Sometimes I miss Baltimore,
as it was,
in this ragged snapshot from 1999.
Smoky bars, diffuse light,
the dusky anonymity of proto-digital consciousness,
A city teeming with its own subversive imagination.
Palpable in the night air,
the questionable intentions of the still willfully living,
A dim seediness skulking in the corners and alleyways,
bearing impartial witness to the transgressions of all those nights, preordained to bleed into mornings,
that was fearless,
rogue in the absolute saturation of its moments,
Shimmering in the mists like slick cobblestone,
like points of light upon dark water,
the winking reflections of a neon harbor,
paused somewhere between future and past,
A bastion of the new prehistory.
I miss Baltimore,
covert and alive,
In its hour of renegade persuasion,
however quaint or illusory,
its voice was distinct,
in the chatter of the underground.
There was a relevance to the present then,
a sanctity in the moment.
There were questions left unanswered.
There was intimacy in a shared secret.
Misfits were permitted to revel.
I miss that Baltimore most,
the one that curated me,
called me out of myself.
With a history cemented in the arcane,
its raven-dark undercurrent
like smooth cognac softening the edges,
delicate as roses,
giving the rage a moment's pause,
Giving human momentum a breath,
to observe and retain the poignancy,
In all its uneasy coexistence,
as it once was,
steeped in the tradition of the unsung,
like an archeological dig,
On the surface,
merely crumbling dirt,
and broken things.
an uncanny relic of rich insights,
and richer delights.
But one had to know where to look,
and one had to know how to let it take lead.
And one could never be too scrupulous,
The Carnival of Dissonance,
was not for the uninitiated,