Thursday, May 10, 2007

City of dreams

Downtown. It's nowhere to be if you're lonely, and alone. It's always dark in Downtown. Oh sure, there are shops, and neon, and things to do—sometimes. But if it's late, and you're looking for a lift, look elsewhere. Downtown doesn't care about your despair.

You land at one of the corners with a traffic light. No cars, so you know it's late. The signal changes anyway, green to amber to red and back to green again. The walk signs tell you when it's safe to go, as if there were actually traffic. You head down Falcon Street and into Chinatown, because you know the place, but it's empty. The neon lights make a mockery of your longing for life.

You see that there are people somewhere nearby. No matter which way you go, they never seem to get closer. You find someone, a stranger. She passes you without a word, intent on her own business, whatever that might be. Don't ask.

You keep searching, but you don't quite know what you're looking for. You see the cinema, with promises of life and entertainment, but it's closed. You head out to into the open at the edge of town, which if anything is lonelier and scarier than the claustrophobic streets under the el. You check out the diner, empty as the day before payday. The lights are up, but not a soul is to be found. You head out and find a garage where cars are being fixed, cars that never drive down forbidden streets, seeking the promise of open air and sunshine.

You fly up thinking that soaring above the urban squalor might clear your head. The atmospheric pressure still crushes you. Past the obelisk, you can see the promise of a new dawn, a dawn that never arrives. You could wait forever, waiting for Godot. A fool's errand.

You circle around and around, past the pawn shop, past the bookstore, knowing that there are people somewhere, but you never find them. You give up. You head back to Chinatown, back to where you know there's a place to crash, to sink into oblivion. It's dirty and messy, but it's as safe as anywhere in this burg.

Those potstickers from the Chinese take-out down below didn't sit too well, so you're glad that at least there's a toilet in this dump. The gods know what's in those buggers. The rot-gut whisky you washed them down with probably didn't help. You want to sleep, but the room is spinning, and sleep won't come. You're alone with your thoughts and a bag of crack and photos on the wall that some self-righteous bastard is probably soon going to proclaim are pornographic. What they hell do they know.

1 comment:

Bailey Toland said...

Oh, that is so beautifully ugly!