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tokyo in the way of invisible cities


Xiao Yue Shan

many mouths and by necessity, many languages. and with all matters of textuality it occasionally, also, demands the quiet, for there is no language that does not struggle to distinguish itself from silence. music and its counterparts. yellow and its counterparts. in this duality you are ever-comparing: the wood with the granite, the paper with the glass. you see the gilded buildings made gold by sunlight, you see the low houses, dark from weather, that blanch the shadows. you see the diamantine water curved by river-shapes but only in the breaks between the dogwoods, camphors. there is no sanctity without profanity, no power without weakness, no allure without repentance. tokyo, a city of signs whose origins are steel and do not tarnish, but are obscured. the thickened body of architecture. the wild cats with iron spines. the milky coffee, the stony whiskey, the corner shrine looking at its own funhouse reflection in steel and glass, a polished face of anciency. the laundry on lines, the fruit in palmfuls. at night the homeless drag their tarps out from seemingly nowhere and in the dusk they are wrapped preciously in silver. every morning risen to a reconciliation, that things may only be understood by what was said before. in these dialogues every form is seen. triangulations and two-way passes and hourglasses in midair. she is always talking, talking. in its tongues it has said the same thing in different words, different things in the same words. so it is that everything lives in tokyo, and nothing lasts.

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