Dream as David W. Dunlap

Artefact: Article, ‘A Proper Farewell, Finally, for a Victim of an Anti-Gay Rampage in New York’, written by David W. Dunlap, New York Times, 01 July, 2016. 
Building a tower
Then, a whole block
Next, a cityscape
Rising up, brick by brick
Concrete poured
Glass winched into position
Carved stone
Slices of heavy marble
But, also
All the small and strange spaces
A city needs
Planked floors
Dead ends
Sheer walls
Shelters and stoops
Places to piss
Steps into cellars
Hatches for hauling beer crates
Gaps in the sidewalk
Fire escapes
Chimney stacks

This constructing is where David’s mind goes to
Has done for years
Was doing this already in his twenties
Always rebuilding the city anew
Finding a peace there
In the chance to try again
For the details to sing true
To walk through the fabrication and place his hand out, touch
Intricate coving
The chip in a bannister
Polished smooth from decades of sliding hands

The city is peopleless
He can roam it
In all directions
To his heart’s fill
Till the seven a.m. alarm
Till Scott shuffles his shoulder
Places his weight there, his strong palm
Heat in the hand
In the empty nightcity, though
He dedicates spaces to people
Fabricates hypothetical homes for the ones he knows, loves
Buildings with their names on the bell
Poetic licence
This would never happen in NYC
But he saw this in a European capital once
Loved the simplicity
The possibility of assigning space
Of knowing where everyone was, could be, at once
And here there’s no people
Never will be
So no crime
No danger
This whole brownstone, then
Is named for Jeffrey
‘Schmalz’ gleaming there in neat letters on the plaque
Buzzer waiting to be pressed

He spends a lot of nights rebuilding a home for Vernon and Robert
Began with a replica of their place
Trying to craft it from a memory of one quick afternoon scout-out
Asking the new tenant if he could put his head inside
For the article
Stripping off the thirty-six years, mentally
Figuring out the layout
And how the details should have been
Before the renovations and decorations
Same windows
Where the books would have been stacked
But, after a while
He moved them
Not confined here to a fantasy of how things may have continued
As though nothing would — could — change
There’s always change
And, here, he can change it all
That’s the one thing under his control
So he builds them a brand-new space
Can make it very quickly, these days
Starts there, in the dream
Always ensures it’s in place for them, right off
Long, long
You can run across it in socks
Skid on the polished floor
Back wall, transparent
Slides open onto a garden
A square of green
Wisteria growing up the surrounding walls
Painting them a haze
In the grass, a Steinway grand
Reflecting black
Can do things like that here
No rain
Or, rain that’s never going to damage the wood
The keys
This way, with it placed out there
Vernon could play it under the clouds
The stars
The sound could lift up
Rising above the clambering plants
The one wall of white and the neighbouring bricks
Up, over the lip
The rooftops, receding
Notes becoming skyline