Day Ten: America

Today’s poem is inspired by Damir Avdić and his Detroit, and he took me into my old open house.

O

p

e

n

.

h

o

u

s

e


Prompt 10: “First, find a song with which you are familiar … Listen to the song and take notes as you do, without overthinking it or worrying about your notes making sense. Next, rifle through the objects in your junk drawer. … On a separate page from your song-notes page, write about the objects in the drawer, for as long as you care to. Now, bring your two pages of notes together and write a poem that weaves together your ideas and observations from both pages.

Well, I did choose a song and then it did all the rest. I should translate this song in full one day. Listen to the man from Bosnia, Damir Avdić, even if you don’t understand him. Let the beat into your bones, and then you’ll be ready for my poem which could be much longer than it is.

America

Detroit is a ten-minute story of a man
who drops the guns,
leaves the Balkans behind
and ends up 
in Motor City, MC5,
living in the suburbs
among people of a different race
who respect him
even though he blasts Napalm Death
and women love 
his Shetland sweaters. 

His main problem is his compatriots
who play tsuup tsuup turbo folk to him
everywhere he goes,
bad covers of Bella ciao,
and call it sevdah and ethnic. 

It makes me think of my America.

The night before my departure
I stay awake because the early flight 
is from Klagenfurt in Austria
hours away. We arrange a taxi
who comes early and the driver is let in.
No booze for him
but we celebrate.
Full open house as usual,
even though I’m still to buy 
the OPEN HOUSE sign
in Los Angeles, 
bring it under my arm on the plane,
and place it against the kitchen window.

But now I’m yet to depart.

As many times before, the bell rings
and everybody knows it’s the police
and they hand me 
parcels
packages
boxes.
I have a drawer where I put them
among lingerie and stockings.

(Ah, junk drawer! I thought you said junkie.)

The policeman enters – 
the walls are thin
and my neighbour is a numerologist –  
and I explain to him that I’m leaving for
AMERICA!
That it’s my first time,
and the tourist visa I scored 
will be my favourite book mark
for decades.
That Los Angeles is waiting
to be discovered.
I’ll discover 
that Venice Beach has friendlier cops,
Mr. Cop,
but you are alright. 
Now leave, we need to go.

He leaves 
and everybody collects their packs
from the drawer.

We reach Klagenfurt
but it’s so early that the tiny airport is still locked.
It’s December
and we are dressed for California.

Now, almost thirty years later,
it has turned out
that my California is closer
than I’d thought.
In Tuscany the flora is similar,
bella ciao is just a greeting,
and the junkie drawer 
is full of junk.

In the photo part, I return to the house in Bežigrad, Ljubljana, where I lived for some twenty years. Most of these photos were taken a year after I moved out and we were visiting. I don’t have any photos from the wild years here with me. Probably for the better.

For:

NaPoWriMo 2021 Button with black background

This day in my NaPoWriMo history (2018):

For this poem to make sense, you’ll have to click on the link above and see these smiles for yourself.

Miles of smiles

Take one smile that you know well,
add another that made you you,
cry for this smile since it quickly melts,
hope all could smile as these two do.

Find a random joyful girl or two
and another one who gives good kale,
one whose smile guards a statue store,
one that was happy but lives no more.

A smile is to get this book in the mail,
or hers with advice to follow your heart,
he did it – though happy hippie he’s not,
and so did I, bestia and poems and all.

14 thoughts on “Day Ten: America

    1. Thank you, Bojana. I’m glad it made you think this kind of thoughts. I don’t get them often but sometimes they burst through. I read the poem again and I don’t like the last two lines. It’s not as clear as I’d wish. Ah, well. This poem a day is a job!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Sandy. It’s great to see you here again. I was not active much on my and other people’s blogs most of last year but now it’s getting better again. Also, I told Crystal about your latest post and I’m glad she liked it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Welcome back Manja. It seemed as if you were MIA for a long while. Yes I saw your referral. I was reading thru Crystal’s blog and was so surprised to stumble on your comment 🙂 Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Is your sister living in the house now? I’ve never gone back to any former residences. I’m sure they are all quite different now.
    California is the promised land for many Americans as well as non-residents. My brother lives there, but the bad climate weather is getting to him. I enjoyed both your anticipation and your return! (K)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, K. 🙂 She was at the time but now we have a tenant. My parents own the place. I haven’t been back since but I pass it on my dog walks when I visit my old city, since my parents live just a few houses away. Yes, I suppose California is moving away from being the promised land. Not many such lands left.

      Liked by 1 person

Happy to learn the first thing on your mind.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.