Monday, October 03, 2005


Is the city an apt metaphor for that metaphor we know as 'the heart'? A metaphor for that matrix of memories, lust, pain, laughter, occasional ecstasy, and long stretches of disaffected brooding which cannot possibly reside in any one organ, or any one body?

My heart is a walled city. A trading towns with many gates. And many streets that end in secrets, in memories and imaginings too whimsical to share. Like a city that I imagine/remember/inhabit, in which a street is known as the 'abode of nightingales'.

This city is my heart, it animates me. And I remember that once caravans came here, through fourteen gates, bringing a thousand tongues. Then there were drunken brawls and wild rages, endless flirtations and endless mirth, deception, robbery, cheating, backstabbing, and the occasional ethereal song, a sudden smile on the street, which made it all more than worthwhile.

One day, you came. And it was if all the sacks of spices near the Bitter Well has suddenly burst. Your many fragrances spread everywhere in my city, my heart. You could be found in the most secret places, even in the derelict houses that had been lying empty for years.

The city was more beautiful now than it had ever been. But you were afraid. You were afraid of what lay beyond the walls. Your city was under siege, and it was unthinkable that the gates were open so wide when every horse was trojan.

You said you would leave. I did not want you to. So one by one the gates were shut on our beautiful city. But you were there...

The city changed. Who can say exactly why? Perhaps only because a siege, real or imagined, makes cities run out of food, and water, and love and kindness. And what remains is the desperate fury of cutthroats. Perhaps only because without a world outside, it became stale and claustrophobic, and we called our city a 'slum'.

I can't remember who called the bulldozers, but now the roads are lined with rubble, and ruins grin at each other across the wide expanses.

And you are leaving. Who can blame you?

You have left. But you remain. The gates of my heart are rusted shut.

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