This poem is for submission to Imaginary Garden with Real Toads who have set Arrivals and Departures as this week's theme.
It is also for submission to Poets' United's Thursday Think Tank #77 whose theme is The City
A culture shock:
something from my past.
Flashbacks from North Africa.
Something of it snapping in my brain.
Compulsions crowding in...
For instance, if I'd see a column on the move
I'd have to tag on to the end of it. The only way
to stay alive I reckoned
come what may
no matter what I was supposed to do.
It took years to beat that one.
Only living in a tight community
small and intimate
could help to win my war. But this...
Phobic by the yard.
The desert was an endless blank.
Oddly enough, this is the opposite,
yet even so it brings the ancient symptoms back to me
still with all their fire and the old terror.
It's not the towering office blocks
the dust storms in the streets
the unknowingness of where I am
and which way's out of here...
... and here? No need to join the crowd.
I'm swept along
a small leaf in a storm.
There's no escape, even if I had a mind to
which I don't. The mind I have insists I stay:
Go with the crowd, where ever it flows
and sooner or later you will end up somewhere:
that is what it says. So in three days
I've been to my first football match,
I've caught a train I didn't want
to somewhere that I didn't know
and visited a shopping mall
with not a cent to spend.
I think it's fair
to say I'm lost.
These mile high piles of lego bricks...
jet black windows just reflecting more
of what I see around me -
and the only clouds I ever see
I see swim by in them. Just like the desert:
unchanging vistas. Visual
units endlessly repeated mile on mile.
Skyscrapers don't they call them?
Sky-blockers in my book!
The city stifles -
which come to think of it
is what the desert did to me.
They are the same.
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