Inauguration Ode

Mayor

Indya Kincannon
mayor@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-2040

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Poem written for the Inauguration of Mayor Indya Kincannon on December 21, 2019.

By Marilyn Kallet



Inauguration Ode


For the Honorable Mayor, Indya Kincannon
Bijou Theater, December 21, 2019


The Bijou was packed, humming. 
All the neighbors arrived, old friends,
new––to wish our mayor well.

“Knoxville gives me hope!” someone 
cheered. “I know!” chimed
the veteran reporter, next row.

“There are two ways to do this,” Yassin began,
“the easy way 
or the hard way.” Our emcee poked fun

at his own accent. We laughed with him.
Yassin Terou didn’t know the word 
“homeless” when he first 

arrived, tattered, in the U.S. 
Last year he gained a million, with his
super-friendly Falafel House. 

His warmth dissolved barriers,
made each difficult syllable delicious,
welcoming. 

Reverent Buice 
offered an invocation,
spoke all denominations.

The Honor Guard stirred us. 
Get up! Democracy is participatory,
never easy or sitting still.

Beaumont Magnet Choir 
Third Graders 
turned the velvet balcony sonorous.

Beloved Mayor Rogero spoke of
what she had learned in eight years:
above all, listen. “Listen

to all sides. Make room
for your critics.” No single way
to govern a growing city.

She welcomed
Indya Kincannon, sworn in  
by the Honorable Sharon Lee.

Even the Suffragists
in Market Square must have beamed
through their bronze casting!

The Mayor’s husband, Ben
Barton, stood by her, 
with daughters, Dahlia and Georgia.

No glass splinters crashed
at our feet, but we felt it,
that old ceiling, 

shattering!
None of this was easy.
Like jazz improvisation,

the place where everything
sounds simple must
include the memory of

how hard it was 
to get there,
to the welcoming shore,

where smooth sounds 
lift us. The Vine Middle
School Choir proved this.

You don’t believe in angels?
Look up at the young.
Or close your eyes,

and listen. 
“I will listen,” Mayor Kincannon pledged.
She walked door-to-door 

during her campaign. 
Her listening is our hope.
Her promise to strengthen

programs for affordable housing, 
better schools,
Urban Wilderness

and sustainability
will enhance us. 
Her degree in Urban Planning

reminds us that all of this 
is studied, earned, 
hard-won. Kincannon,

plannin’! We stand with her, 
our Honorable Mayor 
Indya Kincannon.

“Knoxville is the antidote,”
someone called out.
“We know!” we chimed.

Tonight, tomorrow,
everything 
spells us––community 

and diversity
in action,
with our new mayor,

hard at work!