Five Statues of Liberty of Saint Paul

[The Statue of Liberty in Paris.]
Liberté, the pursuit of happiness, the unfettered city air freeing us from the visible and invisible chains of oppression.

These freedoms are not only found within history books, but are all around us. And America’s great unsuffering icon, the colossus of escape and relief lies not just at the center of New York harbor. You can’t pin down an idea.

Even Saint Paul has its statues of liberty, its small freedoms. These ladies liberty stand scattered around the city, beacons of relief and lights of opportunity giving succor and hope to the despondent.

Here are five of them:

What: wooden statue of liberty made from a tree stump
Where: Crocus Hill, Fairmount Avenue, up on the bluff

What kind of liberty are we talking about:

The freedom to decorate your yard. The freedom to live in a well-kept wealthy neighborhood of tasteful and remodeled Victorian homes where you can almost always park your car in front of your house. The freedom to be able to walk to a street with delicious restaurants, clothing retailers, and a small liquor store, but to drive there anyway. The freedom to shed convention by making delicate objects with brute tools like chainsaws. The freedom to not only chop down trees, but to turn them into kitsch.

Site-specific poetry:

"Keep, ancient yards, your storied grass!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your trees, your stumps,
Your leftover timber yearning to become large animals,
The wretched detritus of your dumpster.
Send these, the homeless, wooden materials to me,
I lift my chainsaw beside the 19th century door!"

What: large liberty in a coffee shop
Where: Nina’s Coffee, Western and Selby

What kind of liberty are we talking about: 

The freedom to have room for a laptop, a dedicated electric plug, a coffee, and plenty of space to work all day without paying more than $6. The freedom to sit down and share a table with someone if the café is full, even if they’re a stranger. The freedom to gaze out large windows at passers-by on the street. The freedom to pretend like you’re working, even if you’re not. And the timeless liberty of reading a newspaper for which you did not pay.

Site-specific poetry:

"Keep, suburban lands, your Starbucks!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your upper-middle-class,
Your uncaffineated masses yearning to drink coffee,
The nomadic laptops of your creative industries.
Send these, the LSAT takers with low batteries, to me,
I lift my lamp inside the historically preserved brothel!"

What: guy wearing a foam liberty outfit
Where: on the bus bench of University Avenue

What kind of liberty are we talking about: 

The freedom to not have to do taxes by yourself. The liberty of speedily getting a tiny portion of your tax refund right away, and bequeathing the rest of it to predatory lenders. The freedom to hire people to be objects. And the freedom of feeling superior to others because of their crappy employment, because regardless of how bad your job may be, at least you’re not standing in the rain wearing a “statue of liberty” costume.

Site-specific poetry:

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied accountants!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to get something out of the regressive taxation system,
The wretched returns of your working class.
Send these, the undocumented with empty wallets, to me,
I lift my lamp beside the bus stop!"

What: medium-size statue of liberty on the roof of an office building
Where: Lawton Professional Building, West 7th Street

What kind of liberty are we talking about: 

The freedom to divorce thy spouse, the freedom to litigate estate disputes, and to have affordable rent while doing so. The freedom to declare bankruptcy, even under the limited protections afforded to people under to new GOP regulations. The freedom to park on the street without paying. And to protest transit projects that threaten such parking no matter the opportunity cost.

Site-specific poetry:

"Keep, ancient firms, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your conveniently located, your hopefully not poor,
Your befuddled masses yearning to resolve disputes,
The no-longer-happily married refuse of your teeming Riverview corridor.
Send these, the underwater homeowners, the financially insolvent to me,
I lift my lamp beside the 60s one-story office building!"

What: medium-size statue of liberty on the roof of an Italian restaurant
Where: Yarusso Brothers, Payne Avenue

What kind of liberty are we talking about: 

The freedom to never change recipes. The freedom to take absolutely anything from a garage sale and put it on the wall. The freedom to force people to work in places that show the first two Godfather films simultaneously all day, every day. And the freedom to eat as much pasta as you can, once having paid the buffet price.

Site-specific poetry:

"Keep, newfangled hipsters, your trendy foodie culture!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your traditional, your firmly middle-class,
Your hangry masses yearning to eat meatballs,
The curmudgeons of your teeming railroad island.
Send these, the nostalgic, balding men to me,
I lift my lamp beside the pasta buffet!"

[Liberty is all around you.]

1 comment:

Kasandra said...

The snacks here had a smooth taste with a bit of cheese and lime juice. To start, we got pork rinds at party venues here; they were really flavorful with a spicy kick and smooth taste. Plus, it was a large fresh bag too, place is worth the price.