Metamatic : The Official John Foxx Website...
John Foxx > The Quiet Man > When She Came To The City > Text
When she came to the city she was just a shadow. There was a spotlight on the tenement wall casting her silhouette down the street, past the fire hydrants and over the litter piled in industrial doorways. Former self standing there lost and abandoned. Unaware. Lipstick perfect. Hair moving in a slight breeze.

Goodbye and good luck. I will not see you again. Walk away now. Move away. A moment of detaching. Awkward silence. In long perspective. Letting go. Like leaves falling from the trees. Moving away. Still standing there when she looked back. One last glance.

She walked towards the cenotaph. It was almost morning but the sky was still black. One coffee shop was opening. Its windows obscured by steam, the only light apart from the yellow streetlamps arching over the roadway.

She seemed to disappear with every step as she passed through the cruel tarmac and concrete. Every texture illuminated and emphasised by a harsh cinematic light. Glass fragments glittered in the parallax of her movement.

She crossed a wide traffic intersection leading towards the open mouth of a tunnel under the river. Sodium lights glaring inside. Drawing together in a long curved perspective. No traffic at all. Not a single car.

There was a slight breeze as she passed through the park and she disappeared for a while beneath the great trees by the central lake.

There was nowhere to go. She could barely exist. Just a shadow. Where can you go in the city when you are only a shadow?

A frost was forming, sticking leaves and litter to the pavement. Her dress blew in the breeze. A light cotton thing. She moved across the grass, the benches, along the stone tunnels beneath the roadways, across the broad paths. Disappearing and reappearing with each step.

She came to an apartment house by Parkside and stood outside it for a while, watching the glass foyer. It looked warm and comfortable in there. Pale green carpets and discreet lighting. A heavy brass strip on the glass door. Wood panelled walls, everything of good quality. She flicked down the path between the laurel bushes and into the warm air inside.

Then she went up the stairway and stood uncertainly on the second landing, by a window. It was pleasant there. A tall window with a broad ledge, looking onto the side of the next building. Glimpses of trees beyond.

By this time it was getting light and a beam of warm yellow sunshine fell between the buildings across the stone and glass of their facades. She could glimpse the sky and a section of roadway where automobiles were beginning to pass.

Someone walked by her and down the stairs. She could feel herself reacting to the light. Growing fainter and disappearing at it reached the window.

Dust motes were moving in the gentle currents of air, illuminated gold by the slanting beams. She moved through them, turning and disappearing and casting herself across the walls, faint and clear by turns. Light shimmering, reflecting faintly with the movement. A sort of dance. Where do you go in the city when you are a shadow?

She remained there. It was fine. Safe. People passed by on their way out of the building. Going to their places of work in the city. Then there was a long period of quiet with only a few lone figures passing. Towards evening they began to return. Saturdays were busy all the time. Sunday evening the quietest.

These became the rhythm of her days. Often she did not want to move. Remained still most of the time. Moments swirling away like the dust. Raining down on her. Through her. Everyone passing on the stairs. Never notice.

Long light of morning dazzling as you come into the landing. Residual swirl of dust motes and moving light.

Someone almost there. Momentary encounter. Barely registers. Only realise after a long time that you could feel her presence. Silent. Retreating. Lost. Standing there all this time unnoticed. Pass by every day. For years.

Perfume, aftershave, shoe polish, newsprint, coffee, cigarettes. Breath, hairspray, movement of clothing and umbrellas. Passing through, mixed with time and light. Some way through all these cities. Forgotten places and people. Long roadways and moments unremembered.

A single moment in the city. My lost city. Hand on the telephone. Face glimpses from a passing train. Music down a windy street.

Visit you sometimes now. Lost down the years. Fainter and fainter. Stand there again. At that time of day. Separated by time.

Now I am much older and I know you are there across those years. Another time is another place. Stand there, where you stood in that moment. Almost hear you breathing. When I stand here in the long silence, I can feel you breathing.

Breathe me in. I'll breathe you out. Some interruption in the light. Barely noticed at the time. Can you step forward? Do you want to stay here always, forever?

Remember this moment. A quiet moment. Eyes move to my face. She looks down in the shadow, silhouette partly obscured by light in that moment, a gleam then gone.

