Inhabiting Every Street

Flash fiction

Today feels like raw emotion, rising up through the ground. Anticipation, like acres of wind-swept fields. Very strange, but calm. Generations of voices colliding.

Up in the sky, reflections of very decent weather ahead. A few clouds, but in general, the sun is shining and the air feels quite crisp. For the first time in an incredibly long time, I have no particular place to go and all the time in the world to get there.

I feel this day, all around me, seeping into my skin, right through me. Things that I most certainly don’t understand. What has passed through? Connecting everyone in one place. Steps beyond. Moments revealed.

A park, a cemetery, some abandoned buildings, a celebration. A myriad of feelings from all points of view.

On the corner, the ground is still wet and things seem to be bustling even more than usual. Screams, far off in the distance. People dealing with their daily business. Nothing seems different, but it feels odd. Up in the galleries, arguments over dinner, children running amok, adults running off to wherever. The normal sounds in the streets, faint all around. Large sticks being dropped on the ground, coughing, folks walking by very quickly.

A woman sits on the corner, banjo in hand. Sitting on a displaced bucket. I don’t exactly understand what she’s playing, but it sounds very interesting, different. Music that is attempting to communicate thoughts and feelings that she has obviously had stored deep within herself for quite some time. Perhaps we all have. She’s playing something akin to what I’ve been hearing all through these streets over the past few years. The chords are not simple, definitely not like anything of the standard scales. Complex and passionate. Like so many ages blended into one.

Again and again, I hear these same sounds, from every doorway, every block. One of the first times that I heard it was from two musicians playing in an alley about a year or two ago. The other night, I heard it from a single player in the park and then a while before that, from a young boy on his porch with his clarinet, most likely right before dinner was called. Three older women, one with a banjo, another with a clarinet and then a third utilizing items that were probably brought from home to create the rhythms.

New rhythms and ideas, inhabiting every street. The excitement of what might be found around the next corner. I continue walking forward, slowly along Decatur Street, 1914.

One person walks quickly along this street. Three men are standing together. One leans over and whispers something and the others laugh. A new language is being born. An expression that will take a while to develop and then ultimately will be expanded and then celebrated, then it will be misunderstood and dismissed and ultimately ignored almost completely, yet it will continue to move forward.