An Ode to Donald Shoup

Shoup on Velib bike in Paris

I drive, therefore I am.

A man, in this land of asphalt and steel,

Behind the wheel, doing what needs doing.

Both street and road were made for me.

I’m free to pursue my happiness

Wherever the path may lead.


Now, searching for a space to park.

So stark, the downtown that once was

Overflowing with activity and life and love,

Displays in the windows and lights above,

Now half gone, a shadow of what was,

Except for my one favorite store.


I park, get out, and walk,

Half a block, concrete once lined with shops,

Now stop and stare at the sign on the door.

Closed, for good, out of business it reads,

My needs, my needs, my needs.

I’m lost as to what to do.


Back in the car, drive across town.

Then down, to the big box parking lot.

It’s got all the space the downtown has not.

My path to happiness leads here,

It’s clear; what I’ve chosen is not my first choice,

But the market has spoken.


I walk inside and there he stands,

The man, the owner of my favorite store.

No more, now the man works for The Man.

I shield my eyes, look away. Dismayed.

I know his wife and kids, their hopes and dreams

All wrapped up in a little store.


No more.


I make my purchase, my dreams fulfilled.

Yet still, I struggle with the state of things.

What brings a humble man to such lows?

A mystery, beyond chance and fate to meet.

Both street and road were made for me.

By whom, I do not know.

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