Last February my sweet S & I had owned our tiny little shoestring coffeehouse-slash-bookstore for five months, and had dealt with faulty wiring, nonexistent plumbing, nasty carpet, drunkards, a change for the worse in the state's funding for mental health care and recovery clinics, the onset of a war and the "downturn" (like it's a submarine and not a stone falling) of the economy, a crackdown on head-shops that affected the glassblowers who sub-let the studio attached to the 1910's house where we had our business, and a car on fire in the lot beside our building. It was a wild ride last year. I would shoot that crazy-eyed horse if I saw it coming again.
Location, location, location, they tell you for a business. But what if the location changes? What if the world changes?
I can take no credit for the following. It was written by S during the long cold days of February last year, standing alone at the black counter in our little high-ceilinged wood-floored fire-in-the-hearth coffeehouse bookstore sandwiched between the concert hall and the methadone clinic. It closed last summer. I have no regrets, except for the camellia trees. They were beautiful and I miss them.
Tattered men clothes in trash bags slung over shoulders
Totter through potholes behind the concert hall.
In the alley Shoeless Tim pushes his wheelchair along
Sleeping bag riding in style as if it is the crippled one
He wears a cowboy hat and boots
Two sizes too small by the look
And has trouble walking with his crippled back and all.
Little rain dimples oil slick puddles.
Camellias in full bloom drop spent blossoms in drifts
Covering the beer cans candybar wrappers potato chip bags
Covering the Oregon Spring vodka bottles and cast off polyester slacks
The flowers fall in drifts covering drunk Anna
Flowered tennis shoeless toothless muttering
Laughing because her husband owns mailboxes etcetera
So when you want help mailing things
You can just go to hell because
Move on you're scaring away
Both my customers.
The flowers fall
In drifts they fall
And maybe falling long enough will cover all the ground
And maybe falling long enough will cover the concert hall
Will cover the junkies quarreling over you stole seventy dollars off my food stamps
Will cover the huge pick-up trucks with idiot stickers
Will cover the bombs germs gas hate
Will cover the sound of mothers crying among the tanks
Will cover the bulldozers crushing homes and orchards
Will cover the children with rifles and suicide vests
Maybe falling long enough they will cover the war
The flowers falling in drifts
They fall they fall
And maybe falling long enough