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06 | 16 : Kapka Kassabova


Kapka Kassabova goes travelling in her own life for the next poem from the 16 August Fruitmarket readers:

Photo by Liz March

I want to be a tourist

I imagine my life as a city
somewhere in the third world, or the second.
And I want to be a tourist
in the city of my life.

I want to stroll in shorts and baseball hat,
with laminated maps and dangling cameras.
I want to find things for the first time.
Look, they were put there just for me!

I want a room with musty curtains.
I want a view of rubbish dumps and urchins.
I want food poisoning, the dust of traffic
in the mouth, the thrill of others’ misery.

Let me be a tourist in the city of my life.
Give me overpriced coffee in the square,
let me visit briefly the mausoleum of the past
and photograph its mummy,

give me the open sewers, the stunted dreams,
the jubilation of ruins, the lepers, the dogs,
give me signs in a funny language that I never
have to learn. Then take my money and let me go.


Kapka Kassabova grew up in Sofia, spent her 20s in New Zealand,  and now lives in Scotland. She is the author of two poetry collections in the UK – Someone else’s life and Geography for the Lost (Bloodaxe), the Bulgaria memoir Street Without a Name (2008), and the novel Villa Pacifica (2011). Her new book about the tango, Twelve Minutes of Love, was short-listed for the 2012 Scottish Book Awards.

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