Exiled From Main Street by Anonymous

Page 1

Exiled from Main Street the autobiography of a Midwest town Written by Anonymous Published by Philistine Press



Table of contents

Clash City Rockers When we were five years old… The Keeper’s Tale The Coolerator Plant If Mary Tyler Moore had really lived here Reason #1 to not believe in god 1977 - Rocket to Russia; Lust for Life; The Clash; P-Funk Earth Tour Know Your Rights King of the Road The Holiday Boys After hours party The Holiday Girls Julie’s been working for the drug squad When everyone who ever knew you is dead it will be as if you’ve never existed Inforzato’s money talks, bullshit walks Charlie don’t surf & we think he should nothing is the same except the skyline at night The Last Picture Show Unsent postcard to a woman in New York found in the left breast pocket of his funeral suit Cleaning Day A Drive-by Memory


a two minute play with no dialogue Footnotes Train in Vain


Clash City Rockers we were born in this nowhere town, with no heroes, stuck on some nowhere highway with too many excuses and too few exits. the last one to cry was always the mother. she had too many worries lined up and ready to take over. in order to make sure the children were fed she made herself stand hard against the losers and shakers because every dollar counts when you’re flat out of love and your belly’s full of empty promises from all the men you’ve been pawned to. what I remember most, after the sun beat its way out of reach: the smell of cigarettes, wet clothes and stale perfume drifting up from the downstairs apartment.


When we were five years old‌ When we were five years old, there were mountains with imagined lands, on the other side where everything was possible, where everyone knew magic, spoke in colorful tongues; we were the explorer/conquerors, determined to tame what we couldn’t understand, determined to keep it brand new. cars muscle through greasy streets, one hundred dollar bill is enough to turn a boy into a man.


The Keeper’s Tale* he saysyeah, that fucker should’ve known better she tosses the wet towel into the sink, closes her eyes, turns around he saystwo more days and it wouldn’t have mattered a bit her hands begin to sweat for no reason, she starts to swallow her pride he saysnow the poor bastard’s out of work and already three months behind on the mortgage she shakes her head in agreement but her mind just walked right out the door he saysI need a beerwhat’s for dinner- tomorrow’s gonna be a bitch the rush of a river muffles his voice; she’s gone and this time for good

*directs and performs work to prepare for casting and flushing a blast furnace


The Coolerator Plant the smell of turpentine, the feel of ash smoothed into the sign of the cross mumbled Latin and a railroad spike trembles; a white sun winks us awake and turns the air uncertain and silent unwilling to let us take a breath this train leaves gray in our veins fills us with smoke and steam then drowns the light from our eyes


If Mary Tyler Moore had really lived here she would have taken a job as a waitress or maybe something in the more respectable secretarial/office worker profession, a real career girl onherwaysomewhereforsuregirl she’d save her money, hide it from Rob in the bottom of a sugar canister no, flour because she knows there is no way he could ever find it being only interested in dinner work breakfast work fucking on demand sleep work because she is patient, she would bide her time, wait for that just right moment when she knew there was enough money stashed away grab the next bus to anywhere, leave a note for him taped on the refrigerator she wouldn’t be angry not really that wouldn’t be like her


Reason #1 to not believe in god He hates this town and every time he speaks of it you can see his eyes roll and a smirk spread across his face. He closes the Steel Plant for kicks, tells Gabriel it was either that or flood the Mississippi, says he’s bored with water, wants something quieter, longer lasting. Something that would move people, shake them and start some action is the way he puts it. This town never was sharp but word spread wild and the mean breath that blows over Superior fills our lungs as bars empty and wives leave husbands grind their heels in black dirt and wait for the miracle that never happens.


