Friday, June 1, 2012


the street sweepers swept up the Five Points.  At 5 AM we stood watching from our perch behind the sparrow and Mourning Dove birdseed on the ledge.  The outside thermometer gorrilla-taped to the 137,000,000 (that's million) year old limestone read 45 degrees.  On June 1st.

Exterior lights lit the outside of the vacant Clarke restaurant.  Our little 15 watt 'We Are Present!' electric candlelight shines in our window glass and reflects just above the rear of the city truck.   This act of cleansing the streets occurs every Friday morning so it's nothing new in our constantly picked-up zone.

We are beneficiaries, and appreciative ones, of the city mothers and fathers who maintain our streets and buildings.  Berg Management plays no small role in all of that.

Sometime today there will be hammering and assembling as the performing stage for tonight's Friday Night Live is erected, we are told, right beneath us, at the Five Points. 

          Our predecessors,

 the woodland Indians who established this intersection many years ago with their trading post siting encouraging a hub of spoke-like trails from the outlying areas, would be so surprised, I think, to see WHAT'S HAPPENING NOW!

In Waukesha

We don’t think about it very much anymore
but the ghosts of native Americans might;
we walk, or alas, drive their ancient trading trails
paved many times over;
even our later inter-urban streetcar tracks
are now out of sight,

buried like their lightly-beaten paths
by time and poured concrete
and newcomers can’t get the gist of traveling downtown,
can’t figure these streets out because so many diagonals
cut through strangely, they say.

But it was all so simple then
for the woodland people
to follow their converging spoke-like paths
to the now downtown five points trading posts
No doubt

going through thick woods
from their outlying settlements,
intending to live forever in their homeland
upon which they trod so gently

Pioneers built great improvements
on their sacred burial grounds
and cannons stand in the library park
passing time’s additions, tentatively,

muddying the purer water of days
dim to us, unknown;

But not to the ghosts
who watched flowing streams
clear away many other silty stirrings
only for a moment hiding customary clarity

We are being watched by these patient spirits
these spector ‘savages’ who knew so much.
Their way to our downtown
is abiding.

[d. zep dix 1998}

The sewer raccoons, who have their reputed lodge hall beneath the old post office - currently known as The Rotunda - were rocked last night as they converged into their own hub, their central meeting place in the catacombs beneath the temporarily guitar-laden exhibit hall and fine human meeting place.

We have always been impressed by the raccoon's alleged choice of architecture and genteel ambiance beneath which to do their own hanging out.

As I wrote to a friend earlier this morning,

We are situated for the continuing guitar orgy perfectly this day.

Last evening before dark we observed the glitterati milling joyfully about in the drizzle, undampened, champagne in hand. Our site, per my inspired notion, was ABOVE the soiree going on in and outside of the old post office now rotunda-ized and en-tent-ened in the small parking area where mail delivery trucks used to line up.

  We ascended the parking structure elevator across the street from the opening night party to the open-air top 4th floor and shot our pictures and did our mingling from there. As from our church pew in the peanut gallery at the Congo, we saw it all from there.

(All we needed to be among the big ticket priced attendees was my zoom feature on the camera!)

Wearing my father's wide-brimmed straw hat with the safari hatband and my Traveler Smith dark blue long raincoat, I was mistaken for a glitteramus and treated solicitously by a stagehand-type on the street at the entrance to a parking lot. That's where we, Every Day, man, keep our car.

He didn't know that, and kindly went through his rap about the events as though we were not the lower crustacean downtown denizens we truly are.

A recognized Berg manager eyed me as I circled the steps of the Rotunda shooting pictures of 5 giant guitars set up at the base of the ascending semi-circle.  No, I was not going to crash the gate, manned among others by old friend Caroline White of the Little Swiss Clock Shop, a downtown merchant.

Leisurely rounding the corner, after scanning the gaily-decorated guitars from an appropriate distance, we passed the white-napkined, chandelier-lit celebratory tents set up in the small parking area in back of the Rotunda where the mail delivery trucks used to gather for their mail routes

Our principal interest in checking out what could be seen for free was to view old friend Wis Guthrie's interpretation of a Les Paul guitar about which I've made a point of knowing all I could learn from Wis.

That guitar was inside the post office/bank/Rotunda, as a partial picture from this mornings electronic Waukesha Freeman portrays:  (I will put my own camera to it later)

Wis's son Jim greatly helped the 94 year old artist with  artful and mechanical touches - he sawed out and fitted the electric burners that are seen glowing red (Red Hot Red-wise), for one thing.  It was a four generational Guthrie production which other local press has well-covered.

Soon I will be able to get right up to this guitar, maybe gently touch it, and will marvel at the latest incarnation of my longtime hero, Wis Guthrie.

Thanks be God
 the city of Waukesha 
the art sensitives
the downtown powers that be
for all this!