The Maynard
October 2013

Laura Ritland

City Life: Citizen

Every street here has a name
that will outlast you. A city like this
is quartered concrete, stretched steel
syllables and tarmac narratives
conducting the eternal transit
of the sleepless and shiftless, prophets
and mourners, the reverent and in love.
By night, a fluorescent plan visible
from hilltops and storied
windows — glittering, geometric, a text
of towers, stadiums, park-squares
and condos — appearing
vastly intended, numbered.

                                         But what can you call
yourself? You are too easily
replicable, a citizen of mirrors and chrome
handles. Your pace finds canny sympathy
with the clattering syntax of cars, digital
sirens and snap-conversations. Streetlights
impel you. You walk your common figure
among depots, crowds, bus-stops and malls,
branding ground where ground
has been branded before.

                                         Some might call this an order
of intimacy. You know better:
you are data, a fuse of loose
desires and longings without station,
without rest.