New York Central
Currents of time and place and memory bring them, in spirals of decreasing radius. Some are washed through the portals on the waves of life, and others on the waves of death. Around them all, around and above us, the City roars. Its voice is the plangent iron beehive scream of millions of lives and millions of deaths; of hours and days and weeks and seconds and moments and Planck time eyeblinks.
Around the boroughs, opening to the sun; subways and sewers and stormdrains and manholes and tunnels and prosaic doorways in walls and hatches and gratings. They offer pathway and mystery, enticing the lost, seducing the content, deceiving the unwary. From the edges, from the surfaces, from the spaces, people are swept in by fate and worry and need and love and want and lust and debt.
The portals lead to paths, lead to tunnels, lead to caverns, lead to voids, lead to the sound and the light.
In the center, far down, around so very many turns, hidden from view, the furnace waits.
As we all arrive, we feel its flame filling the vast space in which it shines.
The City takes us in. All of us. Some of us will leave. Many of us will not.
Which are the lucky ones?
This is not death, and it is not life.
Here, we join our sinews to the machine that is the City, and its tone shifts as we apply our strength. To joy, to pain, to love, to loss, to hate, to fear.