you land somewhere in the vast, ambiguous perimeter, and crawl to the center. you are poised between seasons. between work and play. gate and car, car and door, door and room, room and street, street and subway, subway and tacos, tacos and doom.

you sip black liquid under dead roses as the unsmiling man on stage deafens you with his bleak craft. this is noise.

you turn the dial. in the chianti-colored basement, a nonagenarian jazzman raps the keys the way he has for a century, while his heirs sit in shadow shivering with ecstasy. this is sex. this is money. in the morning,

you and the creatives circle the 40th-floor fish bowl, seeking a novel view, finding only the fog of war. you breathe indoor plants. the gardeners seem peaceful, perhaps well-paid. the plants could survive a crash of climate, but not of market. tomorrow, it will be 40 degrees colder. today,

you eat a grease-drenched slice of pizza bigger than your face. you eat four. same thing tomorrow. the more grease you eat, the more wine you drink, the more noise you hear. every day is new music friday. a golden idol hangs serene behind a neglected harpsichord. on the floor, four radiant girls shake their tresses in wild dance. this is sex.

spanish, turkish, lebanese, italian, irish, trinidadian... pretty people everywhere. they work. they stay at home. they strike out for the villages in search of sex. they find noise. they spend money. they find heartbreak, eyes sad and full of blame for no one. they leave, looking for what. the course never did run smooth.

you pick up the pace on the streets, eager to escape the rancid smells of the underground. this place wants to test your knowledge. this place wants you to feel special. this place wants you to feel nostalgic. this place demands you take a shot. this place wants you to sing, but when you stop nobody will enjoy the silence. this is noise.

you join the rockstars in their fancy hotel room and eat all their drugs. they celebrate you with promoted posts. this is money. with no followings to speak of, three brothers slap each other on the backs, reassuring themselves they exist.

you dream, reaching out to some lost lover. this is sex. you try to swim through 300 million images but there is nowhere to go.

meanwhile, masked death stalks the city unseen.