San Luis Obispo, California

Higuera Street
People stacked like pancakes
Farmers market
Smokey scents of BBQ and roasted corn
Hover lightly above the crowd
Motion but no order
Smiles because the 9 to 5 is over
Families melting in a sea of youth
College kids getting wasted on cheap booze

America Baby
Caught in the middle of California dreaming

There is a drummer in the street
Drawing each person closer with his beat
Their footsteps falling slowly into pace
As if their shoes are filling up with concrete
Until
They stop
And only their right toes start tapping
As if cemented feet were free and hinged at the balls of their feet

Heads move up and down
Ventriloquist dummies created by the sounds
Prisoners of beat
People wanting their own sticks to compete

Vicarious adventures
The essence of survival — for some
The others just do what they want
The beat stops and the cemented shoes unglue
People begin to move

The window off to the right, there is another band
The bass player and drummer mesmerize their new fans
Tribal thumping disguised as rock n’ roll
They’ve tapped into IT — you know?

November night is cool and calm
Before too long the crowds are gone
And the rhythm and beats thump on

The new day comes with coastal breeze
It’s raining
Drizzle and grey sky make perfect Friday mornings
Kruezbergs Coffee
Hot food and authors
I order a Dante
Or should I order Salinger or Bukowski?
I can’t imagine a rainy day and Bukowski
Besides I’d need some whiskey in my coffee

I’ll be Dante in SLO this morning.

— J.M.

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