Melancholy Hyperbole

Poetry about longing.

time machine

when I boarded a Pan Am 707
in Dakar Senegal
forty years ago
leaving Africa for America not knowing
I would never return
I entered a time machine filled with
more people than my village
I found myself among forgotten comforts
air conditioning
fresh water
clean toilets where I could sit
instead of squat
 
the quiet and scents of my village returned
when I opened the sack lunch friends gave me
knowing I would need it on a flight that began in Nairobi
and ran out of milk and beer and small packages
of peanuts by the time it departed
Lagos for Dakar
 
I slept uneasily all the way to JFK
twice using the toilet where I struggled
to remember which way to turn the faucets
which was hot and which cold
how to turn them off
how to flush the toilet
 
a tired stewardess woke me just before landing
serving small stale cinnamon rolls baked
in Nairobi three days prior
frosting hard and bitter
 
 
michaelclnMichael Coolen is a pianist, composer, actor, performance artist, and writer. His works have been published widely; in particular he has been published in Oregon Poetry Association and Clementine Poetry Journal. He is also a published composer with works being performed around the world, including at Carnegie Hall, MoMA, and the Christie Gallery in New York. You can find out more about him by visiting his website.
 
 

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Categories: Poetry

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