1977 - Rocket to Russia; Lust for Life; The Clash; P-Funk Earth Tour Gary Gillmore Faces Firing Squad, First US Execution in 10 Years Missy went all the way says its time to go home now but somehow we’re not ready enough to make up the right excuses “Son of Sam” Killer Is Arrested In NYC Last call means nothing anymore - give us enough rope someone will roll and we’ll all pitch in to pay the tab


Know Your Rights a public service announcement with guitar: never return to the scene of the crime, it opens possibilities better left for the dying keep everything of value to yourself except the easily identifiable slough those off on the losers and naïve they never know to quit trying so fucking hard guilt can be deceptive, it is a hand gliding down a woman’s thigh - a click when the hammer is cocked


King of the Road Specifications: Wheelbase, inches: 108.0; Weight, lbs: 3,200; Number built: 1251 Base price: $4,473 Standard Engine Type: ohv V-8; Displacement, cid: 428; Fuel system: 1 x 4bbl.; Compression ratio: 10.6:1; Horsepower @ rpm: 335 @ 5200; Torque @ rpm: 440 @ 3400 Representative Performance: 0-60 mph, sec: 6.0; 1/4 mile, sec. @ mph: 14.3 @ 100 Kelly was riding shotgun, white shorts, black top bra strap just off her left shoulder more than ready for the world to open up, she refused to be swallowed whole it never really was a challenge and everyone knew it would end in her favor


The Holiday Boys Tony-boy- busboy tonight there are two moons one is full, the other half asleep lying in the water Jeff-Bob- bar back two birds fly a straight line to the sun it’s easier to see the clouds when our mouths are dry Cody- room service waiter moonlight casts a shadow into the sea after midnight our glasses will be emptied again


After hours party Tony-boy acted like he thought he was slick but once you got to know him you knew it was a routine. He always ended up alone at the end of the night, no matter how hard he tried to play it. Missy played it like she knew what men wanted. She didn’t realize she would soon be married then a quickie divorce after an even shorter affair. Tony-boy didn’t know it either and if he had he wouldn’t have cared. He thought he saw his chance and warned us: by the time I count ten you best be longoneouttaheremotherfuckers one: dead bolt two: bodies wasted three: names that were forgotten before the drinks were poured down the sink four: into thirty-two equals eight again equals two and once more equals bored five: more minutes and she won’t care who she wakes up with


The Holiday Girls Shirley-bartender the truth of a flower will spill from its petals after the falling rain Becky-popover girl three birds on a wire there are two different songs but only one sun Beth & Michelle-hostesses sky slowly darkens the sound of a water jug cracking awakens our thirst


Julie’s been working for the drug squad i she’s the woman with red spiked hair, pierced lip and four point GPA, who crushed on Joey Ramone - carried papers in her purse and knew all the lyrics to every song on Doolittle. ii works 8-4:30, walks to the train, never takes no for an answerthe joke’s on you, she knows it but never lets on iii in ‘82 dropped out of college to paint the world red - lived in New York until the colors started to fade then moved to Montreal with a promise and $375.00 iv her mother was a dancer, her father told her stories about how they met in Paris after the war - how she was too beautiful to stick around for long v she walks out of the crowd, hair slicked back from rain - everyone notices but no one says a word


When everyone who ever knew you is dead it will be as if you’ve never existed there’s dirt under our nails mud on our shoes we get stoned in the parking lot someone lost their lighter someone forgot to buy beer someone got killed


Inforzato’s crushed singles and the odd five but mostly nickels and dimes stacked in puddles watching crooked and barbaric men get tended by the barmaid with wasted hair and a mouthful of sin. 1: Start out going SOUTHEAST on S 8TH ST/8TH ST S/MN-55 E toward PORTLAND AVE S/CR-35 S. 0.1 mi 2: Turn RIGHT onto PORTLAND AVE S/CR-35 S. 0.3 mi 3: Turn RIGHT onto E 15TH ST/15TH ST E. Continue to follow 15TH ST E. 0.1 mi 4: Turn LEFT onto E 16TH ST. 0.1 mi 5: Merge onto I-94 W/US-52 N via the ramp on the LEFT. 2.9 mi 6: Take the WASHINGTON AVE N exit, EXIT 229, toward CR-81/W BROADWAY AVE. 0.3 mi 7: Turn LEFT onto N WASHINGTON AVE/WASHINGTON AVE N/CR-152 N. 0.2 mi 8: Turn RIGHT onto W BROADWAY AVE/CR-66 E. 0.1 mi 9: Turn LEFT onto 2ND ST N. 0.2 mi 10: End at 22nd Ave N & N 2nd St Minneapolis, MN 55411 Estimated Time: 8 minutes Estimated Distance: 4.22 miles


money talks, bullshit walks betty lives upstairs of the bar, everyone says she’ll do it for money - a wink, a nudge, a dare and a ten cent phone call, won’t change facts: all the one way streets in this one horse city lead to the same conclusions last call gets called and you’re locked, loaded and ready to roll - she whispers Buddy Holly died for our sins pours you a drink, takes your money and you go home alone


