all over the whole city

the shining city winks
and in the blink of an eye
everything happens at once

in the blink of an eye
betty's busted on her back on the bed
four doors down
our heads down
while the paramedics pass
knowing she's passed out
never to pass in again
he hit her once too hard

in the blink of an eye
the coffee shop sweet heart
is watching the cool cigarette movie star
not knowing that a kid playing chess
is watching her and the chess kid doesn't know
that the flower girl is watching him thinking his beautiful
and the newspaper vendor has his eyes on the flower girl
wondering what she's wondering
but i've got my eye on all of them
watching the watching web of the wonderland city
it's too good to be true

in the blink of an eye
someone's dying silently of something
In the doorway
on the steps
in the alleyway
behind the church
and the minister is asking god
if there's someone he can save today
i'm in the last pew to the back
hoping the waves of incandescence ascending from his prayer
make it through the polluted air and the
confusion of television waves and radio waves
and cellular babble and air planes and helicopters
and heliocentric spies stealing secret lies from the skies
pray hard
pray hard preacher
because the city is on fire tonight

in the blink of an eye
some girl in the back row at the symphony
is sighing without ceasing because the sound isn't decreasing
her mind is feasting on the sultry crescendo of a hundred instruments rising
in unison
and just as her upward course is set every instrument breaks into its own
stretching her mind upwards and outwards and backwards and there's no words
for the high she's left with
when she realizes she's achieved a new flexibility

in the blink of an eye
the cops get the call
and the dispatcher passes the torch
which lights those red and blue fireworks and blows that electric trumpet
as that police chariot screams through the teeming steaming streaming
dreaming streets
and the little children stare in awe as that comet comes around the corner
bathing us in color and washing us in sound
and the sidewalks are thinking
uh oh
there's gonna be trouble tonight

in the blink of an eye
a heart is broken in the back of the bus
when sammy gets the call that betty's been broken
and it's just another cellular interruption
that distracts the preacher's prayer from it's upward path

in the blink of an eye
the cop car rocket blows toward the coffee shop
and stops across the street
the same coffee shop kids cross the street to observe the
medics bringing betty out in a body bag
the cops are trying to find out who hit her once too hard
and everyone is screaming
the anxiety is too thick
the soul is drowning in the madness of the city
and the prayer gets lost somewhere inside the confusion and the fear

in the blink of an eye
that girl strides out of the symphony
dancing delightful toward her abode and
upon arriving finds the paramedics
and the cops and the kids and the crowds
and the crying mothers and the watching lovers
and the cacophony of despair sweeping through the streets

ah, but she's got the emotion and calmness of a symphony in her head
and she's already stretched for this exercise
so that when she opens her mouth and opens her arms
the relief pours out and onto everyone like the sound of an orchestra of
and a whole street of people shiver at once and the lights are just a little
there's a silence through and through as betty passes one more time

in the blink of an eye
the city breathes
while those sighs rise to the skies like spiritual fireflies
the clouds of the heart part
and that prayer shoots up at heaven like a bullet
a few minutes later i see the preacher wander out back
to stumble upon the dying man
a few minutes later i see the paramedics rush of
with their lights on fire
a few minutes later the man dodges the hand of death by seconds

from my apartment
from my ambulance
from my coffee shop
from my church
from my box seat
my corner
my bus
my block
my pew
from my perspective
i see everything at once
from where i stand
it all makes perfect sense
but don't blink
because you might miss it

written by emily