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Prompts

 

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Photography by Andrea Di Giola, an Italian photographer who achieves a wonderful sense of scale in his work. Find more of his work on his Facebook page, and his Flickr page

“I write for a new age spiritual magazine. Spiritual”, I emphasised, “not religious. Although honestly there isn’t a great deal of difference anymore. Change through positive thinking and all that bullshit. We cover similar themes, probably target the same demographic.”
“Is there still appeal for that kind of thing?” She spoke with interest but her eyes were looking elsewhere.
“I don’t really care. I get paid either way.”

The fog in the town was bizarre. It arrived the day before I did. There was no wind to shift it and no temperature change to dissipate it, but to linger for the time it did was puzzling. When I recall that first week, I remember uncertainty and a vague apprehension; all life muffled and still, a vacuum. There was nothing to talk about but there was nothing else to talk about. I held a few token, informal interviews with locals at bars, in shops, but they gave me little – all amicable, all distracted – I could get nothing out of them. Studying maps of the town and reading articles on the internet I put together a file. But after a few days I grew bored and began walking the town, unable to see further than three feet in front of me. Cars rolled past slowly with full beams gliding through. In the mist it could have been anywhere in the world.

“I can’t make an objective judgement of this place while it is covered. I’ll stay until the fog clears. They say it can’t stick around for much longer; it’s a meteorological anomaly.”
“Your article. Will it be ready?” Far away the editor spoke.
“It’ll be done when it’s done. Besides no one is waiting for it.” But the call cut out and I’m not sure he heard me.

The days grew long or the nights short, under dull illumination of street lights that appeared miles above the sidewalks like uninterested stationary spacecraft. A disillusioned creator observing a malfunctioning purgatory. I saw little to suggest there was anything wrong with this town, but looking back, the fog was the only thing I and the people of the town spoke about in those initial weeks. It’s all we saw. Looking out of every window would yield the exact same view. A grey wall in slow but constant motion, motives unknown.

Nothing rose above the blanket of fog but for the tallest fir trees, and the spire of the Catholic church on the hill. The spire invisible to those on the ground, those on the ground invisible to the spire. Forgotten or otherwise gone. The fog had simply masked the problems of the town, because nothing could continue until it left. The usual problems with the drugs, the unemployment, the high crime, the social tensions, all of these things were put on hold. As if for a time they were all the same, the townsfolk, all in the same standing, one of shared uncertainty.

One night in the spire at the top of the church I stood with the reverend and we conversed about religion and the fading influence of the church in present times. He was tired and spoke with little enthusiasm and told me that it was not so much that the church was weaker, but that the faith of the people, in these trying times, was at an all time low. Lacking faith in the economy, faith in justice, faith in political manifestos. Faith in one another.

We looked out across a grey sea and I saw the stars for the first time in months. Beneath the veil, headlights from speeding cars outlined the routes in and out of the town. Sometimes it looked like all the cars were travelling in the same direction, out and away, escaping from the town as the centre around us became darker.
I asked him when he believed the fog would clear.
“What makes you think it ever will?”

© Nicholas J. Parr, 2016

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Photography by Austrian street photographer Dragan. Recently he has taken some fantastic shots around London, see more of his work on his flickr page, www.flickr.com/photos/draganbrankovic/

Something on the street glowed. He waited until the light faded and as the street darkened still something glowed. It didn’t flicker; it was not fire light. With caution he approached, to investigate. It was the entrance to an old underground station and it was lit up, not by flames but electrical light. Artificial lighting. He ventured inside and it was quiet and empty. He saw ticket booths unoccupied, the shutters pulled down. A cool breeze scattered debris, consisting of leaves and litter and paper, off the street and around the lobby and underneath the barriers, which he was able to push past with little resistance.

It was a station he had known well, he realised, its location revealed to him on tiled walls in the once familiar Johnstone typeface. He approached a pair of frozen escalators, half expecting them to continue their churning cycle without warning, but they remained still. With trepidation he descended, one step at a time, glancing back every few steps, and at one point stopped to look at advertisements on the sides of each escalator, that never interested him in the past but now displayed immortalised shows and books and bank accounts that would remain until the paper they rested on faded irreversibly and disintegrated into dust.

