Birmingham Edition

Posted October 1, 2008 at 7:14 pm ·

Out @ 430
Five hours sleep
Lots of coffee
Disturbed scruffy stray dog
Having his quiet predawn poop
On our front yard.
Where are the rats? Too chilly?
Up the Lodge, up Livernois.
Mo’ Money Taxes
BBC Radio – “onscreen” show
Story about Warner Brother’s book
You Must Remember This
“Out now”
I got my prize copy weeks ago.
It’s Randy Quaid’s 58th birthday today
The things you learn when you get up early ..
Up Woodward, 12 Mile
Shrine of the Little Flower
To Birmingham
Baseball news
Two Chicago teams in, as predicted
Cubs play Dodgers today
White Sox thank poor Tigers
For win in makeup game
One game over the Twins
Gets them in.
20 miles down
I’m in Troy
10 miles from my love
Who slumbers sweetly
As I’m tracing backwards the route
Predawn to Ann Arbor
Two months ago.
Central Warehouse Operations
194 E. Maple Road, Troy
Loaded and ready by 530
90 paper bundles strong
That’s 25×90 = 2,250 metro times
“Sonny Days” headline this time,
“A D-town Odyssey.”
Erica again is so cool
Chain smoking & chatting
Maybe a permanent route for me
In Corktown.
Corktown! Tiger Stadium!
Just two miles away.
I envision effortlessly paying the rent
With four half-workdays a month.
On the Road.
Again, covered with newsprint shreds
Newsprint all over my hands
I love it.
Back to Birmingham.
Great Harvest Bread,
Bagel Factory. Time for breakfast.
Pumperipple bagel, honey walnut cream cheese.
11 stops down, 48 to go.
Rich folks live here
Fancy Kroger, “Fresh Fare”
Narrow, winding Birmingham side streets
Give a cozy feeling.
Crazy what rich folks get in their grocery store
Feels like someone’s fancy clubhouse
Operated pre-dawn
By a small group of teenagers.
I drop off two bundles on the newsstand
Next to the New York Times
Newspapers from around the world
I steal a copy of AutoWeek
Just for good measure
2.99′s too much for a bunch of ads anyway
And an article about the new Chevy Volt
Finally, an electric car.
And we’re off.
Solomon Friedman Advertising
A lone holdout
In a deserted Bloomfield Hills office park.
Previously inconceivable
How many “For Lease” signs I see.
Hard times trickling down already to this tier
Big business to support like ad agencies
Former bastions of waste, excess,
And 1990s fun and prosperous good times.
Under construction. Wonder if they’re hiring?
Lots of building going on,
development dollars thrown around
In the midst of a crushing recession.
I study the schematics on the office wall
And wonder about so many things.
The opportunity, motivation,
This little job gives me
To peer into so many local worlds
Just here, but infrequently noticed.
Gives me more news, more of an idea
Of current events
A finger on the pulse, if you will
Than the latest issue of
The Wall Street Journal
The New York Times
Wall Street Journal guy’s been here already
Dropped his stack of papers in the lobby
Gotta get up early
To catch that worm.
Back to Woodward.
Mowers and weedwhackers
Lawn guys still have their jobs at least
No early October weeds and overgrowth
Threatening the wealthy northern suburbs
Just yet.
It’s 8 am.
14 stops down, 45 to go.
Back to B-ham
Aunt olive’s good food 2 go.
NPR all things considered
The Model T is 100 years old today
Thanks, Henry Ford
For the legendary, wonderful Tin Lizzie,
An unstable economic system
Fragile through profit and loss
Jobs lost and gained
New ways to make the rich grow richer
And the poor grow poorer.
Comedian Paula Poundstone
On how she’s thinking of The Grapes of Wrath
Families loading up their Ford Flivvers
And taking off.
Touch Spa, ah
On Old Woodward.
The charm of this neighborhood.
Starting to rain
Oh shit.
Birmingham folks skitter with their dogs
Trying to duck the light, quick shower.
