The bus finally arrived in Riga 29 hours later. It was pouring buckets of rain.
He made his way across the shattered old city to the apartment which had been prearranged for him. He walked down the rainy streets and through the empty parks filled with only the sound of wind and rustling leaves. Finally he crossed a broken street, past the flashing sparks of the electric buses, under the street lamps which were swinging back and forth wildly, and into a dark wooden doorway. Once inside he saw an old iron elevator frame, which had been long out of use. He started to climb his way to the top floor. He ascended the rainy art-deco tiled stairs. He looked up the long dim passage of the spiral staircase. The rain was pouring in through a broken skylight. An art-deco shit hole. He had to admit, it had its charm.
Once inside, the first thing the stranger did was open the window to the street. Then he made a telephone call to the countryside to make an appointment for the next day. His aim was to get out of the city as soon as possible.
The walls were a deep viridian. On an old wood table there was half a bottle of vodka and a glass. He poured himself a shot and downed it. It tore his throat with a rich beauty.
Looking outside the window he was glad to at least be away from the west. The buildings were in total decay, but often studded with amazing mosaics and sculptures built into the massive structures. Some of the buildings were dead and boring, but with this also came a kind of proper distance. A distance which was balanced between the individual and the power of the environment. This encouraged an exchange rather than a victimisation. Although smashed and disfigured, it still carried an elegance.
The rain had stopped and he felt exhausted by the trip, but he also felt like exploring this new city. He looked at the clock, it was one in the morning.
Walking down the Albert iela, through gusts of fresh sea air, he studied the broken holiness of the crumbling Jugendstijl architecture. These buildings were mysterious in that they expressed a mythological inheritance which far exceeded anything he had seen before in Europa- Sphinxes, Egyptian reliefs, and Pandora-figures predominated the designs. Leitmotifs which referred to the theatre and artifice, but also reached further back to the function of the ritual itself. These buildings were largely destroyed and some were even abandoned. At night they appeared unexpectedly like ghosts which had emerged to the surface from some underworld.
Wild cats wandered everywhere in the blue-black streets and alleys. For him this connected Riga to Amsterdam and Venice, which were other cat cities. Interesting enough, they were all harbours also. This was in contrast to Berlin which was a dog city.
Since it was a weekend the bars were spilling out into the streets. The Latvian girls seemed cold and as hard to crack as walnuts. Very beautiful in a unreachable way. “It’s in their northern blood” he mumbled to himself. The moon glowed as bright as a chunk of ice with dark clouds, tinted silver, drifting quickly past. The cries of seagulls filled the city.
Large faces of architecture
Cheekbones, breasts, tightropes to eternity
Eyes which can caress a body
With just their simple gaze
Mon Dieu (my stranger)
I have lost at love
A war between her and me
Between revenge and fidelity.
Mon Vide (my lover)
I have lost on the trenches of life
A battle between me and the world
Between silence and noise.
O grand beasts of a past gaze
Ports of saints
Refill this fading heart
With an immaculate
Cold-blooded enough to shit-out
The dead owls that welcome me.