South of the Tracks

South of the Tracks

The Mug Shot
South of the Border
Swan Song
Heartbreak Tango
South of the Tracks
South Avenue

The Mug Shot

Reading the Gazette online—
Going back over the archives
Your checkered police record

Tickets for the usual—
Expired driver’s licenses and
Speeding tickets & old tabs

The more serious charges—
Assault and battery, ending up
Lansing Prison, drunk driving

But the most tragic thing—
Your ravaged face, long hair
Scraggly beard, the Mug Shot

So different than that pic—
Puffing your proud muscles
Chest, wrestling team, 1960

South of the Border

There’s this sorta kinda—
South of the tracks attitude
Lurking inside my libido

It comes and goes—
But it’s always been there
Like some Mexican Bandito

A strange relationship—
Like Poncho and his lover
The handsome Cisco Kid

They way they smile & sing—
“Oh Cisco!” & “Oh Poncho!”
In those old b & w movies

I never said it but that‘s—
The way I felt about You
At the Santa Fe Station

Swan Song

It doesn’t take much time—
For Kansas to grind things
Down to just about Nothing

Emporia has this Entropy—
Buildings, streets continuously
Decaying, fading, falling

People especially decaying—
The life of a town decays &
Nothing lasts forever

Growing up though—
I used to think foolishly
Things never changed

But everything changes—
Even chic Marlene Dietrich
Sings her last Swan Song

Heartbreak Tango

But south of the tracks—
Some things seemed to
Always stay in business

Caligula’s City Pool—
During the summers
Sizzling in the heat

Strange Monkey Island—
The Cottonwood Bridge
And the Santa Fe tracks

I used to think that—
My love for Lopez was
Going to last forever

But, well, both of us—
Like lost our whatever
It doesn’t last forever

South of the Tracks

Down dumpy Commercial—
South of the Santa Fe tracks
 There’s another world

At least it seemed—
That way to me back then
Just a North End whitey kid

Down past my mother’s—
Second husband’s garage
By the SKanky Ship’s Lounge

The Casa Ramos Restaurant—
Now on the First Ave corner
It’s getting rave reviews

South Avenue

Further down dying Commercial—
Taking a right there at Gothic
Stoic Reeble’s Monuments

Tombstones in the front yard—
For sale for Maplewood Cemetery
Last thing that Emporians buy

Empty Santa Fe freight yards—
On the right going down past
The stark ghosts of La Colonia

Past La Casitas Park with its—
Basketball Court & Shelter
For Hispanic heritage, fiestas

All the way to Prairie Ave—
Westward boundary to the
Lonely Tall Grass Flint Hills

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