Litkicks Message Board Archive

crashing out onto payne avenue

Posted to Action Poetry

downtown on the sour fringes i worked in a crippled warehouse
by the railroad trestle, across from the creep bong distributor,
i used to cut through this alley littered with smashed glass
cigarette butts & malt liquor cans & crash out onto payne avenue
where i could see it all, like looking in a cracked picture window,
fat man in a dirty white undershirt, scar on his shoulder
selling vegetables from a cart, bag of tomatoes fer a buck,
the crazy lady with two different shoes & a wild orange hair
yelling about sassafras & fuck the police, cough hack cough,
black guy calling from a doorway ‘hey man, you wanna buy
a leather coat? youÂ’ll like it, itÂ’s already broke in,Â’ heh heh,
cadillac with a gold grille parked out front of the timberline café,
fat white iron workers stalking the windows of sad porn shops,
playground with a metal pole sticking up from weedy asphalt cracks
where the merry-go-round once was & only chains left from swings
& the teeter totter burned to charcoal & all the hamburger wrappers,
guy with a hand-written sign calling for leonard peltierÂ’s freedom,
on the corner the stringy street kid selling stolen newspapers,
the old croatian man with white hair in his bathrobe
easing his lame legs up the sidewalk, a cane in each bony hand
& every day a carnival of chaos, a beatdown drama of man,
& every day iÂ’d head for the crusty sandwich shop where
the man in the green shirt & droopy grey moustache
made me ham & cheese on italian, told jokes about the mayor,
iÂ’d grab a bag of chips & a coke & head back out on the street
with its smoke & exhaust & demented lost denizens of wonder
& given a chance i would wander its crazy sidewalks & alleys again
searching every lost corner for all things that demand this love

(sal is also