An Internal Monologue
M. Arch I 2020, Currently in Maryland after 3 Years in Rudolph, I recently started streaming myself painting on Twitch.tv
I am 57 or 51, and it’s been a most lonely year. My silvery gates lie at the boundary between casual cigarette smoke and where the coffee once flowed. Here, confused and watery eyed students once wandered into the stacks or were carried off to the studios above. But now the signs change color with the leaves outside as people come then go, and my skin grows cold and gray with ice and snow.
In the past, students were coaxed out from their studio slumber and into my great second story gallery with the promise of good food, mercurial conversations, and those ever-changing cocktails. Platters of shrimp and veal were whisked around to those who would rush to claim their dinners on those quick silver plates. The opening and closing of the rusted copper doors to the administration above marked the beginning and end of the school day. Although for many students, who had their work reduced to nothing that day, reception would merely mark the time when they could begin again.
In the badminton courts the carpets are now cleaner, the desks pristine, and the classrooms spotless, yet silence continues to cut through the heart of me. The golden rays of the sun shine upon the paprika that was grafted onto me, and yet I am washed out and sterile. There are fewer pins on the floors, less stains on the rug, and no tournaments at midnight; only dust and memories continue to cling to my jagged sides now. My dull grey bones rise to meet the mezzanine that looks over the pit, giving some relief to these old muscles that have long been compressed by the expanse of the fourth and sixth floors surrounding it. Here my echoes of those communal lectures, the rhythmic battering of birdies, and murmurs from meetings now fall on deaf ears, replaced by clusters of coughs and muffled breathing behind masks.
At my sides, the fire exits have been swept clean of the mountains of ash and split iron cans that once littered the stairs. Yet the ledge spikes that once skewered thousands of old cigarette butts still remain to this day. Tucked away between a faroff passage inside, the whirling iron cogs of printers continue to spin even as the minds that produce them are scattered across the earth. And yet a few flags now decorate these halls as the breeze now blows over dust and mildew. Above the now silent balconies, my crown once teemed with small flowers, nests of eagle-eyed birds, remnants of battered red spray cans, and students feasting on doritos, oreos, and franzia. Their rosy red faces flushed from the merriment or the stinging cold watched over the city and the faroff oaken shores to the east as day turned to night. And the murmurs of their conversations were once punctuated by the tinny ringing of jackhammers and the trumpeting of car horns that continue to crash against my halls.