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A week’s worth of passing thoughts in pursuit of identity

July 6, 2017

From Casablanca:
“What is your nationality?”
“I’m a drunkard.”
“That makes Rick a citizen of the world.”

From Theresa May:
“If you believe you’re a citizen of the world you’re a citizen of nowhere.”


here I stand,
mongrel of various pockets
of the greater British Isles,
one side direct, the one side in
dribs and drabs,
through seas,
on ships

my family names on both sides
– Townsend, Bywater –
tell of a place of dwelling
and my first name is itself a family name,
a name identifying someone as being
from somewhere else
(there is a land with my name,
but a damn cold one)

my middle name marks a spot,
perhaps that spot where the town ends
at the water’s edge,
and that is where I find myself,
seeker of urban rivers,
a man from elsewhere

my regrets
are not the usual ones,
at least, not in the specifics,
although surely in the general:
I wish I had found my
city by the river
many years before I did

flawed as all places are
but inspiring as no place
has ever been
I have found a place to live
and a place to die
but please, please
not tomorrow

ah, but if you want to make the Gods laugh…

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