4.30.2009

Confrontation with the Dark City



An essay from my first visit to the East Coast, and the impression she left on me. 


I arrive a hop-skip-and-a-jump, seven hours in and out of the heartland, racing towards the origin of the rising sun. Within landing I’m taken into three different states, and at twenty-four hours all deliriousness has eroded into giggles and glee.

In the deep darkness faltering Philly reeks of the apocalypse, as if the city that practically began it all could be its own ultimate demise. Its age is apathetic and dirty- all aesthetic is coated in non-apologetic chaos. I feel as though I’m locked into a dream- a nightmare- a flash forward, as if this fear, this empathy for the wandering bohemians is a stark warning of the impending catastrophe to flood the shores of any remaining decency and prick any Achilles heel available. It laps at the shores and I leap out of its way…apprehension pumps through me. . .

And by day it is back into this decrepit delinquent place to fester some sort of creativity- which satirically is quickly translated through a loving memory of Manson meets ape and the Antichrist superstar of corporate conglomerate is consummated in a lack luster doctor’s office, surrounded by the cloistered creative collective.

A third trip all too swiftly follows the second- with the lack of sleep day is blending into night. This excursion into raw relativity is far less eventful, aside of course from the car just ahead of us deciding that the street lamp no longer serves a purpose, as neither does his right driver’s side axle and tire…it was all so unreal that none of us could speak for fear that it did not entirely happen and that the lack of sleep had finally taken it’s toll and turned deliriousness into hallucination. A noise that unnerving can never be something so trivial as a simple hallucination. I continue to observe the feeble facets of corporations, and feel sick as there is not nearly enough food in my stomach to absorb the disgust in the pompous decomposition.

The next day is predestined early on with an altercation, which sets the mood for a day of excruciating mental and physical detriment. We now shift our attentions on New York City. The big sister,  the archetype, the machine.
 The energies of the large place leaves me feeling like a foreigner in my own country- no rhyme or reason- just labyrinth after lair with only small cryptic portals to explain to you the destination of the maze into which you descend. You emerge from one distinct civilization to another fairly symmetrical and synonymous, yet inexplicably foreign entity.

Not being able to push through the barrier I wince at every shiver the frosty wind shatters me with, conceiving merciless ripples of agony.

It’s as though the chill that clings to our bones is a purposeful reminder, an assurance that the city knows of your presence amidst the millions and the masses and the melancholy. You are not forgotten, the city does not forget. It is a place where you are acknowledged, yet completely invisible; like a vampire it stalks you, counts every rhythmic breath and step and sinks it down into a collaborative syncopated heartbeat.
The fear has left me now. I have released my spirit to this mechanical mentor. I write to remember the girl that hides inside, lost, but not forgotten. She is still safe and warm as the automaton coats me in it’s thick frost.  There is a bridge in the harbor that rotates to allow for the barges to pass the waterways, cutting off passage to the land. Such is the pass to my heart, the girl safe and warm my passage operator. Fear for the day a great wave- a surge of sensation – that will flush out the passage and wash her away. 

When the doors slam shut and the cloak of invisibility disguises our ego, we are moved once again by the magnificent mechanism of the city. We stand and sit and sway in its current like seaweed in open water. In our prefabricated shell, conceived on a conveyor belt, manufactured ‘a los manos’ we are isolated and ignorant of anything outside of our immediate environment until a flash of light signals a rebirth into the number and letters that signify our bearing in this world until we dive back into the great current of innocence to ride and sway with the mechanical ebb and flow.