Canto

OpenStreetMap Haiku

On the water's surface
Today in Hunterdon County
The day is young

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Traffic light goes red
Green. Red. Green. Red.
The warm belly of the bus

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Chasing laughter
The sun strikes
Feeling good in New Jersey

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Leaves on the windshield
Thoughts of home

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Mountain Avenue
Quite chilly
High up in the trees

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Water like glass
A vacant lot
Far away

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Diorama of Tokyo's back alleyways, sized for a bookshelf. Sculpted by monde." alt="We peer into a narrow alleyway, flanked on both sides by buildings -- windows, potted plants, and balconies. It is no real alleyway, but a diorama that's designed to fit on a bookshelf next to other books.

Crafted by @monde.
"The Tokyo-based artist built and designed intricate, wooden bookshelf inserts that are like miniature dioramas of narrow alleyways you might find in the streets of Tokyo."

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...in the city, memory is challenged by the sole constant of urban life: change.

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...bricks chip and erode, paint fades and flakes from the surface. Inhuman forces — the sun, the rain, the wind — operate in alliance with human action over time, eroding and texturising space. Thus memory writes itself indelibly on the literal surfaces of the city.

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Restaurant menu, Hong Kong.
Photograph by Don Ellis.
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In a lost land, that only dreams have known,

Where flaming suns walk naked and alone;
Among horizons bright as molten brass,
And glowing heavens like furnaces of glass,
It rears with dome and tower manifold,
Rich as a dawn of amarant and gold,
Or gorgeous as the Phoenix, born of fire,
And soaring from an opalescent pyre
Sheer to the zenith. Like some anademe
Of Titan jewels turned to flame and dream
The city crowns the far horizon-light
Over the flowered meads of damassin …
A desert isle of madreperl! wherein
The thurifer and opal-fruited palm
And heaven-thronging minarets becalm
The seas of azure wind..

—"The City in the Desert",
Clark Ashton Smith

The narrow halls of Wall Street. Leica / Tri-x 400. Ann Street Studio.

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There is a subtle state most dedicated urban walkers know, a sort of basking in solitude – a dark solitude punctuated with encounters as the night sky is punctuated with stars. In the country one’s solitude is geographical – one is altogether outside of society, so solitude has a sensible geographical explanation, and then there is a kind of communion with the nonhuman. In the city, one is alone because the world is made up of strangers, and to be a stranger surrounded by strangers, to walk along silently bearing one’s secrets and imagining those of the people one passes, is among the starkest of luxuries. This uncharted identity with its illimitable possibilities is one of the distinctive qualities of urban living, a liberatory state for those who come to emancipate themselves from family and community expectation, to experiment with subculture and identity. It is an observer’s state, cool, withdrawn, in with senses sharpened, a good state for anybody who needs to reflect or create. In small doses melancholy, alienation, and introspection are among life’s most refined pleasures. (186)

—Rebecca Solnit, The Solitary Stroller and the City
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Vega nightfishes in the Great Sky River. Copyright © 2021

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