…or take the subway. The city as a kaleidoscope; different shapes and colors, languages flow one into the other. In the subway I sit by a guy checking his messages on a Vertu. A girl reading a paper in hanzi (script) or maybe kanji. A handy man and his tool kit. In fact there is probably more dissociation, more disconnection among this people than it meets my eye. But I look them through my “I had lived too long in this little city” lenses: a kaleidoscope.
Subway: Downtown is on the bottom of the map. Uptown is on top of it. The guy I asked for directions makes sure I got it:
“if you want to go from the 28th to the 84th , what direction do you go? “
And somehow he manages to sound concerned rather than patronizing.
Lower East Side. She does not know where this street I am asking for is. But wait, she can use her cell phone as a GPS. I felt welcomed. This is a city still happy for foreigners.
There are imperfections in this world, ugliness, like a franchised coffee shop where they ask you to pay extra for the coffee coming with the combo offer. Beggars. Petty theft. Crime. But I decided to let my kaleidoscope lenses filter the reality beyond. When in vacation! only
Morning colors are faded memories of a scarlet ibis: dirtied red, scarlet and orange, washed out by the smog. A dim translation of the rusted peel of Anish Kapoor’s Memory vanishing in the vapors of city life. We are lodged on the 25th floor – if you chose Manhattan for your location be sure to choose the upper floors, where the height muffles the sounds of the city or you’ll have a hard time sleeping.
Progress is convenience. Fat tamed squirrels running in Union Square. The subway two blocks from your house. Indoor running water. The shower.
Do you write letters? What if you receive a letter from her ?
…is the smell of her hair.
She must have placed it down between sentences
and thought, and driven her fingers round her skull
gathered the slightest smell of her head
and brought it back to the pen.
In Central Park, a luscious jungle is contained in one of the zoo buildings. There are no glass walls inside, no nets. A scarlet Ibis swings on a tropical plant above our head. I almost wrote : free as in an illusion of freedom...
But what is freedom?
Tino Sehgal - What is Progress
Michael Ondaatje -Burning Hills