Updated: Jul 29, 2019
This place is colourful, this place is grey, this place is beautifully disturbing and deeply precious, this place is in constant motion. Potholes pave the way to motorcycles and loud engines, souls travelling in beastly automobiles, ten thousand rotations per second. As I close my eyes I see the small square yellow and brown tiles covering the walls beneath the bar around the corner. I see rats run freely under stormy March weather and mutts hide behind black garbage bags. I see the local hair salon behind a small rectangular metal rolling door which shelters strangely charming faces on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The sun is hidden and blends in with the toxic haze which absorbs all the life there is around, no green whatsoever. The same people have lived here for the last fifty years, they arrived here running from the war, running from famine and prejudice back where Home used to be, to found a safe corner of the world where they could simply Be. These folks are able to see past all the insanity and chaos, breathing all the madness in, exhaling gratitude. Those lessons can't be learned elsewhere. Kids play football on the street, bare-feet, they run after the fake-leather ball, they run from their homes, they laugh and cry and grow (apart) together and move their fragile bodies wherever life takes them. Those moments are invisible tattoos in their subconscious, those moments are taken for granted and pretty forgettable on the surface, but they always come back years later revealing to their adult versions, in painful and sweet flashbacks, details of a beautiful lost childhood.
The years I lived there were no different, they were sweet and sad pills fed to me in otherworldly ways. Those colours and sounds and memories are the building blocks of who I am today. Somehow I am still there, running on those streets, eight p.m., from house to house, over gates and roofs, throwing stones at windows, blowing mailboxes up and stealing candy from supermarkets and then running some more. In this universe anger and beauty walk side by side and they are capable of burying old-selves for good under layers of time. There are scars too, some remain on your skin while others live next door to your heart.
This place is always on my mind and its power carries my soul through hard times. If I could paint a portrait of a particular moment in time, I would paint the same picture a dozen times, the same walls, the same colours, sounds and sentiments. If I could paint a portrait of a particular moment in time, I would paint a hummingbird, standing still before kissing the rarest of the flowers right there, where memories vanish and butterflies perish.