Thursday, July 14, 2011

Side Streets

I’ve come to admire side streets.
They dissect neighborhoods
filled with dogs rambling fences
and cats napping window sills.
I’ve come to admire side streets
where urban farmers grow
P-patch gardens with vegetables 
and flowers as odes to self-sufficiency.
Some residents have more recently taken to raising
chickens, ducks and honeybees.

Side streets teem with life
different from bustling arterials
and concrete freeways. 
On those, people skitter to work
or shop their hurried lives,
rarely slowing except for coffee,
fast food or congestion.

I admire side streets where
residents rock in porch chairs,
lean fences in hiatus conversations
and young mothers wheelbarrow
infants in tripod strollers.
Here the labyrinth sounds of lawnmowers, 
children and wind rustle through trees.
Here fathers labor over home-remodel
projects, wrestle with car engines or
shoot hoops with sons and daughters. 
There is a tortoise pace of smiles
and acknowledgements…friendly
waves when passing by and a hope
that you may meet again.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Urban Life (continued)


I brake at an urban corner.
A disheveled veteran hoists cardboard.
“Veteran.  Need help!”

Further along my journey,
another indigent elevates truth.
“Hard times.  Need a beer!”

At a freeway exit, I slow
for an intersection ahead.
A twenties girl in khakis
approaches our anxious car line.
“Anything helps!” her sign.

I consider my ashtray,
full with parking quarters.
My wallet lumps in my back pocket.
I hold my breathe.
Wish the light would turn.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Urban Life (continued)


His arms windmill,
whip the air with street news.
Truth emerges in every rotation.
His hands full sails of hope,
as he hails every person gusting past.

“Real Change!  Real Change!”

The wind swirls.
Its currents waft each passer-by.
He tilts against its force.
Stands his corner flailing papers.
Few stop to listen.
Yet, his spirit presses on.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Wearing a sopping sweatshirt,
a teen traverses the transit platform. 
His face a hungery landscape,
hoping for a handout.

A wet chick dropped from the nest
into humanity's downpour,
two fingers extend, begging
a quenching of morning need.

Men and women rush past,
hands full with fresh coffee and pastries.
He climbs the street to a Chinatown
Park.  Sits and shivers the bench alone.

I continue to my appointment.
Wonder why he doesn’t return home.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Nature (continued)


He mows the hillside,
Left to right.  Right to left.
Switchbacks the overgown terrace.
Familiar terrain, the grasscutter
maneuvers caressing
the seductive landscape…
the ridges and hollows
until reaching the edges.
Unfamiliar borders require patience
and he is more careful trimming.
Reaching the bottom, he looks back,
satisfied at his maintained earth.
Understanding the topography
eases life.