The way it imposes itself on you,
your footsteps quicken,
as you exit your conveyance,
The way Market street looks so much longer,
Those side streets more sinister,
Because it’s dark.
The way the down streets smell like sea breeze and freshness,
And the cross streets smell like life,
You know the smell.
Like food in places, like piss in places, like sweat and work and filth,
Like perfume and bodies just washed for the night in places,
The smell of a city.
It’s the way the rats skitter from your path,
Even as people loiter in the streets,
Some not at all inclined to hustle,
Eyeing you as you pass,
Propelled by that visceral thing in their eyes,
In the air, in the feel of this place,
It’s an natural kind of feeling,
Like the wind rustling the leaves of the trees that still spot this city,
They still have trees in this city,
Indigenous life in this city,
They provide Oasis where you can almost forget…this place is this place,
And it’s still but it’s not,
Because there is always movement,
Moving, happening, taking place, taking shape,
A story, an epic, a tale unfolding,
Interesting goings on.
The way the light and the shadows play against each other,
And you can almost see…
The real things, surreal things, unreal things proceeding.
Amidst the nightclubs and hifis,
Inciting the heaving of bodies,
Behind closed door and bouncers,
But that energy,
It leaches out into the street and makes you long to be a part,
Even as your steady pace hastens your departure from those dens.
This is not the place you visited this morning,
Not the place of eager business and polite commerce,
This is something deeper,
After working folks breath a sigh of relief,
And the dark denizens issue a gasp,
For this city,
In the darkness,
For this city,