Sunday, September 27, 2009

Austin, Texas

Hello everyone. I'm off to Austin. Hope you like this one. Russ


By (c) Russ Barnes
Austin photo (c) Michele Surwit

She liked the idea of Barton Springs,
pure spring water into a pool, no chlorine no chemicals,
twice as big as a football field,
where you don’t have to wear clothes unless you like.
Sleeping together every night.
Someplace her son is more likely to visit
more than Washington. Young in spirit.
Not a bunch of old white-guy geezers
harping on the same old themes day and night.
Music every joint down the block from the 60s, 70s,
hip hop, Mexican, blues, jazz, whatever.
Alice's restaurant, next door to City Hall,
where you walk in and there’s no roof above
and you look up and see the stars way out in space.
There is a steel band from the islands
and everyone is smoking MJ and drinking beer.
Bumper stickers that recommend, “Eat at the Y.”
Guys, middle of town, in jeans with no shirt.
Blue sky with a whiff of slow-cooking barbecue smoke
rising in old smoke-signal puffs. The bats at sundown
charging out for their meal of central Texas bugs.
And everyone saying, “Wow!”
People say, “Howdie,” and they mean it.
You say, Howdie” back and you mean it too.
Where you drink watermelon juice and eat huevos rancheros
for breakfast with pico de gallo on the side.
Where the women tilt their heads to the right
and are fierce for reality and not for social norms,
and they speak and act that way.
They spank their men and then stand by them.
Where the men are willing to take a risk, even lose,
and still think of themselves as men.

Text and photo owned respectively by Russ Barnes and Michele Surwit. Permissions for use available upon request at

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