NaPM April 15th 2019
Rules: Write a poem for national poetry month on the topic or form described. Each poem should appear as a separate reply to this thread. The goal is to, at the end of the month have written 30 poems for National Poetry Month. 

NaPM April 15, 2019

Topic: A poem written from the perspective of a stranger in a strange land.

Form: Any

Line Requirement:  8 lines or more.
The Soufflé isn’t the soufflé; the soufflé is the recipe. --Clara 
The Philippines.

I've lived here for fifteen years
and speak with the tip of my index finger
if air were sandpaper it'd be worn down
to the wrist, or maybe the elbow.
Learning the language was like trying
to cut through lead with a butter knife.
you know? a knife made of butter.
I'm the owner of around 10 words
I own them but unwrapping the bastards
confibulates me and i end up tied of tongue.
The driving is easy enough, it's an attacking form.
First you have to read the Art of War,
then you have to overcome a million others fighters.
Menus have pictures so picking something tasty would be easy,
you'd think, you'd be wronger than a wrong un doing wrong.
Salt in everything: soy sauce, hoisin sauce garlic salts.
No English...
Bacon, pork pies, sausages, black pudding.
It's like a foreign country for fuck sake.

I assumed it was alive and I assumed 
it was human, the figure curled 
fetal on the front steps of the shelter.

Later, a blue-shirted man walked toward me
wearing food service or first responder
or surgical gloves.

He carried a Styrofoam cup 
as if it were a urine sample.

I crossed the street in mid-block. 
He did too, and soon passed me,
then waited at the corner for the light
despite there being no cars.

I crossed and kept walking.  When 
the light changed, so did he.

By the middle of the next block 
he caught and passed me again.

Papers protruded from a back pocket 
of his black jeans – could have been 
boarding passes, tax notices,  
or blood test results.

I once had a blue shirt - work shirt,
and once my beard was dark
like his.

An orange in his left hand–he carried it 
like a dead sparrow, or  a cup of fruit,
or a vitamin pill bottle now empty.

I am certain that he did not regard me.
I am certain I have never been him.
We stand side by side, traffic 
from both directions.
Strange Land

She had to leave her home,
Norway House, to discover
a screwdriver isn't supposed
to be stabbed through a hand,
or other parts that all equally begged
to spare a life left stained in snow.
Brown skin the only reason they needed,
her screams shattered a night,
pleasingly silent before and after.
Later, her name is compiled in a long list,
in a country I used to think I knew.

Time is the best editor.

This place is very strange.
I am a stranger here, as well,
but this merely enhances
my sense I have departed sanity.

Yesterday, I was stopped by
a policeman.  Though I had been told
of their strange customs, I feared
our countrymen here were
setting up a cruel joke on me.

But, in truth, it happened as they said.
There could be no doubt:
this armed policeman had no thought
of receiving a gift for himself,
to forget my speeding.

What a nation!  How can it operate
without prejudice against a stranger
like myself, not of their tribe,
and no profit to office-holders
from their duties?  How can they pay
their superiors for securing
their positions?  It is a mystery.

I do not like it - one does not know
where one stands.  How can business operate
without rivers of gratuities,
banknotes in envelopes?
These men are mad.
feedback award Non-practicing atheist
Now this seems strange,
Cause Everything seems normal.
That's never the case though is it?
Cause that's how it always is.

I'm saying I can't expect anything.
I can always expect something,
And I can even expect nothing
And thats always been totally normal,
But that's not the case here is it?
That's why this seems strange
Peanut butter honey banana sandwiches
Men need their distance. No man is an island -- true,
but neither are we pieces of a continent.

A peninsula without an isthmus
is more easily forgot
when swallowed by the sea,
while two lands colliding
rise into mountains,

but two boats that ram each other
break their bows and sink,
and strapped side by side
they will not glide with grace
along the water. Men need a fleet

when charting life's unknowns -- it's true,
but also berth to breathe.

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