joebelknapwall: (lunar eclipse)
Maybe you don't even think about it anymore, what's back there. Maybe you've gotten so used to the impotent presence of that painted-over metal door that's right behind the workbench where you labor in a rented space in the ruins of a colossal turn-of-the-century factory that's been rusting like a fleet of sunken ocean liners for longer than you've been alive.

You tried it, of course, but it's stuck fast and there's work to do, so you shove your bench against the wall, blocking off the residual temptation to keep on trying. All the neighboring spaces are rented by cabinetmakers and duct fitters, who thrive in the raw, dusty spaces of the old place, and it's probably just one more of those guys back there, dutifully turning out a custom kitchen for someone who can afford it.

Thousands of men used to work in the factory, but times change.

After it's all over, when you've packed up and moved the workshop out until the next grant comes in to start it all up again, the heady moment of completion revives old instincts. You gather a group of fellow travelers and start to look for that hidden, magical place on the other side of the world.

Industry is so much the landscape of this city, or it was.

Nothing is guarded.

On an old loading dock, now behind corroding corrugated sheetmetal and bent-up fencing, the door to the shipping manager's office, built as beautifully as an Art Deco ticket kiosk, is open just enough to let you in. In a dash, dodging the sound of voices coming your way, you're in, up stairs with streamlined rails and steps so covered with plaster fallen from the ceiling as to be almost a ski slope, you're in, and it doesn't take long to find what you're looking for.

The other side of that door.

the other side of the door

And you hope and dream and too easily yield to despair, always hoping there's an Oz to escape to, somewhere rare and glorious, somewhere to remind you that there is somewhere to go when you find yourself caught up in a kind of life that's just too much to take in.

It's too much, all too much, so the doorways disappear behind workbenches, appliances, bookshelves, suspicion, doubt, and uncertainty, until this meager place where we've trapped ourselves is all that's left.

So who comes knocking at those doors? )

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joebelknapwall

January 2013

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