Born and raised

Next to the corner of 45th and Washington Street

In the back of my father’s TV repair storefront
Once the storefront to my grandfather’s shoe and
Radio repair shop

Grandparents from Poland and Yugoslavia
Building Holy Rosary Catholic Church
My father in the first 1st grade of Holy Rosary School
Me in the last 7th grade before the Bishop shut us down

Across the street from the Platte River and the Slovenian Home
Where wedding celebrations lasted days
And Santa came to give us plastic net stockings
Filled with stale candy and hopes of toys under our tree

Across the street where the woman, who left her son
With my father’s mother to care for because she couldn’t
Any longer,
That woman who stepped into the freezing Platte River
to lay down for the last time,
Her son safely held in a family of nine,
One more welcomed without question
Because my grandmother understood 

Across the street from the bus stop
Number 16
That would take me on Saturday mornings
To the Paramount for a cartoon and movie
And candy from the candy shop next door
And a walk through Woolworths
Dreaming of adding another ceramic horse
To my collection
Dreaming of the Stockshow and cowgirls

Across the street, then across the river
The Coliseum where I would ice skate
Watch the Rodeo
See the Circus
And the Monkees, my first concert

Along side of I70
Exit ramp feet from my front door
On the other side and through the underpass 
To school, my friends, the pool, and ball field

Across the street from the river 
That would overflow its banks
Days before Father’s Day 1965
Filling our basement with muck and water
To the top
And ruining my mother’s wedding gown
One once destined for me
Dreams drowned

In the dirt and gravel in my father’s
Parking lot were stones
Glittery and pink and gold and beautiful 
My hands picking the perfect ones
And, eventually, the EPA digging
Up the dirt in the yards of the homes 
Because of contamination 
But not ours because we were a “business”
Even though we lived thereAnd in my forties the
retro peritoneal liposarcoma
That would grow in my body
Because of the industrial poison
Floating down on me and my friends
And family

And angels surround us, 
We, the ones from Globeville,
A place forgotten long before
People now who are forgotten, too
It is just the way
Of the people of Globeville
The immigrants who came

To forget their homeland
To make a new one and then
Move away again
To forget
To leave behind their
Sweet little homes
Groomed yards and white fences
With candytuft and violas 
Planted in their lawns
Left to the industrial waste
Leaving it to those who have even less
And are now forgotten even further 

And the dreams of Globeville
Eaten away by the consumption 
Of progress
Forgetting the eyes and hearts
Of those who loved
Tended bees
Made potica
Prayed and played ball
And cradled the son
Of a woman who took
Her last breath
Filling her lungs with
The Platte River
Filling her skirts with
Ice water dragging her below and
Taking her away
From her beloved Globeville.




Author’s Note:

Photo collage, Globeville, by Lex Leonard.

Poem and imaged appeard in journal issue #12 in Wormwood Press Media.