A special contribution from reader Dylan in memory of...OBI. Eat your heart out Dr. Seuss! Happy Halloween!
On the Great Hill
On the Great Hill
Where the Grickle-Grass Grows
And the wind smells like a rotting chicken-bone when it blows
And no dogs pee, except limp old Roxie
Is the Rock of the Lifted Obi.
And deep in the Grickle-Grass, some people say,
If you still look deep enough you can still see today,
The place where the Obi once stood
Just as long as she could
Before somebody lifted the Obi away.
What WAS Ms. Obi?
And why was she there?
And why was she lifted and taken somewhere
From the far end of town where the grickle-grass grows?
The Old Once-Ler still lives here
Ask him! He knows!
You wont see the Once-ler
Don’t knock on his Brownstone!
He stays in his Lerkim, watching 3-D TV in his home.
And he buys Brooks Brothers clothing online
He lurks alone in his Lerkim, cold under the roof
And wacks-off to midget transvestites and naked photos of Shia LeBeouf.
But, on special dank midnights on August the 1st
He peeks out of the shutters
And sometimes he speaks
And tells how the Obi was lifted away…
He will tell you, if you are willing to pay…
Way back in the days when the Great Hill was still nappy dirt
Full of crappy from the ass of Old Man Burt
And the Pond smelled like scum
And there were tricks in the North Woods
And the songs of the "stop! thief! birds" rang out in space
One morning I came to this glorious place
And then I saw the wide open fields! Walk miles with ease!
The un-gentrified fields! No stink of NYPD to be smelt in the breeze!
I said aloud, "Yes Please!"
Miles of miles of un-gentrified fields in the rancid hot summer breeze!
And, in these fields I saw Bar-Ba-Looters. What a bunch of wild hoots!
Frisking about in their Bar-Ba-Looter-Suits
As they played in the shade and compared their stolen fruits!
From the woody northy woods
Came the creepy holler
Of the Hummer-bird a'hummin'
Like a bird hustlin' a dollar.
But the prime real estate! Real Estate!
Sweat cheap prime real estate!
All of my life I have been searching for such property to take!
The gorgeous original detail! Proximity to the park!
The homes were tax abated, meant for minorities to own
Their homes were located in an empowerment zone!
I felt a great leaping
Of Joy in my heart
I called my real estate agent!
A man without any morals named Bart!
In no time at all, I bought a browntone...what a deal!
Boy from these people cheap property was easy to steal!
A new home! Where 3 families once lived, I evicted and lived alone.
And with great skillful skill and with great speedy speed- oh! oh!
I took over a bodega and built Zany's Cafe, yo!
Irazed the 100 year old wall at St. John the Divine to build a fugly condo!
The second I finished, I heard a ga-zump!
I looked and saw something jump out of the stump!
Of the 100 year old wall I just raped for a cheap corporate ass-hump!
There a snarling dog stand
Describe her.... that's hard! I don't know if I can
She was shortish. And oldish.
And brownish. And mossy.
And she spoke with a voice that smelt like horse-shit and was bossy.
“Yo! Dickface,” she said with sawdusty ash
“I am the Obi. I speak for the trash.
I speak for the Great Hill trash, for the trash has no tongue
And I am asking you, sir, at the top of my lungs —
Leave my neighborhood alone, fences in Central Park are a hex
They keep out the bar-ba-looters,
and stop the poor playing children from the projects.
Look Obi, there is no cause for alarm!
Ask this NYPD officer, he will agree!
That you do not count because you are poorer than me.
Everyone loves gentrification, you will see!
There will be a Harlem Restaurant Row, and say goodbye
To dogs like you running around Central Park free.
Obi said, “You fool! No NYPD will come up here.
The bar-ba-looters and kids from the projects they fear.
But, the very next minute, I proved him wrong
A fat, lazy cop came running with alarm!
Sir, is this scum Obi bothering you, where is her leash?
I will give the Obi tickets costing $100 each.
A ticket for off-leash, a ticket for no tags,
A ticket for no paperwork, for being the daughter of a hag
I laughed at the Obi, “You poor stupid bitch!
You never can stop the approach of a rich white guy!”
“I repeat,” cried the Obi,
I speak for the trash!”
“I’m busy,” I told her,
“You’re whining is a pain in my ass.”
I whipped out my diamond studded iPhone and in no time of all
I called my brothers and aunts
And I said, “Listen here! Here’s a wonderful chance
The whole Once-Ler Family will steal real estate with little cash advance!
Get over here fast! Take the road to North Nitch
Get off on 110th Street, sharp right west at South Stitch.”
And, in no time at all, we bought all the property
The condos, the coops, even the projects raped we!
We fenced off a garden where the bar-ba-looters play
And build a Children’s Glen were nobody goes to this day.
And the bar-ba-looters and kids from the projects had nowhere left to play
But the view from our property looks nice when we look out every tenth day.
And, where the hummer-birds used to hum, we built a playground,
Where little infants can run around.
And, we closed all the native shops and brought in chain stores!
Subway! Whole Foods! Starbucks forever more!
And, that disgusting Obi who ran without a leash?
What of her, I never saw her anymore.
But, then one day, she knocked on my gold-plated Brownstone door,
She snapped, “I am the Obi, I speak for the trash
Which you have cleaned up, for you the garbagemen work fast.
And then I got mad
I got terribly mad
I yelled at the Obi, “Where is your leash dad!
All you do is yap-yap- and say bad! Bad! Bad! Bad!
Well, I have my rights, dog, and I am telling you
I intend on doing just what I do!
And for your information Obi, I intend on gentrifying more
Pregnant ladies, and young mothers is what this ‘hood has in store!
Just then a woman with a baby carriage said to a poor project neighborhood boy
Get out of my way, I have to get to Bloomingday’s to buy my infant a toy.
And, the Obi said nothing. She just gave me a glance…
Just gave me a very sad, sad backwards glance…
And she lifted herself by the seat of her pants.
And I will never forget the grim look on her face
When she heisted herself and took leave of this place,
Through a hole in the smug, without leaving a trace.
And all that the Obi left in her place
Was condos without character,
People turning her trash into Upper Eastside Place
But, on a rock on the Great Hill is a rock that says Obi
If we stop the gentrification, and the smell of the NYPD disappears
Maybe just maybe
Good times for all can return.
“But now,” says the Once-ler
“Now that you’re here,”
The word of the Obi seems perfectly clear.
Unless someone like you
Cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better.