5TH AND PINNN’S
The lights of the city look much brighter than normal. They spin, almost unattached above the streets. It must’ve rained earlier, I don’t remember that. Oh yes- the clickity clack clack. Yes of course. My left hand won’t stop shaking. Stop. Some loose piece of metal rattles around the inside; no one notices but me. Last stop. My first step out releases that simple fraught immediately. It’s a good thing. To the left (still, the place will probably be standing there erect as ever in 200 years): the Persian smoke shop. They sell a goddamn SINGLE pack for over $5; how do they get away with that? Two grown men roam about inside, no doubt one or both of them are stoned. The figures are hard to make out through the reflective glass, what with the next door titty bar neon and all. This place thinks of itself as “high class”. We both know that’s some shit though. I smell coke and eucalyptus lotion. A hat wearing chap is pounding a smoke directly in front of the doors. Is he running with the nats of this terribly glitzy place? Security normally looks more menacing than this: a skinny white pole emerging from this by-all-means scraggly beard. Nothing wrong with that. Thin thin air tastes so good. Crossing the street brings back some nerves. Folks get hit by cars a lot more than you’d think. Not just dogs and cats and deer and frogs. Hop up, almost step in someone’s very orange puke. Find a fucking trashcan. Plant. Something. Someone’s signed a deal to turn this Prohibition-Era brick complex into a theatre. Completely fine with me. Who the hell has beef with theatres? Pork. Blue upon blue upon blue approaches quickly. A darkened shoulder knocks mine and I somehow snicker and laugh all together. I wonder if they’ve got blue in that place? I could eat a blue with blue. Maybe throw on that song from the 60’s San Fransisco scene “Blue”. What a time that was… mercy. Blue history won’t go away. Every event tarnished, every person drenched in it. The scar in my arm keeps dripping transparent fluids. The revolution, the blue revolution, is long gone. And not in the chronological sense, but it feels even more distant than the blue Reganomics. It shouldn’t… ever, but it does. I’m in it NOW though! The establishment of today spawns the same frustrations of the boomers; however, the ballgame has been severely overhauled. Even pseudo-revolutions aren’t possible anymore. Blue revolutions ignore the base camp. Speaking of blue- I’m here. Someone better find me a glass of water, keep that whiskey away from me…
This place is already giving me that nightmarish feeling. I’m tripping over myself looking for these folks. It smells like sad pathetic falsehoods in here. Snuggling up to the counter-top, “GLASS of… WATER.. Please”. I’m yelling over the shit these people call either “house” or “techno”; whichever they claim it is, it isn’t. The ceiling looks at least 500 feet above my waist. No surprise there; “it’s all part of the process”, I’m muttering to myself silently. A group of brunette twenty somethings gather to my left. Professionals. The drunk one isn’t speaking any language I’ve ever heard, and her face is… well… droopy. Sagging down into her chest. That’s it. Make your presence known; snatch up that attention, it’s what you want. What you NEED. Fucks. And to my right: a sad sad sight. The type of person who would attach onto anything that spoke to it. Head low. Eyes a wandering despondence. Ahh- here we are. Haahaha… the keeper makes me giggle like a fool. At least he’s having fun. I turn around and the site of raw uncut bar/club nightlife absolutely worries me. Not in a “I’m not safe here” way; more of a “is this what we’ve become?” way. These Goddamn people. I’d say they need to get fucked, but most of them probably are on a regular basis. No- they all