Every day for years. Walk right through you on the stairs. Forgotten places. Only now, many years later.

A single movement. Some marginal disturbance in the field. Patterns reform. Swirl of gentle reflection barely noticed. Only when you remember. Where do you go when you're a shadow, a shadow in the city?

Sometimes I go back there. Stand on the landing as the sun comes through. Where I used to live.

Passed by every day. Someone almost there. Never noticed. Separated only by time. Exactly the same place... Someone still there?

He breathes in slowly. Pauses for a while, then slowly, slowly, breathes out into the sunlit air. There seems to be a slight movement among the dust motes all around. Some minor disturbance in the field. Vague electricals. Slight temperature change.

She was just a shadow when she came to the city. Now the light is shimmering here and she is breathing out of her time and into his. Same place. Some other time.

Who is this? How does this happen? She was very close, breathing the same air. Breathing her in. Like a kiss. What was this?

She cannot speak, she is just a shadow. He stands there for a long time and she breathes with him, perfectly in time. But separated by time. All he can see are vague shimmers on the wall, some confusion of light.

He turns to go. Walks down the stairs. She stays for a while then goes after him still breathing in time. Perhaps she can see something of what he can see now. Some fading through. Outside everything looks different from the way she remembers it. The city is empty. Buildings are overgrown and the park has spread into the surrounding streets. The day is misty with bright sun filtering through.

He goes into a department store - Derry and Toms. He has been looking for his sons. Dappled light under the trees on the roof garden, where she watches as he goes to the cloakroom and by the time he emerges the crowd of young people has gone.

She follows as he walks down Oxford Street. All the buildings overgrown. He goes to a cinema and she sees the films are playing in a loop. When she stands near him she can feel they are still breathing in time, perfectly synchronised. She touches his sleeve as he sits at a cafe and he looks carefully at it.

Breathing together across the years. Standing in the same place. Occupying these tiny interleaved slivers of time.
 Click Click Click Click Click Click Click Click Click Click Click
to subscribe for updates.
 FORTHCOMING RELEASES...
 There are no forthcoming releases.
 FORTHCOMING EVENTS...
 Liverpool - Exhibition Centre
 27 July 2017
 RECENT RELEASES...
 The Machine
The Machine
February 2017
 The Complete Cathedral Oceans
The Complete Cathedral Oceans
September 2016
 Ultravox!
Ultravox!
September 2016
 Ha! Ha! Ha!
Ha! Ha! Ha!
September 2016
 Systems Of Romance
Systems Of Romance
September 2016
 The Bunker Tapes
The Bunker Tapes
June 2016
 Ultravox! : The Island Years
Ultravox! : The Island Years
May 2016
 21st Century : A Man, A Woman And A City
21st Century : A Man, A Woman & A City
May 2016
 He's A Liquid
He's A Liquid
February 2016
 Burning Car
Burning Car
January 2016
 Blue Velvet Revisited
Blue Velvet Revisited
October 2015
 Nighthawks
Nighthawks
July 2015
 Translucence / Drift Music
Translucence / Drift Music
July 2015
 20th Century : The Noise
20th Century : The Noise
July 2015
 Codex
Codex
May 2015
 London Overgrown
London Overgrown
March 2015
 Nightingale Variations
Nightingale Variations
November 2014
 Metamatic
Metamatic [Black Vinyl]
October 2014
 Evidence Of Time Travel
Evidence Of Time Travel
October 2014
 The Virgin Years
The Virgin Years 1980 - 1985
July 2014
 Metamatic
Metamatic [White Vinyl]
April 2014
 B-Movie (Ballardian Video Neuronica)
B-Movie (Ballardian Video Neuronica)
April 2014
 The Good Shadow
The Good Shadow
February 2014
  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R

 S T U V W X Y Z  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
 SITE LAST UPDATED...
 16 January 2017
 LINKS...
 Bandcamp
 The Quiet Man
 John Foxx And The Maths
 Tiny Colour Movies
 Cathedral Oceans
 Ghost Harmonic
 Hyper Ballard
 Metamatic Website
Copyright © 1998 / 2017 Metamatic. No part of this website may be reproduced in any form, or by any means, without prior permission in writing from Metamatic.