Tuesday, February 24, 2004

I am in love with my city. On the right days I walk her streets with the half
closed lids and crooked smile of a junky. Tourists taking photos. Their flashes
blow kisses at the gothic steeples and sooty monuments. I always stop to give
directions. I want people to go back to their respective corners of the earth
and know just a fraction of how wonderful this it is to live in this city. I
want a thousand neighbours and family friends to be bored beyond sanity with
photos and stories of my town. No city can be that nice, can it? I'm the wrong
guy to ask. I'm still infatuated with this city. Love sick with every part of
her. Its narrow alleys that dance up and down steep hills and around the corners
of ancient stone walls. The lonely castle that must sit and watch it all from
afar. The pubs with their beer and smoke breath belching onto the street. The
Sunday silence as we all collectively sleep off the night before's excesses. The
hills in which it nestles. Some nights I fill up my flask and climb the large
hill to the east. I sit upon her craggy slope and watch my city. I'll sit there
for hours and watch the traffic pump through her like lit blood cells through
vessels. The symphony of street noises. Drunks yelling. Traffic. Machinery. From
the height of the hills it sounds just like the ocean. No sound distinct from
another. Just an oceanic static. Waves of sound lap against the hill. I've
fallen asleep a few times. My legs still dangling over the edge and my clothes
damp with freezing dew. I'll walk home with the same groggy glee of spending the
night with a pretty stranger.

The city is at her finest when the thick sea fog wraps itself around the
city. Like a spider web shawl, the churches pull the atmosphere tight around
themselves. The street lights are reduced to a round grey globes of light. The
pavement becomes liquid black. The air is cold and tastes salty and a chill
bites and reddens the hands. Those are the nights I find a barstool near the
window, and write words like these.

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