St. Francis Theater

the floor was sticky in
the theater and the seats
held the sweet humidity of
memory in the cushions as
we spilled soda pop, popcorn
and candy wrappers onto the
waiting spaces dipped in shadows
as we hid from the world waiting for
the feature to begin

Grandma described it as
elegant, remembering a time
when you dressed up to go
downtown

By the time i came around
downtown was dressed down,
shoeless, shirtless, moneyless
minuses all adding up to the
price of admission with clogged
Toilets, exits and no way out

i didn’t know that the remnants
on those brick walls, those ads
from decades gone by, fading
into the mortar was the montage
of a main attraction, a mortgage
of memory that could not be recalled
nor repaid

and one by one
those movie theaters
shut down
replaced by coffee shops
fitness centers and other
things

yet, the St. Francis on
Market Street seemed
to survive both good
movies and bad, stale
popcorn and pockmarks
left by cigarette burns

and i’d sit on those
mildew festering seats
and i’d escape

“Enter the Dragon, Kung
Fu Mama, The Texas
Chainsaw Massacre, Good
Guys Wear Black
The Big Brawl etc etc”

and there was a uniformed
guard who patrolled the aisles,
night stick at side and rings
on every finger

He tap that night stick
on your feet if they
were propped up on
the back of a chair

i can still hear
the tapping as
well as remember
his smile

And now i
walk down
Market Street

The St. Francis is
gone, cleared away
and barricaded by
yellow tape

i look at
that empty
space

where a large
part of my youth
was spent on hot
dogs, popcorn and
soda

The. St. Francis
is gone

Some intermissions
are permanent

(c) 2017 Tony Robles

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