3/07/2008

Starbucks and Black Leathers

The Rogue Festival is centered in the Tower District in Fresno. This is Jim's childhood neighborhood. Memories around every corner. "That's where the car hit my bicycle. I was thrown into the air, sailed over the hedge and landed on my head." I nod sympathetically, "oh, that explains a lot."

One house he lived in is gone - just a parking lot. I know that feeling. My Granny's house in Charlotte is a parking lot and Nanny Diggle's house where my Dad grew up fell to make way for an ATM. But there is enough that is familiar so that he feels at home in his memories.

And we are embracing new memories.

There is a Starbucks on Olive Ave - in what was once a small shop. I love it there. It is a rally point for tattooed Harley riders wearing black leathers and studs. We sit outside at one of the small black round metal tables surrounded by these road riders and I absorb the atmosphere as I watch them. And I wonder.

What do they do in their lives when they are not outfitted in their gear. Is this who they always are?

Some observations:

when a balding man shaves his head and wears heavy hair on his face he has a serious macho persona.

when a slim, big-chested woman wears a tee-shirt, tight fitting washed jeans and three inch stilleto heels its hard to imagine her at work at a computer. And I wonder how does that outfit work-out on the back of a red Harley Davidson bike?

they are companionable group, smiling, talking and laughine with each other - as though they share a joke or wisdom all their own.

They make strangers who wander into their world welcome.

And more:
Sitting just out of the sun
At Starbucks on Olive Ave
Viewing the Regulars

The poet in a yellow straw panama hat
reviewed his poems in a bulging notebook
Read several out loud including
a portrait of a fish

At a small round table
a woman smoke a filtered cigarette
which she had pushed into a long black plastic holder
Double filtered?
Would that ward off cancer?

Young people come and go
Pick up a latte and move on
only the "regulars" settle

While I sit and watch these people
Jim walks around his old neighborhood
Treading the sidewalks of his childhood
Memories holding his hands and his heart.

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