Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A poem for Minneapolis in the snow

Been reading Shel Silverstein and cowboy poets like Wally McRae lately. Led to this poem about Minneapolis in the snow:

I was waiting for the Lake Street bus -- this was several years ago
My jacket up around my ears, watching traffic come and go
When this old woman shuffled up -- no one you’d ever know
‘N said, “Tell me son, now aint this fun? The city in the snow?

Said, “I been in Lake Street 3-2 joints from Lyndale to the River Road
Ran tabs in every one of them -- God knows how much I owed
But Hamm’s or Schmidt or Grain Belt beer I never got a glow
That warmed me near the way I warm to the city in the snow.

“And I skinny dipped in Lake Calhoun one summer long ago
And saw Willie Mays play at Nicollet Park. The kid put on a show.
Shopped Lake Street Sears for all those years. It was sad to see it go
But you know what makes me happy, boy? The city in the snow.

“Me and ‘Husband Number Two’ -- we had a place upstairs on Lake that was hot as hell in summertime -- just about all we could take
But when winter came we’d pull up chairs, turn on the radio
Hold hands, look out the window, ‘n watch the city in the snow.

“And we used to slide at Powderhorn. Either that or we would skate in that park off Hiawatha -- the one down towards Thirty-Eighth
And afterwards we hurried home down streets of bungalows
Christmas trees in picture windows in the city in the snow.”

It was six at night. The vapor lights gave off a ghostly glow
“Here comes the bus, little late,” she said, “traffics got her running slow.
Go ahead. Hop on. Get moving, boy. You got places you should go.
Me? I’m waiting for the streetcar in the city in the snow.”

The weatherman’s on the TV now, putting on a fearful show
Full of sleet and snow and wind and cold, says, “Look out, she’s gonna blow.”
And when all that wintry hell busts loose, know where I’m going to go?
I’m gonna catch a Lake Street bus and watch the city in the snow.