Wade on Birmingham

The Future of Birmingham: 5-7-5

Parking spiral

Photo: Patrick Cain (CC)

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The Two Ms. Davises

The Future of BirminghamWander block by block
to meet residents held back
by artlessness, fear.

The schools drive away
people. The politics drive
away people, too.

Only the stubborn
and the impoverished stay
behind, fate be damned.

They need their city
to be more than it is, to
be kinder, safer.

They need some steady
income, and a way to get
around easily.

The townsfolk campaign
for new leaders, not the crooks
who line their pockets.

Let Ms. Davis take
charge, they say. She’ll stand up for
our community.

Reluctantly, Ms.
Davis agrees, though her job
and kids rule her days.

“Mayor Davis Wins!”
the headlines read. City Hall
welcomes its new chief.

She fixes potholes,
fields complaints, cuts taxes and
works past 11.

The voters keep tabs
on the mayor, who always
looks out for their needs.

Her teen daughters and
little boy see her only
on TV at night.

The eldest stays with
a friend for weeks. The middle
child’s grades soon plummet.

And the youngest gets
into fights at school, so the
principal calls Mom.

The municipal
house is in order, barely.
Her house is a wreck.

“Mayor Davis Quits!”
the headlines read. City Hall
loses its old boss.

She gathers her brood
into a sweeping hug and
holds on for dear life.

Madame Mayor goes
back to humble matriarch,
putting kids to bed.

Her civic progress
was quickly undone. All the
neighbors wailed and moaned.

Ms. Davis served out
her real term to her three-child

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