where i look

City skylines are compelling
steel and concrete and glass
piled so tall above us,
glinting with lights that
compete with the stars
and win

I used to stand on the roof
of my four-story apartment building
on the outskirts of Downtown LA
staring at the bright, tall buildings
marveling that I could stand there
looking

Afternoon bike rides through the streets
the buildings looming over me
gave me a kind of intoxication
the power of human intelligence
to challenge the height of mountains

And then I sat on a bench and looked up
and thought about what lay behind
the glass and steel and concrete,
the cubicles and the financial games
and the hidden processes that keep the
world turning the same way, day
after day, after day

And then those
imposing buildings
seemed more sad
than powerful.

And it took me most of that year
living in that four-story building
to stand on the rooftop and realize
I rarely looked south

Away from the bright lights and
tall buildings, where street lamps
seemed to glow low to the ground,
where there seemed to be so
much darkness, so much unknown

Yet, while the insides of the skyscrapers
go dark at night save for the lights
for janitors and security guards,
the dim neighborhoods
are the site of life, of living

And so when I feel my eyes drawn
to the brightness of city skylines
I remind myself to turn around
to look for that which
is truly alive
to be inspired by.

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