“The Taigs of Jersey City” by Maurice O’Sullivan

When I was young, my neighbors thought
Most politicians could be bought.
The few exceptions to these rules
Were simply seen as naive fools.

So long as we had safe, clean streets
And lots of cops to walk our beats,
A little larceny was fine
And purging graft seemed asinine.

At least it seemed that way each fall
So long as we held City Hall.
But once those others won the votes
Our leaders sounded different notes.

Their politicians were all crooks,
Embezzling funds and cooking books,
A shocking lack of rectitude
(Especially to the new born prude).

Morality is flexible—
What’s right and wrong and ethical—
But tribal loyalty endures
Protecting me and mine from yours.




Maurice O’Sullivan, a former teamster, jail guard and pub owner, is an award-winning teacher, editor, columnist, and film maker who lives in Orlando, Florida. His most recent book, Have You Not Hard of Floryda, is a survey of 300 years of Florida’s colonial literature.

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