Death of a City by Guadalupe Gonzales II

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How I had yearned that you return as once you were. A spring fed waterway your greatest gift, which flowed through the midst of you where all your kindred came to call you home. An emerald tree-lined city, enchanting to all, but drew envy from your sisters to the north and east who could not equal you in beauty and allure, for even their own would come and holiday in you.

And I, the least of yours, who lived in the midst of you remember of your hospitality to welcome all with open arms, your stores and shops and avenues filled with a multitude of life. What delight I had in you, adventuring all the day until the setting sun ushered in the evenings' rest. The poor, and homeless, and tired too, had found a friend in you, to rest underneath your shaded benches, and make meat of the crumbs left behind upon the tables for the unfortunate and for the birds which nested in the trees.

Then, the greatness of your beauty and allure spread afar, and investors and their henchmen schemed a drastic change in you, and turned your lovely waterway into a serpents' lair of money changers and canals, which twists and turns and writhes beneath your city streets. Along these man-made river banks, clusters of hotels and clubs took root to now embrace and cater to the well to do. But just above this underworld of strips and bars, your avenues and streets cry out, for they lay waste and barren now these many years. The kindred you once homed, alienated and orphaned, and the mercy you once showed to these, but a buried stench. And as I walk amidst your downtown streets and avenues, a cemetery comes to mind, your vacant buildings, but lofty tombstones underneath an endless sky. How often I have wanted to return but you would not.

And as I stand entranced in thought staring at the blankness of the glaring windows I am wakened to consciousness to see the scavenging authorities now inquiring of those not welcomed, who have looked for pity from the visitors and the kindred few who still venture into the city. The stroke of midnight has come and gone, and there can be no other attempt to invade the intangible wall of the worldly elite. I look again at the aged and meagered figure that reflects back to me from the empty window, and realize that the final curtain call is upon this night. I need rely on my legs and feet ever again to escape the inquisition and torment reserved for those likened unto strays with no apparent place to go, and so I leave my once best friend, and search out a crossroads, a bridge, or perchance to find that endless sleep, and finally rest.