Brian Spears

Poet, Editor, Teacher, Blogger.

Day 12

My father was a nomad, and a son of a nomad. He lived in every small town and on many of the farms outside San Antonio as a kid. His father was a fiddler and journeyman carpenter, and often housed his family in the old houses on many family farms while he remodeled them. Once the job was done, he and the family moved on to the next one. My dad once said he attended something like 10 different schools on more than a dozen occasions–he moved in and out of school districts–while growing up.

We moved around a lot when I was young. I only remember 3 of the places we lived in Texas–Angleton, Clute and Lake Jackson–but I hear we lived in Shiner and Schulenberg at the very least, and perhaps more. Things settled down when we came to Louisiana–about two and a half years in Big Branch, and then 8 in Slidell, which remains my longest period in one place. Even when I was married, we moved around a lot–Hammond, Albany, Loranger, Robert–rarely more than a year in a single place. Economic dislocation for the most part.

Even since I’ve resettled to Fort Lauderdale, I’ve moved 2 times, and even though each time it’s into a much better place, I still start to feel like a nomad, following in the trails my father and his father blazed. The funny thing is that my dad has been pretty stable since those days in Louisiana. He moved back to Texas and lives in an assisted-living community with my mom, and they’ve been there so long it doesn’t even seem odd now.

This all came up because today’s prompt asked for us to name a city and then write a poem about it, and I don’t really have one. The place I tend to connect with most is New Orleans, but I never even lived there, so most of what I know is as a visitor, a tourist. A home city?

City

I withhold myself.
I accept none as home,
embrace none.
I have lived in no house
for longer than two years
since I left home at 19,
and in no city
for more than five.
Which is here,
south of Oakland Park,
east of I-95.
I claim a zip code for now,
a mobile phone number,
an email address (or four).
I even move homes
on the web,
from pseudonym to name,
from person to pundit
to poet to editor to
carefully managed persona
(tho not so careful really).
I tell myself
I would love stability,
would love to run out of checks,
address labels,
would love to learn
the letter carrier’s name.
Does one plan that,
or just fall into it,
a hidden sand trap,
the gap between skyscrapers?

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April 12, 2010 - Posted by | National Poetry Month, original poetry, Poetic Asides |

1 Comment »

  1. I like this one a lot. 🙂

    Comment by Amy | April 12, 2010 | Reply


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