I miss living in cities. After three years in Doha and now Jakarta, I realize that I love living in cities. The time I spent in NYC and San Francisco was some of the best time of my life. Walking through Singapore tonight I realized that there is a pulse in a city that helps me stay connected and alive. A pulse I never felt in Doha and am having a hard time finding in Jakarta.
This poem was inspired by my walk home down Orchard Road in Singapore today. As I walked home with my family, I heard the story of Danny Santos' photographs in everything I saw:
There is something about walking the streets of a city at early evening- the golden light oozes from the sides of buildings like melting honey, searing and sticky, dripping from every angle it touches; piercing shards of blond light burning saffron refract from the windows like psychedelic graph paper, a geometry of weightless luminosity carves a parade of polynomials onto every surface with laser precision, leaving the avenues and tress warm and spent.
There is something about walking the streets of a city at early evening- the forgetfulness of shame and mistakes are cleansed away by the raw optimism of pride. Although we know that everything in the bowels of this conurbation will end up in a land fill and stink of waste, every item of clothing, designer handbag, chocolate éclair or camera battery. Every stroller, high heeled shoe, or trumpet. Every cigarette butt, bottle of champagne, or latest Nike shoe. Every iPad, flier or sex toy will end up as waste, we feel good about the last few moments of dying sunlight.
There is something about walking the streets of a city at early evening- swarms of contented citizens stroll and shuffle, saunter and meander the streets, arm-in-arm, in love and alone, on their way home, to a show, to a dark corner to lose themselves in the eyes of another. With frenzied determination and headphoned ears, they whisper and text into their gadgets, making plans, checking for the hopeful chance of not spending another night alone.
To look up at a half moon as the sun begins to fade over any city in the world is to feel alive and connected. We nod to each other as various mobs intersect, rearrange and merge with each other- we did this. We created this symphony of human triumph. For every terrible injustice, we ignore responsibility for, walking the streets of any city at early evening reminds us that we are human, and this collective existential understanding can be, when appreciated under the right light, a beautiful thing.