St. Paul is hushed.
Shocked that another city moved in next door.
The blue sky waits between thunderstorms in St. Paul with an incendiary stillness.
Between the rusted banks of the mighty Mississippi fat catfish gobble the leftovers that descend to the murk until they are caught and eaten by people who throw their leftovers back into the river.
The flat horizon widens women’s hips and blankens men’s gazes.
Sushi is not to be ordered here.
There’s a marker for the birthplace of ennui. Turns out it’s not in France, as expected.
Bartenders have handshakes in St. Paul that can crush bones and mash cartilage. Handshakes that are more like grips to keep them from falling.
Drinking is not a pastime here. It is a vocation. A calling.
In St. Paul you can feel the unimpedidness of the wet gusts that cut between the pillars of uninhabited office buildings of bedrock and granite and calcified longing.
And Winter waits.
Winter waits on tensed haunches, ready to descend like a frigid grey torpor.
Winter as comforting as a chilled razor.
As inevitable as a plague of sadness.
As invasive as an itch in a full body cast.
St. Paul is the lonesome twin.
The sun doesn’t set in St Paul, it dwindles.
The heavy crooked buildings,
The broken smiles of the shopgirls,
The book and music landfills,
All of it in a lavender sheen as purple as the glint in the darting eyes of a hooked catfish gasping in the sudden breeze.
As his twin swims away.
– Ron Campbell
St. Paul, Minnesota.