You can begin at the perennial Penny Sale at Tops Shoes -
Begin at the top!
There's old Morrison's , enameled pots and pans,
barrels of candy, ancient drawers,
and we are descending!
I cross Walnut Street .
In the little windows, blue and cream bowls and urns,
hand-painted from Fez , Morocco ,
start that wonderful spin that says, “How did these get here?"
Bricks loose under the feet
clump along with the rhythm of Salsa.
A black girl and a white boy stroll by with guitars on their backs.
Dreadlocks under a gray wool cap call out,
“How ya doin'? Where ya headed?"
Sky People is empty now, altars of the world all gone.
Purple and yellow walls, and everywhere,
“March Against the West Asheville Walmart."
I see bins of cotton cloths, and a DJ stand called “Rooster Sauce,"
as incense pours into the air.
The river of Water Street rushes boldly under the manhole,
still relentless, still full of sheer will, the need to just be.
Look up! Listen! The water, the hills!
Downtown Books and News , old turquoise paint and comfy sofas,
every book you could ever want,
“I Am Spock', “Sex, Money, Kiss" and don't forget
“Christian Yoga and You."
Descend a little farther to Rosetta's Kitchen -
Get some tofu and mashed potatoes!
Remember LAFF, the jousting bikes, the belly dance for peace,
the warmth, the youth, the flirting.
Crinolines of all colors, and a young man with a palette.
As I write, a peeking passerby says “You write it, Sister!"
I do, and I agree- “Start a Revolution!"
Old chairs and old friends relaxing at Izzy's Coffee Den .
“I don't ever get in trouble as long as you're with me."
A tiny ghetto, this street, one of those freedom spots.
Who will show up next?
One of those little worlds that make us dream big,
where what you create today can feed your next ten years.
The gate to Vincent's Ear is quiet, quiet,
rhododendrons dormant for winter.
“Don't forget how we need this!," old Vincent seems to cry.
“There are wild beings inside of you no money can buy."
Past the Liquid Dragon and I begin to ascend again,
a bit cleaner and prices rising, Minx and Bouchon .
Paper stars at Chevron , indigo, stained glass and rose.
Red prairie skirts and gnomish shoes.
Shiva and Parvati dance in copper. Palettes again,
palettes of bead, of paint and cloth,
palettes of poetry and bread and babies.
God wants choices, yes she does,
carved onyx and luscious nudes,
mud brown figures in window seats.
"God Bless the People of Every Nation"
I see before I go.
Annelinde Metzner copyright April 2008
(photo by Patty Levesque)