Monday, April 25, 2011

On the Foxhunter's Dying

The great Foxhunter, at eighty-five, died the other day;
On a sullen afternoon, he was laid away.
His fox horn, moaning loudly, will call the hounds no more;
The hills are rather empty without his tune to score.

Come an autumn night on the top of Billy Goat Hill,
Men will gather to hear dogs run and close in for the kill.
But with horns raised to their lips, they'll know that he's not there.
For his sharp, clear saddening note will not pierce the cold night air.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Down on Third

“Down on Third,” they say;
not First, but Third,
not quite the burger, taco franchises,
fancy banks and strip malls
of First,
but Third, not quite in:

Antique shops grown dusty baubles
cluttering the shelves;
music shops with noiseless instruments
hanging from the walls, selling
guitar strings to acne-scarred, straggly-haired young men;
music lesson studios with tinny piano sounds,
off-key guitars and saxophones,
young voices, all muffled wafting into the street sounds;
trophy shops with dusty, six-foot high examples of the craft,
standing tower-like in the store windows;
bridal shops with white-turned-gray flowing dresses
hanging on the headless mannequins;
old small restaurants, family-owned and mostly empty;
doll collections without their former young girl owners;
bars advertising karaoke nights
with dingy smells emanating from the dark foreboding
behind open doors;
empty shops with papered windows
from owners long gone.

Down on the south end of Third
a garish sign suspends over the avenue
of dreams, only dreams
to make sure everyone knows
they are down on Third.

Wednesday summer nights down on Third:
parking stalls reserved for old cars refurbished;
old guys with old cars
fixed up like they were in
twenty-nine, thirty-eight, forty-seven, fifty-two,
especially fifty-seven Chevrolets,
mingling with
young Latinos with old cars
fixed up to be low-riders hopping on demand,
smoking, joking, looking under the hoods,
at suspensions
down on Third.

Thursday nights down on Third:
sidestreet farmers’ market tent stalls,
dirty white tent tops covering
fruits and vegetables in wooden and plastic bins,
tamales, gyros, kettle corn, brownies and candies,
flowers in plastic buckets,
assorted crafts with
folks roaming through the stalls
smelling, touching, picking,
handing over cash to hands
over worn wood tables
soon to be stuffed into the vans behind the tents
with the unsold goods and produce.

Folks down on Third:
not quite in and not quite out –
although a few down and out but
not quite mad, lolling on the street benches
smoking, drawing sips from paper-bagged bottles,
mostly cheap wine –
others just folks,
not good, not bad,
trying to make a living, a dollar or so,
just like most of us,
down on Third.