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the city i live in


like it says in that sunscreen song, everyone should live in the city at least once in their lives. and then leave before it makes you hard. 

i lay in bed at night sometimes oblivious to city noises that play like reality tv just outside my window. there is a lonely beauty to it. like those artistic shots you see in NYPD Blue or some detective movie. dark streets, streetlamps glowing in the dark outside a fogged up window. then you hear in the distance a siren. first a police one. and the revving of its engine. followed by a firetruck siren, and an ambulance siren, all making their way down somewhere. 

at the back of your mind, you know its more likely just a routine response to a false alarm somewhere - or is it? most of the time you're inclined to believe its a double homicide that occurred in some part of town. 

aside from the sirens i've gotten used to, i've also grown accustomed to being streetwise. walking with my head up, staring straight in front. this took a while to get used to, as i tend to look around at people, buildings etc. but when i'm walking out at night, i've learnt the secret to staying safe is to be invisible. 

never make eye contact. that's when they know they've got you. and they read everything in your eyes. i have an uncanny affection for the homeless. the desperate and destitute. but there's just too many of them. too hopeless. the ones who look alright, but approach you for 50p "just for a bus ticket home" because they've lost their wallet. the cold soy bean white faces of young fair people wrapped in thin blankets. I make sandwiches for them, or pass them fruits i don't eat. but aside from that, what else is there to do? 

the homeless in the city have many avenues of support and aid from the govt. but the ones you see on the streets are most desperate, the ones with no identity or are living at the very depths of some addiction or other. to avoid looking into their eyes you just walk by. and i know that with each person i walk by, the harder i become. 

the city is a jungle in so many ways. the way it hardens you. the way its divided into the carnivorous rich and  the parasites. the way it never sleeps. the way you never feel confident of surviving in it alone. it does things to you. spend enough time wandering around alone and you'll start talking to yourself and mumbling curses at the pigeons, the traffic lights, the newstands, the roar of the underground, the people, everything packed in together with you. the city.