He considered his last visit here, probably sometime last year, and the people who he might have seen at this station. All the faces he would see pass, hundreds every minute, in the opposite direction, each on a different path, with different thoughts, different aspirations, different points of views, different comfort zones and straining points, different hopes, different dreams, different fantasies and different fears. Exchanged glances with eye contact which burns an image in your brain that is kept for how long? a second, an hour, a day? And overhearing all those conversations, singular quotes taken out of context, and wondering where they would have led, even those in different languages, imaging the subject of dialogue based on facial animations or tone or animated gesticulations.

As his thoughts drifted between the past and the present he could hear the voices, the distant murmur of noise that can only exist in large quantities of people, echoing through the marble walls and floors, sometimes near too, sometimes so close he thought he could feel breath on his ears. Walls reverberated. Tremored around him. He went deeper. Continuing through the tunnels, the air stale with a scent that lingered, harsh on the senses. It was warm down here. Artificial warmth. Something long lost to his world, different to real warmth of the sun or the warmth of flames or the warmth of bodies. Everything shone under the incandescent and unnatural brightness of the humming spotlights.

He reached a platform that curved out of view to his left and to his right, and the shadows cast by the flickering tube lighting above moved, grew darker and more defined, until they were no longer shadows but malevolent shapes. He walked to the end of the platform and peered into the darkness of the tunnel for a long time, and he thought he could see the shapes begin to form. He thought he could see bones and eyes and stunted children stuffing their mouths with dirt.

Dropping down onto the tracks he touched the steel that was cold and worn, turning his hand black and oily. He heard a voice from deeper in the tunnel and this time he couldn’t be sure it was a memory. When his thoughts cleared and he finally asked himself the question, why is the power on? – there was a click followed by a silent void and he was left alone in darkness.

© Nicholas J. Parr, 2016

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Torre de Aspa 1990 by António Alfarroba. A beautiful diapositive taken over two decades ago. Based in Lisbon, Portugal, António has a wide range of fantastic photography.  Find more beautiful work on António’s flickr page.

He pulled up in the cracked dirt on the side of the road and forced the door open into the wind without looking up, because he knew the road would be empty. In the breeze it was cooler but the heat of the afternoon still stifled and the horizon wavered on steel sheets. He walked the length of the scrapyard through rusting wrecks of automobiles while studying the sloping coastal drive that disappeared behind the ridge above. He considered the purpose to all of this; leaving the cars to scavengers and over time their disemboweled chassis remained in grounded purgatory until the cliff upon which they laid scattered crumbles into the sea. He noticed he was in front of a house and it startled him as it had appeared out of nowhere, but now that he had seen it he realised he could not have missed it. He thought he saw movement from inside and before he could turn and walk away an elderly man opened a weathered wood door and beckoned him in.

Inside it was cool and dim. One large room, terracotta tiles, tall ceiling, with a table and a camp bed and a stove and little else but narrow windows without glass panes.
“Sorry for coming upon your property – I didn’t see the house at first. I thought it was just scrap. The house just appeared.”
“It’s okay.” He was friendly but unashamedly tired. “What made you stop?”
“I don’t know. The place looked interesting.”
“I hate to disappoint you, friend, there is nothing interesting here.”
“I’m sure that’s not true. My name is Henry. Please, don’t let me bother you – I can leave if you would prefer.”
“Please take a seat, Henry. I am Afonso. Would you like some café?”
“Por favor.” Henry sat and watched the man. “Do you get many visitors up here?”
“It would depend on your definition of visitors, and your definition of many.” He attended the stove with diligence and care, knowing of its disrepair but working with it, rather than against it, to boil a steel kettle with a mournful whistle and proceeded to make coffee. Bent over it and muttering as if whispering words of encouragement and love to a dying spouse. He continued. “I do not see many people up here, period. It is quiet and the scrap, it is old and trash that few people need or want. This leads me to ask you, what brings you here?”
“I was curious.” Henry said. “I saw the cars against the backdrop of the sea and it was beautiful. This place is old and it may be overlooked but it feels important, if you understand me?”
“I might do. In any case – it is important to me.”

