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Live from Red Hook: Return of the Guttersniper

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From 2005 through September 2006, The Guttersniper ruled over The Gutter, Curbed's late lamented architecture blog. Today, from the ether, his stunning return. Read on.

Oh my friends. There is, it seems, no corner of this dim, misery-seethed metropolis where one can find true peace. There is no last place untouched. This very afternoon, as I pursued the course of exile that I have chosen and you have so successfully endured lo these sixty-one weeks, I raised myself from the comforts of the Villa van Gut--a tidy enough tage for this hermit (I will miss it)--combed the starfish from my beard (for I have, you should know, gone there), and ventured forth into the broken-cobble streets of my busted and beloved quarter of the city. You should know that I never left you. I merely turned my back on the world. Until it washed up, laptop-lit, smelling of last night’s fancy, at my front door.

Usually on such a piss-streaming day as this, endless processions of which are my fate, I rise brimming with hope that the world has saved itself in my sleep. I extend my gaze through the prostheses of our times--plastic, copper, unknown magic--and I survey. I give each new development its due--for I am a fair reaper, emeritus, your fair reaper--and invariably, as on each of 426 days before this, I decide again that, circling the drain, the shapers of our world are undeserving of my scorn. Then it's a constitutional by the shore, scattering rats on the shelving beach, scanning for toe-jamming timbers and rusted hooks. Not long ago, it was this glorious July, I happened upon a cracked figurehead bust, weed-matted and fading gold, the dirk in my mermaiden’s teeth signaling her pirate provenance. I contemplated Poseidon’s offering, imagined well the rapine she had seen, a trade wind on the quarter, laden prey in her lee, and though I did, I will admit, calculate what my salvage might fetch at the local chandler, or as barter at the local tap, I set her free, adrift on the sea, the snot-green, scrotum-tightening sea, as I hope one day myself to be set.

I came here, it can now be said, on the very date we last spoke. Inaccessible, irredeemable; this sodden village and I shared a soul. I looked for the edge and I found it. No abomination, no hardship, no new thing could destroy the bond I forged with this place. Sealed with bourbon and onion rings, it was love. But that ended today. After a turn by the wharves, a note of lime scenting the half-tide fug, the promise of warm brews and spiced cakes brought me in from the cold. And there they were, here, the grinning magicians, stinking of sot-weed and smirk, harassing my neighbors, dissing my jitney, and severing the chains of my attachment to this fine spot, link by link. I have been found, and, my sanctuary invaded, wrecked, I go now to a new asylum, some lost grid-cross, a place where even the birds won’t know my name. Sniper out.
· The Gutter [gutter.curbed.com]