need a good three hour sitdown with 2001. That’ll (hopefully) straighten them out. Why am I here? Oh yes. To the stairs I stroll. My body glides lower to the ground than normal, like I’m somehow traveling under the “gone-out” radar. The strobes around the dance floor, and over the DJ’s booth are enough to make me vomit. I’m beginning to feel it. Get out! Those big towers pulsating down on me with their beady lights going do… do… do-do-do. I close my eyes only for a moment; immediately bump into someone. Holy shit: I know you, man. This thick red beard starts talking about how he’s been making music for this troupe, but it’s frustrating because people wanna adapt his songs to their own style, he doesn’t like it, but he tolerates it cause it’s music and music’s the SAVIOR, but he’s about to quit and do his own thing, and blah blah; it was interesting at first. But… you know, he pisses himself over John Ford; so that explains that. Finally, the stairs that look to have no end. “In these situations you should always watch your drink (not shrink)”… I know I should… “Yeah, well you haven’t been. Who knows what’s in that water”… Shut-up, if I someone wants to give me a helping free of charge I’m not stopping them… Kk? And the march to an upper floor begins. Something really fucking cool better be waiting for me up there…
STEP OUT TO PINNN, BRIGHT MOON
This had better be quick. Climbing only exacerbates these… pulses. Weighing me down, but somehow still levitating nanometers off the stairs. They’re longer than I expected. The more I look down, the more pieces to the puzzle I see. Each and every person down there composes a larger picture: this place. This room to the building, the building to the block, the block to city, and so forth and so on. On and on. Never ending; the universe burns white hot. It burns and here I trudge, very much so IN IT. The top at last. Up here, the panicking starts. I need fresh air. “Just take care of this. Quickly.” I find who I’m looking for in a sea of darkened figures and still darker faces. I always disliked how windowless lots of these places are. I wonder what the moon looks like right now? A far too drunk woman with a skirt ruins my day… no… night-dreaming fast, as she headbutts my shoulder and spills all over the floor. She keeps pace with me, screaming something in my ear about how she’s “sorry”; which inevitably turns into I’m an “asshole” because of my not caring about the incident, or HER. There’s a 38% chance she’ll be taken advantage of tonight. The round table looks to be spinning non stop. It couldn’t be?!!? My lungs clog with second hand everything BUT smoke. I can’t take it. I only visit for a little bit, get my business done and head out. I’m utterly accustomed to the blue now. Back down the stairs. Swing right. Avoid the frustrated red-bearded lumberjack producer, the brunettes catch me staring, the drunk girl sneers, the critters scurry. As I come to the doors, excitement blasts. They unveil the outside world, not so much to my eyes, but to my brain, heart, and lungs. Nothing feels better right now. Fishing in my left breast pocket, I pull out smokes; 6 or 7 sticks and two pliable minis. Both’ll do. I’m walking desperately to find the moon, and sure fucking enough, it’s full and glowing gloriously. It leaves me touched and perfectly content. All that drinking and partying back there, the BLUE, none of that matters. This is it. All the way across the street, a homeless man stares into the night sky; he’s doing the exact same thing I’m doing. I wonder what he’s thinking. I sure would love to get onto a rooftop right now. But I’m no Peter Parker. I’ve emptied out this cockroach, time slows. I’m going to finish my 1Ups on my walk back to Father Hennepin and 5th. One more stop to go… What a beautiful night.
