Saturday, 12 July 2014

That the City, after this enormity, may be renewed

They told me that my sex drive would be
'ruined' - the exact word that they chose,
as if the hormones were a bomb
that would destroy the proud erections
of an engineered city.

What they didn't realise
was that my metropolis
already lay in ruins:

behind the neoclassical facades
of banks, the people gathered
'round the fires that burned in drums,

bartered shoddy goods under the tarps
slung far beneath the shattered skylights
of the covered market;

that taps gasped air and dirt
in sailors' bars beside the silted harbour:

and here, hormones came as wrecking ball
and blueprint for renewal, as mortar
in the sense of both explosive and cement,
as the new broom in City Hall,

and that, where once I had a Miesian libido,
gridded and predictable, what sprang up in its place
is more like Gehry: complicatedly

amazing; twisted and baroque,
always apparently about to

tumble in upon itself, but stronger
than the mess it seems to be.
Where once I was the New York Subway,
now I'm Harry Beck's map of the Tube

reimagined as a rollercoaster
(though I happily will go
South of the River):

complicated, multi-coloured, centripetally
alive in all directions, and I know
that cut-and-cover, and the pounding
of the tunneling machines

can look like demolition
but they aren't. I'm not in ruins:
this chaos that you hear and see
is not a war:

 it's just my future,

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