See: the places that become readable with practice
from having been nodes of chaotic lines,
illegible nowheres,
the infinite number of somewheres mostly not notable
that make up places and people there
who make sense of their lives

with shops and last names, events and scandals
central squares of some sort
whether ancient or tangled within the rubble
of post-everything nothingness
whether postcarded piazzas
or that stretch between malls

where teenagers whose names so far have gone asunder
practice skateboard still now, at dusk among flies,
and dust - forgotten past and non-places tangled by time -
united in fury at how places melt in the overheated now,
lose face before the places known,
the public squares the filmed avenues
where trees are groomed and clothes will never become rags

where am I now? in what quarter of the map
of the known world that remains unknown, mostly,
to most of us?
we trace longitudes and dream of latitude
at motion within ourselves - and, always the same,
transport our inner places wherever we go
ready to recognise and leap at what we know
for the sake of some warmth when the world
feels cold

and those communities we create that are supposed to stave off crime
and delinquency wrought by the lost ones
those without a place, or whose place is inside out

I know - I recognise the faces in the crowd
I built my four walls around the hearth I want

there are hearths everywhere
sinks and faucets, refrigerators, if lucky
with latitude and longitude

ceramic suites to wash the skin that wraps each one of us into place

the skin we share
smooth over with creams that protect
and nourish

and while I stare at the self whose place is here
I learn to read into the chaotic tangles

that make only secret sense

[Sambuca, Sicily, 26 July 2019]

© Noga Arikha 2019