Ode to a city.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Part II: The City of strangers.

Would you know me, my love, if you saw me again? Would you? Would I know you?

The city has always beckoned us. The wet reflections of a neon on a pavement, the sad demureness of a yellow light on a lonely cobbled street, the darkness of its unexplored labyrinths; they all have beckoned us. And I, and you, and we all have given in. We have all walked the streets of the city. With each other, with friends, with family and in loneliness, we have all walked the streets of the city. We have sat on every park bench, looked at every man, turned all the corners. We have. But still the city remains a stranger, the people remain strangers to us.

My love, we were strangers once. We looked at each other from faraway lands, we looked for familiarity through dreamlike fogs. We passed each other on the pavements, our hands touching just a little bit. And we stared in crowded subways at the one standing right in front. We longed for us, didn’t we? But then all strangers do. That is the beauty of being one. All strangers seek another, look around for fondness. So did we, my love. We were strangers once indeed. And you took me in, I embraced you. And we spent the night on the large terrace, staring at the lights of the city. We made love like strangers, and lost ourselves in deep slumber. Dreaming of the city, dreaming of familiarity and the lost magic. We slept, hoping to see a different face by us in the morning light.

This city, is a city of strangers. I don’t know anyone, nor do you. No one knows us. But then, when we pass a coffeeshop, browse through a bookstore or just lift our heads to steal a glance at that woman on the other side of the road, do we still remain strangers? Somewhere in my mind, somewhere back down there, there always will be a moment when I passed that coffeeshop, or when I looked at the woman. Somewhere in her mind, will remain a memory of me. Then, do we not leave a part of us in every building we pass, every man we look at? Is it not familiarity? But we go on, we go on. We go on collecting memories, bits and pieces of people around us and we become a new person every passing moment. Transience, my love, is the only form of permanence. The city teaches me this. Every night I walk down the same old street, amidst the same old faces, and still it’s all new to me. The magic remains forever, floating like an impish fairy in that empty space between us. The magic remains in the air. And we, my love, remain strangers forever. To us, to the city.

I wouldn’t know you, my love, if I saw you again. You wouldn’t know me. And we will be trapped in the arms of the city forever.

Ode to a city.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Part I: The City of lights

And the city never sleeps.

Have you seen the lights, my love, have you seen the lights ever? Did you stare at the neon and think of the river of dreams? I once saw a picture of a woman standing on the city roads. The cars whizzed past her in indistinguishable blurs. The swarm of blurs surrounding her on a busy street, she stood by a river, didn’t she? Oh, images, images. How they rush into my head and make it uninhabitable. I once was a happy man. I have not known the city then. My friend used to say, it’s the most beautiful city in the world and I didn’t believe him. Then I went there. I walked her streets on broad daylight. And when the sun went down, the sun never did go down. It was after all, the city of lights.

My love, I have never walked this city, your hand in mine. My feet always looked for another, a whole lot smaller, pair of feet beside mine. I seeked. I did not find. I tried to shield myself from the daylight, I closed my eyes. With outstretched arms, I roamed about. Instead of you, only the city embraced me. The lights blinded me, o sweet blindness I love thee, I couldn’t see the city anymore. Instead, I felt it. I felt it, my love, as I have felt you all these days, with all my senses. I smelt your sweet pheromones, I touched your navel. Blood gushes, the flesh turns crimson red. The blinking blue lights make it purple. The flesh rots, the wound burns. The stink fills the air, the smoke clouds the billboards. The pain, the love drips into the cityscape slowly.

There’s always a dark corner, hidden amidst the bright streets. Always, well almost. I take a turn, look back and there it is, staring back at me. For me, darkness has always been important. I wouldn’t have known how light felt without it. Imagine yourself in the middle of a thousand searing lights, you close your beautiful eyes and suddenly a shower of blissful darkness, a sudden refuge from the world, from all the people. Isn’t it wonderful, my love? If not for darkness, how would one dream of landscapes and lost loves? The city always has a dark corner, amidst the bright streets. Have you seen them? Have you seen the lights ever, my love? Come, if you haven’t, come not to me, but to the city. Come to it on a rain soaked evening, the lights forming unworldly images in the little puddles of water, come to it in the daylight. It will give you light, it will give you darkness, it will give you respite. And probably, dreams. Then you can weave your own river, just as I am, now. Come, my love, to the city of lights.

The city that never sleeps.