Where I Stand
It was built for a purpose, without me knowing. Noone named it. Years dedicated to its haphazard intricacies. Brick and steel frames slanting upwards before the sun. It could keep whole acres of land in shadow for days. Pivots and pulleys endlessly working. Drainpipes to channel rainwater down to the ground. Cattle grazing in its corners. Ladders slanting into sunlight with figures clasping to their tops, struggling against the wind. Architectures sticking out at angles. Dismantled and restructured. Like the remains of the Pequod. Libraries of dust, catalogues of medicine. Spaces that once were attics and now exist somewhere in the middle of the cumbersome beast. A wicker man whose movements are dominated by superstition. Lawns mowed into football pitches where fans hover in anticipation should someone discover one of the lost balls. Sad faced scarved men at the edges. Turrets pointing at forty five degrees with elderly men trapped inside peering through arrowslits. Market stalls selling yams and pineapples. Caravans painted red, inhabited by gypsy folk. Frustrated scientists with geological equipment peering down at the distant ground. Rubbish dumps filled with rats, gulls swarming overhead. The whole ecosystem a shifting mass with chimneys anchoring the structure to the ground.
I was oblivious to its growth, though it would seem impossible to say such a thing. I cannot think of what I was looking at before. My back must have been turned.
Zeppelins tethered to its body. People selling mobile phones. Train carriages travelling along spines of rail that move only with the gravitational spin of the Earth. Projectors beaming onto white walls, footage of old films. Casablanca, It’s A Wonderful Life, and Battleship Potempkin on frequent rotation. Cranes that lift steel beams around, raising and lowering from place to place, the construction still happening. Long legged Herons swooping around reservoirs of still water. Corridors that lead to corridors that lead to rooms occupied by salesmen. Gardens divided by forking paths where parasols are jabbed into the earth, men and women smoking and laughing beneath them. All part of the immeasurable leviathan.
Incredible the way things can be invisible until you are a part of them. Only the children and the damaged escape.
More. Dining halls with salt and pepper shakers vibrating on the tables. Canals with industrial centres, blue and orange sparks flying against windows. Offices filled with anonymous clerks, suited and faceless at the whim of angry bosses. Parks with fountains, long toothed Beavers moseying the waters edges. Printing presses producing reams of unreadable text, endless jargon and encrypted language that is distributed arbitrarily among the denizens. Bespectacled doctors in long white coats smiling vacuously. Dogs barking in alleys, protecting nothing but space. Graffiti artists in ski masks and balaclavas doing the rounds, sloganeering on every surface. Preachers, door to door salesmen, clowns. Warehouses where people gut fish for a living. Spiral staircases twisting downwards into darkened hollows. Bridges stretching across lengths of flowing water. Rooftops angled and pointed like hats. People, led by horses, peering into large plate mirrors. Masts erupting arbitrarily where shipyards once thrived but are now filled with cement.
Someone, an anonymous inhabitant of the thing, took a length of rope and lassooed me, no thought of a cowboy, attaching me to the structure forever.
And this, now, whether I like it or not, is where I stand. Rope around my waist. Bound.