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Poem: "Elsewhere"

"Elsewhere"
by Christopher Walsh, 6/4/2017-6/30/2017



How would I react to New Orleans?
How would I react to Chicago?
Missoula, Montana? Denver? Salt Lake?
How would I feel when I finally go
To place after place I haven't yet been
— Miami, Columbus, Yosemite, Perth,
Coeur d'Alene, Banff, Leeds, Alabama —
I know there's most certainly never a dearth
Of not-yet-seen places in my life, and yours
So when will I see some? How will they inspire
My thoughts and my mood, experiencing
Environs, I hope, where I'll find I admire
Their differences, and their subtleties
In what is done there, and in how they're alike?
(There's more that's in common than we might say
When comparing/contrasting the places we hike.)
Comfortable there? Do we feel eased?
We on edge? Mis-placed? Does a town feel "off"?
The energy there may fit perfectly
Or cause you to drain: your mood falls to trough.

I felt comfort in Boston. Visited
Twice, ’98 and ’08, first time on
A search to sort out unsettled feelings.
I was there 'cause of loss. A best friend, gone
A year by then: I hadn't fully dealt
With that. I had a chance to do so.
I traveled to Virginia: saw people close
To him. Then Boston: others whom I owed
Face-to-face, in-person time. I needed
Connection. I felt lucky I felt this,
Connected to a new-to-me place, too.
Did not get all the way to feeling bliss,
Not yet, but: a chance to build towards, perhaps,
Bliss. After that, I could see myself there
As more than Visitor. ’08, again,
Suggested Boston as one more place where
I'd find comfort. Many other cities,
I should only visit. That's enough for
New York: its energy amazes; still,
It is a city I couldn't afford,
Financially or psychologically.
New York, were I there too long, would run me
Ragged, run me over, wear me out —
Unless I budget time, not quite shun the
Huge power of New York: instead, a dose.
That's it. That's true of San Francisco, too:
It's special and worth visiting, unique,
Dramatic; it has a draw, to go to
And see. But not a place to build my life.
To feed it, yes: to add experience,
Experiences, flavor, surprises,
With then a chance to take that home: we sense
We should connect more times in those locales
That speak to us more deeply. That, we hope,
Allow us to apply the flavor from
The visited to a "home base." We cope
Or thrive (at least get by) there. And, I know,
My comfort fits in Portland. Has for years.
I know it's not the only place I'd fit
But fit, I do: this is a truth, sincere.

How will I react to other new towns?
How will I react when I visit?
Which cities won't work, which I would bounce off of,
And which will connect, so exquisite?
Exciting, the thought of further good places
I could temporarily be
With chances to fall for a place's good graces
To make me a new devotee.


© Christopher Walsh, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Christopher Walsh (chris_walsh) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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