The clouds came with the giant moon, as if to hide us, humans, from the glare of its pitiless light. At the corner of our street workers rush home, to warmth, love and a well deserved rest. Friday night is for joy, dancing, the smiles of lovers, the hopes of poets, and, later, as ghosts start roaming the quieter streets, the shadow of Faust…
Bless be the City, and be pardoned those, who believe in the right of man to walk alongside the gods.
Image: Dr. Fausto by Jean-Paul Laurens
It’s a recurring dream, not a nightmare, only its frequency makes me wonder. I look for her, she’s not there, but apparently I have just missed her, or so they say. Yet, she does not answer calls, she’s absent, or somewhere, where I am not.
But who is she? Is she my wife? Is she an old flame? Does she come from a hidden future, from a landscape where I err, lost or condemned soul?
I could do without those searches, before dawn, or so early that I cannot make up my mind: should I get up and make coffee? But then the noise of the grinder would wake up my companion from her sleep. Or should I attempt to find rest, at last, away from her?
But there is the dilemma: she’s not looking for me, it’s me who seems to be pursuing her. But what for? Lost keys? A borrowed book? A forgotten promise?
Next time round, the place will be slightly altered: another room where the search starts, corridors, maybe an underground station? But the feeling would be the same: not that again! I don’t want, I swear, nothing to do with me!
Or is there something I refuse to admit?
Image: Hiromu Kira, The Thinker, 1930, via last-picture-show
From the crazy crowd
She asked: “Do you think the City is less sexy in winter?”
This made me smile. All the way to Frannz Club in Prenzlauer Berg, I reflected on what my lover said. Later, immersed in Erik Truffaz’ amazing trumpet, I had the answer. If anything the City is more captivating, as the light declines: more secrets come to the fore, less nudity, and more soul. Dark jackets and woollen scarves may hide the skin, but, ah, the search for a hint, a blink, a smile…
“You may be right,” she finally declared, “But that is because you rearrange the world to suit your dreams…” Yes, how true this is. Where else could we accommodate, not merely our dreams, but also those of others, mysteriously readable to us, as dead leaves rush past our steps, and Erik’ tunes still resonate in our hearts.
The City holds us, and won’t let go: street by street, note by note, we learn her language, as her silent words float through the cool night air, one beautiful face at a time. Ghosts, strangers, they become us, and us them.
Image: Erik Truffaz, By Xpeeterx – Own work http://www.flickr.com/photos/peter_es/4454478410/, CC BY 3.0, Link
We have got so far, much is still to be done. We have to go further, down the quiet streets, and the wide avenues, through the small parks, along the canals… There, somewhere, we’ll find ourselves, the meaning of us, the ultimate ecstasy.
Till then, it’s unfinished business, work in progress, the novel unfinished.
Till then, there is only you and me, lovers, haters, fighters, humans.
After us, the déluge…
Image: Maurits Cornelis Escher – Procession in Crypt. 1927 – via drakontomalloi
From the cool guys
So, this is the deal: you stay, and then, here is your place, or you go, and good luck to you. But, you insist, the deal is reversible: if you want me, you have to convince me to stay, or I go. And so, we go on, late into the night, do you want to, or not, and if you want to, how do I convince you to say you do?
For the city attracts us both like a mantis its prey: how to resist beauty beyond belief, how could we say no to paradise? And we won’t. But then you have to make your choice, stay or go.
We know you won’t go, and neither will I. We are playing a game, with blank cards, as white as your beautiful thighs.
Photo: “Der Verliebte”, Paul Klee, 1923, Lithografie mit roter Tonplatte – Museum Berggruen, Berlin
From the crazy crew
Not sure how to participate?
Down South is your secret garden, and I hold the key,
Thus, I live in fear, of the jealous gods, of the cruel demons,
For they cannot approach the magic gate:
You can imagine their fury, they cannot suffer
To see this simple mortal, enjoy the
Forbidden fruits, all the way,
Image via mennyfox55
Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.
What made us so sure about the city? Was it the memories of our many encounters there? Or was it, for each of us, the ghosts of others, of others touching, kissing, hurting?
But it no longer matters, for there we will soon be, closer than ever, from dawn to dusk, and, in-between, haunting those streets, hardly noticed by the living, under the light of an icy moon…
Share a time when you were overcome with guilt. What were the circumstances? How did you overcome you guilt?
I opened the door, the light came in, there was nowhere to hide. Was it fair to show you the way? Was it right to seize that instant, the beauty of that second in our lives?
Then, I wrote the story… As if I could find a reason, perhaps even redemption?
You said it was right: you said it took the two of us.
But I know who opened the door, on that day. Now, there can be no end to the dream.
Image: Hamish Blakely, via benbrahemb
Where shall we go now? I know, along the tree-lined streets of our memories, now full of young people of all ages, the façades of the houses from time to time displaying the scars of the great battle, to ensure we remember…
Slowly, we retrace our steps, all those years past, and the ghosts wonder how the city can shield creatures as old as us within its walls, for we are older than them, as ancient as the forests, far, to the East.
Soon we will watch the crowds on Museums Island, patient actors of antique plays, wearing the masks of joy, we will listen to the troubadours, watch the coloured balloons going up to the skies.
Clouds: my heart longs for your touch, ephemeral, giant reflections of our pain.
Come, my love, the city is ours, and we have all eternity to savour her pleasures, from dawn to dusk.
The next evening, he watched her performance, came to her dressing room, and saw many of the same faces. He made sure to pay proper attention to Mme Guérard: having been in foreign courts before, he knew to recognise the power behind the throne. Soon – much sooner than the fiercest optimism could have imagined – she came across, took Barnaby’s arm, and bade her coterie goodnight. As the three of them left, the scrimmage of Parisian dandies took care of not to appear put out. Well, perhaps they weren’t.
From Julian Barnes, “Levels of Life, On the Level” (© Julian Barnes 2013)
Image: Sarah Bernhardt photographed by Félix Nadar 1865