The sharp crack of gunfire edged the pre-dawn this morning. Fifteen or so high-intensity rounds echoed off the apartment alleyway just across the street from my bedroom. It was about 5:30; I had been up for a few minutes. Estimated distance, within 50 yards, maybe 60. Really close. Have heard it farther; farther away it sounds muffled, like popcorn popping in a saucepan on a stove with the lid covering the oiled, jumping kernals. Not like gunfire at all, the power ebbed from it; not menacing, a little soft, a little sweet, even. Close it sounds sharp, distinct staccato, feel the metal flying through the air.

And this morning it was not play gunfire. In the rapidity and intensity of it you could feel the burst of hatred and violence. This has been the third or forth time I’ve heard close, menacing gunfire, and each time it’s been eerily silent. I keep expecting shouting, screeching car tires, revving engines. In fact, it’s the direct opposite; seems to be a vacuum of sound, enhanced by the expectation. If it’s a death, such an anti-climactic way to go out. I picture somebody bleeding, alone, in the dark, blood leaking from bullet holes in his body, the street absorbing another anonymous life, an absorption that these streets seem so ready, capable and used to doing, with their chaos of electric wires, semi-blighted houses, weedy, semi-abondoned lots, car-choked streets, potholes, mismatching, randomly patched asphalt, not to mention the human ghosts appearing, disappearing in the great texture and nooks that all this entropy allows.