Robert Neuwirth: the death of the dove of peace

Yuksel Arslan, Arture 404, L’Homme, XLV, Mélancoliques et Maniaques, 1989. Source: artsy.net

Identification: 13 inches (33.02 cm) from top of head to bottom of tailfeathers. Can be distinguished from the Domestic Pigeon and the Rock Dove (Columba livia) by the white turtleneck tuft on the back of its neck. Plumage: off-white, opaline milky green or purple. Eyes low in head, level with beak. Flies higher than most other pigeons.

Song: can do the familiar coo-roo-coo of other doves, but, in certain urban zones, its call features exuberant, operatic glissandi and trills.

Habitat: urban and peri-urban areas; commonly roosts in cornices of industrial buildings and on masonry outcroppings on commercial structures.

 

Caesar called me to come over.

We sat on his roof in the late November sun. He tucked the bird inside his worn wool vest, donating it a bit of his own heat.

It was the last of its kind. Columba regio civitatis. The Zoning Pigeon.

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Stacy Hardy: The Empty Plot

The empty lot gapes, yawns and quivers. It exhales dust and sucks the blue out of the sky. It draws her to it, an emptiness that calls out, that whispers and jeers. A wide mouth, that says, come, that dares her.  She has no business with the empty plot. It is a nothing place, a no place, not a place but a gaping, an emptiness that is yet to be filled, something still to come.

It has no address at present, nothing that sets it apart in the neighbourhood. There are so many. Empty stretches of land cleared for some future construction never to come, suspended in the eternal yawning present of oblivion. Plots that have stood so long that they have become part of the landscape, vast parks where rubbish accumulates, some partially developed, deep holes sunk in the earth, now filled with murky water that collects debris, the pokes of steel foundations casting dancing shadows on the surface like the spines of poisonous fish; ruinous scaffold of catastrophic geometries that shade rows of empty buildings, concrete structures looming like theme park wreckage, dark and sullen, windows dust coated, shattered in places, doors padlocked against squatters that never come. The streets that hem them, nearly deserted, monuments to some moment of false hope, a future that dims with each day, grows wary, listless, the air dirty with stalled development.

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كتاب أخير: فصل من رواية أحمد زغلول الشيطي الجديدة

Alex Webb, Cairo (City of the Dead), 1980. Source: magnumphotos.com

وصل في الثامنة صباحًا إلى المدينة، عَبْر طريق شطا/ميدان الشهابية، تكاثرت المعارض والمخازن والعمارات على جانبي الطريق، كأنه كان يسير داخل ديكور ثقيل من مواد غير قابلة للتفكيك وإعادة التركيب، مواد نهائية. طرز تعكس الأموال المدفوعة فيها، واجهات فارهة، هذه هي المدينة التي لم يكن والدك فيها غير “بائع” يبيع منسوجات المحلة الكبرى، فوطة، سليب، منديل، فانلات داخلية، قمصان حريمي، جوارب قطنية، بالإضافة إلى زجاجات العطر صغيرة الحجم، أصلية المصدر، باقية الشذى. لم يكن لديه محل يدير تجارته منه، فقط يعتمد على شبكة معارف واسعة، يمر عليها من وقت لآخر حاملًا البضائع التي سبق طلبها منه، وعارضًا أخرى جديدة…

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