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Far from Home

by Julie Adams

must be nice to see
your countrymen
beyond your country

they reveal themselves
you say, in subways,
school plays, trailways,
fetes for days come February
New York City holds many
countrymen of yours
and yours, and

what a pity I am
orphaned, city to city
can't spot my kin,
or next of anything
my heritage
in my memory

like a dusty chandelier
candles drying mid-drip,
snuffed by dawn
only smoke remains, lingering
in lungs, since 1666

a mystery, this history
of mine, like Stonehenge,
ancestry reduced to the 'accent'
I no longer use, though
everyone wants to hear it
to believe it

some can see familiarity
in eyes, hair, tone, bone,
a visual semblance
before a single word is sung,
and their mixture of tongue is a cocktail
you recognize,

I trickle along old streets,
newer everyday, retracing
replacing the London
I lost in the fog
of my adolescence

my London fix——New York,
my delusional deferance, give me
streets of stone, glass, and brick,
a quick fix of metropolitan air
but my countrymen are not here!

how it feels like home—
concrete bones, cold——like Fall winds,
pulse underground, sounds
of traffic, panic, or the manic-depressed
who frequent the tubes and sing
the blues, in operatic tunes
I recognize...are we not kin of some kind?

Suddenly, I overhear my tongue,
an accent they call it,
native to my countrymen
visiting, perhaps drunk, yes, but
I long to interject
embrace my sect—yes, even
outside an Irish pub in Queens

when English tourists flock
and I hear their accents flare
the jocular vernacular of 'ello, 'ello, 'ello
spectacular to my ears!

my countrymen,
are we linked by accent, alone? Socially, yes, we may share
humor, locale and a tendancy
towards alcohol perversion,
yet no discerning look
no face, or norms to recognize
to claim as prize,
except perhaps page three
of the Sunday paper

only a vocal inflection
I lost, dropped, forgot, trying to find something
familiar, outside the familiar,
(does this sound, familiar)
an oral tradition I renounced,
before I knew how not to
or why


Author's Note: editing constantly, as always

Posted on 10/14/2003
Copyright © 2021 Julie Adams

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Lacy D Phillips on 10/14/03 at 06:26 PM

I watch too much PBS too. God love ya for writting! I miss your words around here when you're gone.

Posted by Cole Miller on 01/10/04 at 02:19 AM

it makes you feel as though you are wandering through a large crowd of people trying to find a familiar face and failling... well written.

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