53. The creative
Updated: Dec 18, 2020
The city is a time machine. For decades, people have imagined that a time machine would be a physical entity, quite separate from human bodies. The time machine is human bodies. The time machine is the aggregate of all the human activity and work that goes on in a city. The city is a system against time. The city takes energy and resources from the hinterland and creates a bubble of negative entropy. Time flows backwards in the city. When walking the city streets, the citizens feel younger. This has nothing to do with cocaine or booze, it has to do with the city itself. This great matrix made of automobile intersections is a device to summon demons; it brings new creatures to it, new energy flows—and from this entanglement novelty arises. New software, new plays, new connection, and, eventually, children.
I sit in a room, a rented room, in the centre of the city and feel myself rotating through space and time. The door is closed and so are the curtains. I fancy that I am spinning through history, my room is suspended over a vast cosmic abyss. The blackness absorbs everything beneath me. There is the chair where I sat trying to learn Arabic. There is the bed where a girl took my hand and moved it over her neck so I would choke her. I was surprised. I did not know, until that moment, that girls really wanted that. This is the novelty of the city. After a while, I start to see a pattern to the intersections. I am part of a vast cosmic game. My footsteps are marked; we are all in on it, whether we want to be or not. We came for internships, we came from Italy. We came to work in the cultural sector. We came for cocaine and camwhores. We came to make it big in critical theory and give talks at the ICA, live-streamed to graduate students in New York City.
This is the room where I piss in the sink. This is the room where I balance my laptop on a microwave to read news of Trump. I eat doughnuts as I do so. This is a treat I allow myself once a week. Sweetness with coffee once a week. I am going mad. On the landing, I meet the old Irish tenant and he questions me about my car. I glance inside his room and see a Persian carpet spread out on the ground. He has been to Persia and I can see his whole seraglio tucked away. He came here from the West of Ireland, from the far West, in the 1960s to work on building sites and now he has travelled through space and time and acquired a harem. He is some Irish sultan or Irish shah. He is something altogether new. At the moment, he is looking for fags and Guinness. I know his secret; he is a wonder of the city, and he has my respect.
The aircraft dips its wings as it approaches Las Vegas. The dip is very steep. It is one of those moments when I think that I am going to die. I have never trusted aircraft. I have always held the armrest very hard and prayed to the Virgin Mary. When I first prayed I did not believe in her. Now, after a decade of prayer, I find I believe. This is how constant flight converted me to Catholicism. This is the nature of the city. Las Vegas. I stand in my room overlooking the city, my room so cheap and yet so rich. This is not about the rooms. This is not about the whore I met in the lift. This city is a signal. This city is the exchange of money; it is a daily signal, a daily magical ceremony. The illusions on the stage are nothing compared to the actual magic of currency. I place my bet and win the novel.