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I leave the tower block 8 a.m. on the dot. He's standing by the bus stop, a young version of Paul Simon, sunglasses on, waiting for the No. 488 to Hackney Wick station.

I walk past him and turn left, past the garden centre, Growing Concerns. On the other side of the road, cyclists and joggers wait to cross the bridge over the Hertford Union canal. A shuttered pub looms over them, the shadows of a man and woman etched on its door. In a few months this pub will be knocked down to make way for expensive flats.

I walk alongside Victoria Park's eastern edge – past families dropping off their children at the Montessori school, past builders about to spend a long day painting and plastering, past the middle-aged going for a run or standing by their window, a cup of tea in hand, watching the world wake up. I then turn right onto Cadogan Close and a few steps later I’m up on the metallic bridge over the A12 motorway, breathing in the fumes.

I watch the cars for a moment speeding north and south. A giant poster on the other side of the bridge tantalises drivers with the image of a cool bottle of beer propped on a Caribbean beach.

There’s a mattress and duvet underneath the eastern pedestrian ramp, newspapers and books scattered around it, like a Tracey Emin art piece. Two of the legible novels are David Baldacci’s The Escape and Angela Carter's A Night at the Circus. It was once the home of a black man, always asleep whenever I walked past. He’s moved on, or been moved on.

One day, I notice young Paul Simon following me from the bus stop. I feel self-aware as I take my usual route by foot, as if all my movements are being carefully watched. Maybe he realised taking the 488 bus to the station didn't buy him any more time. Maybe London’s summer is finally nice enough for him to take a little walk instead of relying on public transportation. Maybe he's just looking for a short cut.

I catch him looking in my direction on Hackney Wick’s platform. I can’t see his eyes behind the sunshades.

In the evening, I stop on the other side of the bridge and take a photo of the A12 motorway and the ramp. I then post it on Instagram. When I click on the image’s A12 location, to see what other people have posted, I find a photo of the homeless man on his mattress. The person who took the image comments: ‘How can this man sleep with all the noise?’

Another Monday morning and young Paul Simon is by the bus stop as usual. He looks at his watch with some annoyance. When he looks up and sees me, he spins around and takes off. When I reach the bridge, he’s already on the other side, walking down the ramp with his hands in his pocket.

First published in The Fractured Nuance: Place, issue #4, May 2017

picosgemeos: (Montanhas)

I get on the Overground and find a spot by a window. I take out my mobile phone and prep the camera. In a few moments the train will go by the tent hidden in Hackney Wick's bushes and I want to snap a picture.

But the tent is gone. In its place, a devastation of bottles, cans and plastic bags.

I leave the camera on, to see what else I can capture. Boys kicking a ball in a school’s courtyard; grey roofs; and dull cars meandering through Hackney. Blade Runner’s theme song plays on iTunes. Programmed seagulls swoop outside.
picosgemeos: (Montanhas)

Image by One Jam Tart

On the walk last night from Hackney Wick station to the Olympic Park, I thought to myself: “this will be my new routine.”

On the bridge above the River Lee, a hooded man followed his dog’s gaze over the moored narrow boats. In the distance, inside the Copper Box’s lit up layer, people ran on treadmills and stared at the darkness.

Cherubs hovered in the Copper Box’s reception area, dressed in green uniforms; they handed me a form and asked me to wait for one of their colleagues in the café.

Twenty minutes later: a new member of their gym.

Seven

Aug. 4th, 2015 12:32 pm
picosgemeos: (Montanhas)
#london #bhf #victoriapark #running #10k
With fellow runner [livejournal.com profile] neenaw


It's been now 7 months since I left Brasil and returned to London.

I fly to Canada in 7 days on holiday - it's been over 7 years since I've visited my in-laws and friends there.

I turn 40 in less than two months.

I ran 10K on Sunday for the charity British Heart Foundation (though my iPhone's GPS said it was 9.46k.) It took me 59 minutes and 11 seconds.

I did yoga in my living room at 7am this morning. I then left home and walked past that cat on my way to work - the one I saw on the day my grandmother passed away. It arched its back and stiffened its tail when I lowered myself to pet it. There were bits of leaves in its hair.

From the platform of Hackney Wick Overground station I spotted shirtless builders erecting a condo.

On the train, I listened to Dead Can Dance and saw mystery in the eyes of some of the commuters.

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Ollie

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