I occupy my city like I would an old chair with loose dowels. Careful with care I embrace the skying skyscrapers and granite hued rough streets, the cracked sidewalks sing beneath my soul. I hug my city and let my arms linger a little too long to let go. I watch the seasons past through a nicotine stained cracked window, feeling the daft draft of the future tickle my loose, wrinkled skin.
I once lived in a bamboo hut on a white sand beach. My bedroom was a story high. At night, too drunk to climb down the ladder to the latrine, I would piss out the window onto a wide brimming leaf of a banana tree. It would splash in the seam and glisten in the moonlight reflecting off the waves of the Andaman Sea.
When I lived in Prague, I found magic. My arms were too small to embrace the sorrow, so I swallowed it from high above Petrin Hill. I swallowed it next to an old Babushka collecting wild mushrooms for her vecere. She kept trying to sneak them into the zippered pocket of my jacket. Her gypsy eyes told me.
”Be careful what you wish for.”
Her eyes were all black and my soul turned blue.
When my city is Chicago, the overgrown Brooklyn I leave and come back the same. I am hungry for all the things I forgot I left behind. Chicago has a good place to eat around every corner. A giant Lake laps the shore. There is a beach. The first time I went to the beach, I was four years old. The perch had run into a low tide. We took the ‘L” down to visit a friend of my sad mother. We walked to the beach. No one was there and it was a blazing August day. The beach was covered in rotting corpses of the perch, stinking, drying. I studied their skeletons. We went back to the flat of my mothers’ friend. My sister and I played checkers in the dim charcoal of late afternoon.
The Emerald city is mine now. It is a city of windows and urban sprawl. I cling to the old city like a cat on the edge of a bathtub and implore in my silent heart that I won’t get wet. This is the city I am hiding in. Resting in a life I only imagined could be mine. Going out of style.
My city dreams of anonymous grandeur.
My city is grieving.