Memphis, c. Autumn 2016

They are tearing the French Quarter down,
Whose title evokes domestic-foreign romantic pangs
That belie the seedy decay of old Midtown:


The shiny jewel of the trendy party crowd
Back in 1972, when the tang
Of a leisure district made the city proud


To shed its honky-tonk and petty crime
For crafty simulations of the same;
To debauch without residual grime


(At least, not that which the eye can see
Or probing fingers feel).  A lion tamed,
However, is a lion still, and–to a tee–


Chicago Pizza, Friday’s, The Public Eye . . .
Formed from dust, to dust they each returned;
Their splendor gone, merry shouts matured to sighs.


Passing quietly, surrounded by their friends,
One by one, they dropped away, as new years burned
Off the dross. Yet today, stubborn to the end,


The cast-iron edifice of the old hotel–
Last of its generation–succumbs a decade late.
On that plot, the newly-grown bare steel skeleton will support a shell


Of brutalistic concrete and gleaming crystal sand,
For now a team of hard-hats conspire to create
A crate to store the Art of Motion, Available On-Demand.


This prenatal play-ground will one day rise to join
Its precocious contemporaries, side-by-side,
And trendy sets will come and pay with their BitCoin


For an evening of sophistry in art and food and drink.
“The progeny of this Baby Boom will surely long abide
In the house of Madison and Cooper,” they’ll blithely think.

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