B-ham has station bathroom
Even those are nicer here
Potpourri & blue skies
White clouds skylight on the ceiling.
Newsprint handwashing #1
With pretty flowery foaming gentle handwash.
For lease
For lease
For lease.
Dick O’ Dow’s irish pub
Was here once with bob
Downed many pints
Another life
Another life.
NPR again
Drinking ban for title games
In the windy city
Let’s hope.
Cinderella’s Attic.
27 stops down, 32 to go. 930 am.
Birmingham Borders.
Haven’t been here for a couple years
Since evening readings and book signings
With local authors I know
Exam studying, reading for endless hours
In the upstairs cafe.
Lonely Friday nights, checking book after book
Off a monstrously long list.
Get treats for my sweet,
Who needs them today.
Back to truck,
flipping lucky pennies on the sidewalk
An attempt to spread a little good karma
In a weary world.
11 am
Troy corporate
Pink kitty gift dropoff
A surprise to cheer.
Ted RIP. Memorial starting now.
Sorry couldn’t be there today
You’re not really there yourself anyway
Gone to a better place, as they say.
I love you so, kind soul. Will miss
White truck down the dirt road, waves and smiles,
Gentle gallant sweetness like Jimmy Stewart
but somehow even more mellow.
Son of a minister and father of four.
Someone to trust without reservation
Earned wisdom embodied.
Farewell old friend.
Good Food Company
5 bundles! That’s a shitload of papers.
This requires a shopping cart
Friendly, rather bored folks
And slightly stinky health food.
Whole Foods. Wooden rack
With hundreds of papers, all kinds
Driver for another publication clears his rack
Smiles and glances at my two plastic-wrapped bundles
Pulls a jacknife from his pocket
I flinch
With two swift slashes, he frees my papers.
Newsprinty plastic strap-cut fingers saved
“As long as I’m here, why not?” he says.
Back to b-ham for two forgotten stops.
Honk honk. Lordy Oakland County folk
Are masters at hurried impatience.
So hungry. Finding food then off to 14 Mile.
Kako’s Market, edge of b-ham on Woodward
Is this still Birmingham?
Things change south of 15 Mile
Sign in window:
Change for bus
Public restroom
Loitering in store
Loitering outside
Empty Jim Beam bottles
Crammed in metro times box
We’re not in Kansas anymore.
Stop for Thai House lunch
Pork pad thai! Royal Oak.
12:30, 40 down, 19 stops remain.
1:15 – she found my gift.
Off to beverly hills, 13 & greenfield
We’re where the $ ain’t now
North edge of Southfield
Dingy storefronts & outdated signs
The extravagant, useless beauty of b-ham
A distant thought.
Back to the other side of the tracks
Street Corner Music
Cool tattooed guy with Obama t-shirt
“Nice shirt,” I say.
“Heard John McCain on NPR this morning.”
“Oh yeah, what did he have to say for himself?”
“He was defensive and crabby. Typical.”
“Oh yeah, like ‘get those kids off my lawn,’ stuff like that, yeah?”
Smile and a laugh.
To Borders.
Wait, this Borders? Aw man.
Another ghost of rendezvous past.
Is there any stop on my past escapades tour
Not within the metro times lines?
Big arms bill, blind date
Meeting by the newspaper stands
Mistook an older, geekier guy for him
But then was relieved – he was hot.
Hours of conversation at a nearby cafe,
And on my truck’s tailgate.
And onward.
Cycleworks in Clawson, Royal Oak Thai.
An observation. After hours of semi-idle thought.
Corporate’s going down.
More modest, neighborhood, small town’s
Going up. Or at least holding steady.
These suburbs seem to be in better shape
Than the corporate bloomfields & such right now.
Small businesses & service industry doing okay
Or even thriving
“Now Hiring” signs everywhere.
Salons, bike shops, restaurants.
Few more stops, 3 pm and done.
What a day.


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