Pop Culture
Mar 24, 2011, 08:16AM

The City Cannot Be Mine

"I think about this as I move up and down the major veins of the city. The city is home to me. I feel like I own it and it owns me. I want protecting. I want something to show for this kinship."

Picture 1.png?ixlib=rails 2.1

Idle Type

I walk up and down the roads of the city. We connect. My feet on its back, on its trunk; punching my way through narrow streets and drooling at every out-of-shape wall, at each crooked corner.

There are days when people won't do, when I seek a silence from the semantics of human conversation, when only the city's own words will soothe me. There are times when road construction, the low hum of traffic and a thousand broken sentence-endings whistling off into one or other of the distances are just what I need. Sometimes the city gives me this; sometimes I sense we are on the same page.  

But there are days when the din is too boisterous, when I push and push for a little more silence, for something like eye-contact, when I plead that the city feels my weight press down upon it. It's a hard fact of urban living that the city sprouts new skyscapes faster than any of one us can grow a fringe.  

There are days when the city's cold walls despise me and I stand in the rain looking aghast at some building, some wall or drainpipe, and feel I am nothing, nothing to the city. Pedestrians collect and scatter like leaves or puddles, like customer receipts or unimportant gloves fallen out of old jacket pockets. Pedestrians come and go like the names of failed architects, and the city remains, vast and stoic.

I want to lie in the middle of the main road in the midday heat and feel the sun bearing down on me, heat from the tarmac bearing up. I want just one thing from the city and I'll call it quits: to lie down once on that road I traipse every day, just me, me and the city, totally devoid of traffic, noises, other people. I want the city to be mine alone just for one moment.

I continue to live here in the knowledge that this never will be. The city drifts without regard belonging to no one.  I continue to live here and say the word “home” loud enough for my city to hear.


Register or Login to leave a comment