For centuries the staid populations walked across the bridge: their daytime footsteps leaving the heelprints of a sober life. Living under an innocuous sky, they cast chaste shadows that mingled on the causeway in a thoughtful dance. Their bodies and clothes co-exist comfortably within unpolished fabrics – their dour, contented shells.
By nightfall they are home, locked behind their doors of care. They think about tomorrow, and the daily bridge – but they don’t think about the lively darkness, and the spirits that live beneath the bridge.
Every day, the sun departs in a burst of shamelessness – riding to its home under the horizon on twilight clouds of bronze and scarlet. And when the blue air deepens and becomes rich with secrets and scandal, a flurry of life begins within the veiled half-world beneath the bridge.
The night thrives on stars – its skin is tattooed with sparks of light. When the demimonde opens its feral eyes, the evening pulsates with its forbidden brilliance. Polished necks and arms shine like breathing alabaster – the gleam of cheekbone, the curve of mouth, fingers that extend into language: all are tipped with light, creating an abstract of a forbidden life. The denizens of this world, cloaked in shadow and immorality, prowl and seduce through a jungle of dalliance.
While the lugubrious societies live a frowning life above, a different class lies waiting. Women, immaculate and cruel, their ribs tightened into a cat’s cradle of whalebone; “nuns” – pretty little brides attending to their husbands of the evening – men, emotionless but eager…all wait to be set free, to enjoy their dark disgrace.
At midnight supper, the table will be crowded with assignations and thick with perfume and whispers. Empty bottles, torn flowers, shattered diamonds and scented notes litter the cloth in a countryside of delicate evil. Exquisite shadows share words that shine with passion and foolishness: a twisted, languid grammar.
When the twilight rainbow of indigo, lavender and silver begins to recede – when the honorable sunlight returns – the extravagant ones return to their shadowy beds. Their profligate clothes and arsenic skin melt into the ground, nourishing the evil flowers. They wait once more for the night: to bloom under the bridge – to drink in a marvelous, thrilling vice.