Hidden beneath main avenues, bright lights, storefronts, cars, and restaurants lies the heart of a city, the crowded hidden centers bustling to the rhythm of rubbed shoulders and busy feet leading to expansive shop crowded pockets with weaving entrances nestled in unassuming narrow streets, jagged with unplanned architecture, wardrobes and boxes expanding past the sills above the heads of traffic beneath lined with graffiti and fading bills. Each window a life, a struggle, a huddled existence with no personal space flooded with the smell of food, incense, and voices. The same long days laboring with few personal choices replayed in the same way with the sound of an alarm, or with the rising or setting of the sun. Aging furniture, dust, creaking floors, the sounds of adjacent lives in adjacent boxes separated by gaunt cracking walls. From somewhere an infant crying, children screaming in play, a student struggling to make it out from under the cement block among a school of them who will never get away. A single mother, a drug addiction, a suicide, the ding of a microwave, the whistle of a kettle, the din of a domestic dispute. Hiding between crooked doors and cracked windows are the loved and the abused, the wise and the deluded, the faithful and the hopeless upon whose backs the city is raised and who are razed by the weight of supporting ever mounting heights of a never improved view. Because romance lives in the truth, in intimacy, in lives that cannot afford a fictional sterility, lives lived among the early morning sweeping of shop owners and countless men unloading endless boxes of unnamed goods, their coordinating shouts echoing through still empty slanted streets as the fragrances of various kitchens begin to waft into their rightful places just above the noses of passerby. And the midday crowds, the odor of bodies, and the age old selling of wares. The trading of stories, the discipline of children, and the drinking of tea. The training of youth, the counting of tills, and the locking of stalls. And the nights of reverie and personal abuse, of alcohol and late night meals and prostitutes, of the settling of disputes, of the shouts of the overworked and the scurrying of the recluse, of two lovers beginning the cycle anew in shadows of crooked winding walls under thin slivers of sometime starlit skies. And somewhere a newborn cries, and somewhere a mother sister father brother lover child dies, and time passes in front of our eyes, and time passes in front of our eyes as time passively claims our minds and we leave behind a city, not its main avenues, bright lights, storefronts, cars, and restaurants, but its narrow streets and graffiti, aging stalls, winding walls, and its rhythm. And its people, deep, hidden beneath.
Beneath a City
1 May 2018