Touch the earth.

angels do not have a permit to live while others die in pain.

walking through the inner city, my blood pumps like a drum inside my head. rap music creeps into my ears and eyes creep under my thin white shirt, little dirty touches on my skin. my wings are so conspicuous here. I'm a sore thumb on a piano player. scorn fills me, and I let my alabaster feathers stand high, an immaculate flag in the broken streets. let it be a cruel reminder, I think. let them know what they have lost.

again now, running through the innermost city, my blood is moved by fear. a paranoid angel, my feet just barely brush the pavement as I clamber haphazardly back towards Heaven, away from the scary grime of someone else's reality. I hear their tauntings in my head as I go home to a designer armchair in the clouds. the grimy fingers of their words rub against my heart. chafe, chafe, chafe.

and in the end, I learn to walk—legs are heavy, but they complete me. nobody sees me but the boys playing basketball, and they aren't afraid to whistle and catcall. learning as i go, i holler back, voice echoing on the filthy brick walls of the building four hundred cramped but lonely people call home. laughter flutters forth from my lungs at a witty reply even as blood makes twin rivers down my back.

i stop in the evening heat, and buy a popsicle from the man with odd eyes and the smell of one who has worked hard in the sun. my lips are cool and taste of grape. open eyes watch the red and golden sunset over a city made of earth.

if you must cut off your wings to walk beside them, i think quietly, then duty has handed you his best knife.

Touch the sun.

i'm getting to the point where i love the city. i love the grind and the thrust of it, the absolute undying hope. every scream of a gun or an engine or a parched throat is another self-affirmation; every big bright explosion is just more light. if you stop looking at the shadows and open your eyes, you can see the big picture, and oh how the colors shine! even in my own newest darkness, i can feel the industry moving inside me as i walk the streets. i'm imbued with purpose--wheels and cogs start to agitate under my skin, pressing out and up. even if this all ultimately destroys me it is to change me, to evolve me, and to bring me closer into that white, white sun that baptizes the city from afar each morning.

here we are, now. i'll give you junkies and bigots and roadkill. i'll give you politicians and policemen and fast cars. i'll give you grinning little kids in kindergarten classrooms, holding each other's hands and giggling like it's the last day on earth.

it is, in the city. every person you brush against could be carrying a bomb--or a bouquet. every smile could be fake--but every glare could hide the loving child inside. i'm not afraid to die or explode anymore. i've decided to sacrifice my life for the loving children and their flowers. i'll take danger for hope, and death for revolution.

because standing at the top of a skyscraper, you can almost touch the sun.