November 3, 2018

Big City

A big city is like a woman if you visit it once or twice; you fall in love with her and all the prettiness and bright lights...you are just totally awed by it and you can’t get enough of it...the impeccable stylishness and death-defying curves of her plunging skyline, the long skyscrapers that are firm and tall and seem to go on forever and ever and ever into that beautiful blue sky that you look into and lose your place in time and mind...even the back alleys have their own type of charm with blowing newspapers and leftover pizza boxes and empty beer bottles and the sweet smells that are coming from the windows from the old ladies cooking their secret recipes in their kitchens...it’s all that promises excitement and danger, and the unknown...she takes you in her arms and you fall into the glorious unknown...the unknown that weaves, and tangles...and promises so much...the aroma of her fetching perfume that reaches out and puts its arms around you; and doesn’t want to let you go...it’s the mystery and wonder of it all, the sunrises that rise over the lake in all their splendid beauty, that make your heart beat fast...the long reaching streets of high-rises and opulent apartments...the flashing neon lights of the jazz clubs downtown where all the musicians join in an allegiance of cool, taxi cabs zipping here and there and everywhere with their horns honking...the parks where you sit on the bench and gaze at a lake and the lights from the buildings sparkling in it...and the all night diners where you hang out with your new friends and drink coffee that’s way too strong and eat your apple pie and vanilla ice cream while you and them, them and you, discuss art and poetry and why it was so much better then than now...it all sounds so good, but if you visit the city enough, eventually you go exploring off the tourist drag, you see another side...you begin to see the dirt, you start to see the grime, you experience the crime...then it dawns on you that maybe things aren’t as great as you first thought...there’s a not so pretty side of town too...the side you want to avoid and don’t want to be caught in after dark...one with graffiti covered buildings, one way streets that go no way, empty storefronts, pawn shops, check cashing stores...soulless eyes passing you on the sidewalk...the long unused railroad tracks that don’t go anywhere anymore...sad, suspicious people who look at you sideways...the once prosperous mills that propped up a blue collar community that have broken down and just lay there helpless...and have turned into an ugly shadow of themselves...rusting into oblivion...it’s one bad neighborhood after another...each one painted in an ever deepening shade of depression, the housing projects with entire floors boarded up...what might have at one time has seen that time pass, not here not now...things have been disposed, reposed, exposed as they really are in today’s harsh light of the fluorescent reality...it’s the sad truth of what really is, the ship of what was has sailed with all the old men with wrinkles on their face and calluses on their hands...going downtown now just doesn’t hold the same thrill it once did and isn’t the same once you’ve seen it all.