Friday, April 26, 2013

To Georgia, with Love

There is something in the guttural
sounds of the words,
or the frenzy of traffic
that’s moving in herds.

You might hear it or smell it
or swallow it whole,
but you’ll never quite grasp it
or clasp it in full.

You can squiggle your eyes
and twiddle your toes,
waggle your tongue
even crinkle you nose,
but it’s far beyond senses
and fences and prose.

When your catching your breath
between dozens of toasts,
when your vision is blurred
so your host becomes hosts,

it’s then that you just might
gather a glimpse,
of a spirit that’s moving
in staggering limps…

Wait that’s you (!) that is straining
to hold it together,
that’s raising your glass without
care about whether

you’ll wake in the morning
and make it to school
or pass out on the table
in a heap like a fool.

And maybe you are one
for starting to think
you’d keep up with the Georgians
in food and in drink.

Still there’s solace in knowing
that whenever you rise,
it will all make sense,
it will even seem wise,
that you’re breakfast consists
of congealed French fries.

No you’ll never explain it
as hard as you try.
Whatever you say will
come out as a lie.

But as far as you figure
your brain can surmise,
this terrible hangover
is somehow your prize.

So you walk to the street
and you wait for the bus,
you look to the ground
and you try not to cuss.

Through the nausea you sense
that the day is beginning.
The stray dogs are howling,
the world is still spinning.

Four children go by
hand in hand in a line.
The sun on the river
is beginning to shine.

The merchant is sweeping
the dust from the walk,
the farmer is guiding
and chiding his stock.

The wind is running the
length of the street.
Here you are studying
the tops of your feet.

And it’s then you remember
that something was said,
last night between mouthfuls
of wine and of bread.

It had something to do with
good health and good family.
It’s hard to recall
it was winding and rambly.

But whatever it was
everybody agreed
that it was something to
stand for in word and in deed.

That was all fine and good
but now you can feel it.
Look around, it’s all here,
nobody can steal it.

It is pulsing, convulsing,
inside your head,
from your heart to your heels
starting now til’ you’re dead.

If it hurts that’s okay
least you know that it’s there.
There’s no secret or trick
everyone gets there share.

So you raise your gaze
and flag down your ride,
climb in to the crush
of humans inside.

And it smells and it’s hot
but you’re traveling fast,
contorting your limbs
in a way that can’t last.

Swerving upstream making
dangerous blind passes,
inhaling the sweat and the
germs of the masses.

You’re trying to swallow
your bile and your pride,
accept that your stuck and
along for the ride,

when suddenly lurching
you come to your stop,
the hiss of the door
drops you out with a plop.

And now you have paid
and now you’ve arrived
now you can even say
you survived.

But that’s not enough to get by,
its not even close
though this country has served
you a near lethal dose.

Your job is to teach
something you know:
surviving’s not it
because no one’s a pro.

So you walk up the steps
trying to figure the score,
what it is about Georgia that
makes you want more.

It’s far beyond thinking and
breathing and saying.
Too much to afford
however you’re paying.

Whatever it be it’s
around in the air,
hidden from sight
so long as you stare.

Raise your glass, close your eyes,
forget what you know.
Head to class, head to work,
in the rain or the snow.

Speak up in that language,
forget all your woes.
What you mean will be clear
when you say Gaomarjos!

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