I come here from time to time,
my head full of puzzles
to read the graffiti and mingle
with the flag-wavers,
the fanatics, light in their eyes
unfurling like pennons
as they glare on those of us
who prefer a quiet life.
If questioned, I retreat with shrugged shoulders,
slipping away into the befuddlement of side streets
where my suspicions can go undetected
among those busy feathering their own nests.
Here in the shadows, bundled in doorways,
the children of the nation sing the old ballads
their hum of despair rising like balloons,
above the entire city.