Saturday, July 11, 2009

Memo From November 6th Street

"November 6th Street" in Memphis connects to Monroe Avenue (among other streets and avenues)about a block from Main Street. The name of the street commemorates a day (in 1934?) when an arrangement was reached between the city of Memphis and the federal government whereby the Tennessee Valley Authority got funded.
Memo From November 6th Street

They make it work somehow in Memphis,
bluff buttressed against an oceanic
river. Vines overwhelm scruffy trees,
weariness overtakes work, and Downtown
pines for its heyday. You know the story:
Handy, Rufus, B.B., Elvis, Booker T.
& them fused grooves like welders
building barges bound for big water.
They made it work somehow.

Sir, ma'am, if you want to, you can
sit in a black iron chair next to where
Johnny & June Cash and Ella wrote their
names in cee-ment. Pigeons and a goat
will stare down at you as you stare up
at a plastic palm tree & you'll drop money
into a yellow bucket, sit back down,
and listen to covers of Albert King,
Robert Johnson, Stevie Ray Vaughn,
Son House, and Otis Redding. Looks like
nothing's gonna change in Memphis.
Then it does. Then it doesn't. They
have to dredge the channel regularly.

Meanwhile I have to check out the Just
Like New consignment-store on November 6th
Street--Memphis, yes, sir: Memphis--caught
in a corner between Arkansas and Mississippi,
between St. Louis and New Orleans, mid-South.
They make it work somehow. Somehow they make it.

Copyright 2009 Hans Ostrom
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