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Under the Veil of the City This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

My hometown is a city by the river, shrouded by fog at the dawn of each day. The streets, scarred with tire burns, are infested with cars and pedestrians. The buildings are tyrants looming over the humble townspeople. Neighborhoods outside the tumultuous bustle of the city are somewhat utopian: the lawns are perfectly trimmed and sparkling with dew, and the houses are painted with bright, luminescent pastels, making the rows a pleasure to look at. The streets in the suburbs are quaint and placid, and the inhabitants stroll the streets without fear of anyone lurking. Small rivers with gushing inlets surge under bridges forged by the city's founders.

Elsewhere, in the bustle of city life, distinguished attorneys and businessmen roam the smoothly paved roads. There is a sense of urgency, as women run across traffic-plagued crossroads screaming into their BlackBerries. There is an extreme contrast: one sees a well-tailored executive sporting recently shined leather shoes and a Rolex on the same street as a homeless man with ragged clothes and a cardboard sign reading, “Money, please. God Bless.” The city can open eyes with its skyscrapers, its blue skies, and flowering urban gardens with roses in full bloom. Everyone, from the homeless to the CEOs, stops by Fountain Square, an amphitheater of elegance, to marvel at the city's queen, standing on her throne with water spouting from her hands. The sun rises above her as children tilt their heads and gaze on her majesty. Hawks and doves flock to her ever-giving metal hands, and the birds survey the city. Lots of pennies lie in the pool resting at the fountain's end. The copper wears off and mars the clear resolution of droplets. The wishes of thousands are magnified here in the heart of the city, where the streets become cobblestone, and technology becomes meaningless.

On the other side of the muddy banks, plows shred the grains of the sun-soaked Kentucky fields. A two-minute drive from the Purple Bridge's towering heights leads a wandering traveler into Newport. A giant aquarium protrudes proudly from a plaza of shops atop the riverbank. The blazing blue neon shark atop the aquarium haunts the weary midnight driver as he crosses the water, eyes on the horizon. The most beautiful view from both cities is the lookout from the aquarium's front porch. The newly renovated seascape, packed with excited children, sits across from Captain Mitchell's Seafood Tavern, filled with only emptiness. Between the defunct restaurant and the bustling epicenter of aquatic life is a cobblestone path leading to a rocky promontory.

After the sun goes down in the Midwestern sky, the nightlife of Newport has just begun. Teenagers flee to the brand-new movie theaters, and bookworms head to Barnes & Noble to read the latest novel. With so much excitement within Newport's buildings, little believe there is beauty outside. However, if one treads that beaten path between the eatery and the aquarium to the promontory, they will find a barricade, standing guard just before the cliff slopes 50 feet to the water. Fathers, sons, sisters, and brothers alike all come to rest their hands on the cool, iron fence. Their eyes, looking for something on this dull side of the river, only need to look straight ahead. The Queen City of Cincinnati, in all her radiance, looms triumphantly in the distance. Paul Brown Stadium and Great American Ball Park are lit extravagantly, but with much mystery. Pale whites and ominous grays attract the eyes of even the drowsiest. US Bank Arena, long blue and red stripes along its cylindrical top, stands out among the other buildings, giving all a lasting memory. The jealous waters reflect the beautiful setting, and scampering children exclaim at the water's beauty.

The very sight of my city is unforgettable, and is still clearly visible in my mind's eye. At night, the city is transformed from a dirty slum to a ­pulsating urban area. The polluted and neglected murk of the Ohio River is ­returned to its purest, glistening in the reflected light of the PNC Building. In my city, there are poor and rich, vague and well-defined, dullness and exuberance, hopelessness and promise. The balance between these can be found across water, through the claustrophobic streets, and over the air, filled with birdsong. This is the city of Cincinnati.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Nick C. said...
May 6, 2010 at 7:41 pm

"Mama MURPH...YOU SEE THROUGH ME LIKE A PANE OF GLASS"...ANOTHER GREAT PIECE OF WRITING BY EDMUND MURPHY

ATTA BOY

 
Dani_Girl said...
Apr. 29, 2010 at 8:04 pm
This is a very well written piece. I love it. You captured the soul of your city perfectly. Yay you!
 
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