Sunday, January 09, 2011

On the Street

Street Art
—Photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento

—Joseph Hurtado, Sacramento

Street Vendors
whistling on the girls in the tight jeans
whose hips sway through in the swing
on the Eighties wash of blue bottom
and white crush top

The girls get pushed a bit to the smile
cornered on the quick
in the jewelry district
in the grid
where the gold swings and the platinum blings

The vendors sitting side by side and sweating out
the day
one on to the other
together in the green can newsstand
sellers in tight pants belly over hang
bent on stools too small
behind sweated magazines
and claiming their corners
The paired groseros remain behind the clipped
curtain of magazines
“En Vivo”
“Todo Anal”
and the Spanish-written Archie comic strips
while others stand beside their piece of green
The stands are no more than a sweat can
with two
barn doors
their merchandise
a cheap-to-the color print consortium
mags are yellowed even before hitting the streets
the candies are second hand
the gum too hard to
and the cigarettes are carried over the borders
to circumvent California tax
it’s a fold-out business
4 by 6 by 3, length by height by depth
tight and two men shoulder to shoulder
sweating on the rub
the day keeps at a slow pay
While on 7th and Broadway
cheap lip smacking air kisses
and street smooth eye winks step out
a thing Luis finds easy
he charges toward you
in a toothy smile
ostrich boots
and a buckle from Juarez
He finds himself above the standard
A 5’ 2” at a 6’ walk
he makes his mark of sales
and continues
he sometimes finger-snaps

tourists get drawn in
then repulsed by the panting
a wet tongue on a wife’s arm
the tug on a girlfriend’s hand

I don’t say hi
but like a veterano
my back remains

against the wall
from three hours of walk
sweaty burgers and a bottled coke
and the hundreds on the pass
but none that notice
they know the blocks ahead
and have memorized the street blocks behind
their heads stiff against the sidewalks they walk
I cross out and head out
eyes looking forward
and not on a down tilt
but sometimes on a side scene
with mental notes and photo speech
I was born to this city
and now that it sleeps
I feel there’s less room to stretch out my thoughts
my head
here goes on the down tilt
eyes to the back sounds cracking from one building
to the other in a tunnel of near twin towers
crouching and stealing each minute



Medusa readers will be saddened to hear that Sacramento poet Elsie Whitlow Feliz passed away in the early morning of Saturday, January 8, after several months of illness. Our condolences to her family.