I grew up in the Dale-Selby neighborhood of Saint Paul. To be more
exact, we lived in the upstairs of a duplex just off the corner of Dayton
and St. Albans, one block from Dale and one block from Selby.
When I see sweet potatoes, I often think of Deborah Torraine. Deb
was a community organizer in the Twin Cities. She always referred
to herself as a cultural worker; she was a mentor to new and
emerging artists, and the Director of Community Engagement for
the Saint Paul Almanac.
Driving back from the reservation, I cross a small bridge into Saint Paul. I feel the troubled waters. I think of my grandfather’s people,the Dakota. I think of how they lived by the water, how they made fire by the water.
Our Lady of Guadalupe,
leaning in the mercado window,
make intercession for the West Side.
Mystical rose of yellow, red, and blue,
protect those who journey through
the corners of George, State, and Chavez streets —
New Tepeyac, District del Sol.
“You have to be funny about it and honest about it. You can't leave yourself out of that mix. You have to be honest enough to say, "I'm that messed-up one in the family."”
—Louie Anderson, Saint Paul native and comedian
“The machinery of government has been commandeered by a little clique whose blind obedience to Wall Street is responsible for the stupid, selfish and short-sighted policy that is retarding our prosperity and creating profound distrust and discontent among our people.”
—Oscar Keller, Saint Paul congressman
“We are more casual about qualifying the people we allow to act as advocates in the courtroom than we are about licensing electricians.”