Archive > Vol. X no. Z
Low sun’s up to something or nothing in among the office blocks. There, a cold flush of glare across the sheer cheek of one, a dulled neuralgic glint. Here, light has gained admittance to a whole open-plan storey, single stratum stripped of everything, even of walls, except a bare quorum of columns, salt- mine white. A vacancy beyond words. Roots of cables torn up, tied off, nude. The light, and we, should not be looking, we are too familiar as if it was our own voids, veins and body cavities we’re looking into, curiously numb. *
Borrowed Light Sunup in the financial quarter, sheer mirrorglass empires lit each by each other’s light reflected. Cool moon-brightness, each transaction stripping some heat out in passing it on: value subtracted: that blue-silvery face to my north-west now, too fiercely pale to look at is a snowblinding dazzle, like the brilliance that a climber as the blizzard eases might think has been sent to show him where to go. * Some Balconies The two-meter-square balconies up the south east corner of this twenty storey speculation (twenty thousand square meters still To Let, yes, it could be your life) — each a tuck turned back on a different bed sheet, more rumpled or less, a moment inside out: how floor five’s empty balcony is filled with satellite dish, its wide and shallow stare, its hunger, while the wrought-iron patio-set (next-door-up, an arm’s reach, and they never meet) hints more at mealtimes, a croissant, at least, a morning after, and a new chance at the city. Every time I pass, I look. No one is ever there. * A Wing The wind has ripped the thirteen-storey-high white plastic sheeting on the half-built office block. A ten foot tatter at one corner slaps and flaps, no, it booms, it beats the hollow space inside it like a drum, like barrels trundled down a chute. Now, a report so sharp it could be a collapse beginning, as the town looks up. The white sheet feathering its edges, it’s an angel in a multi-storey birdcage beating at the bars, one wing out, scrabbling at the air and almost free. * The Names The city center, not quite morning: the names have the place to themselves, the brands, above us several storeys, each letter the size of a man, naked but for their style, their crafted individualities — this one’s sans-serif candor, willed quirks, an accent here or there, this lower case that’s confidential like your friend. They’re doing fine without us, at their all-night summit in the empty plaza, high ambassadors of nothing but themselves, in a word. And us? we’re the intruders — raw material they’ll clothe themselves in come rush hour, down the motorway spur, the clogged slip road from Llantrisant, or blinking into subways, the bilingual echoes of the station, when we’ll be the blood in their veins, they in ours. But this is not our place, now. Stumbling in on them in conclave, in cahoots, above all human language, strikes us dumb.