In Your Own Words — November 2018

The Dairy Block

By Larmarques Smith

I oftentimes look for things to brighten my day. I’m all about brightening the days of others too, usually by saying good morning or just by my friendly smile. So I am sharing with you my favorite block in Denver. Moooove over 16th Street Mall, because here comes the Dairy Block! A picture is worth a thousand words, so enjoy these, but I encourage you to visit the Dairy Block for yourself (there is ice cream there)! ■

A sculpture of pouring milk in the Dairy Block, located in Lower Downtown at 1800 Wazee St. (Credit: Larmarques Smith)

A sculpture of pouring milk in the Dairy Block, located in Lower Downtown at 1800 Wazee St. (Credit: Larmarques Smith)

To John Hickenlooper: Governor of Colorado

By Elizabeth Vonaarons

I trust that your trip to see the Wizards (and yes, there is more than one Wizard of Oz) was successful, and that you have returned with gifts such as: insight, foresight and a renewed heart. I am writing to you today because of my experience with attending the RTD Board Meeting on August 21, 2018. I have not been able to sleep because the participants’ speeches greatly moved me. So much so that I am writing a letter to you and also a poem titled, “And the People Prayed.”

There were about 30 people who spoke at the board meeting. With the exception of a few, the greater number of participants spoke about the proposed RTD hike in fares and how this will affect their lives. These people rely on public transit in order to exist, and I say exist because they don’t get up in the mountains or take trips via flying on an airplane. Many of the speakers pleading with RTD to not put this fare increase into effect are disabled or seniors, or students and most are low income. There are three proposals in the works by RTD and none of them are very good. Combined with RTD route changes, this is a disaster for the people.

After the participants finished, a board member spoke about CDOT and the tremendous overhead that exists because the salaries for CDOT and RTD management are so high, while the working class people are struggling to survive. The meeting adjourned and I went home and pulled up RTD’s Mission Statement which reads: “Meet our constituents’ present and future public transit needs by providing safe, clean, reliable, courteous, accessible, and cost-effective service throughout the district.”  

Based on their mission statement, the cost-effective part, RTD (and CDOT) are not living up to the standards they have set up for themselves. I do not know the hierarchy of CDOT, but I do know that you hold the chief executive office for the State of Colorado, and that you can implement a no fare increase without voter approval executive decision for RTD. These are your people and you have always cared about quality of life for your people. I remember one Saturday in the fall when you walked by the DCPA and asked, “Why are all my people here?” They were there to see a play, of course. Your people are still here and they deserve that same quality of life. Thank you for your time. ■ 

And the People Prayed

By Elizabeth Vonaarons

And the people prayed
Stones and glass they made way
To their place on stage
They offered their best of intentions
But what they really wanted was hope  
In a jungle of concrete and maze

In the world of the unknown
How will they buy food pay rent fill prescriptions?
Theirs is that of plain survival
On the bus they prayed
That they will get to their place
A place they call home

The people pleaded to the pillars of stone
A silence prevailed
The people spoke of hardship and trauma
And fate and longing 
For someone to care
A silence prevailed

And the people prayed
Is there a God on this earth who listens?
In the darkness that prevailed
They made their way to the stage
Door one door two door three
We’ll take door three

The best of the worst
The inevitable outcome
The silence prevailed
And the people prayed
In their hearts they prayed

For a semblance of their lives
To prevail amidst the storms
Reality, Survival
Pay rent buy food
Live each day one night one day at a time
And the people prayed ■

Dearest Denver

By Virginia Bryant

Dearest, Dearest Denver, thou which has held me in your embrace since 1958, within my hopes, within my dreams. I camp upon your doorstep of love, ring your doorbell of entrance; I sashay my worn ass down your hallway of conscience, limping my way from your streets of abandonment into the presence of your heart-entangled soul. I, naked of homes, stripped of safety, forlorn of family, classed, cocked, and decaying of savoring abilities...

...I know you love me as I love you... I do... for how could we not be within each one’s refrain, swirling within our mysteries of life? Darling, Darling, Denver, hold me tight as I do you, stepping together through our nights of blight, torrents of tyranny, bulled until over the barrel. Free me from such nonsensical pursuits of hiding me away from your havens and hutches of ribbited croaks, ghastly creaking with moans of pleasures as you rub me under your heel, hellaciously using me as your spittoon. I salivate at the mere thought of you mooing yourself back into my life... milking your tits of gushing generosity, caress your nipples of stagnation, simmering superficialities, half-masted polarizations, flagged with such inattentive, disarrayed disorders of impoverished inequities.

Offer me your loving tones, your lullabies giving life... become the geyser of my most faithful and fan me, not with your member but with your dis-member-ing... ‘cuz I remember. 

For I have been screwed, too, in so many ways... follow me. See you around, wagging my tales all over town. ■

Virginia Bryant (Credit: Sarah Ford)

Virginia Bryant (Credit: Sarah Ford)