"Raven and the Poison Apple,"

by Eben

The Fable of High-Stakes Gambling Improving Quality of Life in Puyallup, Tacoma, and the Northwest

Br'er Raven flew to take the view,

He saw Tacoma, Puyallup too;

From the Bay to Orting Town

He made his tour of all around.

Once he dropped down for a rest,

A place where vultures strut their best;

A huge, new building blocked the site,

A Temple raised to Wrong, not Right.

Thousands flocked to make fast gain,

Gambled like they were insane;

Lost their rent and savings too,

But Temple thieves all got their due.

Raven looked this way and that,

Continual traffic where he sat;

"What's going on?" he thought.

"What is this bug they have caught?"

“They come in full and go out stripped,

They cannot help but get horse-whipped;

They throw their money in a hole,

Then hand their kids a begging bowl.”

While he watched the crowds galore,

A roar went up, “The Governor!”

Greeting all with practiced nod--

It was as if they saw a god.

Locke signed the Pact that gave them this,

The legal means to rob--what bliss!

No longer would thieves go to jail,

They’re dressed in silk, from snout to tail.

High-stakes now, and slots come next,

Lawyers too have stacked the decks;

Petitions, if they serve the cause,

Also work to subvert laws.

Promise voters kick-backs too,

Casino with a heart true blue;

Throw some charities a buck,

Bank the rest by armored truck.

“Who are these thieves?” Br’er Raven mused.

“They get rich quick off the abused;

No matter that our Valley dies

Beneath dark wings and clouds of flies!

“Gangs and rape and murder grows,

The Temple thieves add to these woes;

The wealth they take is income lost

By foolish people at great cost.

“This Valley is no place for me,

It’s filled with violence, I see;

It was my home, a gentle place

Of friendly people, laid-back pace.

“But now, this Temple’s changed all that,

With poison worse than rabid bat;

One bite and they’re hooked for life,

A vampire they took for wife.”

With a sigh Br’er Raven rose,

He flew off where the sunset goes--

The land where once he came from hence,

To look for people with more sense.

He flew and flew, an ocean crossed,

Until he found a land long lost;

The people there were long since dead,

Destroyed by greed and graft, it’s said.

“At least, it’s quiet here!” he thought.

“No sirens, bullets, for my lot;

Here I’ll spend my final days,

And ponder mankind’s sorry ways.

“Why should they choose what’s clearly wrong?

What’s the reason, short or long?

Madness must be the main cause,

That makes them break all nature’s laws.

“You cannot rob unless you gain

A thing that turns to deadly bane;

Hurting one must hurt them all,

On this road, they’re bound to fall.

“‘It won’t harm us!’ thinks some poor fool.

‘And look, I’ve got a swimming pool!

And my children? College-bound!

Lawyers, doctors, parade gowned.’

“The truth of it, they’ve lost all soul,

They wander blind, without a goal;

All because their leaders thought

A future could be money-bought.”

Br’er Raven shook his sleek, dark head,

And grieved for those who made that bed,

For those who rushed to certain doom,

To stoke a pit of fiery gloom.

At last these words came to his mind:

“What others loose, you cannot bind;

Unless they see their hopelessness,

They think that Wrong can somehow bless.

“I’ve given them all that they need,

My holy laws for word and deed;

‘Covet not, nor kill and steal,

Unless you hate the commonweal.’

“Now, Raven, weep for them no more,

It’s useless to scratch up a sore;

I paid the price of sin, you see;

My Son, He died to set them free.

“If they turn from Him and run,

There is no more that could be done;

If they refuse and won’t obey,

Judgment falls as their due pay.

“So, Raven, rest your weary brain,

This started even before Cain;

When Eve, the woman, first had sinned,

Her husband, at her fall, then grinned.

“‘What harm is it?’ he thought back then;

He took a bite, and lost Eden!

For like the fruit of Adam’s fall,

Gambling’s sweet, but turns to gall.’”

*****

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