Poem about understanding other cultures

Or real curiosity and sympathy and trying to listen to other cultures, subcultures, minorities, humans who have different opinions to us. I still remember with a shudder the businessman I met at a networking meeting in 2009 or so, who said: ‘What’s the need for any cross-cultural awareness training? We all travel nowadays!’

Romanian tradition to welcome your guests with bread and salt. From doxologia.ro
Romanian tradition to welcome your guests with bread and salt. From doxologia.ro

Let Me Help

Your hands pick up, put down, in gestures trained,

your lip curls where a dimple was once placed.

You ignore the salt, the braided bread my family

hands out on a platter.

You wash down their fulsome questions with

my uncles’s plum brandy,

solemnly incline your head, so we can

appreciate your importance

your Western ways.

Let me help you move that suitcase

out of my life

but not too far

not next door

with their political leanings

and teeth of alabaster.

I Miss…

Over at dVerse Poets Pub, Mary is tending the bar and asking us to write poems in answer to the question: ‘WHO or WHAT do you miss?’

I miss… understanding (between people). We are too quick to judge, to criticise, to retort, to ban. However, the poem below took me in a different, unexpected direction, although it started with a lack of understanding…

brain
From pbs.org

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Writer

His head contains worlds.

People pop out to smoke cigarettes

simper, gossip, screw and pray

maggotty ideas fester – let them die –

voices assault us daily.

What is real he no longer can say.

He’s tried to flirt with mainstream

but his world stays out of kilter

at an angle only he can measure

drumming beats no one will follow

there is no shared vision

how we wish we could belong.

 

Come inside the head, ladies and gents!

Pause, admire, discover

underneath he’s much like you

a gentler man of erudite barbs

one read and you’ll be captivated

I know he’s worked so hard for this:

How can I make you know too?

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Writer

Our heads contain worlds. Or is it just the one over and over?

People pop out to smoke cigarettes,

simper, gossip, fuck and pray.

Maggotty ideas fester – let them die –

voices assault us daily.

What is real I cannot say.

He’s tried to flirt with the mainstream.

His world always out of kilter

at an angle only he can measure,

drumming beats no one will follow.

There is no shared vision,

yet we wish horses of belonging for us beggars.

Come inside, ladies and gents!

If only you’d discover that underneath I’m much like you,

a gentler man of erudite barbs.

One read and you’ll be captivated.

I know I’ve worked so hard for this:

how can I share that knowledge, that wonder with you?

 

How do you keep your balance as a creative person?  That is the question that Joe Hesch would like us to consider at Open Link Night on dVerse Poets. Always a sore point with me…

Empathy

She sits in laundry like a queen.

She heaves big sighs like someone slighted.

Each look reproaches

When she approaches.

She makes time fly in bustling beeps.

 

She yells at children far too often.

She issues orders, nags and rants.

It’s all her way

Or else no way.

She’s sly with arrows, hitting true.

 

Yet for all her sovereignty, the house is not clean

And administrative tasks fall largely through cracks.

For all her big postures, her actions near miss.

She’s long given up on gainful employment,

Or bringing in money, or useful discourse.

 

All this I can take, all this I can stomach.

But one thing I cannot and will not forgive:

When she forgets about us and shrugs off her kin,

When she goes off into her world of mad scribbles,

Leaving us poorer, defensive and flawed.