Gather and Head West
Leaving behind 22 years of myself
I pack a U Haul
with the couch, bed and table.
All those things collected
had to fit into this little truck.
Precious books and records
placed where they can't be crushed.
Cab loaded with family and cat
I headed west and didn't look back.
I did not need to.
Memories head-packed as full as a suitcase
of a traveling salesman.
The Santo de Cristo
dominating the western horizon
with their white blanket.
The Peak with its flirtatious fashion changes
of garment to suit the season
providing the Southern door.
On the line between the Rockies and the plains
the city was hilly
as if not sure if
it was Rockies or Great Plains.
I rode down Garfield at high speed,
then pushed my bike up.
I remember all those brick walks.
One loose brick
and collectors took the next one.
California is a collecting point
for bricks that have Trinidad
printed on them.
Then there was Nelson's Trading Post
where the bus came with
bundles of the Rocky Mountain News.
Below zero with snow on the ground
as I walked up Tillatson
on squeaking snow
to deliver a newspaper.
Crooked old brick Commercial Street
made the tires sound as if they were flat.
Preserved as is.
Old Santa Fe Trail.
Then there was the West Theater where
the balcony was the
closest thing to teen privacy.
Off to Charlie's Barbecue
to see how many of us could get
into the limited space.
Nickel jukebox playing Miller and Dorsey.
Could we get a beer at Lee's
or would we have to go to Jansen
and see Katie and Joe?
Eastside was out those days.
Got caught recently.
Drive the town up and down Main
and down Commercial
hoping to see a girl, any girl.
Pack all these memories
and head west with
a truckload of things.
Twenty-two years of memories
take up more brain files
than needed for the next 60.
When I wake to a train whistle
I remember that on a very cold night
I could hear the old steam engine and whistle
way off in El Moro.