Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The City Goes

What hearts but brave hearts form Ghosts for the city?

What water – stagnant, deep – sits at the bottom of tunnels through the heart of the city?
There are wonders and brights rising up through the city at night. In the daytime, these wonders never cease. The city lifts them and holds them until such time, such time.
For apparent reasons - notwithstanding the rain, the dirt, the clogs - the brights and wonders are now brighter, more wonderful, than they have ever been.
There are blue skies and the expanse of very big skies. No rain.
There are crystal days that shimmer and blind.
Nothing to be afraid of, nothing of the night.
No rain of the night.

But the Spirits.
The Ghosts.

Who walk the earth. Who reach out and brush. Who shout loud to a whisper. Flimsy, their flight paths. Fleeting, their night gowns.

The Ghosts and Spirits, not even they believe in themselves. They who fill the air, circle the air, who are the air. These Ghosts and Spirits who are wonders, who are bright despite the night, who wait beneath big skies and blue skies. Who think of themselves as they do not think of themselves. Who enslave themselves to the city.

Restless, draining, the fevered range of the city. It clasps. It moves forward and shimmers, makes a play for backwards. But always forward. And the city grieves for the Ghosts and Spirits, for the feel of the night rain on its restless forehead. Big skies above the city, the blue skies too.

The city troughs and rises. Like a breath of certainty. The city moves and shudders, imperceptible movings beneath the city feet, trip-trapping on the pavements above. The city is a marker for the countryside, a spoiler that dares. It is a glad tiding on the face of restless stuff. It longs for life, reaches out to life and takes life as it gathers.

With the Ghosts and Spirits there is never the time. They hang in hallways and fill the kitchens. They dance in empty bedrooms and make themselves comfortable between the sheets. Listen, the Ghosts and Spirits are here. They are the menace of whisper, the voices on shoulders. The Ghosts and Spirits reach out to touch and too often find themselves grasping at empty. They are in the sheets, between the covers, flat on pillowcases, linings to our dreams. They are playful and dangerous, soft and hard. The Ghosts and Spirits are mostly as they please.

The city has the sound of rumble. The distant whirr of a lorry, a knife in an alleyway, the rustle of empty crisp packets circling the streets. The city is a groan, unheard for the most part until you close your eyes. The click of combination safes, the caravan doings in suburban front drives, a million pelican crossings. In McDonalds, like poetry, a young girl sucks milkshake thick through a straw. Like poetry, she later hails a taxi in rhyme. When she closes her eyes at night she listens to the city throb, hears the sound of dog. The city never wakes her.

While the city entertains, the Ghosts and Spirits scrape loose chippings from the pavements. They are terra firma for a short while only, bereft at their loss but also magical with freedom. Insects are warm inside them.

The Ghosts and Spirits are sparks, sprites who tickle the ears of passers-by, whisperers who whistle sweet incantations whenever warm rain sprinkles the coldest of faces. During the night the Ghosts and Spirits seem cool to the touch. But once felt their warmth is never forgotten. Only the dead are unmoved.

The Ghosts and Spirits are a club of fascination, a gathering of lucklorn souls. They are the city as they feel the city. Through gutters and alleyways they bend at corners, refusing the terror of straight lines. In nature they move, slowly losing themselves in the city, traces from every ledge and shop sign, dusted.

The Ghosts and Spirits are a unity of desperation. In life they were not as they now remember. They are different to their own memories, sometimes fluttering through life and sometimes dragging themselves with leaden feet of heavy. In death – although death is denied – the Ghosts and Spirits are only comfortable with those right beside them. To move away, to venture through the air, to reach out to big skies, is as bold a statement as they are likely to make.

The Ghosts and Spirits are timid in the city. Boo is enough for them. Pop guns are too much of a wounded heart.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is really fantastic. I am enjoying the page. I love the way you use language and sound. I'm enjoying reading it and reading other people's comments too.

I hope you keep up the page.

7:42 AM  
Blogger Molly Bloom said...

There is hope here hiding amongst your words. Very powerful hope in the 'shimmers' and 'wonders' that fly through the paragraphs like a bright neon light.

I also think the ghosts' voices being described are brilliant - with their tiny (yet massive) voices and their fullness and emptiness all at once.

The city has been personified in a way that makes us pity it and rejoice in it all at once. You become confused in its streets with the 'forwards and backwards' force of it.

The ghosts tell us about our lives: perhaps things we do not want to know. Perhaps things that you might turn to listen to for a moment. Perhaps things that scare us.

The floor falls away from us and we float out towards the streets - with the loss of punctuation and the lyrical intensity of the last passage and the unbearable wonder of the last two phrases.

The best yet.

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Shannon said...

My favourite, favourite. I find a little marvel in nearly every sentence. The language is a dream - sometimes I thought I'd caught it but then I was lost. All I know is that it makes me long to be in this city, to be a Ghost or Spirit there.

11:59 AM  
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