A poem for Honolulu Rail

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Prospects were not bright for building the rail that day,
Four point three billion, which the taxpayers had to pay.
But when the contracts added up; the numbers were not the same,
And a suffocating silence fell on the train’s future customers.

A few scattered got up to shout. While everything else…
Hooked on the hope that our servants knew best.
They thought, “If only federal funds could take a hit at this,
We would even put money in now, with the Treasury so big.

But time precluded prudence; hence the politicians declare,
“We tried too hard. We need to up the ante.
So on the poor taxpayers a gloomy melancholy sat,
Because there seemed to be little chance of stopping this!

Spending never wavered to everyone’s wonder,
And the concrete flowed like water trying to reach the mall.
And when the dust had lifted, and they saw what had happened,
…a monster from Stonehenge was standing; too big to ever brake.

Soon they heard more news, it was the story of a poker player,
“Railway costs could again exceed the pit money.”
A few protested weakly at the frightening sound of it,
But they were told to “shh” and pass the hat again.

Again, billion dollar figures were tossed around.
Like it wasn’t real money, and nobody cared.
Numbers grew and grew, like math in hell.
The figures were so large that they cast a hypnotic spell.

But from the trampled people came a muffled roar,
Like the beating of winter waves on the shore of the Pipeline.
“Stop it! Stop spending!” pleads a desperate heart,
Only to be greeted with “…but just a few billion more!!!”

“Fraud!” cried the thousands of madmen, and the echo answered: “Fraud!”
But a scornful threat to cut federal funds, and taxpayers were intimidated.
Residents felt the burden and their budgets stretched;
And worried if they could ever catch that doggone train.

Once again the billions increased, to everyone’s amazement.
The numbers are now so big that EVERY TAXPAYER could call
For a shiny new limo for two hours every day,
To go to work in style, and read the newspaper on the way.

And on the ride home, while in the zipper lane,
A cold beer in hand, could watch a baseball game.
And EVERYONE could ride seven days a week for thirty years and more,
But even then, they still wouldn’t reach the total light rail score.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun shines bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere the hearts are light,
But here in Honolulu the taxpayers are so blue,
Because as unbelievable as it sounds, this limo ride is real!


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