jornales

for a moment of joy or moments no one pays for, i give myself a ‘jornal’. this makes me rich. try it.

Fifth avenue: a setting

For having written this, reading it again and again, I give myself a week’s worth of daily wages $1200. If it were yours, how much is your ‘jornal’?

The sun is setting on the southwestern horizon, tracing its autumn route. No matter how glorious, it is never seen on Fifth Avenue: a sense of unreality pervades here; no shadow falls because skyscrapers bar slanting light and columns of smoke seeping off tunnels float eerily.

On the ground, the vast sky is but a dream. Only a narrow slit hangs above like a canopy propped up by towers of concrete, glass and steel. The tallest, the Empire State Building, shoots up like a needle that could pierce the moon. From up there, people, dogs, and cars, shrink as toys for King Kong.

Fifth Avenue at sunset grinds as if run by an infernal machine. The ruckus is maddening: cars rushing into any space, as if escape is possible, and people swarming onto the sidewalk like a shaken colony of ants. The racket is deafening: rasp of wheels, blasts from horns, wheezes from city bus air brakes, and unison wails of an ambulance, fire truck and NYPD cars in a rush to save a kitten – so the word from someone in the crowd is passed on – hanging by its paws on the terrace of a 20th floor condo on East 56th Street.

The swarm of people soon turns into a dark flowing mush that of bodies wrapped in thick armors of invisibility – the black coat, jacket, cape, cap, boots, and square-toed shoes. Strides are hurried; heads don’t turn, each one moves lost in private space. If a show window snares someone, she is not missed: the throng gets on, relentlessly. At cross streets, the crowd lurches to a halt, eyes riveted to a flashing light that warns, “Don’t Walk.” When the light switches to a command, “Walk,” the crowd, like wound up toys, obeys.

In the crowd, I am lost. I shed my name. Under my woolen cap, I wonder about the color of my hair. Beneath layers of cotton warmers, a jacket, and leather gloves, I cannot remember the hue of my skin. No one talks to me; I have turned mute. And when I say, “I’m sorry,” I sound as if I really am for something I can’t recall I did.

A pink sky falls on East 23rd Street where a triangle fans out from the Flat Iron Building’s rear toward Madison Square Park. I feel touched, and now I’m melting. With my heart, I listen to a soundless pink splash at dawn in Baguio, my mountain city perched from across the other side of the hemisphere. When I look up again at a slice of sky, night has crept in. An undertow pulls me to surrender. I stop. I stall. My heart resists.

Posted in iluko.com/Published in myjournal.thoughtbook

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February 16, 2009 - Posted by | lyrical prose, reflection | , , , , ,

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