A Payphone On Melrose

By Abel Ashes (All rights reserved)

Chewing gum abstract pointillism decorates the concrete sidewalk.
The tar and gravel asphalt of the street strongly resembles very well-done hamburger meat.
Information filled pages dangle from a steel box by a cable of metal ore mined from public land bought for five dollars per acre and left contaminated for the taxpayers to clean up.
We’ve lived with this sad state of affairs since the Mining Act of 1872.
Multi-million year old compressed remains of carboniferous life forms have been chemically converted into the cracked plastic drinking glass at my feet.
Wadded brown paper napkins dance in the California breeze.
Who-knows-what stains and advertisements are everywhere.
Crusty green paint is flaking off onto a bird of paradise.
A girl steps up to use this payphone.
Her friend watches people walk by.
Payphones carry disease from mouth to hand and hand to mouth, while fingers fumble on keypads prompting the automated words “Invalid entry, error six.”


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