Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Louisville, KY Bus Station, 1970

I spent five hours in Louisville one January night;
     Observing with confusion, amazement and delight -
A human drama/comedy staged with quite a fuss
     In the ancient Greyhound Depot, while I awaited my next bus.
"What a people zoo" I thought as through the crowd I pressed,
     And immediately came face to face with a derelict, distressed -
Because, he said, he'd just been robbed by "a couple of no 'count boys",
    ( If I heard his tale correctly mid all the background noise).
He told me just a quarter would help relieve his stress,
     And he promised he would pay me back, if I'd give him my address.
Then one of Louisville's finest came strolling through the door,
      And with a look of abject terror, the wino hit the floor.
He scurried like a waterbug frightened by the light;
     Among the weary travelers and quickly out of sight.
The officer, however, didn't really seem to care about the old panhandler
     Or his hurried exit there -
Nor the sailor at the news stand reading girlie magazines,
     Nor the leather jacket wearing punks playing three pinball machines.
T'was the gal behind the counter of the cafe', sling hash,
     To the jukebox sound of "Woodstock" (played by Crosby, Stills and Nash) -
Who drew him like a magnet - this waitress young and fair,
     Which held that cop's attention with her flowing auburn hair.
As he sat down at the counter, seemed that she could read his mind.
     She smiled, and purred, "Hi Freddie!", and wiggled her behind.
I could tell they were not strangers, oh, that look was in their eyes.
     He grinned and said, "The usual".  She yelled, "BURGER, COKE and FRIES!"
I really couldn't tell you much more of what they said,
     for the more I thought about it, I wouldn't be caught dead;
Eavesdropping on this waitress, so intently chewing gum,
     And the cop who had so recently nearly mortified that bum.
I scanned the crowded terminal and wondered half aloud,
     'Bout all the lives and times of all the faces in the crowd -
Where they all were coming from and where they hoped to be,
     At this same time tomorrow, or in an hour or two or three.
There were soldiers toting dufflebags, going to and from Fort Knox,
     And a lady near my Granny's age, who held a battered box
Gingerly upon her lap, taped up and tied up with string.
     And one could only wonder what she carried in that thing.
A young girl sat down upon the bench directly facing me,
     Dressed in the counterculture garb of 1970.
The tension of those war torn years was etched upon her face,
     And her jacket emblems called for Peace to save the human race.
Then over in the corner, unless I saw amiss;
     A fellow with an earring winked at me and blew a kiss!
I'll have to say I was relieved when the clock upon the wall
     Finally signaled Two A.M. and I heard the PA call -
"Bus 1550 boarding now", Oh! what a joyful sound to know that in just moments
     I'd be West Virginia bound.
An when at last at Dad's house, home at last, I knew that we'd discuss,
     The night I'd spent in Louisville, as I waited on my bus.

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