Charlie don’t surf & we think he should we’ve got nerves of steel, wounded friends and answers for everything the future is set and the past wrestles us to the ground, hot fun in the summer time and we’re still waiting to graduate from the excuses given to us by our fathers


nothing is the same except the skyline at night she wanted to paint her name on the water tower star light, star bright said she was afraid of heights, I told her the color of the sky matched her eyes the first star I see tonight the last rung was rusted almost through I wish I may wish I might I can still feel the cold beer inside my jacket pocket have the wish I wish tonight can still taste the bitter tang of autumn


The Last Picture Show year by year passes by with a rush until a murmur is all that remains of yesterday; there will be boasts, puffed up false pride and put-on bar room courage and in the end you will know what it really means to crash - how it feels to have sounds pushed out of your head and blood stop dead in your veins


Unsent postcard to a woman in New York found in the left breast pocket of his funeral suit the streets seem to narrow as today gets longer and the longer our fists stay clenched the sooner night will fall unceremoniously into back alleys drunk with no place to go I have not withered away but am buried under boredom and grayness lost in a monochromatic life


Cleaning Day inscription from a ring found at the bottom of a drawer hidden under some socks wrapped in a mono grammed- JSLhandkerchief Vous et Nul Autre


A Drive-by Memory faded black and white tiles the smell of beer and whiskey sticking to the floor unfiltered cigarettes half empty bar glasses the anticipation of digging out loose change to pump into the jukebox the whir and click as vinyl gets dropped the slightly sour taste of olives mixed with the scent of mint and wood smoke lighted beer signs and velvet nudes above the bar men’s voices ribbing muttered shits and laughing goddamn’s bells on the pinball machine the soft sound of the lever as a boy pushes the buttons on the side blue chalk and the smooth shiny wood of the stick a mist of talc then a crack as the balls splinter right out of the rack a clunk and roll after one drops into the pocket but most of all catching a glimpse of a bar stool a pair of bare legs swinging


a two minute play with no dialogue two men at a table are playing gin both probably about the same age though one looks older they are expressionless and never make eye contact they simply draw and discard there are four longneck bottles of beer on the edge of the table can’t tell if they are full or empty can’t tell who the beer belongs to the scorekeeper reaches over and looks at the other man’s cards this action does not interrupt play they continue as if nothing has happened the scorekeeper lights a cigarette takes a drag and after his next draw lays his cards down because he has made his hand the other man lays his down to be counted gets up and walks out of the line of view the scorekeeper adds the total to the score and collects the cards he changes seats smiles as he shuffles and then deals


Footnotes i. there are two, the second being built in the early 80’s - this refers to the first though it is no longer in use ii. opinions do vary but historians are in general agreement about this assessment iii. illegal within the city limits rarely enforced it became a rite of passage for teens iv. now considered common at the time an isolated event and cause for gossip v. the founder’s day parade held every year in August discontinued in 1977 vi. went on to become a well known artist died in NYC in 1987; complications from AIDS vii. in 1979 the property was condemned sold to developers and is now The Depot Marketplace viii. was lost for a number of years, resurfaced briefly in 1991 and has been lost since ix. its popularity declined after the introduction of legislation that regulated specifications completely out of vogue by 1982 x. means exactly what it says


Train in Vain the day I forgot what your voice sounded like the sky burst open and gray clouds snaked away slowly under the horizon. downtown, a train whistles to a stop, steam from ninth street - obscure and intangible - mingles with sweat on my brow. if i could change the shape of my thoughts into triangles, their hard edges and sharp corners could make my eyes believe again. now, there is nothing left but circles and my final confession is a broken window - redemption a flat, endless highway blurred by the sun.


### You are encouraged to use this work in any way you see fit. Steal it, borrow it, take parts and make something new, rearrange it, riff on it, send it out over the internet, blog it, post it on telephone poles, throw it away. There is no copyright, no expectation of credit. Poetry should be free.