At 19 I was adopted by a band of whirling gypsies;
That brutal winter of '94 we drifted across Minnesota,
Selling ceramic kittens, crazy glue, and disco records.
The snow storm blew us further and further north,
Till we found ourselves in front of Highland Motel.
The neon sign, peppered with icicles flickered on and off.
It read Friendly Atmosphere; Affordable rates,
Which really meant Cheap hookers; You won't get busted.
The owner, a Lithuanian refugee, wore a fur ushanka and mittens.
We paid him handsomely: 2 Pointer Sisters' '45s and some glue.
He was glad for business; it was pretty dead 'till we came.
He seemed to enjoy our company; offered us some snuff.
The five of us piled inside a single room; old, but clean.
Jampur, whom we called Johnny Peppers (not sure why,)
Turned on the TV; There was only one channel, Lifetime.
We watched re-runs of Cagney and Lacey, Thirty-something,
Spencer for Hire, and a premier of an original movie:
Almost Golden; The Jessica Savitch story.
Zoe and Lucia, the lactose-intolerant twins were bored.
Let's sing, they said, and their voices floated in the air.
They were doing Hank Williams, again, you know,
Hey, good-looking… what 'ya got cooking, etc.
Johnny turned to me and said, how about that dude in Reno?
And I said, yeh what a goof, getting killed by an '87 Yugo;
Couldn't get hit by a bus, like a normal person.
Raul took some snuff, smiled, and repeated, yeh what a goof.
That night, the motel teamed with roaches and hookers;
It snowed, then rained, then hailed cats and dogs.
We slept on the floor, keeping each other warm;
Five figures in the carpet; Five happy gypsies.
Photo credit: -- K.Rinkov