Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Lifting Spirits

By Morton Piercewright -

I very much doubt that the designers of this park envisioned this occurring, and I doubt even further that they saw the hundreds of possibilities for human movement its architecture and apparatus offered.

Darkness consumes the scene, observers from the neighbouring tower blocks and houses can only see obscurities – a flash of movement here, a shadow there. From the ground floor figures are barely visible through the thick gloom of the evening. Crisp night air hovers in a deathly silence over the soft tarmac and cool steel frames of the playground. Hooded youths fly gracefully and silently through the air over these obstacles, treating them as means to move, rather than means to guide them, or to slow them down. They have the utmost respect for the structures, but spare none for the values they represent.

Fingers wrap tightly around metal bars, pressing palms against icy contours as the body is forced skyward, pivoting from the wrist. Another hand joins the first, both now labouring to force the body forwards, keeping the incredible amount of momentum going through the night sky. Legs spin inwards, tucking in order to endure the force of the landing as the shock spreads from toe to thigh to shoulders. Coming out of the roll at incredible speed, eyes and teeth dart out from underneath the hood, a defiant grin sneaking out from its darkened face. The hooded creature spares a fleeting look behind him, a signal that is noticed by the others. Seemingly crawling and dropping from the black air itself, five more hoods creep into the light, their eyes the only thing visible in the dim saffron glow of on old streetlight. They are as spirits, gently floating over the structures society has presented before them - not as members of that society, but as outsiders.

The leader feels the grind of the harsh concrete under his feet, against the feeble rubber-soles of his trainers. His laces are frayed, ruined from constant movement and abrasion against every surface imaginable. Frozen wind gnaws through his clothes to feast upon the fragility inside. His muscles ache, they twitch at the adrenaline coursing through them with familiar distain, and they work harder than they should. Gravel grips to the soft flesh beneath his fingernails, and blood leaves a grim trail across sleeves, legs, and obstacles, a sign that he has been here before, and that he is not afraid.

1 comment:

Remembering Places said...

Dear Morton - I think the detail here is great, and the (spectral) sense of shadowy movement is rather beautiful. It's original and fascinating stuff - I'd just suggest editing some of the adjectives out (e.g. "incredible") so that the prose is as streamlined and elegant as the movement you're describing.
Thanks for posting this, Jonathan