"Rhyme Schemes" 


Were City of Orlando bigwigs fully aware that Church Street developers Robert Kling and Lou Pearlman owed back taxes before the city awarded them $2 million in incentives? Not according to chief administrative officer Richard Levey, who told the Orlando Sentinel that a draft memo that seemed to suggest otherwise "was essentially a stream of consciousness of opinions of various people." Since we"re big fans of the stream-of-consciousness technique -- and of poetry in all its forms, really -- we're reprinting selected highlights from the memo in question. Enjoy.

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by taxes, bloated hysterical naked, defaulted, defeated, dragging themselves through Church Street at dawn looking for an angry fix (or just a mildly put-out frozen daiquiri),

pinheaded hucksters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the speedy monorail in the machinery of tourism,

who bankrupt and clueless and hollow-eyed and lactose intolerant sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of luxury condos floating across the tops of cities contemplating boy bands,

who buried their records under heaven and the I-4 overpass and saw federal agents skulking on Parramore roofs illuminated,

who passed through city-commission meetings with radiant cool eyes hallucinating TransCon and blimps and dinner theaters before the scholars of chaos,

who were expelled through the tax assessor's office for crazy & scrawling obscene daydreams on the windows of a recording studio our children's children may never see,

who idled in unfinished rooms in their underwear, flushing good money down the toilet and listening to the Terror through the wall,

who got busted in their Wilhelmina baseball jackets returning through Sanford with a stack of headshots for New York,

who ate crow in empty storefronts or drank Shipyard al fresco, death, or distended their torsos night after night,

with dreams, with drugs, with waking nightmares, extended dance mixes and NYPD Pizza, always NYPD Pizza.

Let us go then, you and I,
Where Big Lou's plans are spread out against the sky
Like a beluga prostrated upon a shore
Let us go, through certain still-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of listless nights with Leesburg swells
And cheap chain restaurants with peanut shells
A street that follows like a worn-out argument
Of fraudulent intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question ...
Oh, do not ask, "Where is it?"
But you might want to call before you visit.

In the room the women coo and shake
Thinking of Justin Timberlake.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, "Where's TooJay's?" and "What the fuck?"
Time to turn back and rue our luck
Since Kling defaulted and packed his truck
`We will say: "How his truck is unwelcome here!"`
No teen-pop museum with Lou as grand vizier,
A few "Coming Soon!" signs, but little ka-ching! in the atmosphere—
`We will say: "But, oh, their plan sounded sweet last year!"`
Do we dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions and provisions which a city attorney will reverse.

In the room the women coo and shake
Thinking of Justin Timberlake.

Turning and turning in the widening loophole
The mayor cannot hear the administrator;
Things fall apart; the downtown center cannot hold;
Mere avarice is loosed upon the street,
The tide of red ink is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of honest commerce is drowned;
The best lack all funding, while the shadiest
Are full of passionate intensity.
And nachos.

Surely some tax evasion is at hand;
Surely the Second Slumming is at hand;
The Second Slumming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of "Making the Band"
Troubles my sight: somewhere behind railings of wrought iron
A shape with hippo body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as a lawyer's
Is moving its chapped thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of indignant ex-clients.
The music starts again; but now I know
That three decades
of cobblestone tranquility
Have been blown all to hell by a rocking cradle
And what rough beast, his hour come round at last
Slouches towards Division Avenue to be born?

(With apologies to Ginsberg, Eliot and Yeats)


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