Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Larimer after Dark
(Denver, 1986)

by Ben Rasnic

Skyscrapers poise
ornamented gargoyles
guarding the complex Infra-
structure of downtown
Denver, buffer zone

Corporate America
from the jagged edge
of inner city apocalypse.

Symphony of headlights
crescendos in pools
of black asphalt illuminating
Seventeenth Street
nightlife hopping
with bars and coffeehouses vibrant
with poetry and jazz humming
to the beat of the streets;

al fresco restaurants
on Larimer Square
catering upwardly mobile
young urban entrepreneurs
spinning wheels of fortune and rolling the dice
on blue chip stocks while chatting of
liquid assets and venture capital;

drinking margaritas
from petite marble tabletops;
Wall Street cowboys
shooting from the hip
on real estate developments
south of Littleton;

oblivious to the underbelly a few blocks north
where the buzz of neon fades
to burned out fluorescents
along gray fringe of vacant skid row

warehouses, havens
for transients, lost souls and winos
sucking blood from a bottle,
pawn shops and
pool rooms and a sign that reads
“No Children After Five O’clock”

seedy corner bars intersected
with switchblades,
Saturday Night Specials

revolving flashing lights
of ambulatory morgues;
shattered Budweiser bottles,
tossed cartons from a Mexican eatery;
picante sauce undistinguished
from dried blood;

where last call for alcohol
empties the Longhorn Saloon—patrons
pissing in the alleyways and one
drunken Indian loudly reclaiming
the Platte River for his tribe
back in Montana.

And barely visible in the smoke
and fog and haze one can almost
discern the ghosts of Bat Masterson
& Neal Cassady staggering gingerly
arm in arm toward distant railroad tracks
while others meander toward what

destiny of metal dumpsters
& cardboard shelters, oblivious
to the bellowing trumpets

of street prophets, dull
ache of cold night’s

placing a flirtatious

with the sunrise.

1 comment: