When you live in the city
the lights are like mid-sky stars—
bright, blinking, full of color:
the reds of brake lights and streetlights
that breathe pauses into the night;
the soft yellow of lamps dotting downtown roads;
the white beam shining from the top of a crane like a lighthouse,
that if you look long enough
starts to mimic the North Star before you realize you should close your eyes
tight, tight, tight
you know it.
It turns the black sky gray,
hides the constellations in its glow,
pretends to keep them safe,
it’s just trying to outshine nature.
It’s human nature
to be unnatural,
to seek comfort in the made,
instead of grown,
to find a room of one’s own
and destroy the house
made of sticks and palm leaves and dirt
that had been provided for you
since what feels like the beginning
We’ve added more artificial light,
that we keep in our pockets,
or hold in our hands
like we’re holding the sun,
a world of instant gratification
translated to fun
translated to unsocial interaction.
I don’t think anyone feels that sense
now that culture is in comparison,
a sin for which I’m guilty.
But when you live in the city,
the lights are beacons of connection,
our phones, little galaxies of light,
that add themselves to these buildings
that seem to touch the sky with unseen fingertips,
resting on the body of the night.