Friday, February 15, 2013
A Keyhole, a Door and a City
Where, oh where, might such a key hole, battered with wind and the salt of the sea harbor of Valletta, lead? I know what door it was upon, because I was there, three years back almost exactly, at the edge of that salt and sun-drenched sandstone city, silent and glowing as a dream, and I saw the door and the key hole, all peeling by the harbor. There is that key hole and that door, the ones I saw and stood beside, just like there is that Valletta, whose gold-stone streets I walked, peering up at colorful flags and thinking of Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities; but there is also the keyhole and the door and the city whose lives and stories are dreams sung out by the gulls at dusk, when no one is there to hear but the salted stars and the perfectly cut and quarried stones.
There is also the keyhole and the door and the city who speak the tongue of the blue, blue sea, and know its every wind by name. The keyhole that has rung out the whispers of generations of families, the door that has let them in and out with the stray cats, the city that has crooned, beneath its sandstone moorings, like a sleeping creature, like a many-chambered dream whose green doors and white-peeling keyholes may or may not open upon the sprawling but quotidian tales of families, may or may not open instead upon an old flute-playing man with seventeen feral cats the color of sandstone at his feet. While he plays his flutes and drinks a strong coffee, they are weaving with their claws the blueprints, the arteries and veins, of the city, the sea, the harbors, the flags, each day anew, as the sun is rising.
Peek through. Most often there is only dust, garbage, wood, but what if you glimpse them, sand-shining tails, just once, singing up the soul of the city with the sun?