I stared at an identikit panorama dredged from the annuls and romanticised by a haze of such liquid gold that I believed it could be from any period, and I desired that the boldness of the memory meant that the un-transience was true. The masculine dome. What was I getting from this behemoth? Signals from a time just revving up or winding down, the beacon a singular monument to bled-away days, gigantic episodes visualised in the spire, which, in a splendid way, unearthed recollections to confirm the scene’s power of unrivalled dream-kindling, big-atmosphered lust-dramas and youthful workday-boredom epiphanies, previously slumbering and imprisoned to the extent that – paralysed by the sun-painted curve – I stood and stared for a long time.
Late one night (or was it very early in the morning?) I remember seeing the vastness of the city in a single shot, its Connect Four-type searing lights, the dazzling, disorienting mixture of towers, occasional magnificent name-signs flickering or constantly beaming. Looking at it I was struck with the impression that this was somewhere else: not the immediate, available view but a place I had once travelled through, or more likely still, been told about and then it had developed in my head to become a shuddering mass, the one I saw now; its consuming glass-and-steel collage, untold maze-complicated corridors, and possibly, in a high-up office, an addicted worker hypnotically ploughing through the papers, embracing the toil, commiserating themselves with self-produced importance.
‘Feelings in the background becoming audible, fattened by the city’s casual dramas,’ is what the tweet might have said.
In my young ways I smelt the market stalls and took those aromas in as if they were the first fragments ever to enter my nostrils – cascading steps of raw fish, the huge kebabs turning on the spit, earthy whole foods and red-hot jerk chicken flooded the airstream. I clung to it, even before I knew what it would eventually mean and before the significance dawned on me. Several times I had risen out from pitch-black tunnels into puny drizzle or late-October fog static, and got hit with a loving familiarity, especially on seeing shop insignia and blur-gone busses. Imagine that: opening up to a shadow feeling before time has caught up with the inward realness of a perfect sensation.
© Copyright 2018 John Maher