(When I left my job as Tribune suburban editor in the spring of 1988 to move to features, I reflected on the past two years with a simultaneous parody of the suburban staff "locator" memo and of some fevered poesy. Well, actually, the staff memo was beyond parody....)

ory--having made a farewell tour of the buros, i found myself wondering how best to summarize these years in the suburbs. then, in a dream, samuel taylor coleridge appeared to me. "set down these lines,'' he said, "capital letters and all. i would have done it myself, but i'm dead.''

Beyond O'Hare did Jim D. Squires
A stately pleasure dome decree:
Out where the concrete rivers ran
Past suburbs measureless to man
Down to a leachate sea.
Three hundred towns, a fertile ground
For briefs and fillers, loomed around;
And school board meetings, filled with parents shrill,
Where blossomed many a referendum spree;
And countless NIMBYs, ancient as the hills,
Protecting tiny spots of greenery.

But oh! that deep eternal chasm which planted
Fear in young minds of things outside the city!
These savage towns--as holy and enchanted
As bold Chicago, although not as vaunted--
Had our employees drowning in self-pity!
Then from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if our staffers actually were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced,
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge stories vaulted like rebounding hail:
New landfills; places to sort mail.
And 'mid these gripping tales, at once and ever,
Neil Mehler wrote about the concrete rivers.
Their leads meandering with a mazy motion
Through Wood Dale Blau and Lucadamo ran;
And Zorn, his phrases baffling to man;
And lists of crimes, enough to fill the ocean.

Then 'mid this tumult Squires heard from far
Competing voices prophesying war!
The shadow of the Daily Herald
Floated northwest, a growing risk;
We'd now ignore at our own peril
The ugly, gray Economist;
And Copley, the surrounding foe,
Conspired to deal us grief and woe.

A Tribune with another zone
In a vision once I saw:
It yawned with columns of new space,
And every story had a place,
And every brief a home.
Could I revive within me
Its symphony and song,
To such deep delight 'twould win me,
That in sidebars proud and long
I would praise that pleasure dome:
Those sunny burbs! They're twice as nice!
We've found a million stories where
The Gucci ladies live. Beware!
They're on Page One! We really care!
Write a story, zone it twice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For we on sewerage have fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

ory--"where's the quatrain on dave young?'' i asked, barely waking. "hey, it's only a fragment,'' the shade replied.