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.