Baltimore Prose – Temple, Bottle, Athlete – SD

“This City is Our Temple”

Ramps and bridges vault overhead between soaring plate-glass buildings, mirroring the heavens, reflections of our own sense of wonder. Their steel bones and cement feet shield us from the wild night, when the demons come calling; nightmarish designs of flesh or mere shadows.

Kneeling at the altar of civlized society we pray they leave us be.

But what happens when civility falters, and society becomes fearful? What happens when those shadows are cast irrational in the streets like ghastly graffiti stains? Will we be driven mad by their grotesque mockery of the City’s ideals?

Here they come now, pretending to be gladiators, athletic champions of an age long dead, filled not with vainglorious cries of battle, but instead an unbridled political rage; or social or economic or no-one-gives-a-fuck-about-me angst.

The frustrations are real, the grievances valid, but the fires will not purge us of the smashed bottles, flung bricks, shattered glass of their anger. They only scorch the tapestries, whose rich beauty meant to remind us of our city’s brightness is now ashen and crumbling.

The debris will be swept away and the demons will retreat to their dark corners. But will we face our City’s shortcomings head on? Will we stand up for our ideals and quell the hostility? I do not have the solution – not alone.

But I know that we cannot maintain faith in each other if we seek only to destroy our temple.

Steve D

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