the brain pinching smell of piss perfumes the cracked cement backyard of my city apartment. as i walk downtown, i find there is nothing special from alley to alley, nothing particularly unique to differentiate each building back from the last.
grey and narrow and edge to edge with anotherman’s trash, this is tight city living. where people find parking in front of each other’s garages, and life is hard to come by but not completely void.
people dig through trash with their shopping carts, bicycles, and flea market carts, collecting odd old things. there is a small bit of shame as we exchange shy lip-stretched smiles and covert glances at each other in the walk-by. stories skipped over as we pass, and soon forget each other’s faces.
there may be nothing particularly unique about these narrow walkways, but the character of each one shines brightly through the patchy floors and chipping wall paint.
the difference you pay when you live where there is no backyard.