[Un]Familiar Places


Borders and fences
I wonder where blood stops, skin begins
Yarns and yarns
Miles to find where the patterns in my palm
Make perfect sense to the gods I remember

At close encounter nostalgia is an incessant rooster crowing loudly
At 5 in the morning
When you just went to bed at 2
Three little birds by my window
Sing an orchestra of nails on the board
Instead of the melody I remember
Though it takes a while to tell the difference
What you liked is not always what you like

I take a walk down the block
And everything looks familiar
Except the season and the trees
The people and the reason
They smile when their lives seem so sour
I keep walking
Fending off the dogs, fending off the cars
It’s hard to spot the crazies
When everybody talks to themselves
Dance to the headphones hidden in their ears
The boys sag their pants
The girls rock their miniskirts
And they all say what’s up when they talk
Where are the Africans
The head wraps and lappas
The neighborhood drumming and singing
To the union of the happy pre-arranged couple
Where are the Africans
The elders and their wise remembrance of simpler yesterdays
The children with their mouths full of tomorrow
Where are the Africans?
The girls getting their hair braided on the veranda
The boys playing marbles and singing to Alpha Blondy

You know America has done a number on you
When you go to your so-called home
And can’t eat your favorite food
Let alone drink the water
Everybody who says more than two words to you
You suspect is after the 2 dollars and 75 cents you have in your pocket
But these are family
Though they look at you
As if your skin were white
As if—though you can’t tell—
They know winter has done a number on you

I may never find home
If I keep looking for it
In all the familiar places

Written by IBé in: Poems | Tags: , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  • Excellent. Really good message. It starts to get a little too “old man complaining about days gone by” in the “Where are the Africans..” stanza, but it comes full circle by the end and reminds readers that the focus is the author’s perspective.

    Comment | 08/17/2014

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