From I SPEAK OF THE CITY by OCTAVIO PAZ


human & concrete, part 2
Originally uploaded by under one sky

I speak of the immense city, that daily reality composed of two words: the others, and in every one of them there is an I clipped from a we, an I adrift,… I speak of the buildings of stone and marble, of cement, glass and steel, of the people in lobbies and doorways, of the elevators that rise and fall like the mercury in thermometers,… of the coming and going of cars, mirrors of our anxieties, business, passions (why? toward what? for what?), of the hospitals that are always full, and where we always die alone. I speak of the city that dreams us all, that all of us build and unbuild and rebuild as we dream, the city we all dream, that restlessly changes while we dream it, the city that wakes every hundred years and looks at itself in the mirror of a word and doesn’t recognize itself and goes back to sleep. I speak of the half-light of certain churches and the flickering candles at the altars, the timid voices with which the desolate talk to saints is heard in a passionate, failing language…

© Octavio Paz

Author: Oscar Bermeo

Born in Ecuador and raised in the Bronx, Oscar Bermeo is the author of the chapbooks Anywhere Avenue, Palimpsest, Heaven Below, and To the Break of Dawn. He lives and works in Oakland, CA.

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