You want to know where I’m from.

Can I first tell you where I’ve been? Not everywhere. I’m yet to crunch on fries at the Ganymed in Berlin like Bowie or wash down a No 209 Gin at the Riot House in Sunset Boulevard like all the rest, but I’ve been somewhere. I’ve toted my pack, travelled many roads, man.

I’ve seen the sun rise like a Monet in Paris and set with the madness of Zeus in Athens. I’ve beheld the moon like a ghee-kissed roti in Jaisalmer and a disco ball in Koh Samui. Looked down on the world from where no one can ever look on again in New York, looked up with the awe of an ant beneath a human at the foot of Kanchenjunga. I’ve drunk in a bar carved into the side of a cliff in Croatia, slid down sugar walls in Switzerland. I’ve breathed the mountain air, man.

I followed Allah in Dhaka, got drunk with God in Florence, and then killed them both in a fit of ecstasy in a field in Bury St Edmonds. I’ve had my fill of stars in the sky and hotels to match in Marrakech, Sharm-el Sheikh and Langkawi. I’ve compared the cathedrals of Germany and Spain to the mosques in Turkey and Spain. I’ve been in more Jewish Quarters than there are Jewish countries and partied in them all.

I’ve seen attack ships on fire off the shoulders of Orion. I haven’t really, but you’re not listening. You don’t care where I’ve been, just where I come from. And not just now, but originally, you want to know where my mum and dad lived when they were little. And all this before you even know my name.

Let me assure you I don’t mean to be facetious in my response, I realise you only ask so that you can place me, relate to me better, maybe take this opportunity to share the tale about the time you rode an elephant in Hyderabad, man. But before I answer, let me, if I may be so bold, first ask you where your mum and dad are from.

Pontefract, you say? My, how fascinating. I must add that to my list.

By Shihab S Joi
Geoff Mack/Johnny Cash

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