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CEMENT WORKS

Quietly dissipating in the winds that hollow out this valley, vulnerable to everything, ephemeral. Only by hydration these finely powdered minerals bind back, transforming into a solid, stone-like material.

Like ancient dust-
Trapped between Duchampian glass
Fine and fair
powder
Transforms to be still,
Solid reality undone...

On the periphery of New Town, past the cemetery, recycling bins overgrown with weeds, an eerily empty roundabout adjacent to a fenced field of severely cropped and trained into complex shapes old olive trees tended by a local bonzai enthusiast. They stand behind wire fences deformed like some war-mangled soldiers guarding the road towards the weir. Just before getting to the weir, hidden behind a massive rock on one side and a burned out forest on the other, serving simultaneously as a deterrent and cover, stands the old Cement Factory- severe in its architecture, yet vulnerable, crumbling into the landscape.

Precariously perched on a side of an old, caved-in mountain excavation, the factory encapsulates various levels of destruction. The site was designed vertically over a few labyrinthian levels, each one progressively more hazardous to reach without ropes and climbing gear. I've only been up the first two levels because eroded rock crumbled under my feet starting an avalanche of stones and rubble, bringing down other parts of the building, shutting off access to many areas of the site forever.

The site is well disguised from the outside. Weathered and shaped by winds, sandstone and aging concrete merge with their rocky surroundings effortlessly, seeping into one another like wet pigment. Hollowed out windows of the high up levels, broken and empty, stare back blankly over the wilderness surrounding the site. My attempts at investigating the history of the place didnít amount to much as no one in the village could tell me more than I already knew, some villagers have never visited the place.

Blank stares.
Eyes like wells.
Beyond the rim,
There’s only an echo
Measuring out vast emptiness
With no center
And no death

I didnít manage to find anyone who worked at the old factory. I also couldnít tell what that subtle and fleeting distortion on the villagersí faces, their shuffling feet and other signs of psychological discomfort really meant? It appeared to me from many investigative attempts to engage the village folk, that this large site was seemingly beyond their field of inquiry or a slightest interest: an unlit dump, a no-go area, a void in the collective psyche. It appeared that some sort of a boundary has formed in the consciousness of the people, a line of tension or a strong pain marked the area between the village and the old factory- a lesion around a cut.

Time has noticeably eroded the memory of the Factory from villagersí minds but inscribed it on the decomposing skeleton of structures stuck in a useless limbo among collapsing concrete debris in this cemetery of rubble. One can often hear the sound of another collapse at the Factory which echoes across the valley, announcing further demise. Like a distant thunder clap it reverberates a single note into an echoing requiem for the building. People check their watches. Bell rings.