They say something is brewing. But, the signs are already out.

They tell us it is frustration, endless racial injustice and police violence. Some speak of change. Others say order and progress. All eloquent metaphors for commonplace reactions.

The writing on the wall says different. It spells something has changed: peace has been upended.

We are past the brewing point. Metaphors boil down when liberal ideals subside to an F.

around town

Went around town looking for signs of COVID-19. At a traffic light, a truck caught up to me and I saw her. She had a mask on. Blond hair, green eyes and long nails. She was pointing her phone at me. I saw her.

She was uttering something I couldn’t hear. Her mouth was covered. It was clear, though, she was taking my photo.

Then, she raised her right hand, stuck the index finger out, and quickly twirled it around at the level of her ear. She signaled me crazy.

“Sure,” I thought. “I am nuts…, just like you, lady!”

If taking photos of people wearing masks makes us crazy; certainly, it is a sign of the pandemic.

I also thought of smiling for her photo. But, I was wearing a mask. I doubt she could’ve seen me smile.

Notes to the river

The sun is out this morning after five days of rain. On the riverbed, a heavy stream is still washing down the concrete. The bike path is clean and the wind is pushing west. It is a nice day to ride.

Beneath the overpass, a saxophonist sets loose some notes from a major scale. He sits there often. Warms up. Plays on measures from a music book. Above, the flow of cars muffles his music but he plays on.

“How come you choose this spot to play,” I ask.

“It’s empty,” he utters. “I figure… there is no virus here… why not get out of the house and play.”

He says he is “not that good, yet.” So, he doesn’t play in a band. The notes sounded good to me, though. I was just happy to see him there again working on his music while everyone else is locked in or going around wearing a mask.

Alex plays his saxophone to the L.A. river underneath the Imperial Hwy. overpass in South Gate, CA.

quiet still

They are five. I am one.

They are tall. I am breathless.

They are timeless. I am passing by.

They are quiet still. I am here.

They speak peace and I hear.


Did I find a novel or it did it find me?

I thought of picking it up. Its title spoke to me: “Destiny Unknown.”

I wanted to read it.

I felt it was there waiting for me. But that couldn’t be. Destiny is unforeseeable and it couldn’t have anticipated me as a reader.

No. I wouldn’t be the novel’s next reader. Someone else must come along.


Looking back at the bench, where I sat before teaching class, I see the shadow. From the bench, I saw the tree everyday and its presence reminded me I was not a shadow. But I am.