They spoke over the coffee which tasted earthy and strong, and the old man brought out some liquor which he offered to his guest but Henry politely declined.
“I am driving” he explained. “Besides, I am visiting this country with my wife and children. They wait for me at the hotel, a few miles from here.”
“The beach resort? It is probably very nice this time of year.”
“It is beautiful, but there are too many people.”
“Are they enjoying their time here, your wife and your children?”
“Yes I believe so. I think they are, yes. I see a smile on the face of my wife and the laughter of the children. But is that everything? Sometimes I worry about their happiness. I get upset and I can’t sleep. Is that normal?”
“I have not had family for a long time, but yes, for me it was normal. To worry. This shows you are a good man, a good father. But for what good does it do them and yourself to worry like this? You can’t trouble yourself with such thoughts. They are important, your family, but you must stay strong. Because without you, they would be alone and sad.” For a moment the two of them were sat in perfect silence. The wind dropped and the crescendo of waves was held for the shortest time. And then the waves crashed, and the wind blew once more.
“And the sound of the ocean, that is important too.” The old man said.
“Why?” asked Henry.
“It is the most honest sound in the world.”

He left soon after, thanking Afonso for his time and hospitality and stepped back into the hot car, drove back down the coast, with the sun setting on the house and the dead metal statues and every time he looked into the rear view mirror there was a distortion of the bright and brilliant light that threatened to blind him.

© Nicholas J. Parr, 2016

fiction

Photography by Stelios Efstathopoulos who stumbles through the streets of Athens in an attempt to interest and inspire. See more of his work at steliosefstathopoulos.tumblr.com

The scene is a courtyard. Flooded by shadow here it is cool and slow, sound reduced to the muffled noise a passive listener might hear when covering their ears from the sounds of the surrounding city, which cannot be forgotten, for while the courtyard is peaceful the streets still pulsate, with cars and bikes and chatter and shouts and steps never far away. The courtyard is segregated by temporary (supposedly) metal fencing, galvanised and dirty and in all probability forgotten, for no workers or planners or foremen or architects have graced this site in quite some time, yet the fences will continue to stand in defiance, protecting a waste without purpose, a carpet of dust and debris, as if the courtyard here were no longer required and space itself were no longer a commodity in demand (unlike, say, time or wealth), but merely something in excess and of little value, and there are other plots like this hidden across the city, obsolete, waiting in the shadows to one day become relevant again. There is a rusting steel frame structure that props the surrounding brick and mortar walls that enclose the courtyard. Looming and severe. Its inactivity reason enough to question its purpose. To entertain the possibility of those four facades as cardboard cut-outs, the outline of a cityscape but in reality nothing more than a hand-crafted model, curated with care to give an impression of authenticity, but always threatening to fall down under the weight of itself. A scene perhaps. But no – the locals here know better, these two.

So a place for reflection and a place for solitude for two old men, out of the glare of the city’s relentless watch. Behind a streetlamp sits one man. He has been sitting for a long time. He sits because he is tired. Earlier he smoked a cigarette and has been waiting to gain his breath to continue. He suffers from arthritis and emphysema and the bag he carries contains some medicines as well as some groceries: fruit, lamb, pork, bread, sauces. While he sits, while he waits, he considers his health and his home, his family and his friends. He considers the passage of time, and whether time is in fact progressing while he is sat here. Alone and still. Life surely continues around him while he sits inert. Unmoving and ineffectual. But if he is stalled as he sits, as he waits, can he say for sure that time has progressed for him in the courtyard as it has for others? Does he prolong his time later by ceasing to move now? And if he will not remember these internal theories tomorrow, the time, it is lost?

The other man has no care for such ideas. He has long forgotten why he is here, but lives moment to moment, each fleeting idea that comes to him must be grasped else it evaporates before his clouded eyes, lost forever, or at least for a moment, allowing another thought to appear in its place, related or otherwise, and the cycle repeats, resulting in a change of direction, as he walks furiously this way and that way, sometimes acknowledging those he recognises, otherwise he storms through those in his way, muttering under his breath, like a clairvoyant speaking in tongues, a doyen of these streets and these ways of life, of which others are oblivious, as they walk past the alley leading to the courtyard, and in its direction they do not even glance.

© Nicholas J. Parr, 2016

birds and planes

Photography from Görkem Keser. I stumbled across Görkem while researching street photography in Europe, and he has a great range of work in his home town of Istanbul. Check out more of his work at gorkemkeser.tumblr.com

A feral pigeon – of the street variety, common across the country and abundant in all cities – is startled by the roar of a descending jet plane. Infected blood pumps through its heart and lungs and the muscles of its breast, to beat its feathered wings, rotten with canker and internal parasites and the open oozing sores and welts under an anaemic plume. It will die within a month. Perhaps sooner with the threat of: cats, prevention spikes on public buildings, poisons, the introduction of peregrine falcons, and the like.

