Dear Baltimore,

I am writing to you from a park bench, which overlooks the Elbe and the patchwork of containers lined up along its bank. It is a quiet sort of place, hidden away from the thralls of the city, and one which I am often drawn to whenever I need time to unwind. There is something calming about the company of ships that I have not yet found in people, and it is nice to just sit here and watch them pass by.

Still, as I twist at the buttons of my winter coat and wonder about the place names printed on each freighter’s metal body, there is something which bothers me: you are nowhere to be found. I have seen Rio de Janeiro, Hong Kong and Whampoa, Manzanillo, Vancouver and Galle. But never you, Baltimore. Somehow, you are lost to me.

And yet you are with me always. Just as you are with anyone who ever looked out across this port in search of Frank Sobotka and shed a tear when they could not redeem him. Just as you are with anyone who ever wished they had a partner like The Bunk, or raised a glass of Jameson to Jimmy McNulty and cried out in anguish to the winter sky, “My name is my name!”

Baltimore, David Simon wrote The Wire and called it his love letter to you. Well, this is mine. I hope it finds you well.


Chris Cowley