Thursday, May 17, 2007

the city, as i remember it.

there is no building there; there are no buildings anywhere. though we ride down familiar roads, each with names and street signs we swear to recall, block after block of the city is gone. then we see our friends, the former occupants of the city, the one we've lost somehow. they are waiting for mail sent to addresses that designate an empty lot of land, an acre of tall grasses. they wave to us as we drive by and they say, "oh we're just waiting for the mail today!" and they laugh somewhat uncomfortably. i think it is because they are waiting for something a little more exciting than that. i see my family next, waiting with little babies in their arms, sitting on the curb side drinking tall bottles of water. they are so happy to see me again, and the make room so i can sit with them beside the dusty road that winds up the side of a green hill. we try and remember the city, our city, rebuild it with hand gestures in the air, stories of rides into town, directions to parties. I remember the city as a coastal city, and my brother agrees. we remember the tides of the city, it's AM swell, it's evening decline. we remember walking along sidewalks with shells embedded in the concrete, the smell of salt and pine and the occasional sweetening of taffy. our parents say how wonderful that is, and each of us remember our own city, our own construction with vague edges. people gather, our neighbors come, we talk about casino cities, circus cities, farm towns, sky cities, shanty towns, the dense metropolis. and between our voices, the moving of the air to make sound, the dust moves, realigns because of our breath. and then it happens.

we stop. feel our foundations. we wait restlessly (anxiously, quietly, lovingly, desperately) as the city begins.