The value of the arts for Ann Arbor, told in verse

Today the  Arts Alliance of Ann Arbor had a candidate forum. The moderator, Mary Morgan of the Ann Arbor Chronicle, had encouraged people to suggest questions in iambic pentameter. That got me thinking, if we can have questions in verse, why not candidate remarks?

Obviously I won’t be quitting my day job, my rhymes and delivery would have been better hand I not written them only the night before, but it was the most fun I’ve ever had at a candidate forum.

Here are the lyrics as penned (not as performed).

I’m a politician
I’m not a poet
And here I am with the art crowd
I hope I don’t blow it

When I think of arts and culture
Here in the city
It’s about more than just trying
to make things pretty

While We wring our hands about
economic health
remember the creative sector
is a source of true community wealth

As we rebuild
this great great lakes state
the old ways won’t work
we must innovate

And create places
where people want to be
sounds like a job for the arts
if you ask me

Nobody chooses a city
for its storm drains
Or the many miles of
brand new water mains

those are important
we have to get them right
but curb and gutter work
that doesn’t give delight

And the kids, man, think of the kids
corporate culture teaches them to zone out
consuming YouTube vids

Better to nurture
Their creative expression
and unlock a much more
fulfilling obsession

Don’t just receive
You can create
The urge to do so
is our most human trait

The arts here have some challenges
You know that’s no lie
Studio rents
Are too damn high

Maybe you wait tables
and do art on the side
I want A2 to be a place
where you can reside

So whether you sculpt
Dance or sing
This town needs some
workforce housing

So what can you expect
If I get elected?
Funding for the arts
will be protected

From top of the park
to fool moon in the dark
and that awesome mural
In Almandinger park

But there’s a limit
To what the government can do
That’s why I need
all of you

You keep creating
We’ll keep debating
And let’s hope the result
is invigorating

Hey, I’m a politician
I’m not a poet
But A2 is art town
I want you to know it




I want to give a shout out to to Jimmy McMillan (AKA “The rent is too damn high guy”, Dr. Seuss as told by Moxy Fruvous for inspiring specific lines and to my daughter Camille for her phase (thankfully passed) of insisting I make up a new song for her every night.

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