Crows’ Breakfast

a true story on Greenleaf Avenue:

The street was in an uproar. A mob surrounded the tree. Foul-mouthed sparrows, get-off-my-lawn robins and cardinals, starlings from as far away as the next blocks over, grackles, even a few rock doves: for the two offenders were clearly visible in the not fully foliated oak. I joined the mob and looked up.

One crow shifted uneasily on its branch. The surrounding mob might be evaded, deterred, out run, but humans are dangerously unpredictable. This was getting to be more than the crow had figured: “I was only along for the ride.”

A few branches below, the second crow regarded me impassively, a dead hatchling held firmly beneath one claw. The crow shrugged. “Breakfast,” it said, and dug in.


(Photo by Roman: detail from an Artists of the Wall panel.)

But We Were Always Like That

Darkness ahead and darkness behind, the present an instant’s oasis of light: I came to awareness and found I was dying. The future was brief, measured in moments, of this there was no doubt. But who am I? What am I? Through a growing numbness nonetheless: the map of my body was wrong.

A woman was sitting next to me, weeping as she pet me. “Oh, Wolfie,” she cried, “I always loved you, but in a good way!”

“What the hell did she mean by that?” I thought.

The End.


Julie Was a Free Spirit

Julie was a free spirit, living not on the street but next to it, not in poverty but in a well-to-do suburb of it. With nothing but health and youth, she had wealth enough. That was then. Now she has a family of three, and son Mathew is never going to grow up no matter his age.

The street looms with night siren threats. Roaches wage guerrilla war. Money measures her life. Her hip-not-hippie husband is a balm, but… He seems free to her. Then on those golden Mathew-shackled afternoons, the chaotic apartment silent of husband and her healthy daughters, it speaks to her of loss: of the not so creeping years that pass, the music never played, the words never wrote. And it seems almost too much for her to bear.


Photo by Roman.

If You Were a Whale

Imagine the Hunt:
Pursued down alleys and streets
Over waves of cobblestones
Amid phosphorescent swirls of broken glass
By Captain Ahab and his bicycled crew.
They stalk that coveted human spermaceti,
Your gold fillings.
Their harpoons are ready.
The blades glitter sodium-vapor orange.
“Thar she blows!”


(Detail, Artists of the Wall panel, artist not known, photo by Roman.)