Either you are sorting it out, or you are full of it.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Longwu Lu (龙吴路)

Haphazardly, I wandered through the industrial outcrops of the city,

Strange avenues of weaved concrete binding hovels and factories,

Racing motor-machines, harbingers of this world in violent transition.

Then this long, pedestrian underpass, maybe just a place the planners forgot.

Women walk their infants here, far from the roar of scooters and clinky-clank bicycles muscling for a space between giant rigs and huff-and-puff taxis.

Is this the peace they hoped for? That they were promised so many times? This palisade in a jungle of concrete?

Under the belly of the overpass, rows of billiard tables lie dormant, tended by a lowly refuse wheeler, stacking his newest crop of waste sky high.

I stop to look, and so does he.

I’m too embarrassed to ask if my camera offends him.

He’s too confused to tell me that it does.

When you see an alien on the moon, you don’t question his motives.

Some club somewhere is being opened or shut.

A bunch of intrepid souls who framed their ideas of decadence in fuzzy, feathered sofas with oversized backings. Angel Bar. Heaven. Paradise. Club Fur. Dreamzone.

It’s all on hold now. Welcome to the Sidewalk Lounge.

A dirt road leading to another part of the city.

Monoliths radiating a sense of progress, renaissance, prosperity. The future.

I follow the road instinctively, as if someone had whispered the way in my dreams.

A slagheap comes into vision on the right. Junked car parts. Gritty slips of plastic sheeting. Eviscerated wrappers.

Reeds from a curdling estuary frame it. Taunt it with unhesitating passivity. As if desperately trying to overcome it with a whisper. Finding it unwilling to budge.

The wall nearby is riddled with numbers scrawled in desperate commerce. The vestiges of people on the road to progress, waylaid by the necessity of achieving their visions, leaving only refuse in their wake.

Another heap on the left. More masonry in the mix of insulation, carpet, and rubber tubing swirled in a conglomeration warped by myopic motives. Like a movie fashioned by advertising executives looking for exposure, but forgetting forethought, forgetting art. Self-serving garbage.

Above the walls of ivy leaves, cranes are busy hoisting new heights of concrete and reenforced steel to this land near the end of the road. A vision of order that rose from the junkyard. Or is going there.

Looking back from the cranes towards the road to the skyscrapers, there’s a sudden thought that maybe I’ve gotten time all wrong.

The future’s here with flotsam. Skyscrapers are dreams of the past.

posted by ferret at 4:12 am  

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