Cities at night

Rainy Night Tragedy by Billie Ward, on Flickr

Rainy Night Tragedy by Billie Ward, on Flickr



Cities at night are shining lures, they are tantalizing diamonds resting gently in the hollow of a lady’s throat, a lamp attracting moths, an angel and a whore. Cities at night are raptor birds of prey, their talons keep you down to pick your eyes. Cities at night are both barbaric and civilized, they are silk and daggers. Cities at night are the smell of men urinating against brick-walls and the perfume from girls hurrying to embrace their lovers. But even in the largest metropolis there are places where darkness finds you. Places where you find yourself alone with echoes.

The wet tarmac was chewing on the headlights of the last passing car.

I crossed the street and continued walking aimlessly, my head still dizzy from the beers we shared before you left me for an errand that couldn’t wait. I passed street-corners where hookers flaunted their silicon cleavages and pierced belly-buttons. The night had changed from bruised melancholy to reflections of flickering neon-light on tattooed skin. My hunger drove me to an open restaurant and alone I found unspoken camaraderie with others, with people of the night. With kohl-eyed glances and unshaven chins we sipped on random words unspoken.

I broke chopsticks to the tic-tac of stiletto heels in the sushi-bar.

I’m a nighthawk waiting for the subway to start leaving for my suburb. From my silent bench I watch the creatures and the maggots that, like me, are lingering to leave the faded glitz at 2 am. The city’s diamond is a cheap cubic zirconia and the raptor’s talon has lost it’s grip. We are separately united in our loathing of the stench. The stench that’s us, the people that the city left.

A tired workman’s coughing in the diesel fumes from his dirty truck.

It’s been a while since I explored the haibun with American Sentences. It’s a style I will continue to explore. I think it suits a contemporary setting, night and blues. This one is shared with Open Link Night at dVerse where Mary is hosting. Bar opens at 3PM EST.

June 18, 2015

42 responses to “Cities at night

  1. You really have some good description. You have given us the people, the sights, and the sounds, the smells. I like comparing cities to raptor birds of prey, and I can smell its perfume as well as its stench!

  2. I know some people say it is a cliché or lazy thing to say but your haibun is your latest favorite of mine. I like your keen observations and the unique and effective way you convey them.

  3. Nice. This is the reason I love her though, all her grit and texture. The lure, and piss scented cologne. Ha. So many nooks and crannies to explore within her. Interesting relationship there in the end between the city and those that have left her.

  4. Damn, brother, this one grabs me by the shoulders & shakes the change & keys out of my pockets, to the perfect strains of Philip Glass, but I also hear Mingus off in the distance, & Billy Joel in a piano bar, blue smoke on his keys & in his eyes. Gritty, powerful, beautiful, nasty,
    urine-soaked, beer cologne, glittering talons as gems, the lethal plant waiting to gobble your arm. Wow, it is part Raymond Candler, part Mickey Spillane, with Raymond Carver clapping you on the shoulder.
    It, for me, is the best thing you’ve written; conceived perfectly. I am becoming a real Haibun fellow, but never considered using American sentences to frame the prose; been using haiku, tanka, & lunes; so now you have exhibited a bravado that inspires me to lace the Haibun even more, providing layer after layer of dazzle.

  5. I got so pumped by your poetic, I forgot to give you kudos for some brilliant word-smithing, like /the wet tarmac was chewing on the headlights of the last car passing/ & or course with kohl-eyed glances & unshaven chins we sipped on random/words unspoken/. A grand piece of work, sir.

  6. I so admire the haibun, with the city at night, one of my favorite themes to write about ~ The american sentences are sharp as tic-tac of stiletto heels ~ One of your best haibun yet I have read Bjorn ~

  7. It does have that jazz/blues mix, the setting of a noir movie, but to me it reminds me most of The Third Man – with that sense of uncertainty and menace…

  8. This sentence is priceless: “My hunger drove me to an open restaurant and alone I found unspoken camaraderie with others, with people of the night.” Your choice of verbs and the contradiction of unspoken camaraderie are wonderful.

  9. I am gving you a standing ovation for this excellent piece. This so evoked when I lived in various cities and was a child of the nights there. Truly, raptor is perfect. Amazing haibun and all the images and visuals…the stinks and perfumes…Harkens me back to my old old old days and the song, Summer in the City by The Lovin’ Spoonful, amazingly enough.

