Background noise of a voice coming over the subway train’s voice/loud speaker. One more noise among the chatters: the co-worker or boss maligners, the cell phone users, etc. You really have to listen beyond the roar of the train on the tracks to the only cheery conductor’s “good morning. Welcome to the A-train. Wake up! Women, put on your make-up and comb your hair. Men, pull up your pants and tie your shoes. Take your husband, your wife, your children, umbrella, chicken boxes, etc., with you! All your belongings!” You can imagine his sexy, male voice emanating from under his feathered fedora and zoot suit as he smiles that flashing smile and swings his watch fob.

Who hasn’t seen someone breaking the subway rules on any given day? Whether it’s spitting, eating chicken and fries, playing loud music with or without headphones, talking and/or cussing out loud, feeding children, doing someone’s hair, etc.

At the end of your ride, as you get half way up the escalator to the outside, you notice some animated object dancing across the moving metal steps. Like a bouncing ball, the wadded brown paper object bounces up and down. Unlike a bouncing ball, there is no particular direction. The crumpled sphere moves more at the whim of lift than gravity.

There are many forces manipulating the paper– by now opened into the brown paper towel. The impact of its bounces forces it open where lift can get into its folds, and it takes off into flight. The right wind could carry it away from the subway grounds. But, between the upward movement of the escalator steps, the rushing air from an arriving train, wind that may be blowing above ground, and passengers who may kick it without even noticing, gravity pulls it down every now and then. The paper bird appears to energetically dance across the moving stair in all directions under the power of some invisible puppeteer.

[This story was written by Rosa L. Griffin, a Baltimore native writer who loves Baltimore, and wouldn’t live anywhere else!]



I vaguely remember our family moving from downtown southeast Baltimore, Eden and Baltimore Streets, to further uptown northeast Baltimore to Boone Street, near Greenmount and North Avenues, when I was a little kid.

We kids played, laughed, and cried. We ran to the Goldman’s corner store daily for two-for-a-penny treats. I remember sweltering summer nights when the carousel sound of the ice cream truck sent kids scurrying for change. And, we kids could stay up late because there was no school the next day.

We used to be a neighborhood. We participated in the Afro-American Newspaper Clean Block every year. We kids had to keep those white marble steps and curb gutters clean. Our parents worked at places like Steel & Tin Can Company, Bethlehem Steel, and the Ward’s and Bond’s baking companies.

The riots of the 60’s made the first changes to our neighborhood. Goldman’s store, owned by Jewish merchants who brought in our meats, fresh fruit and vegetables, was burned out.

Some working class neighbors married and moved to what was then considered the suburbs, Baltimore County, like I did in the mid-70’s. To have a home of one’s own with land around it was my dream. Some working class people still live in our old neighborhood with their elderly parents or in the houses their deceased parents left them as a legacy. They waited for a “trickle down” that never came.

Drug-experimenting parties had to have a source for their drugs, so a new custom, “tea time”, started in our old neighborhood where spunky young outside entrepreneurs recruited our sons, brothers, uncles, fathers, and a few daughters to help feed poison to our kin. Drug dealing gradually and insidiously decimated my old neighborhood–the final blow! Neither was Baltimore County safe from the devastation. The cycle continues into the suburbs.

My old neighborhood is a ghost town now with very young grandchildren, parents, and very old grandparents who send the young out to get what they need. Empty lots stand where whole blocks of row-houses used to exist.

The usual gentrification of a neighborhood, when artists or hospital professionals move in, is on its way to happening in many parts of Baltimore City. The urban blight is helped along by legislators who know what is planned for the area they stopped caring about long ago.

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

Hello adults 18 and over!

Glamour Comes to the Windup

On Monday night, September 14, 2015, I saw a true Burlesque artist, Nona Narcisse, at the Windup Space at 12 W. North Avenue in Baltimore, Maryland 21201.

She is a beautiful woman with a beautiful personality to match.   This live model was so creative in her poses and dance routine for her audience who came to draw her and to be in her presence.   The music played was deep and soulful. It reminded me of Annie Lenox’s version of “I put a spell on you” at the start of the movie, 50 Shades of Grey. I would love to have a CD of their music to play as a stress reliever.

At the Windup, Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art Club was held by emcees Alexis de la Rosa and Aaron Bush who announced breaks and costume changes.    I met some nice laid-back people in a nice crowd of old and young, artists and non-artists who wanted to draw. Some of the people were like me and hadn’t drawn anything in years.

Bring you own food, but please purchase your drinks there.       It would be worth your while to have a relaxing evening of drawing without the pressures of life and the kids.   While you are there, look at the beautiful photographs on the wall.

The drawing sessions are held the second Monday evening of each month.   The next scheduled model is Valeria Vox who will appear on Monday, October 12, 2015.   Check the website,   The hours are 7-10 p.m., and the doors open at 6 p.m.     Parking meters are not in effect after 6 p.m.   Admission is $10 online and $12 at the door.


Written by Rosa L. Griffin