Described as pests and vermin, no love is lost between man and pigeon. Those avian carriers of disease and squalor. For what purpose do they exist but for mercurial defecation on pavements, roofs, cars and helpless walkers below? They have some supporters of course. The elderly will continue to feed them crumbs from the park benches and the young will chase with childish, harmless glee.

But of what does a pigeon comprehend? And yet, it lives, it thrives? Yet, it lives.

***

Above the pigeon a seven-four-seven (747) soars thousands of feet above. Aboard sit passengers. Passengers or freight or both. Those on board returning from sunnier climes, several bringing an end to holidays, short breaks, honeymoons, weddings, birthdays and anniversaries. And so the mood is terse – for whatever it is, it is over. The weather in the capitol is standard. Grey and overcast. Paradise lost.

Mechanical and defying gravity, four jet engines propel its autonomous body from continent to continent, land to land.  Loose bolts throughout, a failing pressure gauge in the cockpit, numerous electrical faults in cabins and kitchens. The machine, it is well looked after. Analysed, tested. Worn but in safe hands. Passengers aboard settled in for the journey. Three courses and popular television.

As if the sky has been conquered, and that is that.

***

Flight can be achieved in more than one way.

© Nicholas J. Parr, 2015

directions

Photograph taken by Craig Bagno, who may ‘walk aimlessly’ through New York, but manages to capture some great moments of life in the city. Check out more at bagnostian.tumblr.com

The car slowed to a crawl and came to a stop at the side of the road. The windows rolled down with deliberance as if the glass were preventing those inside from observing a real and unaltered view. Nothing of interest was taking place on the sidewalks or the parks to the east or the street, the steady traffic decreasing on a Sunday evening. After some time the car ceased to hum and rattle and became quiet.

From within the car he watched the avenue in shadow opposite, waiting for hesitant street lamps to illuminate. Trees lined alongside a long reaching arm of telephone poles uninterrupted. He sat in the car and considered it all. Its look and its feel, to assess its ambience. If it was the same place then it had changed. None of it conjured any sort of recognition in his mind, no memories or familiarity. He continued to sit and to think.

Watching a scene in the side mirror he noticed the great distance between him and the setting sun and a church that stood black against the sky and he could see the lights and hear the traffic at the junction behind him. A shout and a car horn and birds and the rest. Senseless actions recurrent with insignificant consequences.

The radio spoke and sounded alien to him. The context of the show changed from the weather to a local news story, which detailed a violent break-in where an elderly man had been forced to fight off a young intruder and had left the boy in a coma, of which he remained in critical condition. He thought about the motivations of the boy and whether he had acted out of desperation or greed or spite or fear, and whether, if he did wake up, he would have any grounds for grievance with the old man; after all, it was he who had broke the law, trespassed and attempted to steal from an honest man. He felt sympathy for the store owner, who according to the report had been, understandably, deeply traumatised by the event, a man who had only been attempting to protect his home and business. He had used a shovel to defend himself. Once the intruder was down the store owner continued to attack until he collapsed gasping for breath and the floor was slick and wet with blood. When the report finished the man in the car turned the radio off and sat in silence, trembling.

In which direction would the car head. He glanced into the mirror again. The church remained, but the outline it cast against that brilliant orange purple horizon was becoming less and less pronounced. The sky was darkening and soon the church would merge into a dark and vast twilight and cease to exist from this point of view. But it would still be there, known to him and those who had also seen it and knew of its being. Perhaps lost to others who had not been present to witness. Within minutes the church was gone and the man started the car and drove deeper into the night.

© Nicholas J. Parr, 2015

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Photography by Marius Vieth, award-winning German street photographer based in Amsterdam (location of Midnight Cowboy, 2015, above). Make sure you check out more of his work at www.mariusvieth.com

Oh, what a night.

The day was dull. And dusk it came quickly, throwing shadows down with the promise of more. Thick cloud rolled in to seal off the city, an inescapable void of sepia tones that burst into colour when you blinked. Having observed it all from the balcony it had to be experienced, it had to be lived.

And oh, what a night.

I sat there for some time; eyes shut, ears tuned to whatever whispers I could extract from below. I worked through a pack of cigarettes, bottles of beer, vicodin and an easy-peel orange to delay the inevitable. The night had spoken and it had spoken to me. Having prepared myself I, in appropriate evening wear, descended the stairs of the apartment and found myself there, in the middle of it all. I had no ambitions and lacked direction so I walked towards the bright lights on the horizon. Somehow resisting the immense pressure of the night, the inevitable night that hangs over all.

