Today I drove downtown,
had artwork to drop off –
had to find the right building.
Downtown Orlando is not
New York or Los Angeles,
it’s pretty easy to manuver EXCEPT for the sarcastic one way streets
who snicker when they know they have you trapped in a city force field
and the streets hold the parking spaces hostage.
I circumvented blocks two and three times,
right street, wrong way –
braking behind gawkers, and half filled city buses.
circling and waiting for that “red sea parting” moment
in which a building would bust its’ seams
exposing the place where I needed to be
and my gray Sierra chariot would stop and
a valet would open my door and carry my art
with white cotton gloves to the waiting public.
A wish unfulfilled
as I parked 4 blocks from my venue
lugging ziplocked art up the avenue
trying to find store front numbers
on the tiny mapquest sheet that only depicted a star
on a flatlined street –
I officially had the downtown Orlando Monday Blues.
Passing rough, bushy characters who looked like they protected
Mick Jagger at Altamont.
Passing executives in their noose suits,
foreigners with cameras and smiles,
gapped teeth children,
Buddhists and Viet Nam vets,
but no nuns, or not in a habit anyway.
I watched an old woman feeding bits of bread to sparrows,
five little brown birds surrounded
her gnarled hands with arthritic fingers.
There was a man soliciting with a sign because he was “impeared” –
his impairment was spelling
I could have my own sign for that –
Police on bikes wrote tickets,
was that Brian Feldman trying to be a city bench?
One man (?) wore large spike heels and a flirty sun hat
with a flowered broach on his chartruse tank top,
(or maybe it was a woman in need of a shave?)
The laughing sun was held at bay in part
by the taller buildings – it was still early
so at least I was not under the complete solar microscope
while heading up Church Street.
The funny thing was, home at my desk
if I had read my email thoroughly
I would have noticed yesterday they had changed the day
from Monday to Wednesday.
But this was Monday, Monday, a day for downtown blues.
Lugging and looking
lugging and looking.
The young ladies at the drop off point were sympathetic to
an old stressed out lady,
out of breath-
out of place-
out of patience with the city and herself-
But as I made my way back down the blocks
back toward my truck with the hour time limit on the meter
I was glad to briefly have been there,
among ‘city–fied worker bees’,
to absorb this bustling image of people and cars in a hurry,
of buildings humming with demands,
of hungry mouths being fed at the shelter,
of children giggling and wailing at a daycare playground,
of honking and the wonderful aroma of garlic rolls
coming from that small Italian restaurant.
It’s good to be among culture and art,
expensive boutiques and lawyers and
banks and snobs and slobs and body odor.
I felt light, Ginsberg-esque as he took
his stroll through a Supermarket in California;
focused on images,
of “aisles of husbands”,
because I was shoulder to shoulder at times
with someone’s spouse or their secret lover.
I passed the abused wife, covering her bruise in long sleeves
on a summer morning,
the man in need of a root canal and
no means to pay for it.
I was holding Ginsberg’s hand,
as we both wanted to shout, “
"Who killed the pork chops? What price bananas? Are you my Angel?"
The morning was still new,
all the jackhammers and drills of city music
had a nice Dharma beat .
I swear we saw Walt Whitman on Magnoilia and Church,
he was asking for a ride to the “Y” at Thornton and Mills
to ponder the road less traveled.
I waved goodbye to Allen
who was thumbing a ride to College Park,
And I drove home knowing I was not alone,
happy to be headed back to Abbesworld;
a place of quiet,
of birds and wildlife,
A place to shake off the downtown Orlando Monday Blues
by threading it through the hook on my fishing pole
and letting the line go slack when a catfish swallowed it whole –
I reeled it in and the catfish jumped off and spit the blues out on the ground,
“worse thing I ever tasted – stick with bread”, he spat three more times,
kicked me in the shins and went diving back to the lake,
I knew then this was where I belonged…