My Street, Lake Street, City of Water

My Street


Lake Street is enchanted, haunted

I have almost always lived near it,

Just a few blocks away, sometimes

Right on top of it, the number 21

bus crossing the city from East to West

There were years of my life that I took

That ride nearly every day; took it

To Church, to the Way Place, to college

To work, from Calhoun to the Mississippi

Lake Street is the central axis of the city


My mom used to tell me to “stay off Lake”

If I was walking somewhere, especially at night

I did not listen, I liked the foot traffic, I was street

I liked the people, the hustlers, girls and bars

There were a dozen reasons to cross Lake Street any day


At age ten I started going there to play D&D

“The Little Tin Soldier,” a game store on Bryant

Next door to Barbi’s, the massage parlor,

Across from Smokey’s, the pool hall down the block

From the arcade at the bowling alley, down the street

A few blocks from the book stores, with the peep shows

Twenty-five cent movies, the big theatre on Lyndale

That was for Adults Only, like the one on Bloomington

The Avalon, now home to puppet theatres, a children’s place

The Heart of the Beast


My parents would tell me that Lake Street was different

In their day, it was a place for a family drive, filled

With car dealerships and drive in restaurants

At the West end Channel 11 had their studios

Where Casey Jones’ and his side kick Roundhouse

Filmed their T.V. show, out back, on the tracks

On the East end was the bridge to St. Paul

The dirty book stores are gone, and the brothels

They are hidden, but the ghosts of those times linger

There are street walkers on parade in front of the

Hal-al markets, the Super Mercados, the Vietnamese Delis

In store fronts up and down the strip

The culture of each generation gives way

Diffuses, differentiates, syncretizes with the times


Lake Street remains


I read this Poem from my Collection, at the June gathering of Poets n’ Pints, June 15th, 2016


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