Yes-composed and constructed-what a night it would be.

Against the teasing soundtrack from passing cars I could barely stop myself from chasing I watched people congregate, move together in streams across the river and along the canals seeking their favoured neon signs. And the night, it continues to caress me. Do you see what I see? Can you feel what I feel? My thumping heartbeat orchestrates the body as I stroll the promenade in the safety of those incandescent street lights that surround me and those I walk with. I met them outside a pretzel stand, we talk, we laugh, we share a bottle. The smile on my face contagious. When we part ways they continue to glow in the darkness. The warmth in my bones infectious.

The night, it makes me tremble with childish fever, over the infinite possibilities it has teased. Twilight girls smile and laugh, touch and tickle but I pardon myself and keep walking, amicable, appreciative. For now I enter a bar where the air is warm and close and for the shortest amount of time imaginable I hold the gaze of the entire room which after blinking is all and none at the same time; cautionary stares, inquisitive glances, cheerful acceptance. And then the music starts again and the moment is lost, but for a time we were all connected. Deeper in I wander, lusting for some deeper bond to share the night with. The outside air diffuses with the hot bars breath and generates electricity in the air, powers whirring motors, ushering sinful bottles to grateful mouths and sordid words to flirtatious ears. It laughs, it loves, it lives.

A man at the door asks my name. ‘Brother’, I tell him, ‘what’s in a name?’. He asks me to leave and we walk back outside into that glorious night. But when I turn to find him, he is gone. So I carry on into the night, head held high and eyes wide, but not wide enough.

© Nicholas J. Parr, 2015

alex currie

Photography by Alex Currie, a talented young photographer and filmmaker whose work is rich in narrative, emotion and creativity. You can find more of his work at www.alexcurriemedia.com

Weeks turned to months of crippling insomnia as the anxieties of the day forced their way into her bed and helplessness surrounded her. Slipping in and out of reality she found herself desperate, took something to enable sleep. But with sleep came strange dreams with a stranger awakening. The most striking aspect was the inexplicable length of time and the inability to measure it.

To begin with she was contained within her loneliness and existed only in her mind, her body a cage for her consciousness. The rocks and the bare branched trees and the very earth on which she stood were of no comfort to her; nor the intricate, mystical beauty of the place of her isolation. The location a black rock that rose from the sea and up above to a plateau which held some ancient lake and waters which cascaded down beating the ground below with a roaring ferocity like hellbound percussion. She stood under the waterfall and stared out at the waves crashing on the coast in beautiful silence. In every direction she saw the rolling horizon of the ocean, the borders of her solitude.

She walked the island searching for purpose but found none. Took shelter in a cave and took to running in the darkness, chased by dried autumnal leaves which were withered and aged and they raked across the stone floors telling stories of past summers attached to glorious trees which she could not understand. So she tore down the trees to spite the leaves.

It was never light and it was never dark, the cycles of day and night replaced by a perpetual twilight that sank into her skin and her bones and seemed to dull her senses; of fear and happiness and sadness and hunger and thirst and the ability to age. So when the years passed she was able to maintain her tired approach to youth. On the wind she could hear laughter and voices and relationships and televised warfare; she had long lost faith in escape and the cohesion of her mind but if they were delusions she welcomed them. In any case they would not go away so what choice did she have but to accept them, live them as her own?

She blinked and on the horizon she saw the silhouette of a wonderful wooden ship with billowing sails. She asked it to come to the island to rescue her, to take her away, and the crew must have heard her pleas as it began to turn and grew closer. But on the approach the ship broke up on the rocks and if there had been anyone onboard none made it to the island. She blinked again and the wreck was gone; yet washed up on the shore she found a toy boat. It was elegantly finished and trembled with opportunity. She smiled and she knew that she could wake up soon.

© Nicholas J. Parr, 2015

toddhido

Photography by Todd Hido, an American artist and photographer with a wealth of experience and whose work focuses on housing, both urban and suburban, and landscapes across America. See plenty more of Todd’s great work on his website, www.toddhido.com

From out of fatigued eyes he spotted a sign promising fuel and food and beds so Ìñigo rolled the sedan into the service station and parked it out of view of the passing traffic. It seemed late to him but there was still purple light in the sky as the sun started its descent behind distant clouds. Across the forecourt he walked, barely concealing a limp and trying to ignore the pool of blood that was collecting in his left boot, to a dimly lit administrative cabin where a young man sat behind a desk and rose to attention when he entered. A radio hidden under the desk hissed as Ìñigo asked if they had any rooms. The man replied that they did.

