- Essays: On The Road (And A Little Off)


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Panama Gets Ready to Say "Hi" to Miami

Rockvale TN, September 30, 2010 --
I lived in several places in Miami, the Grove
being one of them of course, but I also lived on
the Seybold Canal for a while. It's the
first canal you encounter when you come up
the Miami River from Biscayne Bay. Kind of
a little hidden canal. Perfect for all
sorts of nefarious nocturnal activities. 
Clark Gable had a house up at the end of
it.  Not while I was there, but like
historically, you know? Pretty ritzy

The area is only a block wide, and it is,
with the river on one side and the canal on
the other, effectively a peninsula, with
only two entrances, one being a side street
and the other being the famous little NW 7th Street
humpback bridge. Googlng it now I see that they've
connected North River Drive to the little peninsula,
but it was not so when I lived there. There were lotsa
city government folks n residence there at the time,
and for a while the little humpback bridge
was fenced off, theoretically owing to the
high number of break-ins occurring by perps
crossing the bridge to rip their betters
off.   So for a couple of months the ittle
side street was the only way onto the
peninsula, and a police cruiser was
always present there.

Talk about adventure. One night there were
these cigarette boats with their engines
softly purring quietly tying up at my
run-down dock just over my little backyard
hummock and dudes in camo silently but
rapidly off-loading bales and bales of
stuff right there in my jungle. Did I go
out and say, "Hey, motherfuckers, what's
goin' on here?" Did I call 911? Not on
your life I didn't.   I just stayed in my
house and minded my own business. Looked
pretty potentially unfriendly out there,
nobody but me and the blue crabs to defend
my turf.

Once in a while, I got the feeling that
these guys knew I was in there lookin out,
'cause one would pause every once in a
while and peer into the darkness of my

Next morning there was burlap wrappers in
the gutters and Ryder trucks pulling away
from the curb at 6 a.m. I walked out,
ostensibly to pick the Herald up off my
lawn and some friendly guy with a menacing
smile whom I'd never seen before came
walking up the sidewalk and said, "So,
how're we doin'?"

"Looked okay to me," I said in my manly

"Here, I think you dropped this," he said,
handing me an envelope.

Interestingly enough, a few days after this
night the humpback bridge was re-opened to


Where to begin. How to describe the vibe
at the Luna Star Cafe? I fall in love with
the audience every time I play here. I
would do it for free if Alexis didn't
absolutely INSIST on adding to my tip jar.
And also if I didn't have this enormous nut
to crack every time I do one of these
little Florida Tourettes, and an agent like
an alligator. See you there, Miami.
Leave your cigarette boat at home. Bring
your envelope.