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The Alleys of Venice


By Fred Owens

I wanted to be alone, by myself. So I walked in the alleys of Venice. 

They are so quiet and bare. I am surprised how clean they are. People walk their dogs and carry clean up bags these days. I walked for hours, day after day. 

Once I got into it I thought I would get to every alley in Venice and I did walk more than half the alleys and I never saw any nasty trash or fast food debris or dog crap or foul pile of debris, nothing like that. 

I saw a few artful junk cars, a bit of furniture worth taking home and some lovely weeds springing up through the cracks in the pavement – that’s freedom, they just grow – nasturtiums, geraniums, lantana, fennel and wonderful California poppies – free flowers, no work.

I walked in quietude. No traffic. I only saw pleasant men working on their cars. 

    You get out of the wind in the alley and the sun beats down. The pavement absorbs the heat. 

     You see the fences too much, too many 7-foot fences, not like the old days when you could peak into someone’s back yard and see what they were really like. But now you see too many code-breaking tall fences and electric gates  that barricade alleys because people are afraid to be seen.

Come out, come out, I call to the people over the 7-foot fences. 

I am not the law. 

I am not the code enforcer. 

You can build your fence 30-feet tall if you want, but don’t be afraid of the alley vision. It’s only your shadow. Your shadow plays with the flowers in the sunshine in the alley. 

These alleys in Venice are good places.

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