What's Become of 18th Street? And Other Musings on the "Mysterious Aurora"

Salutations from the fourth pseudo-squat of mine here on the High Plains. This latest place I stay takes a great deal more effort to find something to like about it than did those preceding it. Rather than give up on it, I'd like to try and tell you something about it. The edifice is a post-war former rental that borders the little-considered eastern front of the city. Then comes this nothing suburb, named for a night sky phenomenon, the consummation of the stranger qualities of solar radiation and atmospheric gases, seen by our eyes as streamers, folds or arches of colored light. The pretense is referenced--though in the abstract, perhaps--in the neon tubes of motel signs and lounges along Deepest East Colfax Avenue. The Wagon Wheel, The Stockman, The Arrow, The Flair. Colfax is US Highway 40, and these motels paved what was once the bleary-eyed High Plains Traveler's preferred route to the heart of the Dead-Hearted City. That is, until Eisenhower's new Nuclear Warhead Superhighways steered the travelers clear, onto fast blue ribbons skirting the hypocenter. Now the old motels just sit there, brick and mortar, getting older. I am of the mind that nothing good comes to pass nowadays in those numberless rooms. There is survival, sure, but it's transacted in blowjobs and dime bags. I see the artifacts of these survival acts while taking my dog for walks, crossing parking lots and alleys. One thing I know: there's fucking and scoring galore on the streets of Northwest Aurora. The rest of this burb could not be more different: vast flat expanses of tract house boxes, developed from the remains of the obsolete airport and shuttered air force base. Distracted young fathers follow toddlers as they circumnavigate the block on some little plastic vehicle, the fathers mourning the death of their dream self, that faded last stab at explorer or pioneer. My circuit doesn't take me much to these newly minted parts of town, except to jump onto an unprotected wireless signal (ever harder to find these days!) to send some words to you. So I'll write just what happens near here, on the corner where 18th street should be, but isn't: HELP HELP came the suspicious cry, and I crossed the street to find out why. And I find two bored bird dogs pacing the fence line, sharing the yard with a yellow-headed amazon penned in his outdoor aviary. Don't be fooled by the approximations of our orations. Look at the naked claws and cold eye. That yard is host to a dinosaur with feathers, and a weird sense of humor! Sadly, the Giant Metal Butterflies of DuPont have proved to be just that. Their natural habitat does not extend past Sand Creek, or the manmade boundary of Eisenhower's Interstate 70 (All underpasses having been engineered to accomodate the exact height of a Mobile Missle in transit). DuPont was host to innumerable specimens of Giant Metal Butterflies. If you looked closely they could be found on any block, family groups affixed in the sixties to the sides of the company houses, and fading gracefully now in the prairie sun. But just a few miles south in this night-sky phenomena town, I have seen but the slightst ripple of their influence: a single hand-painted weathered wooden butterly straight out of Wood Shop Class, nailed to a dead tree, missing the bottom half of one wing. The clouds develop the same way every day on summer afternoons. Blowing down from the foothills and mountains, it's some sort of updraft made visible by these towering, growing cumulus columns, swiftly moving East despite their gravidity. Sucking heat energy from the vacant plains of the old Arsenal and shooting bitter forks of lightning at the tract house boxes. There may be a curtain of rain, which the air often reclaims before it can hit the the browning sod or the tiny sticks of trees stuck optimistically in what was once the footprint of an Air Force Runway. In the park near here there can be found at any hour of the day, men relaxing in the grass under a shade tree. A crew set up early today in the picnic shelter. "Hey sister, what kind of dog is that?" "This is a mutt." "She said it's a mutt. That's a sewer hound! What you got there is a SEWER HOUND". Mutt masters, take note: what you got is a SEWER HOUND. Well this was an experiment to see if I could shake off some orneriness and remember change is coming, and it's coming soon. And sure enough since writing it I've been blessed by visits from five traveling friends in as many days. Plus I got fired from the shitty restaurant job I've been trying to hold down. It's not exactly the grandiose promises of a chain letter: it's better. The ciccadas are about ready to crawl out from a long spell under the dark bark. The new Places album 'Songs For Creeps' is due back from the factory August 8th. Though the official release date is October 10, it can be mail ordered by you before then, dear mailing list deer. I'll be sending an email with all the details very soon. And dates are being confirmed for The Places' Full Band Fantasy Sound US tour October 9 to November 28. I'll be playing a show with my friends Sarah T and the Love Letter Band on August 4. It's at Chielle, Sarah's handmade clothing store on 3333 E. Colfax Avenue in Denver. I'll also be playing a few more in August, including the Upland Breakdown Festival with Michael Hurley in Centennial, Wyoming!, oh, the geology!, which is sponsored by Arthur Magazine, the best magazine ever. Please check the web page for details. There it goes. Fare Forward, Voyagers! xxamy annellexx please visit, new interstellar HQ for The Places