A day in big-bellied August
is when it came right downtown,
the hollowing wind at first
just a pfting-pfting-pfting
of a quick high popping shade
in Nick Moore’s Men’s Wear window…
Going Out of Business
All Sales Final s’what the man
said, and that was it for Nick
who knew what would fit the folks,
leaving an old gap-toothed smile
on the north side of Broad Street.
Nick be done.

And from there them wind devils
rattled that old home pianer
peeled ivories off the keys
as those well-worn tunes ran out
of Kimball’s Corner Book and
Donnie’s Radio TV
and Magnet Theater down
to the very last row with
no features left to hold the
line of screaming children to
Flash Gordon, the Bowery Boys
and Disney’s newest marvel.
Done dark.

And Waddell’s Elm Street Market
with truly great oysters and
Town Hotel home to old vets
and Fishman’s Five and Dime full
of peanut smell and aisles of
color and fizz, come on in
and see the wonders of cheap
buttons and bric-a-brac.
Done empty.

And Percy’s newsstand where your
Daily Bugle and Lucky Strikes
and a grin from Percy just fit the morn
with his smart repartee…
How is your old self today?
Done away, oh.

Where are we, oh yeah, moving on
the mother mills down the river –
great looms and rolls, vats and lasts
die one by one ’til shut down by
sweating floors gone faraway
leaving vast rooms skittering
with small things in corners dark,
a brick-stained face surviving place…
Then just a hand-lettered sign of
a home town once a bustle and
now…”Bricks for Sale – Penny a piece”
One and done.