Tag Archives: kingdom of concrete

Kingdom of Concrete: Born from the Gutters

The rains have stopped but the city continues to sweat itself out onto the gutters. It flows down the drains. Down there beneath the paved streets where  the secrets pile up to give birth to the creatures of mud that appear at each street corner, arms outstretched, feeding on pity, living off chance. We see them everyday. And they see us. Their stares, awfully real and yet dismissively ordinary, pierce deep. They touch us with their frail fingers that always seem to be about to break. So unlike us yet parcels of our soul is what gives them life. They have no parents, no homes, no ancestry. They are the city’s children, belonging to no one but to the concrete kingdom alone. They form in the ditches and return to dust. We know them well yet everyday we forget. They are everywhere we look,  faceless in our memories. They wait to be born from the gutters.  They wait to fill our streets. 

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The city has all these stories waiting to be told. Every now and then I hear one from the fire escape, or it comes to me as I walk through a dimly lit alley. I’ve told a few before. So here it is, words coming together to create the world of the Kingdom of Concrete

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Conversations with the City

I wonder what tonight will bring.

Polished nails, a decent dinner, another bottle of beer (or more), a cold breeze? Today there is no orange sky. What will I long for then, after the gray heavens stop rumbling, when Wednesday has sneaked up on me?  

The cars crawl through the city while the children smelling of afternoon sweat rush through the dimly lit streets. My hours of work are finished, the reports pile up on my desk. Outside the window, a horde of problems wait to be solved. There is no rest. I walk through the alleys wondering what  needs to be done. A motorcycle speeds by and I catch myself  swept off to the side, clutching a sense of reality that almost escaped me.

The sun is down. The ones in uniforms are on their way home, worn out books inside bags weighing down on their backs. The soles of their shoes crumble with every step on the concrete. The day’s heat rises from the ground, stinging tired feet. At the end of the street a mother waits, forgets about the rice boiling over the stove.  Her child cries in her arms. I hear these things from an opposite corner. The sounds bounce off other bodies, dragging with it another banter, squeal, whine, scream.

Tonight, the city brings me a new story. She whispers something in my ear. 

But I am still behind this window. Still staring at the lampposts light up one by one, illuminating the metropolis inch by inch. The sun has set. Another day ends. What am I waiting for?

Why am I waiting?

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In The City In February

—this is what it’s like, being out in the city, in the frenzy of the anticipation for the 14th of February. All around me are couples of all breeds and buds. They either rush ahead or trail behind. Others stay still. I strain to see their faces, decipher the codes in their looks, find a message there somewhere. In the distance, I listen to the movement of their lips and wait to hear the truth bounce from their skins towards me. I could make out some affection, some real love, some pure desires, and occasional lies. I look at the way their skins touch. My mind magnifies the movement of their pores, breathing each other’s scent. I try to see which ones are ready to take on forever. I shake my head at those I see who couldn’t. I pity them. I shrug. I permit myself these moments of judgement.

Today, I gain a sincere understanding for the cynicism of those who used to put a countdown timer beside the label of my own romantic undertakings. I’d do it myself right now but I’d really rather not engage in anything pretty stupid at the moment. Kidding.

There will be couples that will fail the meaning of the word the next time February comes. Some will be strong enough to withstand a few more years. And there are those, gifted by the universe with such honorable values and magnificent timing in every circumstance (the minute he walked into the room, the moment she dropped her phone, when the train doors closed, when the lights finally came on), who will persist. For the meantime, let them all cling to each other and litter the streets.

It’s a tricky thing, the way people commit themselves and lose portions of the self to that commitment eventually. Eventually, they will be left alone figuring out where everything else went during the times they were so immersed in the fever and frenzy of it all. And they will have their days of non-belief, too. They will have their questions, doubts, fears, anxieties, apprehensions, spite, disgust — they will nurse the inner cynic, even for just a while. There is no definite measure of how long it lasts or how short it should be. Or of how brutal the truth becomes, albeit sometimes unnecessarily so.

Don’t worry, the phase ends. It doesn’t last forever. Cause you know why? Nothing does.

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