The New York Daily News has reported on a crazed woman passenger who bit a driver over the unavailability of a hybrid bus. However, if the Daily News had investigated the background of the upset passenger, Shelia Bolar, they would have found out that she was every bit as qualified to deliver an Obama inaugural poem as was Elizabeth Alexander who is credited by many for delivering the worst inauguration poem ever. First the Daily News story about how Shelia Bolar has come to our attention:
Going green was a cause she could really sink her teeth into.The frantic passenger who bit a veteran driver's arm was upset that his bus wasn't a hybrid, he said Thursday. "She came on the bus, and she said she waited more than an hour for a hybrid," said MTA driver Peter Williams, 42. "I said, 'I'm not in control of what bus is assigned to me.'" Williams, a dad of two who is in the Navy Reserves, plans to take a little time off after Wednesday's bizarre attack on an uptown M104 bus. The woman, Shelia Bolar, 49, started hollering at Williams soon after she boarded the Broadway bus on the upper West Side. When her rant was done, she she grabbed his arm. "Miss, don't touch me while I'm operating the bus," Williams warned Bolar. At W. 79th St., Williams let passengers off and gestured to a dispatcher he called for help. "That's when she bit me. ... I couldn't believe it." Bolar chomped through a jacket, a sweater and a thick shirt, causing a bruise and swelling but not breaking skin. "She bit through all that," said Williams, still shocked. And then she fled - but cops nabbed her blocks away. Bolar, who faces assault charges was held without bail, pending a psychiatric exam. Williams was released from St. Luke's Hospital and plans to return to work soon. "I hope it doesn't happen again," he said.
Okay, interesting story by Daily News writers Sergey Kadinsky and Carrie Melago. However, if they investigated the crazed biter on the Web, they would have found out that in addition to biting bus drivers, she is also a poet whose work could easily have been delivered at Barack Obama's inauguration. Let us now look at an online poem, "Way Off In The Distance," by the bus driver biter and compare it to the one delivered on inauguration day by Elizabeth Alexander:
way off in the distance i hear a soundtis the sound of a belltis the sound of a bellway off in the distance i hear a soundtis the sound of a belltis the sound of a belland it sounds so loudand it sounds so loudand it sounds so loudsounds likei hear voicescries from the deep down under-r-r-r-r-ri hear the cries of freedomthey're the voices of black men red menthey're the voices of childrenthe young 'n the oldmy people yo' people my peopleoppress'd suppress'd repress'd depress'dabus'd misus'd confus'd denied mis-triedenslav'd deprav'd in different waysno lie no lie no liei ain't tellin no liethey're sayin no more no more no more no more no more no more no morethey're callin martin malcolm nelson mother teresaoh jesus please help themoh mandela oh mandela oh mandelahe's not in a cellbut he's still in jailand he want to tell his storyoh loose himsomebody loose himfrom the coast of africaall the way to the caribetripoligreat are the woes of chinaeven behind the wallthey're risin up ev'rywherehere 'n therethey're tryin their best to make a differenceall 'cause they want equalityand it's a reality that their time has comeand they're saying no more no more no moreno more no more no more no moreso - go tell your mothergo tell your fathergo tell your sister and your brother toogo tell the nations go tell the leadersand please be sure to tell the oppress'dsuppress'd repress'd depress'd abus'd misus'd confus'ddenied mistried enslav'd deprav'd in different ways - peoplemy people, lawd have mercyhave mercy have mercy have mercy on my people yo' people my peoplei cry i cry i cry i cry for my people yo' people my peoplefor their time has comeyes their time has comeand it sounds so loudand it sounds so loudand it sounds so loudway off in the distance
It is the contention of your humble correspondent that the poetry of the crazed bus driver biter is every bit as "good" as that of Elizabeth Alexander who actually did deliver the inaugural poem. Let us now look at the text Alexander's inaugural poem for comparison:
Each day we go about our business,walking past each other, catching each other’seyes or not, about to speak or speaking.All about us is noise. All about us isnoise and bramble, thorn and din, eachone of our ancestors on our tongues. Someone is stitching up a hem, darninga hole in a uniform, patching a tire,repairing the things in need of repair.Someone is trying to make music somewhere,with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum, with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.A woman and her son wait for the bus.A farmer considers the changing sky.A teacher says, Take out your pencils. Begin.We encounter each other in words, wordsspiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed,words to consider, reconsider.We cross dirt roads and highways that markthe will of some one and then others, who saidI need to see what’s on the other side.I know there’s something better down the road.We need to find a place where we are safe.We walk into that which we cannot yet see.Say it plain: that many have died for this day.Sing the names of the dead who brought us here,who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges, picked the cotton and the lettuce, builtbrick by brick the glittering edificesthey would then keep clean and work inside of.Praise song for struggle, praise song for the day.Praise song for every hand-lettered sign, the figuring-it-out at kitchen tables.Some live by love thy neighbor as thyself,others by first do no harm or take no morethan you need. What if the mightiest word is love?Love beyond marital, filial, national,love that casts a widening pool of light,love with no need to pre-empt grievance.In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air,any thing can be made, any sentence begun.On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp,praise song for walking forward in that light.
So what is your opinion, Dear Reader? Which poem is more unpoetic to qualify as an Obama inaugural poem? And has anybody spotted Elizabeth Alexander biting bus drivers recently?