loss or damage may occur through the carelessness or negligence of the employees of the building.
Oh.



The Corporate Work Ethic
Entry for 2017-07-13


"The Good earn,
The Better save,
The Best invest,
and screw the rest."


(Later)
Entry for 2017-07-07


I'm the eight-thirty appointment,
asked to move back to nine.
I didn't intend to disappear,
leaving this note behind;
but it felt so good, wings unpinned,
that I kept on moving -- ten,
eleven, twelve, then off the clock
and out in the blue again.
I was always a good appointment,
punctual, had, and done.
But the world has so many other times,
I'd hate to lose my one.