Everything’s swirling now. The beautiful night sky, its stars, circling in the great great distance. Buildings peak up, pierce the colorless space; they’re swaying with the breeze. The trees of Urbania. Two very pretty women hold hands, stopping every once and a while to snuggle up to one another and/or kiss under a sign, in a doorway. Come to think of it, I’m not seeing any singular individuals, like myself, walking these streets besides the “crazies”. A tall white man with glasses stumbles his way in my general direction; he isn’t homeless. He mutters something to me as he walks past me. Could’ve sworn he said something about “fly” and “the easy path”. I turned backwards and got a good look at his face, he is sheepish and resists looking me in the eye. He retreats back to HIS path, wherever he goes; I wonder if it’s the “easy path”?? I turn left to sharply cut through an alleyway. The road ahead is surprisingly light, the building’s open up for me, the full moonlight seeps in. I can almost see everything; obviously there are some shadows. I’m calm, strangely enough. Comfortable. Some scurrying behind a trashcan startles me, but “as long at it isn’t HIM” I tell myself. Reaching the end, I turn back to glance at the long hallway of brick. It is long, much longer than I remembered. I see the little being which was making all the noise; it wasn’t the rats, it was a cat. A little black and brown cat. It’s glowing eyes jump out in the darkness, it looks like it’s getting larger. It continues stalking, but won’t stop looking at me. I could’ve sworn for a second it walked up the wall a little bit, like Spiderman, before jumping down. With a tiny whimper I hear it, Mmmrrrrww. I hope it survives for a good while. Emerging out to 1st. Scattered humans everywhere. Scurrying. The giant Center looks down at me. Fuck You! You’re no God around here! Ur a has-been… at best!! Bastard. Something trendy is going down at the Black Stared Building tonight. The outside sidewalk is full of hipsters, girls with scarfs, and Reptiles. A biker almost clips me as she zippps by, with goggle on, the whole deal. I’m looking for a group… they said they’d be here…. spotted. Not much time for chit-chat. “Are you goin’ to FF.Ave tonight?” No, I’m not. I’d rather watch a circus in the Center, as much as I hate him. “unfortunate”. Not really. Saying my goodbyes I walk north-easterly. There’s a German place on my right. One more German beer sounds like a good way to retire. It’s practically breathing good food, music, and people. It is dark in there, need to jeep my cool like I have been tonight. Can’t even pronounce the name on the sign; walk in to the sound of early Stones. No Hell’s Angels here tonight. Did they really do that? If Works was blue, this place is downright yellow. The German flag, actually. Yellow, LOTS of yellow, black for the darkness, with speckles of orange. Warm colors. The bar stretches for almost a mile. I grab a seat that’s still warm, and catch a glance of myself in the mirror. My eyes look fucked, blackened and rusty and droopy. Head shaven fresh. One more beer…
TRAIN, PINNN, GONE
The bartender serves me up a dark, bleak beer. The kind that speaks out of the glass. No where near shoulder to shoulder in here, yet it feels crowded. The drunken hordes lean on my shoulders, on my head. Noisy. 1973? Maybe. Grand Funk is waiting around the corner; waiting for The Stones to retire for the evening. Stumbling a little now; the bathroom’s a shithole. This guy looks like a Jake; the Jake who drives a big oversized pickup and doesn’t use turn signals or courtesy; a guy anyone with a brain could make fun of right to his face without him even realizing what’s going down. Ribs… about ready to jut out of… AHH!! My veins feel like Interstate Freeways. There’s no reason for me to pound another beer. Walking back: flickering faces, wide-open landscapes out of reach, the bouncing floor. I put probably too much cash on the bar, say thanks that sounds more like “Dshaanksh”, and leave with some people I don’t know saying (and waving) goodbye to me. Back out to the streets. They’re really taking on a personality of their own, now. Each and every one of them. Whispering, or yelling, into my ears. Telling me just exactly what they think about the people roaming on their faces and legs. Most of it isn’t malicious at all. They enjoy being here, breathing here, living here, as much as Red-Beard and I do. Cranking my neck back, the buildings speak volumes of history and culture. They’re beautiful; like a Northern Pine forest or a breezy Ocean scene all the way to the horizon. They breathe too, like the streets. They shift, mingle, speak to one another. Spots of orange and yellow, warm colors, hold steady in their faces. Lift HER, pull HER. Like dozens and dozens of eyeballs burning. It makes me scratch my own two eyes. Removing my worn and used hands from them, I see a train. Precision bound into metal. Tipping my hat to a man with a Greyish-White mustache, the platform moves underneath my feet. From here, the skyline hits me like a ton of bricks. Urban Affection, Whitman used to call it. Leaves Of Grass. Satirist, essayist, thinker, observer. What an influence. Do I have it? Affection?? Right now: YES. Very few things in the world would make me dislike this place. It is beautiful, mysterious, and familiar at all once. My heart goes to its people; people common but special. Step onto the wobbling floor, speeding away into the night. Off for now, but no doubt I’ll be back.