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The Oddity

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Odysseus-like, Jerry Brown journeys back to his ancestral home.

Sing in me, Muse, and tell the story of the godlike Jerry Brown,

Who became a political wanderer, skilled in the ways of the campaign,

After he forfeited his father's throne

In an ill-fated bid to take the proud halls of the faraway Beltway.

Begin, Muse, with the electoral rout that drove the son of the infrastructure-rich Pat Brown from his home

When the soft-throated San Diego mayor bested him in pitched battle, and

Made Brown eat small potatoes as he snatched the treasure meant for the Golden's State's lord.

The pop-star-dating pol spent years clinging to his Spartan mattress, his trademark blue Plymouth and even Malathion,

While the much-suffering goddess Minerva looked down at the exploits of those who picked up her shield:

The buttoned-down George Deukmejian, who booted the law-bending Rose Bird from her bench,

Pete Wilson, who told his short-haired troops they were eff-ing irrelevant,

Gray Davis, the gleaming-white warrior who declared that Sacramento was worse than Vietnam,

Even though, Zeus-like, he friggin' kept the lights on,

Until Conan, with his broad arms and flashing savage sword, recalled him.

Having been driven from office, the son of Pat Brown set sail for Japan.

When sated with Zen, he voyaged to Kolkata.

He poured libations for the sick and sat at the feet of the gamma-shaped Mother Theresa.

Buffeted by the fickle gods, he railed against the political machine,

Then he lunged to control that wine-dark apparatus in his yearning to take the helm of the state Democratic Party.

After pitched battle, he defeated the fair-haired Steve Westly

And flexed his fundraising prowess among the glittering swells

Who deride Proposition 13 from their super-size homes atop California's steep hills.

Then an old yearning stirred deep inside him one day.

The Jesuit prince looked into the mirror and said, "You must be, by your looks,

The infrastructure-rich Pat Brown's boy."

Thus spake the wheedling siren who lured him back toward presidential politics.

The wily Jerry Brown then proclaimed an "anti-politics gospel"

With an 800 number and $100 donation limit.

Once again, he tasted the bitter dreck of rejection.

He spent days squatting on his haunches, brooding

Until he found comfort in the soft breast of talk radio

With like-minded listeners who lapped up his honeyed words.

He then governed over Oakland Ecopolis, "both far away and very near,"

Only to battle NIMBYs, Birkenstock-shod and goose-loving scolds --

Fools -- who fought his plan to dot downtown with sleek towers

And wield the sword of eminent domain to pummel Revelli Tire into a parking lot.

On a starry night, his lusty spearman Jacques Barzaghi -- no Nestor he --

Dipped his oar poorly toward the realm where lawyers rule

And moaning, Frere Jacques slipped into the wine-dark sea.

Many years passed, and the quake-shaky Bay Bridge remained unfixed.

The squire of Jack London Square turned his gaze toward Sacramento

And found there bountiful photo opportunities -- Michael Jackson, Anna Nicole Smith, greedy corporations! --

In the office of the attorney general, a worthy perch for a once and future governor.

As he bided his time, bickering lawmakers assembled in their much-greased halls,

Inhaling the smoke of thighbones burnt as an offering to the gods,

They picked their teeth and spoke aloud their private thoughts:

"My word, how voters take elected officials to task!

All their afflictions come from us, we hear,

And what of their own stupid choices on ballot propositions?"

The much-suffering goddess Minerva looked down at the belching louts --

Casting dice, spanking lobbyists and cursing term limits --

And she longed for the day of the son's return, when she would whisper in his ear that he better replace his red-faced official portrait.

Many years passed, and the quake-shaky Bay Bridge remained unfixed.

The wily Jerry Brown, son of the infrastructure-rich Pat Brown,

Laid out the tools he would need to seize the primary in pitched battle --

His winged words, the fey mention of a certain former squeeze,

And other odd bits he could throw at the doglike media.

Without throwing his spear, he smote the ruby-throated Gavin Newsom,

Felled by his own whether-you-like-it-or not boast on his shining city's steps.

Heeding his own counsel, and that of the clear-thinking Anne Gust,

He withstood the calls of his political suitors to hurl all of his coins, and the wealth of many families

Toward the well-oiled army of political mercenaries -- cretins -- who feasted on the carcass of their own Republican Party,

Slain in the service of the maid-eating queen of eBay, butcher of many sheep.

Using winged words both random and cryptic, he emerged the master of debate,

As Meg Whitman's spearmen, weighed down with plunder and spoils, collapsed, quietly spewing foul oaths.

And so the wily Jerry Brown returned to his ancestral home and sat upon his father's and his own erstwhile throne.

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