If I were the mayor of my town, there would be no cryptic sad cynics lining the peripherals of coffee shops drowning it all out in the idea that life is a crumbling sideroad hotel in which they're never allowed to check out. If I were the mayor of my town, there would be no black homeless men named Raymond wearing crowns of dirty dreads; he watches the passing cars religiously like he's searching for something lost. If I were the mayor of my town, no good man or childlike wonder or worthy cause would ever end up underground, pushing up the daisies that will only end up suffocating in the concrete of a new Money Mart anyway.
I have never felt connected to my city in the way that I have heard expressed by other people - people who have that insatiable craving for their “homeland.” It is a beautiful thought to love the land that you were born on and I feel a fleeting pang of half baked envy in my chest whenever I hear declarations of love for specific latitudes of physical earth. They are expressions of an odd kind of dwarfed patriotism - one that I secretly want. I’ve heard such expressions fall from the thick lips of my African father. He talks about the sun in his village like it wasn’t the same star all humans share - like it was a sun unique to him and his people. It is a different world to be homesick. It makes your eyes hungry for certain slants of light and your nose sting for the smell of air that can only be found in one place. This has never been my personal reality but if was the mayor of my town it would be.
When I think about being the mayor of my town, the idea is not tethered to the actual city that I live in or even the geographical problems of this space. My experiences and desires are tethered to people who live here. I think the same would be true even if I lived halfway across the globe. My hands are empty when it comes to handing out detailed plans, shining in all of their glasslike clinical beauty. I can’t tell you how to solve the complex economic problems, how to improve the school systems, how to go green. Anything that I could say about these things would come from a place of dopey innocence - idealistic and unmeasured. They would flutter to the ground only seconds after their birth, all soft and papery. The wind would blow and they would become absent pieces of chalky dust. I am at peace with this for a lot of reasons. I offer, not solutions or unfinished ideas, but a vision. I can describe to you what it means to be there. I can show what it looks like.
If I were the mayor of my town, citizens would see more than cement and nature would not be a novelty that you have to pay for - coughing up your tourist dollars to see animals that belong to no one in the first place and to be admitted into places unmarred by man's’ urban blueprints. If I were the mayor of my town, there would be nothing to keep secret behind a family’s doors. No quietly unloved children swallowed up in the matrix of bad decisions. No woman at the mercy haphazard hands or at the mercy of haphazard wills. Nothing good or pure would ever go unrealized and left to chew on dirt by an environment that failed to foster it. If I were the mayor of my town, you would turn of the television and you would know the face of peace. You would recognize her eyes. Every child will be a child of renaissance and would want for nothing.
It has always been the people that make the place. So if I could have it the way that I want it, my town would carry itself in the hearts of those that it belongs to. It would surpass the laws of man and cradle itself in a bed of ineffable security. It would dance in a way you never knew a place could dance. A recounting of Eden, each night it falls asleep in its’ own heavenly candescence.
If I were the mayor of my town, I wouldn’t be...because my town is paradisiac and clean in every direction and that vision belongs to God.