Monday, February 20, 2006

50th Floor New York – With Diamonds

I dreamed of Manhattan last night, a weird dark version of the real place, like being inside in some old play from the seventies. The video cannot quite catch the depth of colour and instead comes up with some warm leathery feel to the world. I know that New York cannot really be filmed inside a studio but that is what it felt like. I walked along the river edge up where the tourists queue for the boat to Liberty Island and the squirrels wait patiently for dropped food. It should have been sunny but we were indoors alright; it was stuffy and shaded in a way that made it difficult to read anything. Even the water seemed still in a way that it would in the sink after being left for a few minutes. Maybe it was supposed to be a studio. I don’t know. Many people were leaning on the waterside railings, staring out to the statue or looking for Ellis Island, where some were thinking that their ancestors came ashore or were sent back. What else was it like? Maybe an Edward Hopper painting, like that one of the Diner – nighthawks I think.

I can smell the years of smoke, soaked into the warm chairs of this place, the breathing in of the many men who have sat in these seats, telling their stories to each other, drinking their whiskey and smoking their foul smokes until the early morning and here we are, youngish and concealed in their world, wondering why we are here. Those still here this late, seem to speak some strange language though they look as American as possible for Americans. We would be more at home in a cheap bar or café, eating breakfast eggs and drinking strong coffee to get us home, back to the tall hotel that lets us sleep away from the traffic and sirens of the toy streets down below. I want to go on the roof but my friends will not let me so I slip away and sit amongst the fans and pipes and railings that cover the asphalt. The litter can reach up here; any contamination must come from the sky so maybe it is Carbon Dioxide from the planes that stretch their vapour trails over this city, the screaming jets taking all these New Yorkers back to where they came from, before the Mayflower or Vespuggi. As well as the planes, the river below, lit by sun, is full of huge ships, fish in this sea-river, bouncing the light from the horizon up here. What if they converged on me, reflecting all the sunlight at me? I would fry, steaming in the rays as I stagger for the doorway to below. But they won’t.

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