writing to know, knowing thru being, being for writing... this is me, writing about the one thing i know, which is myself... and even that is sometimes a mystery...

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

chicago home poem

it's sad.
but true.

this always happens, whenever i move to a new location, when i am geographically and emotionally separated from the familiar, i shrink and shrivel and retreat into myself, i forget how to exist with others, i forget how to breathe with another individual, how to relate and identify, and enjoy the pleasures of human company.

and it becomes especially painful in the city.

to be in the midst of people constantly, to drown in a sea of strangers, to be alone but never alone, to be lonely when in constant company, it does something to you:

it's like having thick twine or rope wrapped tight around your arms, and the slightest movements slowly rub away at the gentle skin and flesh. or, it's like developing a callous on your foot throughout the day, the pain only slight and avoidable, perhaps even ignorable at first, but then, surely, the skin screams with pain, each step reminds you of it, and the skin thickens where the pain is, leaving a scar, a reminder of your hardness.

being a stranger to the city is to be a stranger to its people, its customs, its daily life. people see it on my face, in my walk. it's in my morphology. they know i'm different, and they don't let me forget.

the city has a strange coldness that i shelter myself from. in the house, i curl up in the sun on the couch with a sweater pulled tight, holding my latest book close to me like a babe. doors open and close again, open windows remind me of the conversations that could be happening, memories of past relations and comforts from home. a girl walking with her father in the park reminds me that father's day is coming soon and that i won't have seen mine in over a month. my dad and i are close. it is strange to be so far away.

but mostly, the city reminds me that even in the strangest and least familiar of places, i still detect residues of home. the awkwardness of my walk in crossing a room, or my avoidance of the two lovers in the kitchen, the deepening of my frown as i contemplate the next public event i will attend for my job. the forced interactions i must endure and tolerate to survive...

and it changes the meaning of home. is it a place? or is it really just a state of mind?


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