He was an odd young man who disliked beets,28 years a part of my life, now waiting for me, I trust up ahead. He questioned everything, from a garbage man who refused to take the trash, to his befuddlement at a land with so much plenty, and so many souls dwelling in the shadows of grand hotels. Here is volume one of his “Urban Pentimento” journal, stories he found on the street where we live, Wharf Street, in the old part of town.
WHARF STREET- Not long or wide it rather bends in a serpentine shape, from bridge along harbor side wall. There is at certain times at sunset- very briefly, perhaps two minutes, you may see it, a lovely orange glow overall. And summer mornings I pause on the steps leading up to the old city square- look back to the northwest, see the low clouds hanging oer forested hills. (I have wandered there) It is normal down this street to hear people scream and shout, in the wee park is always someone sleeping out, once I saw a movie star alighting from a posh car, there is a pizza joint, a tattoo parlor, and a longish walk to the nearest bakery…so let us walk down Wharf Street, arm in arm with Godfrey, walk together, we may even find a story.
KING AND QUEEN OF THE BUS STOP- Their throne the wall of stone beside the bus stop. Bottle in a paper sack for weaponry. Oddly the two share a common crown, one or the other wears a real gold crown, with rose quartz crystals in a band. I oft see them in the morning, passed out hand in hand. They never board the bus that passes their castle, runs along Wharf uptown. They stagger a bit when they stand in fond embrace…raggedy, downtrodden, they share a common crown.
WHAT RUBBISH- I placed my rubbish in the bin, for trash as I had seen others throw theirs in. A chap in a truck came to empty it, in a manner rude he gave me shit!. “Is the bin not for garbage I asked politely? For unwanted detritus? debris? In manners unrefined and language quite unkind- he said , “Put garbage in this can again, you will be tracked down, busted and fined” What Rubbish!
INTO THE FIRE- It was late middle night, the month of dampest west coast winter. Heard as I lay awake swish and whir over the blue bridge, taxi cab tire…and muted by the fog, splintering of glass, a dull thud, saw the flicker and growing glow of fire. Twas the Mexican restaurant, across from the old “Sally-Ann. Into the fire, with axes and hoses went the bold fireman, out of the kitchen old Molly the cook ran. Hairnet dangling, spoon in hand, with one last look, from the fire ran Molly the cook.
THE PAPER PLATE- Autumn wind was bracing, a walk into it I was facing- full of joy for I could feel inside the changing of the season…For what may not be believed, for odd reason, in the fallen, blowing leaves and city debris, came rolling on it’s side, down Wharf Street towards me- a sauce stained paper plate. At my feet, abruptly the plate ceased it’s journey. It fell food side up in the gutter, written clear on it was a message for me- “I told you, margarine, not butter” Goodbye from Marlene….Love to know your story, Marlene, should by chance we ever meet, blown together by the autumn winds that blow so cold down Wharf Street.
FIGHT OUTSIDE!!- Two large young men squared off in the park, seriously tattooed, muscled of bearing, the other to a duel, was loudly daring! The challenge presented, the lad glared back, then instead of fists or weapon, drew from his jeans pocket, a small bean bag, a “Hackey-Sack” Deftly they played, tossed it foot to knee, laughing,elbow to elbow and off to a third friend . What I feared was to be violence, was joyous, as fair as all such challenges ought end.
THE HALLWAY CARPET- A LEGEND- I loved the old building in which Worzel dwelt, though oft smelled Brussels- Sprouts wafting strong in the air. The carpet was sticky outside her hall door, there was a large, round hole, burned deep in the flooring out there. Legend has it a long past landlord’s daughter, put Brussels Sprouts on to boil, without adding water. And dark nights I heard, while relaxed in the bath, the slam of door, a scream in the night, for she fled with her pot, set it down on the brown hallway carpet that back then was white. If you visit “Tara”, when you smell Brussels Sprouts, remember the legend of the hole in the floor….avoid the hall on stormy mornings…smelly haunted old corridor.
THE CARRIAGE HORSE AT DUSK- Summer night pavement is hot. I wish to feel a bed of straw deep to my hocks. But have one more pull up busy Wharf Street , through the cool, blessed shady park, out to the docks. I make a horses wish at moonrise- “To be a colt again, free from age and pain” “I recall heading in as a team at harvest time, Deke and brother Paddy, gentle Big Beulah, and I the only gray”. “The field hands are good tired to, riding in for supper high on our load of hay” “Moon who hears all horses prayers- Let me pass in quiet pasture, strength to lift my face to one last rain”. “I will wait patient as I am well trained to… .”A carriage horse asks only- Let it not be on this street where I leave you”…