“Damp Streets in a Dry Town” by Timothy Resau

Countless streets going past, streets and buildings waiting, decaying; lining the city boulevards like tombstones leading into oblivion, waiting to be called into action, waiting in worn Victorian splendor for the next generation, perhaps a generation that’s passionate, that’s educated, perhaps (even) literate, a generation that understands and connects with the history of the streets. A people of reason, hope, and promise — a generation that cares about the obvious history and the human condition, one that understands the passage of time. One that need not flee. O the streets once paved, now pocked, filling with dirty rainwater, streets of ruin. Streets of rust. Streets of broken dreams. Streets of heartbreak. Streets needing a break. Streets stretching all the way from yesterday, when things were better, and the future held the promise of comfort and ease. Streets that now have lost their surprise. Streets of sorrow. Streets of doubt and debt. Streets for homeless, streets of the homeless. Streets of woe. Streets of opportunity paved in gold. Streets littered with diplomas. Streets asleep. Vacant streets. Streets for rent. Streets to suit tenants. Streets for sale, like guns for hire. Streets …. No trees, just streets, wall to wall streets, decked out in a shadowy gray. Somber streets eclipsed by cloudy days, and the watery drug haze of the morning after. Ah, the price ya pay. The cost of living in and for these streets. Streets riddled with bullet holes. Streets that have cost us life, streets that have taken more than they can give, streets that have been robbed of their souls. Streets dying from disease, streets in the bright shadow of progress, but weep with the tears of the paranoid. Streets that have lost their minds, streets flooded by rivers of cheap alcohol, streets that have bleed to death, streets that have died from sorrowful memories, have exploded from within. Streets that have lost their future to drugs, streets that carry the shadows of your parents and grandparents, streets that will never see your children. Weeds continue to grow curbside, next to the broken glass and empty bullet shells and broken needles. Images of fallen bodies remain outlined in chalk. Streets have become our rivers of death. Streets that crack from memory overload. Ah, the story of the American street has become a bad read — a forgotten tale. America’s memory’s being eroded, chipped away brick by brick until all that’s left is rumble.

Pavements, endless, cracked pavements littered with memories of better times, when cash was king and life had a purpose, and you were there to be noticed. You actually had meaning. You had class and were going to be someone special. You vote counted and people cared. You held your head high, stepped with pride … and you never thought of getting high…. Pavements, and the countless masses moving side to side in a hurried rush to keep a step ahead, to not lose your balance, trip or fall … countless herds rushing on in a mad rush to catch the No. 29 WalbrookJunction, and home safely before the colored eye — a little radiation with the local news.

—Goodnight, ladies, and gentlemen.

— Goodnight, boys, and girls.

— Goodnight, David.

— Goodnight, Chet.

— Goodnight.

— Goodnight, hon.

Timothy Resau has been internationally published. Recently he’s appeared in Raw Dog Press, Sideways Poetry Magazine, Sylvia Magazine, The Beautiful Space, Loch Raven Review, Rye Whiskey Review, Better than Starbucks, Poetry Quarterly, Babel Tower Notice Board, forthcoming in Burrow, and Fictional Café. He’s currently in coastal North Carolina at work on the novel Dirty Blonde.

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