There's always an off-chance the hype is true
and the city of tomorrow unimaginably
close at hand: Flying cars, robo-maids, gleaming
towers strung with hyper-trains and skyways.
Or we could slowly invade the empire of fish,
learn to breathe water, perhaps wall it off
in giant aquatic neighbourhoods. Neptune's Court,
unblocked views of the Great Barrier Reef.
Conveniently located near major shipping routes
and continental shelves. Come live where mermaids
frolick. I wonder what poems mer-folk
would write, about the eels and corals
of life, their horizons green with wet sky,
incandescent sealights from passing submarines.
A little later, we might abandon cities altogether,
scatter the rich grain of humanity across galaxies,
those vast plains and endless glades where everyone
would have a bungalow, swimming pool, garden space.
Imagine lounging in a low-gravity hottub
carved from the red crags of Mars, drink in hand,
observing novas in the district of Andromeda.
Odds are, future cities will be compromises
in dust and gravel, punctuated by instances
of improbable grace. Reshuffled decks like today.
I'm in a study, cradle of all cities there were
and never were, trying to detect their glass
and granite hearts. Anything to bypass
the untired traffic outside, diesel gutterals
taking us hour by slow hour into what will be.
I'm thinking cloud-conurbations, digitopias;
kingdoms born of air and light, whose walls
are tall, bright and solid as we'd always hoped.