Thursday, June 14, 2007

A view from Tokyo

By Adam Gibson ©

Narita Airport, Tokyo, again,
waiting for my plane,
but going the
other way
this time,
not to the fields of
teenage dreams of Europe
but home to Australia (always home)
and the nights of Bondi
near television and
the bar heater
my bed
and rooms,
the image of which
i have carried with me
every second of every day,
lodged in my blood, as
i moved across the
unholy mess of
the crushed
underfoot streets and
the stained train station platforms
and toilet cubicles and takeaway shops,
where people lie at a ground zero of the spirit,
having flooded over the borders from
Poland and the Ukraine, from
miscellaneous Africa
and the Middle East,
seeking refuge
and finding it
selling "Marl-barr-o"
on the footpath outside the Metro
at Barbes-Rochechouart
or battling for seats
on a bus up to
dead-eyed and
staring right through me,
because we all don't exist anyway,
and spitting on the streets,
littering with impunity,
stealing from me
if they can
(and they could),
solid (de)fences of the spirit
therefore being erected at points
where the other boundaries once stood,
closing up shop on humanness,
while every shop from
Las Ramblas in
to Castle Court
shopping mall in Belfast,
from the Kurfürstendamm in Berlin
to the backstreets of Basel,
Krakow to Antwerp,
is selling the same
urban combat
correct battle wear;
t-shirts in hues of khaki and brown,
faded splashes of mis-spelt Stateside,
generican American ficticious baseball teams,
documents of summer camps that never happened,
marathon races that have never been run,
vintage shirts all of the same vintage;
straight out of China and lining
the matt-black and metallic-
fitted hip shops of the
Conmuela in Cadiz
or those in
the streets around
the back back of Dam Square
or the intimidating parlours of the
Marias or in the streets running down
from Rue de Sevres down to Montparnasse:
the same jackets, the same shirts, the same scarves,
the same slashes of strategically anarchic paint
slashing across the shoulders, the same
authentic rips in the same jeans,
the same quest for a truth
that no-one else has
either, thus
the search
and the need to find
any way possible to find it
and i recall a mad dusk drive
through rainy Paris streets towards
the airport way out at Beauvais, the grey
afternoon, everything cold and shadowed,
the graffiti in pidgin English hip-hop also wet
and lonely on the garbage bins and the smashed
bus stops and the no-mans-land gaps between
shops that don't even open at all anymore

and it occurs to me that the Old World
of Europe, trodden on for so long,
is tired and getting more tired,
France fraying at the edges,
England broken down,
Spain drying up,
the land
is all busted
and no-one can
be bothered fixing it;
the walls are just falling down,
everything is spilling out,
and as i move towards
hometown i wonder
where i myself
will finally

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