Lost & Found – What it’s like in my city

In the city of my imagination the tycoons and the plutocrats, the Donald Trumps and Jimmy Pattisons of the world, pull pedicabs up narrow cobblestone alleyways. There are dark stains under the armpits of their Armani suits. The cabs are filled with poets and midwives out for a bender.

In my city, the streets are all a named after single mothers and surrealists. On the civic payroll, there are accordionists sitting in the branches of pear trees. Council meets monthly at the Rainbow Laundry-Mat. We exchange seaglass necklaces and jokes written on rice paper scrolls. We debate the relative merits of A Day at the Races, and A Night at the Opera.

All the city parks are named after stone-cutters and bellydancers. There are five year olds swimming in the fountains. Industrialists keep the public urinals sparkling clean.

In my city, council has come to the stunning decision that nature is, in fact, legal. Therefore any and all plants can be grown within the city limits, and all forms of harmless consensual sexuality are accepted and celebrated. Cell phones, SUVs, four dollar coffees, advertising billboards, and diamond-studded dog collars are, of course, illegal.

In my city, the statues in the square commemorate the heroism of clowns and kindergarten teachers. The pigeons enjoy them just the same.

During rush hour in my city the sky is thick with hot air balloons and the streets are clogged with stilt-walkers. On the every street corner the shrimp vendors and the cheese merchants, the palanquin makers and the pedlars of amulets, proclaim their wares. The smell of magnolia overpowers the stench of exhaust fumes.

Every city building is decorated with murals, and every boulevard is planted with nightblooming flowers. It is nearly impossible to find a single city block without a sidewalk cafe.

The haiku department at city hall spends most of its time on the rooftop garden, chatting with the civic astronomers as they busily draw maps of the constellations.

On hot summer nights every candle is lit at the all-night library. The french windows are open, and on every balcony a crowd gathers to watch the weekly lantern parade wind its way through the streets below.

My city is a city of mystery and intrigue. At midnight, when the moon is full, you can sometimes hear the eerie sound of flamingos howling up and down Rene Magritte Avenue.