Thursday, 28 August 2008
On the waterfront
People think the waterfront's a peaceful place, somewhere to go and be contemplative. Somewhere to ease one's mind as you stare out at the lake, or the river or the sea you live near.
But really, we must know it's not as romantic as it first seems. I mean, we don't go there at night, down to the riverside, unless we're attempting something underhand, looking for trouble, looking for criminals.
There's no light, you see, down on the waterfront. Maybe the moon reflects on the churning waters but it barely helps you to see the edge, and it's oh so easy to step too far and slide into the soup.
I've watched in shadows as men have come to throw all the baggage of their lives over those black railings and into the tide. Sometimes these bags are still twitching.
And then dawn comes and you know the everyday will come and sweep the soot away once more, until evening. But even in the day, the sun beats down and flashes up hard from the glassy water, and the river's own vultures wait to pick you clean, razor wire tears around everything and hope either drains away back into the river or evaporates before your very eyes. And we all take a swim, before too long.