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So I’m here.
Eight thousand and odd miles older.
Land of the spoiled, home of the complacent.
Trying to reconcile my persuasions
with the idea that here,
I’m the alien.
I’m the foreigner.
The strange one.
The one that acts different.
The one that doesn’t “get it”.
I’ve seen their seasons of light
and lived a cold that
penetrates to the very bone.
I suspect something always dies inside you
during that very first winter,
and comes back with the thaw of April
irrevocably altered.
Murakami’s cat
with an unfamiliar tail.
Your compass points to the north
but your body just won’t
recognize it anymore.
You can no longer sleep
parallel to the edges of the bed
and start arranging your expectations
at an angle from the walls.
The children act around you different,
and their parents have dreams for them
that you don’t understand.
It becomes a social prerogative
to applaud friends who have
pulled off using the system
to sustain their habits
and equality becomes the perfect argument
to defend one’s infallible right to choose
for himself a mediocre existence.
Taking responsibility is optional
and lawyers make a killing;
the pursuit of happiness is a fine print
making allowances for
the dissolution of vows
and the termination of innocent life.
You wonder
what multiple winters does to the soul
and whether democracy means
different things in different languages,
whether the lyrics of heroism
written in your blood is outdated
or whether the magnitude
of a people’s propensity to be heroes
defers to their level of comfort
and whether comfort enters
the blood like ice;
wonder if the place they’ve guarded
with hot borders and arcane embassies
is nothing but a fiction created by Hollywood
maintained by generations of conspirators
and what, finally,
was the real price
of crossing that ocean…

“Street Photograph of the Day | Bushwick | Brooklyn, NY”
by photographer Jonathan Auch


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