The Mapmaker’s Song
The mapmaker downed his tools.
I’ve caught it, every alley, every street,
every fanlight and window-ledge,
the city fixed and framed.
Now I want everything else.
I want to be a historian of footsteps,
a cartographer of hemlines and eyelids,
I want to catch what the pavements say
when they sing to each other
in their deep laboratories, plotting
every journey since the place began.
I want the whole
unlosable database, the repeating place,
kings stalking the server farms,
tailbacks and looped alarms,
I want to be where
brushstrokes flicker on a bank of screens,
where graveyards tilt
and quiet populations crowd the air,
their quarters risen again
smashing through the floors.
I want to stand at the centre
of a great clutter
mapping ashes, mapping bones,
archivist, enumerator, hanger-on
signing the returns
of an infinite census.
I want to be,
beyond everything I’ve reached or drawn,
not much at all, or all there is,
a geographer of breath,
a curator of hands.
I want to lie in the atrium
of the museum of the fingertip
and touch, touch, touch.