The City Speaks in Light

The City Speaks in Light

From the hill it stares you down across the water, a great pinnacle of burning glass that turns the dieing sun to fire and makes you feel…uneasy. The lovers walk arm in arm through the park, smiling, laughing underneath the gums. They do not see it, cannot hear it, the great burning spectacle that looks only to you across the river, that speaks only to you all that way across and above it, direct and cutting through the immense hollow depth of air between like a memory of metal through rock. You look down and away, shame and fear, a thumb and forefinger on your eyelids diverting your gaze below. The cars are scales along the slowly writhing serpentine body of the freeway, glinting in the gloaming as it moves across the water. Thousands of people, a flock in metallic exodus, unaware that they are riding on the back of it. The light changes a little with the breeze of dusk, a flicker like the flames of Jordan and you look up at the candle, except the flame is large enough to let only the almighty Hand of God pass through, and turn all else to ash. It sees you like its seen all of it, kept watch since the day it rose to stand like a sceptre of a prophet (not a monarch). It notes the grave misfortunes, the terrible inexcusable mistakes, and marks the difference in lines on sand beneath. Remembers the difference. It holds grudges in rust upon its sills. Lets it build up and seep into the steel. Lets it eat up from the inside out like cancer on bone. Oh yes, The City speaks in light, it’s a language of molten metal running down its sides. A beautiful, terrible, shimmering waterfall that whispers in a hiss, gold hitting water, snake across water…empires, fires, dussssssst. But the light fades, the sun falls below the horizon line, the serpent stills and the city sleeps. An artificial, fluorescent kind of sleep, like a hospital, a morgue, the windows white, open eyes of forgotten corpses. It’s an eerie kind of peace. The moon rises to resume your vigil, a kind eternal ghost that never had life enough for a chance of taking, and so was never wronged. Only then do you feel at ease enough to leave the grassy hill.


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There was movement in the trees. A restlessness, a shifting. A hurried and purposeful migration. And a feeling that you wanted to go with them, to wherever they go when the cold sets in, and come back when it’s all over and the sun once again welcomes you like an old friend. But it could not be helped, so you watch and think, goodbye as they fall around you. In The Grand Exodus of Fire and Light.

We will forge a new alphabet…

It will become a living, breathing, changing being.

The trees on its banks grow tall and rich with beautiful dark ink leaves.

It will bend and bow and surge and subside, a ribbon of molten metal,

It will know no concept of End.

They will gather at the edge of it,

To stare into its luminous surface and have something else stare back.

The Fishermen will puzzle at what they draw up from The Deep.

It will be the smoke signal that never dissipates,

And every word that was ever spoken will fall in and

Flow on and on and on…

Yes, it is here that they will gather in animated conversation,

Here at the banks of

Print River