My life is not a city.

This piece is a creative response to ‘I want to be a tourist’, an autobiographical poem from the anthology Geography for the Lost by Kapka Kassabova.

I tried to stick to her original structure in the poem (five stanzas of four lines), but under direction of my tutor I wrote about the ‘city’ of my life, as it were. In I want to be a tourist, Kassabova discusses her own ‘city’ in grim, almost morbid detail, reflecting her turbulent state of living during the early stages of her writing.

I also tried to keep my ‘city’ as true to myself and my life as I could, just as she has. For this reason, mine is a smidge more positive. I do think quite fondly of myself and my family and friends, truth be told.


My life is not a city.

It is a town even smaller than me.

Bigger than the place where I was raised,

but smaller than where I will die.


There are cobbled roads and market stalls,

predictable buses that are never late,

taxis that run from dawn til dusk,

and trains that never skip the station.


Greenery and trees and plants and herbs

spring up in every free space,

between the identical shops and red brick houses,

In planting boxes made of wood.


Tourists rarely stay for long,

just brief glimmers of light and sound and joy.

But the people who live there, really live there,

and they’ll never be asked to go.


It’s a quiet town, really,

and it falls silent before ten,

But the days are bright and even rainfall is welcome,

And the world just keeps turning round.


Thanks for reading.


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