Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Stairway at 48 Rue de Lille Paris - DDATHTL


Or 592 10th Street Brooklyn, for all it matters, right?  The location really only factors into Hopper's biography.  He lived in Brooklyn as well, and this painting could be from anywhere.

It is, for me, the top of the stairs in a place I lived nearly 25 years ago.  The light was always poor despite the skylight way at the top.  It was dodgy at best even on the 4th floor landing.  The paint was a shade of brown I've never seen sold anywhere and the floor tiles bore the footprints of a half dozen generations of ghosts.  We hung clothes out there but they never fully dried.  

The entire building groaned in a stiff breeze and shook from trucks along the avenues, even though it was in the middle of the block.  Breezes came straight through the exposed brick walls onto my exposed children and by mid-December the radiator by the front windows released a steady column of steam.

Though it was never, ever warm.  

There were ghosts there, for certain and for once they weren't mine.  They weren't vestiges of my own past.  They belonged to the building itself, Kyle's imaginary friend Danny and his family and the other bad children.  There were definitely ghosts.  Somebody's ghosts.  Not mine this one time.  

Edward Hopper's ghosts held a similar enmity with daylight.  Even when the sun was up in his world it was never really shining.  Maybe that's the connection.  That's how I feel most days.  I can just about imagine what it would be like if it actually was shining, but it rarely is.  

That must be it.  

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