Metropolis of flaring light and dying embers

Darkness falls over the city, florescent blue specks of light dissolving in windows trailing high into the night sky; this is the silence, the calm. I am free to walk these hollow streets, my dormancy in shadows ended as the city -- burned out by its presence in the sun -- cools with the still peace of relaxed expectations. Tasks and goals have no place here, and, the streets still, I can take inventory of what belongs and what doesn't... I can discern the truth from the buzz of crisscrossing conversation, signals once overlapping.

The faded concrete constructions looming high overhead peer down at me non judgmentally. They are edifices of a consciousness -- difficult to move or change, for fear that the system will dissolve and the structure will collapse. That's why this time is so important... it is only in the stillness that I can see what pieces can be moved and what should go in their place -- if anything -- when they're gone.

But the picture doesn't quite fall into place from down here. Not at street level, where the collected trash of an entire populace once filled the walkways and the alleyways. But no more. And it is strange to think that trash itself once provided a comfortable bed of unfulfillable expectations to lie on... When the city was a mess, it couldn't be used for anything, simply. Now it seems that something ought to be done with it, or it is wasted potential.

It is a difficult question, requiring both delicacy and tireless scrutiny... and I find myself wishing I had kept my cigarettes... to ease my muscles and give my hands something to do, to help my mind to work unfettered. But it is probably for the best -- anything I look to in order to elicit a reaction from myself is an unnecessary link in the chain, only serving to clutter and complicate.

And that is ultimately what this is all about: resources. In this city, the flow of resources is essential: at its center beats an immensely powerful heart, capable of destroying all prior concepts of beauty in a single, ineffable moment of unfathomed purity. But like the powerful waters of the ocean, walls can stop the flow of its unlimited potential, and a dark pall can descend over everything, once vibrating with its radiance. Let that radiance stay at distance for long enough, and soon the world forgets it was ever there at all.

But these walls... the kind that can stop pure energy... are clever, intelligent creatures all their own. They weren't erected willy nilly in the first place. They were raised to provide security to ideals; ideals that keep the city going by providing direction, however flawed, to the particles that pass through them. They cannot just disappear without replacement and without reason -- or the world will risk falling to a hollow death, collapsing on itself and negating its unique identity on this planet.

I can see the truth from where I am standing -- the detached bystander always has the keenest perspective, after all, even though his voice is not likely to ring loudest in the ears of those who can effect change -- and even though I don't always know what I am looking for, I know when something is 'off.' And that is all I need... it motivates investigation; it motivates the question... "Where is this imbalance coming from?"

I am glad to be able to ask again. The system recoils at the thought of imbalance... Correcting the imbalance of two sides of a scale is fundamental. Correcting the imbalance of a hundred thousand scales, all pulling at neurological strings tying them together, can seem a life threatening proposition. It seems almost better to do nothing at all, in case something goes catastrophically wrong and the unexpected peace dies in the fires of rebirth... and who knows what rebirth brings.

"But this city needs to change," I mutter under my breath. Everything I see here is a remnant of the past, glued into place in this moment by present fear... and this city cannot stand upon a foundation of ghosts.

And right then, I see where the world is headed. "This city needs to expect change... It needs to need change, so it can change until it has dissolved, until every artificial structure has collapsed into the gray matter, until every wall has revealed its meaninglessness. Or the world will force change upon it... There is no other way."

Fortunately, this is a long night before me. And I have all the time in the world.

2 comments:

Luke said...

Andrew, just want to let you know I'm still reading, and still loving your writing style. :) Your writing really evokes powerful imagery.

Andrew Macauley said...

Hey, thanks Luke. That really means a lot to me :)