“No room service. No cleaning. Nothing. I am not feeling good. Privacy please.” Ìñigo requested with conviction and stared at the clerk with a grimace. An attempted smile. The clerk hesitated, laughed nervously.

“Ok sir, I understand. Sure thing. Just be sure to leave your key with us when you go.” He was young, perhaps not long in the job, and kept glancing out onto the forecourt. It struck Ìñigo that the clerk was nervous – whether that was down to inexperience or Ìñigo’s presence he did not know for sure. Maybe he had detected his desperation. In a wavering voice he asked for payment and a signature.

Ìñigo grunted, Sí. It was the last of his money. The clerk took the cash, avoiding eye contact where possible. Once the payment had been made he led Ìñigo across the car park to an unremarkable room, finished and furnished with modest decor. As requested the window faced away from the motorway but it still sounded close, so once the cashier handed over the keys and left, Ìñigo shut the window and drew the blinds.

He began to run a bath and found a battery powered radio on the bedside table which he brought into the bathroom and turned the dial until he was listening to a talk show about sports. They spoke quickly and with passion and vigour and he could understand little of it but their voices meant he was not left alone with his own thoughts. He lowered himself into the bath and cleaned his wounds and stifled his cries while he sat there. Sat there until the room grew dark and only once he began to shiver in that cold pink water did he get out.

On his bed he lay still but did not sleep. He turned on the television and stalked through channels of static to no avail which illuminated the room in bright white light but he would not get up to alter the settings. Instead Ìñigo flung the remote at the wall, rolled over on to his front and screamed into the depths of a pillow. He cried and he may have slept but when he lifted his head from the tangled sheets it was morning.

The television had found a program for him, one in his native tongue and for a moment he forgot he was in a foreign country, scared and alone and tired. He thought he could hear his name being called and his family were near, and his friends, and they were all together conversing in spanish and laughing and drinking wine. When he came back to the motel room with light creeping in from under the door and around the blinds he knew then that he must go home.

© Nicholas J. Parr, 2015

elizabeth cara

Photography by LA-based photographer and writer Elizabeth Cara, taken from her ‘Untogether‘ series which displays a ‘quietude and solitude’ captured around Hong Kong. For more of Liz’s work take a look at her site: www.elizabethcara.com

On the roof it is quiet. There is noise but it is distant, it is continuous, it is a sign that even at this height life somewhere is still being maintained. Far below the city can barely contain the sprawl of the tumultuous population in that urban wilderness, self contained and automated and evolving ever still. Far-removed from the microcosm of the roof, existing separately on the periphery of that which is built, the obsession with height, to defy laws and gods. And above, that which is beyond the ambitions of man.

To the north the mirage of a cityscape threatens to materialise. It shimmers through the pale and painted haze and on such a day its authenticity becomes difficult to gauge. The glint of windows too distant to look into but which would reveal: daytime television, afternoon trysts between extramarital lovers, the preparation and subsequent devouring of food and drink, energy and time.

Wayward rusting antennas lean and stretching to call out to whoever would listen. Or to recapture what was lost. An attempt to stay relevant in a changing landscape, fast becoming relics of a bygone era. Air conditioning units reverberate through the roofing slabs, panting fast and heavy like a mechanical respiratory system. More clutter is collecting on the roof from unknown sources and no one is ever caught depositing it but it is a combined effort from those below, it must be. Plastic bags and wooden pallets and food waste and rotting carcasses of dead birds and a pair of shattered binoculars and a deck chair with vile staining and an old tumble drier and an office desk and once even a shopping trolley.

This afternoon a man is present. Recognisable as one of the tenants on the twelfth floor. A desperate man, having lost his job two weeks ago and living in darkness for he is unable to pay his electrical bills. If the circumstances have not changed within ten more days he will be on the streets, but he sees now as he stares down at those very streets that they are not so bad. Standing there near the edge, smoking, taking one last prolonged drag on his cigarette in a desperate bid for endorphins.

Birds soar and occasionally perch on the top of the building but do not stay long, flying off in search of somewhere more desirable. No doubt sensing the dried corpses and loose feathers of their brothers and sisters and the inhospitable atmosphere at this height and on this roof.

© Nicholas J. Parr, 2015