I was a military brat. My return to the U.S. after attending high school in Italy was, well, interesting. Junction City, Kansas was definitely not bella Napoli. This poem came from that experience, albeit a few years after, and was published in the mid-80s in the Allegheny Review, a national journal of undergraduate creative writing. It’s a flawed piece, and doesn’t resemble today’s work at all, but I think the kid who wrote it still exists. Somewhere.
Letter from Kansas
Driving the stretch to Junction City,
I look for familiar faces in the cars
we pass, but see only strange grasses
gliding by. Three weeks ago
I slept on a stone-littered hilltop
overlooking the Bay of Naples.
Now the prairie laps at our front door.
A mile from the house two corralled bison
munch dull hay thrown daily
from a truck’s flat bed, and past that
the Discount Center’s sign
spells America. What I wouldn’t give
for a deep draught of Pozzuoli’s
summer stench and the strong
yellow wine that Michele’s father
makes. We mixed it with the gardener’s
red, creating our own bouquet,
remember? And here they say
I’m too young to buy beer and wine.
Without them the food is flavorless,
Like the single language spoken.
I understand it all,
and miss the difficulty. Maybe Texas
will be better. Ci vediamo. Bob
What a wonderful thing to have gone through, and I love what you say about missing the difficulty. Was Texas better?
Texas has been constant…
here you managed to simultaneously achieve lyricism and a conversational style. nicely done! thanks also for liking my latest post.
Enjoy all of your poetry and prose that I have read so far. Were you living in L.A. in 1987? You mention a few poets from there…I was there studying with Jack Grapes and helping out in the Venice Poetry center in the old fire station. Haven’t found your bio or name so not sure why I presumed you might have been there. Thanks for dropping by my blog. Hope to read more of your work…
Thank you. No, I was in Texas back then. Can’t seem to get away…
I don’t usually like poems. I liked this.
Excellent composition. effective voice with an element of the ironic and a sense of longing. Well done. 🙂
I like this poem. When you re-read this does it take you right back there. I felt the sadness and longing for what was left behind. Thank you for visiting my blog, strange just today I was contemplating blogging my poetry from long ago. You are my sigh to follow through. I believe no poetry is flawed,,,,,,unless your being graded by a teacher. An illiterate poet is still a poet.
Thank you for your kind words!