Sunday, March 27, 2016


I'm in them, through them, under them all day, approaching and leaving. This is a city of doors and of doorways.

This is a city of handles and grasps, of latches and locks and keys, of knobs and knockers and bangers and hasps. It is a city of permissions.

You are either allowed or you are not. If you are known, you enter. If you are not known, you are left to yourself, out there, outside, on the street, where the world is public, and where you are but another passerby.

If you are known, and are welcome today, you may enter and find another world. You see the walls as the owners do. You find coolness on a hot day, or warmth after an outside chill. You are admitted to silence. The traffic, the dogs, the screeches and moans and shouts and hoots of life in the street remain in the street when you enter through a doorway. You shuck it, let it slide, let it fall behind you, allow it all to stay where it must stay, out there, when you move from one world to another. From public to private. Through a doorway.

It is mystery you never even speculate on, when you arrive in this city. There is no reason to wonder, because you have no crack or crevice or walkway or tunnel or view to entice you. There is no visibility. You see the pavements of the street, you see a slit of sky, you see walls. Walls exterior and smooth, with closed doors. Locked doors. You see nothing else. There is nothing to speculate about.

Then, if you watch, if you look, if you remain alert, you catch a glimpse. Of businesses set back, inside buildings, of bits of the normally external world wrapped inside architectures, used to house vehicles, temporarily. Now and again you do see a dark inside stairway through a door left open for a moment. You do see one or two coming or going, but usually you do not look, deliberately, for that would be a curiosity too forceful, too intrusive, rude. You do not try to intrude or to be rude. This is a city of privacies after all. You respect that. But you do, without intent, now and then, see a slice of one, of those other worlds, in there. Behind the doors.

From above it all seems different. It is different. That is where you realize the successive shells of multiple worlds, when you see them. Below, laid out before you like mazes, but that perspective is hard to achieve. The high places are also private, unless you are invited in, but if you should find yourself up high, and can look down, then you see. The walls within walls, the courtyards behind and within and side-to-side with the other courtyards, the gardens wrapped in gardens, the hanging laundry, broken windows, blind balconies unseen from the level of the streets, from outside.

All, all this is mediated by doorways, which are everywhere, of all colors and sizes and shapes and locations — opening onto the steepest of stairways, fronting onto walls, behind walls, leading to empty tiled spaces, choked with vendor's wares, full of purses or shoes or flowers — it's all there, but yet it isn't. Everything can fold up and close in a minute, a second, an instant.

Which you may see or not see. It depends. On when you are there, and if you are going to or going fro. Whether you are looking ahead, or around, or full of your own thoughts, or whether you are lolling your head free of thoughts, allowing your eyes to wander without intent. And then it is there, or not — it all depends. If you see it, something, whatever, it is because of the doorway and its door and the state of the doorway and the door and the time of day, day of the week, season of the year, and chance.

You never know.

But if you walk here and walk there, and watch, eventually you see this and that and the other — bits of evidence fluttering. Doorways opening onto — what? Something? Nothing? You never know. So you wait and watch. Slowly, you learn.


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