by Travis Mateer
Yesterday morning I got as close to Mayor Engen’s baseball stadium funeral as I felt comfortable in order to provide an on-the-ground report about the Mayoral send-off. The video clip I recorded references the significant amount of city employees who appeared to be “on the clock” to make this event possible.
The number I got of employees involved in this send off–over 700 of them–came from Mayor Engen’s best friend, Michael Belusci. Considering how desperate the financial situation is for so many Missoulians, I don’t think ignoring the cost of Engen’s send off is a good idea. So I won’t.
As a poet educated at the University of Montana, my eulogy is a little different than Senator Tester’s, or the former Mayor of Missoula, Mike Kadas, who made a tasteless fat/drunk comment about our dead Mayor. I guess that makes sense coming from the coward who hid at an undisclosed location during the tumultuous Hells Angels visit in 2000, which resulted in over 100 arrests of local citizens unhappy with a militarized police presence in our liberal utopia.
So here’s the poem. Adios, Mayor.
reporting for the paper didn't fill the hole John, he was a joker to hide a hurting soul he moved us like a waistline lacking self control townships are for bumpkins a city was his goal I'm stepping over needles and bodies under tarps a stadium awaits beyond the grocery carts Broadway got a diet his belly got a knife on the city plan to extend his life for what, I'm left to wonder to disappear our town? to actualize a fiction standing upside down? no more empty words making hopeful sounds you finally made your exit to rot beneath the ground no more soaring platitudes the Ice Queen scans the crowd Senators and Governors offer up their clout colleagues of the game pretend he did his best posturing like peacocks with narcissistic zest meanwhile little citizens go about their day keeping shut their mouths if nothing nice to say we're like that in the west even towns on zoom wondering if our tolerance is running out of room