Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Upon the Sea of Anarchy: Canto II

Canto I

Canto II

And now I have to sing the song of Song,
Of Michael Song whose vision was to show
The world the way the poor could become strong
By building for a poor country a brand
New city that would show where we went wrong

In economic governance. And yet,
That city fell, because it was a grand
Success. And now we all have made a bet
On open seas, Jeff Freeman’s city on
The sea, so large that we could land your jet.

You do not know of Jeff Freeman? The son
Of David, son of Milton, each son gone
More radical? But what great Milton’s done –
An economics Nobel Prize – cast quite
A shadow. Jeff, though, he is a new sun.

The grandfather, he tried to work within
The governments he had. He lost that fight
With his success with a dictator. Sin
Soon shadowed economic freedom. Father
Learned, turned to anarchy. But Jeff would win

The hearts of women, men like me who saw
The failures freedom’s faced – you’d ask, “Why bother?”
It’s failed so often – yet so love the law
Of nature to evolve more liberty
That this great city was a natural draw.

And that is what drew many to the plan
Of Michael Song, which seemed for them to be
A sensible approach, since it began
With countries which were poor, make a Hong Kong
That’s open, growing, free, and African.

While Nicaragua was his Lilith, Mike
Was given Eve with Cameroon. A long,
Long legal process in each case – a strike
At first with Nicaragua’s supreme court,
Success in Cameroon with a small hike

Up to the court behind the scenes. That’s how
It worked in Cameroon back then. Abort
Another city? Or do you just bow
To their political reality?
Mike wanted bacon, so he fed the sow.

When I first learned of this, I must admit
That I was thrilled that a proclivity
For dark corruption – yes, it seemed to fit! –
Was underlying this market attempt.
And with my piece the darkness would be lit!

If Michael Song was blind, then moreso I.
If you must bribe, then you can’t trust. Contempt
Is sown among those you must bribe. The lie
Cannot support the truth. And so, although
The city did succeed – one can’t deny

It did succeed – it was not long before
It fell. The government saw Freedom grow
(For Freedom City was its name) to four
Times Cameroon’s own GDP, and sent
An army in because they wanted more.

The city that I saw was prosperous
And cosmopolitan – but when I went
To see the aftermath, I saw a puss
Filled sore upon the face of Africa,
Such poverty I could not find a bus

To take me from the airport. A tuk-tuk
Was all that I could find. Per capita
Had certainly collapsed. The so-called luck
I claimed the city had was gone – and gone,
Too, was my blindness with which I’d been struck.
Canto III

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