  10. This my dear is painting, film, poetry, sound, literary lushness and sculpture all in one. Amazing!

  11. Beautifully described Bjorn! It progressed smoothly from scenes of night life then trudging along to have some chow and waiting to go on home. In a nutshell a city night!

    Hank

  12. So great Bjtorn — I love the layers your words paint, stacked upon each other. Your poetry brings out hidden glimpses we might happen to see if we are looking. You reflect the shadows we pass through.
    thank you, joanie

  13. WOW! This is the city at two a.m. Loved the breaking chopsticks in the sushi bar. And, especially, the closing, “The city’s diamond is a cheap cubic zirconia and the raptor’s talon has lost it’s grip. We are separately united in our loathing of the stench. The stench that’s us, the people that the city left.” The form suits this material wonderfully. I cant imagine it written any other way.

  14. First of all.. thank you for providing that lovely music.. a dream of mine would be if everyone here shared their taste in music.. as i know treasures will be found never heard before.. movement.. music.. and imagery is my love well above.. millions of words i do..:)

    But anyway.. back to topic..;)

    The sights.. smells.. and sounds.. of bar diversity.. in human.. pheromones.. alive as same.. dripping alcohol off bar glasses.. finding how males really feel about women in pissing rooms.. and women knowing and now coupling up with each other instead.. oh the battle of the sexes.. one in bar life.. and women are on top.. with each other now.. amazing how much humans have changed since the 80’s.. everything goes now.. and perhaps that’s good for over-population that separates the masses from each other in big city life..:)

  15. This is one of best I have read. Powerful descriptions, gritty imagery of grey metropolises- aren’t cities all over the world similar after the sun goes down? I love the mention of Zirconia. Feels like a sudden spark of fire-light in the gloom.

  16. I like these bits of observations you have had of the Urban setting at night. As you said, a city at night is like a lighted lamp attracting moths.. it truly is like that. Also, at nighttime, the passing cars here & there are like marching shadows chasing danger & all. I so enjoy your wonderful mix of Haibun & american sentence, thanks!

  17. I loved the way you brought it full circle. Cities at night are terrifying places to me. Descriptively idyllic in your words, though. I personally feel with the urine mixed with [cheap] perfume stench. Talk about eau de nighttime bus. Thank you for the read

  18. I love these sections:
    “and alone I found unspoken”
    “I broke chopsticks to the tic-tac of stiletto heels in the sushi-bar.” (one of my favorite places on the planet)
    “We are separately united in our loathing”
    “A tired workman’s coughing in the diesel fumes from his dirty truck.”

  19. Without a doubt I prefer this gritty, poetically realistic style of poetry to the classically formatted verse. You are master both of the grittiness seen before – but excelled at here, and this rather unique style of yours, haibun with American sentences. This is hard-edged, so readable but so cleverly-constructed.

  20. “Cities at night are both barbaric and civilized, they are silk and daggers. Cities at night are the smell of men urinating against brick-walls and the perfume from girls hurrying to embrace their lovers. But even in the largest metropolis there are places where darkness finds you. Places where you find yourself alone with echoes.”

    This whole line really speaks its truth and the experience of those who have witness this in our daily lives and surroundings.

    The entire poem is visually stunning and sings in beautiful lyrics.

    Love it! my friend.

  21. Big cities at night are an almost otherworldly assault on one’s sensibilities and senses, where (as I once wrote after a trip into Vancouver) “happy revelers mingle, amongst the broken souls, street wise and lost angels”. Loved this. Wonderful writing!

  22. I can’t remember I have read your prose poem before – this is lovely and one of my favourite theme too. I enjoyed those rich details of cityscape.

  23. I love the use of American sentences here — it adds to the realism, the grit — wow — so very well done 🙂

  24. this is an interesting form Bjorn – and I think you write to it well, your verse is rich – and your poetic sentences are strong.

  25. I love American Sentences….haven’t seen them used with haibun before, so thanks for this unique introduction, Bjorn 🙂

  26. an interesting dichotomy between the beautiful and ugly, the light and dark…you might almost say the sacred and profane of the city at night. Quite enjoying the Glass piece too!!

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