Time On Larimer Street



Time on Larimer Street


The Silver Dollar Liquor store

       At 20th and Larimer in Denver

       is where I got painted human.


Each Spring day in 1950 the Trolley

       would take me from Shelly and Keats

       to the Larimer Street skid Row.


The four-block walk from 16th

       rinsed off my University sheen

       with the puke and piss of reality.


Each night shift liquor store window

       I saw the filthy ashes of burned out

       men and women.


Winos came in to buy

       a bottle of 50-cent Muscatel wine

       with the 49 cents they had begged all day.


Credit good as gold

       sure to pay off next

       good credit all they had left.




Winos sitting against the wall seeping

       winos lying on the sidewalk sleeping

       street walking whores stepping gingerly.


Rookie cops shaking awake and moving

       the traffic blocker

       and pouring their booze in the gutter.


Rookies working their way off  this street

       demoted veterans discouraged with the street

       demonstrated the brutality so common.


After an 8 hour shift

         behind my learning window

       it was back on the trolley back to University Avenue.


The stage at Larimer and 20th

       had a cast of characters so sorry

       that Dickens never matched’.


But Neal Cassady hung out here

       and brought Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg

       and Denver contributed to the concept of BEAT.


I was naive never again, perhaps a bit beat,

       but nothing about human behavior

       would surprise again.



But cynicism gave way to reality

       when I visited Larimer Square

       and saw what humans can do.


Luxury hotels replace the old Metropolitan Hotel

       and new watering holes

        where the Golden Nugget Taproom served.


The Jewel of the Rockies has replace

       the Latimer pigpen like Andersonville

       the skidrow is hardly a footnote in history


The very sight of Larimer Square

       posses the question of why

        it takes so long to be as good as we can be.

Doug Minnis

April 21, 2014






Brother Bob suggested this one to me. It is a subject that can do more. I delivered beer to people all over denver because they did not dare come to the store from their middle class neighborhoods. Coors $2.50 if you returned the bottles. Back and forth in and out of the slum.