Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Please Drive Carefully

Monday, July 24, 2006

Driving Thru Turtle Time

Right up here Court Street is real wide.
Not wide enough for four lanes.
But still real wide.
See, I was heading north in the red car.
Heading for the Pierce Street Coffee Works.
Feeling the need for a cup of espresso.
Feeling the need to talk to my buddies.
That was Wednesday.
You know that day that it got real hot.
Maybe one hundred and three degrees.

I had already passed the Mary Elizabeth Day Nursery.
I went there for four years.
After school and in the summers.
I remember apple sauce and stewed tomatoes.
The Bible Lady came once a week.
Story time was everyday.
Moses and the Seven Dwarves
chasing me on the playground.
Falling down and breaking my arm.
In 1954 the space between two clouds
was filled with flying cigars.
Walking home the long way to avoid
the bullies and bad dogs with big shiny teeth.

You know that empty lot
on the corner north of the nursery
and the flat roofed house next to it.
You know that spot.
There use to be little grocery stores there..
They use to put their fruit outside on tables.
Right there on the sidewalk.
We use to try to steal the apples.
It was tough.
The guy with the moustache was always watching us.

I was driving north of the Super Mercado Latino.
Remember when that was Polykoffs?

I was past Ruby's Fashions.
There is an empty lot by it now.

I was past El Herradero with it's window signs
bragging about it's tortas, tacos and menudo.

I was past Marty's Tap and the big mural.
Lewis, Clarke and the giant fish.

I drove past eight blocks of houses,stores,
bars, churches and empty lots.

I drove past all this in the red car.
I was listening to "The Town I Live In" by Thee Midnighters.
That was Little Willie G's old group.
That old music brings out all the old ghosts of people and places.
And they are there with all the current people and places.
All of them defying some kind of regulation of times and spaces.

Well I was still heading north in the red car,
when I spotted it in the middle of the street.

It was just south of 14th Street.
Where Court Street makes that S turn.
Where the Kum & Go is now.
Where the 7-11 use to be.
Where the old haunted house use to be.
Where the victorian mansion use to be.

It was walking across the street.
A green turtle crossing Court street.
Head to tail it was about a foot long.

I had to slam on my brakes to avoid crushing it.
I stayed there till it got out of my lane
and was in the middle of the south bound lane.
Just driving thru turtle time.

I took a left on 14th.
A right on Dale.
Another right onto Ingleside.
Past another vacant lot on the corner.
There use to be a corner store there.
The owner lived upstairs.
I can almost remember his name.
I do remember that he let us charge our groceries there
and then we would pay at the end of the month.
Then a left right there onto 17th.
A right on Jackson.
Left on 19th.
Right on Pierce.
Half a block more.
Great parking spot.
Espresso ready when I walk in.

I think the turtle made it across.
I drove that way again the next day.
Just driving thru turtle time.
With no green spot on Court Street
Court Street is real wide up here.