Citizens of Somewhere

I collect homes, you know- you could say that-
Stack up cities like clean plates,
Detonate dreams along new suburban skyways.
I set my mind to nothing but the next stopover.

I’m moving faster each time,
The elimination of distance.
It all happens at once,
A thousand televisions transmitting Cubist flashbacks.
The news where you are or where you want to be.
Photons hyperloop through fibre-optic.

They lived somewhere once,
The people who are not us,
Rooted to cold clay or coiled in cathedral buttresses,
Marked on the city register of some old borough.
Or clustered round some plaza where the bells strike hourly,
Or where they could hear cicadas chirping in a temple forecourt.
In dusty millet fields, or fishing villages,
Wherever.
Doesn’t matter.
We are not them.

We live in the overlap,
Which is to say that we live everywhere,
But we are citizens of nowhere;
Asleep, sprawled across three chairs in the departure lounge.
We are the code behind the scrolling feed.
We are the burning Californian forests.
All-hour drive-thru. Night bus. GMT plus minus.
On the high street, shop lights are snuffed out one by one.

You can credit conquistadors for hosts of terrors,
But not for this. Not really.
They didn’t clad skyscrapers with frankincense and nutmeg,
Didn’t weave quipu into broadband cables.
They only wanted spices for the King of Spain.
And gold to fill their coffers.
Squad goals.

The feeling barrels out of all control.
Time has no borders.
Diving into history, we plunge through rows of streetlights,
There’s some half-lucent vision, of a child playing in and out of hedgerows,
Sand-choked souqs.
A high priest raises a studded sceptre,
Lets out a piercing scream;
And we surface again in spacewalks and neon.
Where we live,
Businesspeople kneel before departure boards
And offer duty-free in sakazuki bowls.

 

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