Cities & Seeing

Visitors to the metropolis of Mariaville are drawn in by its boulevards and the many things to do and see and buy. The city is long and narrow, and the newcomer’s eye is continually pulled forward by a sense of eternity that the stretching length first evokes. Earthly delights offer themselves up to those who find themselves in the commercial areas. The village (for it is a small community) is known for its food and sex artisans, trained in foreign lands, and seducers of tongue, mind, and soul. Tourists might start at one end of Mariaville and never reach the other, falling happy victim to repeating the pleasures of one quarter or another. Or they might jump from one spot to another, chasing tips and tales of the best or the cheapest. So too might they choose to eventually settle and build a space around themselves that replicates the tastes and treats encountered during their first wanderings. Now residents, these once-tourists become part of the flavourful landscape that the burg presents to newcomers, and so in turn they play their role in growing and changing the population.


Residents, sometimes, see a different Mariaville. Rather than look down its length for the next and the next and the next, they cast their gaze across its width. They bore into the very structures of the town around them, seeing the layers of, first, dust and poster paste and gum and pigeon droppings, and then the layers of laws and smells and languages and practices. They peer into cracks to catch the fading rays of the thousand thousand sunsets that have shone onto Mariaville since it was first inhabited. They peer through windows at night and watch the fading twinkles of the million million stars that guided the first visitors to the riverbank on which the borough grew. They peer at the hands of clocks and the hands of their lovers, and see time move forward and sometimes slowly and sometimes fast. The sun and the stars cool and warm the shops’ wares and kitchen countertops and sidewalks, wafting motes of substance airward, while the repeating days dry the air into tiny layers of urban nacre. Always, a little accretes onto Mariaville’s surface, and always, underneath, it compresses a little bit. Walking in the street, these deposits seem solid, opaque. But the city’s residents have learned to tilt their heads a bit, and angle their eyes, and see ever so slightly through them.