Cemented in Riverbed…

by Robin Byrd

I live by the Los Angeles River.  Until recently, I thought it was a drainage ditch (the sign was missing).  It has been cemented in and down the center of the cement slabs runs a stream of water – the river.  It bothers me every time I cross the bridge that is built over it. Why?  Because sometimes I drive several miles just to see the ocean or a lake because bodies of water have a calming effect and help me when I am writing.  With the exception of the drainage ditch otherwise known as the Los Angeles River, I usually come away from the ocean, river, lake, or even fountain refreshed.  To think that I am two blocks away from a river that doesn’t look, smell, or flow like a river.

There is a certain expectancy where rivers are concerned – greenery/the presence of nature for one.  New life…  I have read that this river suffers pollution from agricultural and urban runoff.  I have also read that there is talk of removing the concrete to allow the restoration of natural vegetation and wildlife.  It’s out of place this river in the city; it’s not allowed to be its natural self.

I feel like that river sometimes – stuck beneath preconceived notions of story and the telling of such – ever fighting runoffs.  I am tired of hearing that there are no stories for female actors, no good female writers or no female directors specifically regarding persons of color.

We’re here just under some damn cement; if you look closely you’ll see we’re chipping away at it from the underside…

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