Wednesday, June 15, 2005

On Jefferson Street
By David Hedges

I shall set forth for somewhere,
I shall make the reckless choice.
Robert Frost

Two trucks pass my window each morning at nine,
Bringing Budweiser in, taking Blitz Weinhard out.
It's nice to know taverns are still doing fine
In the face of inflation, depression and doubt.

Where else does free enterprise flourish replete
With the devil-may-care found on Jefferson Street?

The Goose Hollow Inn rings with laughter at five,
Stirring questions my conscience would rather avoid:
Is work my sole reason for being alive?—
And is life my excuse for remaining employed?
I flush my responses from bushes I beat
And they pop up like pigeons on Jefferson Street.

When Porsches break down they are cradled in slings,
Never hoisted with hooks like your commoner makes.
These bumperless babies are delicate things
Driven mostly by leadfooted nifties and rakes.
My window affords me a fine grandstand seat
For the Porsche parade along Jefferson Street.

From Suicide Bridge on a clear day you see
(With a ten-power telescope held to your eye)
The red-lettered words on the movie marquee:
Inside, JOY! they proclaim to the world from on high.
I drink to the failure of those who'd delete
All the X-rated scenes seen on Jefferson Street.

A block up the way a man hunkers and stares
At the sidewalk, oblivious even to cold,
Adjusting the cap and the muffler he wears
But unable to fathom the fact that he's old.
He's someone you recognize, someone you meet
When you walk in December on Jefferson Street.

My maple tree changes to gold in a blink,
Then it's bare, then with new leaves and full growth and old.
I see what I look at, I know what I think,
But I keep precious little of what's mine to hold.
I watch as the seasons slip past incomplete
Through my time-machine window on Jefferson Street.

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