Walking in the morning a strange clarity holds my body, standing fastened into the fog. This, where the buses rumble by and screech and much is grey and cracking pavement, is a neighborhood of intricacies. Grey walls like the grey fog.
Many forms sit. The still walls and pillars of homes jutting into and out of the fog. Vaulted roofs so the sky too must make itself triangular. The unintentional force of form. This place has more cracks than some. More colors, purple walls and purple flowers smashed into a corner, behind a chain link fence, taunting the wild yard of shadow, scattered junk and planted vegetables across the street.
The houses haunt me, are an absurd facade. Especially the orange ones. Through them I imagine a life so different from my own. Maybe a woman with long dark hair, two children, pudgy, speaking spanish, a love affair across the street, across the blue steps, crosses on the wall, jangling bracelets, collapsing on a chair after a long day's work, writing at the kitchen table, cooking pollo for her mom, wailing at an end, watching tv for hours and dancing to salsa on a packed patio miles away. Yearnings for another land. And whisps, two women with slicked back hair pushing a stroller turn past the oak bush with its thick mass of leaves, a nebulous leaf conjuring itself in my mind. But the orange here sits still.
A man in jogging shorts, curly dark hair adorning his somewhat toned arms, sweats by on the sidewalk across the street. And the street stares. He a flash, the houses a flash, intimations of a deep cycle, of the rise and fall of seasons, of life. Maybe that man is here every morning.
But I am not. I am only house-sitting at a studio apartment with exterior and interior white walls for a woman whose life I know little about, see through her books and fierce sculptures of African women. Today I wander from this sanctuary shrouded in palms growing into banana trees and gargantuan spiked plants, into the fog.
At ten am the neighborhood greets me in honking buses, tweeting birds and its stillness, its refusal to reveal anything of the intimacy that occurs beyond its straight and colored walls. Behind yards scattered with burnt wood chips, trees decked in Christmas light and porches of curved iron railing, everything cramped, everything cracking, everything a little grey. We meet in passing. The flow, the turning behind the flash is ours to sense but never know.