A part of the watershed
bears the name of Willoughby
Back in the 1830s
some folks planned a medical college
and approached an out-of-stater with the above name,
seeking funds
With true nineteenth century hucksterism/whoredom
the town founders (flounders?)
name their price:
give money for the college and we’ll name the town after you
What egotist could resist?
Willoughby coughed up the cash
and is now memorialized on maps, buildings, etc.
The college is now long gone
                                       unlike Kilroy,
                                                                                       never was here
one change most obvious,
alternately amusing and scary,
is that the people you grew up with
are now put in positions of power:
one who dropped out of school
and whose kids didn’t attend the district’s schools
sits on the school board making decisions
for other people’s children;
one is now the mayor of the town,
pleading ignorance
(very believable,
I don’t believe it)
about promised revenue from a recent development
that (surprise) didn’t materialize,
                                                                                  even though
he was the mouthpiece for the project before becoming mayor;
the developer of said project,
a kid from the richer suburb to the south,
no ball of fire as a co-worker
at my high school job delivering chicken and ribs
La plus ca change la plus c’est meme-chose

Michael Ceraolo is a fortysomething civil servant/poet trying to overcome a middle-class upbringing. “Willoughby” is an excerpt from his long poem Euclid Creek: A Journey, which will be published by Deep Cleveland later this summer.