Paul Allentown

when I first came to Seattle
it was barely bigger than a small town
with the evergreen trees growin’ up
and the good rain comin’ down
and it looked so innocent then
you’d never dream to take a glance
at those baby billionaires
waitin’ for their chance

a penny makes a nickel
makes a dime, makes a dollar
makes a kindergarten CEO
want to jump up and holler
turns a software magician
with a fine and friendly face
into a planetary predator
with fingers all over the place

we used to call it Seattle, Jewel of the Puget Sound
we used to call it Seattle, now we call it Paul Allentown

Seattle was Duwamish
but nobody really really cared
so they turned him into a drinking fountain
in Pioneer Square
and the mountain was Tahoma
but that made their minds go blank
so they called it Rainier
and that became a bank

and the bank became a magnet
for the money and the flash
and the mountain made of nature
became a mountain made of cash
and the little baby billionaires
broke out of their padded cells
and the little town got real big
and everything went to hell


Paul Allen made his millions
in the Microsoft days
then he multiplied those millions
and he gave himself a raise
and he gazed out into the distance
as far as he could see
and everywhere he looked
he saw an opportunity

and he waved his wallet
like a scepter and a sword
he said “there’s nothin’ next to god
that this wallet can’t afford
move over Mister Yessler
step aside and take a bow
my name is Paul Allen
this is my town now!”


you like sports?
he’ll build you stadium or two
and he’ll do it with
your money too
he owns Lake Union
and the EMP
he owns half the city council
but he don’t own me

you want to fondle your portfolio
you’ve come to the right place
you like high rise
get yourself a condo with a happy face
with a Starbucks on every corner
and your own cash machine
now I know what they mean
when they call it “evergreen”


they say Paul Allen plays a mean guitar
but I don’t think that’s right
I think that poor guitar’s just angry
‘cause he ain’t treatin’ it right
like some adolescent ego
with his billfold overblown
he thinks he can just go out and buy himself
a rock star of his own

Jimi Hendrix on his bended knees
up on Broadway all in bronze
he still can’t figure out
what went wrong
playin’ The Star Spangled Banner
in a blown out purple haze
now he lives in a digital museum
and his fans are all half crazed


new money likes to strut around
showing off it’s stuff
and we’re all supposed to love it
we’re not supposed to call its bluff
just buy your ticket, take your chance
and keep your place in line
and maybe they’ll throw you down
a few crumbs from time to time

they say the road to hell is paved
with all the best intentions
hypnotized and dazzled
by the latest slick inventions
like a deer in the headlights
tryin’ to catch a ride
well it can be a big surprise
when you reach the other side