Friday, October 14, 2005

The State of the Avenue Address

I arrived on a warm Friday evening in the wake of plane exhaust and the vibrating soliloquy of a vicodin haze, a headache laughing in my eyebrows. So, addled but cheerful, I put out to the street.

I visited all the usual places, made my paces, and even sat a spell in the shadows of the bronze statue outside of the Valley Art.

Some of the street kids that I remember and adore were about on the Ave that Friday, with the fading light of the sun still embracing the A on the mountain. With the dimming twilight nor did the heat, it waned but only slightly for the warm breath of cars rushing past and I wondered how the Ave still went.

I see that the old Wells Fargo building has turned to scaffolding; Cafe Boa has vanished, leaving behind a dusty patio, stucco walls, and a lonely brown folding chair; Long Wong's no longer exists in any form, the lilting industrial sound of its music no longer crashes like a thundering stampede over the sidewalk—and though it is equally long gone, we still mourn the loss of Java Road.

All of this dust in the Arizonan wind.

Yet still the Ave lives. It pulses with a deep rhythm beneath the skin of society, and writhes with an insubstantial glee that still fills me when I walk those streets. My opera trench fluttering in the hot air, hair brushed carefully back from my ears, and top hat pressed firmly on my head.

I smile and wink slyly when walking past a pair of girls carrying signs, spanging on a bench, who call out: "Hey sexy!"

I'll leave my visit to Graffiti until next weekend, the idle chatter of the winsome Mill rats and their lovely life out there in the plumes of car wakes; it is my forgotten homeland, though becoming less an echo of what it used to be, it strives on.

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