sometimes I like to go on real estate sites & look at apartments for sale in cities other than my own & imagine the kind of person I’d be if I lived there like if I lived in Stockholm I’d have a red bicycle with a silver bell & short hair bleached white-blonde & I’d have a terrace to grow berry bushes & Queen Anne’s lace on & I’d either only smile or frown I haven’t decided which yet & if I lived in Berlin I’d have a neck tattoo & would sleep under a skylight always at the mercy of the weather always at the mercy of something bigger than myself & I wouldn’t think twice about the number of calories in a pint of beer but I’d still be so thin & god you’d be so jealous & if I lived in Paris I’d smoke Gauloises on an ivy-covered balcony & I’d look like some tragic heroine in a novel rated 3.7 stars by people on the internet who don’t know the difference between a prose poem & a lyric essay & I’d have a study full of philosophical books in languages I don’t speak & never will & I’d wear glasses even though I have 20/20 vision & if I lived in Porto I’d drink black coffee standing up in my kitchen tiled with the white & azure azulejos that I stole from the Porto São Bento railway station in the cover of night just me & a chisel & a masonic hammer under the star-needled sky I think I could hear the ocean if I stopped the clash of metal to ceramic long enough to really listen only I’m never quiet enough to hear the waves heed the warnings just skating by on whispered promises & maybe tomorrows mustering up just enough strength to see myself through each acrid dawn
Arielle McManus is a dual Swedish-American citizen, learning as she goes and writing from a tiny, sunlit room in Brooklyn. She is an assistant editor at Atlas & Alice, and her writing has been published by a variety of literary publications including Passages North, Entropy Magazine, and Cabinet of Heed, among others.
One thought on “Any Other Person by Arielle McManus”
What an amazing poem. love the one-sentence lyricism and magic of “if I lived.” It makes me want to travel!