Saturday, January 12, 2013

Places don't change you

What a stupid idea it is that
places change you
you still go by the same name
you are not different

other than the way
the wind wears your hair
while you're dreaming star-board
on the Amalfi coast

other than the way
the air breathes you in
while you're standing in Montenegro
where the mountains kiss the clouds

Places don't change you
you are not a migratory butterfly
you do not fly south for the winter
You are unchanged

other than the way
you brown a little better
by the toasting sun of Ios

other than the way
you shriek and smile
with a ducati
between your legs
riding through an ad for life

other than the way
you look people in the eye
squinting through the smoke and alcohol
sitting on driftwood around a mouth of fire
on the Great Ocean Road

But you are identical
a train is not a magic show
a destination can not make you over
places did not change you

other than the way
you left that heart of yours
beating steady and half asleep
on a roof top in Barcelona
in a lake in Slovenia
with a tricycle in the Philippines

the way you leave a lover
the morning after
unknowing and unknown

* * *

Because to travel is to
leave yourself behind
so that you can go back
to reclaim that feeling
and hold tight to the nostalgia
like a keyring souvenir

Because to travel is to
throw another silver coin
with a face you do not recognise
into a fountain where they
say your wishes will come true

So you empty your pockets
and wish yourself into the water
holding your breath
and your head down
until you can breathe
like this again
be here again

These are the
rites and rituals
on replay
the greetings of
dusk and dawn
hello goodbye
and nice to meet you
sewn into a patchwork shawl
you wrap around you and
tie to your backpack
or to your head
on sweaty days

You surrender to this
to not be radically different
but instead
a secret child who you
used to hide so well at home
but who cannot help but play

Play amongst the
shooting stars of Morocco
the crashing tide of Portugal's Atlantic Coast
the Black Sea of Bulgaria
which turns out
to be green

Places don't change you
they child you
until you have returned to
the first steps you ever took
to take them once more
the first breath you ever took
to take it once more

But this time
somewhere new
somewhere different
somewhere blue
but places, don't change you

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