Monday, March 5, 2012

love in the ruins

 “For the world is broken, sundered, busted down the middle, self ripped from self and man pasted back together as mythical monster, half angel, half beast, but no man...

In the rust belt where I dwell, the academics ramble on about 'ruin porn' and suburban crackers finding joy in derelict surroundings, something I find a bit obtuse, given that my compadres from the hood are just as into this stuff, hanging out in the abandoned Glenville mansion playing the grand piano collecting dust in a forgotten living room, cutting class to climb the stairs in the now-demolished abandoned hotel by the highway, climbing up into a church built only in the last century but feeling so much more ancient.

I think there's a universal human thing for old places that are forgotten. I was enthralled as a kid by Egyptian pyramids, Mesa Verde, and Angkor Wat. My friends whose pets I watched just got back from swimming in the ocean and hiking through the remains of Mayan temples, the Romantics painted Greek columns and memorialized broken statues of long-gone empires. Perhaps the waning days of empire have something to do with the nostalgia and fascination with gloriously crumbling structures. The landed gentry liked to build 'follies' on the outskirts of their fields for the illusion of ancientness and days gone by.

My roommate and I explored an abandoned amusement park together that's now being torn down and dismantled in delusions of development in a part of the state that seems to lend itself more to methamphetamine production and feral felines. Others had gone before us through the human-sized holes in the fence, and the concrete path throughout the park had not been overgrown yet. I didn't have a camera then, but I had a box cutter in my hoodie in case we ran across any deranged psycho killers though I'm surely too chicken to have actually used it, but considering that we were knowingly walking into the plot of a slasher film, I wasn't going to stake a good outcome on virginity alone.

 We hoped that the footprints we saw in the mud weren't too fresh, and that there wasn't anyone lurking in the old stands on the fairway or in the ballroom with the collapsing floor. The mosquitoes were dense and even though it was hot, I had a hoodie on with the hood pulled up and over as much as I could, hands in my pockets. It was the first of many trespasses, now more or less ended after the legal and societal implications of interracial friendship and private property meant some degree of hassle by The Man. Upon such hassle, I learned that most forgotten arteries of the city are technically off-limits from a legal standpoint, railroad tracks and riverfronts, all the places that me and my camera went.

Now, I've gone back to living vicariously, because there are parts of the world I will probably never see. Abandoned Russian camps, Italian villages and Khmer city states, forgotten utopias and playgrounds, catacombs and burial mounds and movie palaces succumbing to the elements, the debris of empires both collapsed and collapsing. Look on my works ye mighty and despair laughable, history as cyclical like Shiva's wheel, grinding down each generation's dreams.

1 comment:

  1. Yay, old stuff, or, if you don't keep your criminality out of there, you'll ruin the ruins.