Around the corner

past the mailbox

and the severed palms

I would walk to school.

Past the Mexican market

and the panaderia

the old Bank of America

with its Art Deco marble panels

riddled with bullet holes.

Past the yellow brick Masonic Lodge

and the three long blocks of

Dooley’s Hardware –

the “Largest Hardware Store in the World”


There Paul Bunyan stands forlorn

in the empty hot-dog biergarten, 

waiting for shoppers that will never come.

On the walk to school there were thousands

of ghosts on the street corners.

Children could see them as patches of light

and of murky darkness.

They’d see them out of the corner’s of their eyes

I saw them too.

On the sidewalks, pushing shopping carts,

carrying babies, furtively passing

little baggies back and forth.

Transparent and forgotten

in a world made of the mundane,

floating in the smog haze and

shadows of passing buses.