The Blind Spot

The city peers down upon itself with ten thousand electric eyes. Within this realm of light there exists a story of one place, a place that remains undetected. Only one.

They call it the blind spot: a small zone of darkness where the street cameras never reach. Only here can people gather in secret, only here can they hide themselves from inspection, from capture, from the magnified burn of the lens, only here,

in the blind spot.

Nightlong, daylong, slipping in and out of the shadows, people come and go. A woman trembles. She folds herself into the gloom, her face still wearing the tight smile she’s brought with her from the clinic. The first stirs of a new life growing inside her. The woman leaves and then, minutes later, a drunken tramp takes her place. He makes a pitiful noise, falling to his knees and weeping,

in the blind spot.

Time passes. Observe: The crackle of electrostatic as sparks fly off the stretched skin of a married woman’s neck where her new lover touches her, bringing such colours, such energy as they kiss. Now listen: somebody is playing a tune on a penny whistle. The music floats out in silver droplets from the hidden place,

from the blind spot.

The sky darkens. Now let the planets trace slowly over this city of lamps and staring eyes. Let the fragile map of stars conjure blessings. Come to the blind spot. This will be your hideaway after the lonely dances, after the sad broken affairs and all the wasted moments. For instance: an adolescent boy stands in shadow, daring to say the words he could never say elsewhere, to the girl who would never dare listen, except for here, now, in this tiny domain:

in the blind spot.

Where lovers kiss. Where old men speak to each other in whispers of sea, silt and salt. Where the gift of a girlfriend’s skin glistens like water, her warm body a basinful of blood and breath. Where fever abates. Where clowns wipe their make-up clean. Where criminals forgive themselves and amateur saints witness at last the face of their chosen home-made god,

in the blind spot.

Some things can hardly be noticed: the dying scent of a wedding flower; the murmur of a song; a single word barely spoken, barely heard: Please. Please. Now the neon skies intensify along the promenade. Midnight strikes.

The blind spot brings together and sets apart.

Look closely: a cigarette’s sucked-in gleam; a bead of sweat moving down from brow to cheek; a strand of hair captured in a mouth. Various details: painted fingernails bitten down to the quick; a small plastic bag passed hand to hand; a flash of silk; the blade of a knife; lips parting in desire, in pain. A needle’s tip pressed against flesh. A tiny circle of flickering green lights: a pale-faced businessman checking his wristwatch.

Time. Time is running out.

Two people fucking, hard up against the wall in the cold of winter, fingers buried in each other’s flesh. Burned by love, touched by darkness. A moment passes. And we hear the rustle of scraps of paper from which poems are read, quietly, in the dark spot,

in the blind spot.

One man’s eyes are loaded down with his ex-wife’s face, his daughter’s lost smile. He stays in the gloom for five hours. Finally, the police drag him loose from the shadows he clings to, howling.

Others come for their own reasons: insomniacs and gigolos, out-of-work pole dancers, journalists and magistrates, bootleggers and DJs, day-trippers, nighthawks, fading actors, half-cut footballers and their paramours, gay troubadours, the pure and the impure, the hardcore giving it what for, the soft-core whores and bores galore. All gather here to feel the countdown towards daylight,

in the blind spot.

The noise of a boom-box, bass coiled with blood-pulse music. A desperate man hiding away as police cars pass by along the seafront, sirens rising and falling in waves. A pair of teenage girls on the run, thinking themselves film stars. Escapees from boredom. Both of them dying of thirst for love, trapped in life, pain held in their joined palms like a bird’s egg lined with cracks.

The sun rises, melting the sky. Now the city moves closer. A new camera is set up across the road, the lens glistening black and hostile, zooming in. Until the blind spot stands revealed: a few feet of grimy pavement, a few yards of wall, a grim corner. Dog shit, tarmac, litter, brickwork, plaster. Graffiti, names and dates, all fading now.

Nothing more. An empty place.

People wander without hope of concealment. Mouths stay tightly closed, desires are cast aside. Weeks go by. Until one hot trembling night rumours arise. On the other side of town, it is said, a new patch of darkness has been found, a new refuge,

a new blind spot.

And all of those who might be in pain tonight, come to this place. All of those suffering from panic and confusion, from overexposure, from too much focus, come to this place. If the moon’s grin bedevils you, if the black rain points you out, if the sun identifies you, come to this place,

come to the blind spot. Rest here.

All of those who walk this city wearing clothes of their own design, bedecked with ribbons and crowns, of gold and silver, pins and paint and pennies, badges, medals and signs, come to this place.

Rest here, in the blind spot.

And all of those who feel sleeplessness seeping over their brows, or feel the skin peel away, or feel their flesh to be made of paper, blank, a story yet to be written, come to this place.

Rest here, in the blind spot. Lose yourself. Surrender.

Twilight descends once more. A woman arrives. Her skin is the exact same shade as the darkness she hides herself within. Now she holds herself still and disappears from view entirely, even from herself. Until only her voice is left, a sigh of pleasure, a breath as the body fades away.