July 25, 2003 at 8:04 pm | Posted in Ennui | Leave a comment

(apologies to Rilke)

In lonely corners where strangers’ footprints gather and vanish, I can almost see you smiling. In busy shops where people come and go with bags and empty pockets, I can almost see you; pensive and withdrawn. In bus stops lit up by weary lamps, I can almost see you; agitated, watching the minutes pass by waiting for a ride to take you to wherever it is you call home.

When morning breaks, you are the steam that escapes the edges of my coffee mug. When I leave the house, you are the gentle breeze that greets me outside; the kiss of morning heat and the pull of afternoon lethargy. You are my excuse to make it through the day, the anchor that keeps me grounded in the present.

Amid the chaos of airport terminals, the tranquility of coffee shop tables, the imposing height of skyscrapers and the humility of concrete pavements, I can almost hear some people whisper your name.

And sometimes, in the enchanting lyrics of a ballad, I can almost hear you sing to me in a language that only I understand. In the lines of a poem, I can almost see you taking the shape of every metaphor as if it were your hands that inked each word.

In empty seats on midnight transits, on the window seat of airplanes and taxicabs, you are a stranger dreaming of platforms and stop signs. I hidden alleys and crowded movie houses, I can almost see your profile in the dark. It is as if though you didn’t want anyone to recognize you.

In every mirrorball, in every hospital bed, in every elevator, I can almost see you. In hushed conversations among kindred lips, in every feigned farewell, in every footstep along winding corridors, I look for you as a farmer dreams of rain.

I don’t know your name, but you are somewhere out there. I have not seen you, but sometimes, I swear, I can almost touch you. At night I can feel your presence beside me in bed. It is as if though you had your hand on my chest and your lips on my ears.

Every waking moment is a struggle to remember what form you took in my every dream. I open my eyes to rumpled sheets and lonely pillows and it makes me hate every sunrise.

I look for clues to who you are among speeding cars, cobblestone roads, nameless walls and rooftops. I know you’ve been around but all the buildings refuse to reveal your name.

If I could, I would fly over the city and enter every door left open just so I could find you. But gravity burdens my search. And my feet can only take me so far. And my memory can only know so much of the city before I find myself in terra incognita. In the vastness of the land, I find that perhaps, I am just as lost as you are.


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