Minneapolis is the third smallest city I have lived in. In order of population: Des Moines, Iowa, St. Paul, Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Prague, Czech Republic, Chicago, Illinois. I've never really lived in Chicago, but for eighteen years I could walk five blocks and be there. Instead, I lived in a village for most of my life. Two El lines dotted a map of my neighborhood. It felt good growing up, knowing I could hop on the train and be downtown in seventeen minutes. I first rode the el when I was three.
When you get used to cities, you feel street smart. You ain't gonna fall for the "I ran out of gas" scam. You WILL give money to homeless folks tho, 'specially the ones without legs, holdin' soup cans and a cardboard sign that has stinky permanent marker smell sayin' they was in the Vietnam war. Their graybeards and black faces don't bother my selfish self, but those eyes, the eyes that look into you and know that you know they is the one that might give you the answer. When I look in those eyes, I realize I might have it too good. Or too awful, lookin' into those eyes.
I've been in the pits of subways and smelled urine to oblivion. Chance allowed me to trickle my own scent once or twice. You ain't lived till you took a piss on the third rail. It wouldn't be all that, but you gotta understand, city livin' can't be all tap dance.
We used to pound nitetrain to gain composure. Drinkin' Maddog twenty twenty. You ever been there? There with your homeslice mo fos drinking on the el? If you have, I drop my pants in your glory.
Look, being a city folk can't be what it's cracked up to be. We see dead bodies in the alley and won't figure out that our neighbor got shot on the south side for being "in the wrong place at the wrong time" .
I got pain, but that don't matter.
A city boy goes to the country and his red faced old style uncle gives him a John Deere hat. The city boy has spiral hair and it sticks through the green plastic mesh on the back of the cap. The city boy struts like he won a marathon.
My most precious times are in the boonies. Far away from civilization, a place where the ground matters. Yo, I dig those places where you can deezip the zipper on the tent and be under a starry firmament that Descartes pondered. Shooting stars and all that jazz. When you can smell old maple and watch the oaks creek, you know you might have arrived. When the oaks frame picturesque landscapes like photos, and you can smell the far away pines, you are in the far out place that gives the soul sense.
Prague was the best 'cuz Wendy was with me. She shuddered down vacant streets searching for ghosts and when we found them she didn't blink. Wendy just laughed when I fell in the sewer-type corridor under the castle knee deep. She laughed and hugged me like I was her friend. I felt like a betrayed lover at the time, but later, I realized that she was the chlorine smell on my skin. Wendy is more than any of that. Back then, she gave me the most hope ever. If you ever live in a city and have someone to take your place, Wendy was it.
Wendy is so true to a city boy like me. She has always made everything all right. Just so. Her wishes make me small like the bean rocks she collects. WLO, you are the most cherished
Small is like this love and being cherished, like finding yourself in a land of wide lawns and spread trees. Think about when you are in an airplane and can watch the squared boundaries of field underneath. My small town is the edge of that field. My small town is the edge of your past.
Men spread west.
Never Eat Shredded Wheat.
A small town boy can make it BIG in the movies, but when a big town boy makes it small, the trees don't make a sound when they fall.
Ain't that the truth.
You might imagine a big town boy chewin' a stalk of sumptin', but when it gets down to the grits, the big town boy ain't chewing but nuthin' like a small part of himself.