We love drawing lines and borders. There are few things we do better than that. But increasingly we have lost our once finely honed skill at placing them where they ought to be. I won’t even get into walls on borders to keep out families, those like our families were once. I mean small lines and borders. What line decides whether the old inn is ramshackle or quaint? Is this thing I found in the attic a tchotchke or a collectible? And seriously, is what am I about to write doggerel or humorous verse? I’ll be the judge of that one.
There is a language spoken within a family that no one outside speaks. It may sound familiar but listen carefully and learn otherwise. It is so with my brother even though there are thick walls between us and yet, in a few words intentions are obvious. He keeps me far from a place I’d just as soon not go and in her panic my mother hears only our words and not their hidden meaning. It is when we fall silent the conversation begins.
The perfect time of day occurs only as the dead of night approaches, that moment when the heart of the city falls almost silent.
In smaller cities this moment is protracted, arising as the moon reaches toward full expression and such as pass for tall buildings settle into sleep.
In the great cities, those that claim never to sleep, the city reverberates, echoing off the endless walls of glass, and silence never fully arrives, so we cling to moments that approximate what we imagine silence sounds like.
They leap from the walls, they are in your face as you approach. You don’t know what to expect and that is precisely how they wish it. Still, you don’t tire of them, and you don’t recoil, but stare more intently. They engage you, defy you and welcome in the same moment, and you only want to follow them deep within the cinder block, the plaster, and take up residence alongside them, and from afar, the mural artists smile.
The hardest prison to escape is the one whose walls are built by the mind in fear and trepidation. It is like the open gate you dare not enter fearing that you are leaving and will not be allowed to return. Atop a pole there are an infinite number of directions in which you can go and only one is straight down, but you fear selecting any, for gravity is a fear as great as death, yet you can feel neither. The prison of the mind is impregnable, for there fear and pain live in conflict and you are a small boat on an angry sea staring always at the roiling waves.