on coming ‘home’

12/25/2009

i’ve returned to charlotte, with stops in south carolina and georgia.  all places i’ve at one time called ‘home’.  i was ready to return, and overall sigh a contented exhale of joy, peace and contentment to be here (and there).  though i’m constantly reminded through moments of sadness, loneliness, awkwardness, insecurity, exhaustion, frustration that none of these places are truly my home…

this great poem says it much better than i.

Travel Advisory

Remind yourself, when you wake to a strangeness
of foreign lights through blowing trees
out the window of yet another hotel,
that home is only where you pretend your from.
What’s familiar sends you packing,
watching for “some lost place called home.”
You’re from wherever you go.

Don’t admit what you’re looking for.
If you say to a baker in Bremen, to a barmaid
in Provence, “Back home we think of you here
as having deeper lives,” they’ll shrug you wrong
and won’t respond. And then you’ll know:
they’re strangers too. Broken and wrinkled
stones and skin, brush strokes and chords,
old streets and saints you’ve read about,
flute-notes in the laughter of foreign children,
the nip of the local market cheese–
there’s a life we almost knew once.
Watch. Just let it in.

The return ticket will take you only
to the town where you packed to get on the plane.
It never missed you. You’ll notice
alien goods in your kitchen, wind in a wall,
losses in the middle drawer of your desk.
Even there, the strange is the cup of communion
you drink; that dim outlandish civitas dei
you’re a citizen of never was a place.
Remember not to feel too much at home.

by Rod Jellema

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