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The International Writers Magazine: San Francisco Archives

Shadows of Spread Wings
Michael Chacko Daniels


Rain and wind storm into the alleyway. For the first time in years, I close the studio apartment’s kitchen window. Late morning, the rain tapers off and I leave for the Wednesday Heart of the City Farmers’ Market.
            At Hyde Street, a fierce crosswind unsettles my cap. I grab the brim and pull the cap low on my forehead; my two green bags block my view of the street for a moment.
            Walking downhill past Nob Hill Grille, the broken glass on the sidewalk slows me down. Next, pebbles, then human and dog wastes the storm unsettled from the squares of dirt around the young street trees.
            In my mind, I’m stepping around cowdung, walking down the footpath on Sitladevi Temple Road, Bombay, fifty years ago.
            I look up: the 19 Polk bus is slowly crossing Hyde on Polk Street.
            Won’t make it, even if I sprint for it, I tell myself.
            A wait of 15 to 30 minutes in the wind, if the next bus is on time. I should’ve started a few minutes earlier; should’ve walked faster.
            No, no, no more of that.
            But, do I know how to enjoy all of half an hour at the bus stop?
            In Little Polk Gulch?
            Of course, I can: This is where the world rolled in during the 1970s, shrank and adjusted. Now, Alexandria is a café; Barcelona, a liquor store; and Shalimar, a busy Indian-Pakistani restaurant. All: morphed neighbors in our global village.           
            Gary Oldman, the antagonist in the post-apocalyptic movie—The Book of Eli, stares down from a billboard above a liquor store on the corner, with the accompanying words: “Religion is power.”
            I look away.

            Shadows of spread wings
            Fall on tarred road going south
            White feather floats north.

© Michael Chacko Daniels
Polk Gulch, San Francisco, 2010
Michael Chacko Daniels

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Michael Chacko Daniels is a former community worker and clown who grew up in Bombay, India. His past adventures include five years as a Volunteer In Service To America, four as editor/publisher of the New River Free Press of Grand Rapids, MI, and 16 running the Jobs for Homeless Consortium. He lives and works in San Francisco. His writing has appeared in Apollo's Lyre, Cricket Online Review, Denver Syntax, dragonfire, Eclectica, Grey Sparrow Journal, Hackwriters, Popular Ink, Quicksilver, SHALLA Magazine, and The Battered Suitcase. Writers Workshop, Calcutta, has published three of his books: Split in Two (Poetry, 2004), Anything Out of Place Is Dirt (Novel, 2004), and That Damn Romantic Fool (Novel, 2005). Website:

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