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The 18th of March of 2008

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The street retains a touch of sunlight,
even though the clouds are thick and gray.
Tropical plants thrive
in little gardens.
There are so many gates,
with ethereal staircases
and strange metallic collections
just beyond a hand's reach.
I feel a desire to know more about the dwellers-
to dive into their collections and discover
the secrets they hide.

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He steps onto his porch and
he starts talking.
And once he starts, he never stops.
He is the keeper of this space.
He maintains the blue skies inside,
safe within the bounds of rusty iron.

He contains within him
the knowledge of the original planners.

"I would never leave this place.
When I restore it, it will go back
to the way it was..."

"Once you cover history up,
it doesn't come back,
it just disappears under concrete and wires."

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He tends to the gentle fire
of  generosity and love for every tiny detail,
every door knob, every counter,
every step, every wall.
It is the hidden door that has focused him,
the hidden door that became a key
and a key that became a purpose.

He opens his space to us,
opening the mystery
of what may lie behind
shut doors and closed cabinets.

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His central banner holds
a yearning desire to restore
and bring back shining life
to tiny forgotten fragments.

He uses what's there,
no ghost will ever be cast out,
and a few are brought in
from the outside.

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He wants to surround himself
with the original intent -
for the old way retains a shine
that the years have not faded.

"I have collected much stuff along the way."

In his eyes, I see
kindness and compassion for
a world that has been discarded,
a world they have nearly covered up.

"They put cement over the
grass telephone lines
as an after thought...
so many decades later."

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He will try to capture the spirit
of what once was,
the secrets that ring and crash
from within the entrails of old pipes
and iron tubes.

"I will not throw it away.
That's never leaving.
This used to be a door..."

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He once lived in Australia, Bali, Fiji...

"...all the hippies went to Bali..."

Now he rules a tiny kingdom
and brings his sense of
proportion and justice
to a realm for which his small hands are
better suited.

"I will reuse the windows
Everything stays.
Everything is reborn and turned into
something new."

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The house was built in 1927.
In shape and size,
it's like a small camper,
all the spaces are
angular and the corners are tight.

"I know all the idiosyncrasies
of this place, all the hidden meanings
and darkened avenues."

Behind a little stairway
he points out the hidden door
he discovered
many years ago.

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"I'm going to put everything back
to the way it was originally.
It was designed to be a certain way.
It should retain its form...
the shape with which it
first saw the light of day,
the shape it should maintain."

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"I see a mural...
a vision of what you may see
if the house wasn't there.."

If this house, this street and this city,
if it were to suddenly dissolve
like a nostalgic dream dissolves
when we first open our eyes
in the early morning...
what kind of mural
would they leave behind?

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Brass fixtures and  light bulbs.
A refrigerator and
an old ironing board cabinet.
Fences and trellis.
Walls and roofs.
The paint and the wood.
The dreams and the tales.

"I want to bring
everything back"

In this one corner,
the void will keep its shape
just a little longer,
before bursting again into
a maelstrom of violent color.

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In this man,
I see myself.
In his quest,
I see my own.
In his hopes,
I see gentle subtle treasures
carried like ten heavy sticks
through the desert.
In this unexpected mirror
I see my shape,
and in the midst of this shape,
I see the urge to maintain it
for as long as my Being
can carry the weight.

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