Waterman

Waterman,
Dutch liner
on which you made your passage-
Father,
smiling from the gangplank
hand raised, waving at your friend's
camera...
and all this, from my memories
of a black and white photo,
long lost.
And I remember also,
your stories of standing in line
there,
in Treiskirchen, Austria
you, just one of the many
refugees processed.
And you told me that
the longest lines
were to England and Canada,
the United States...
but that you, young and tired,
impatient
you stepped into a shorter line-
destination,
" Netherlands."
For 3 years you lived
in Rotterdam
before coming to
" America."
My memories too,
are of what I, a child
thought of as strange- mementos
kept in your desk-
a shaving kit,
letter opener,
fountain pen
and shoeshine brush
- your cherished gifts
from Queen Wilhelmina...
The eyes of the world
we're upon all of you
Time magazine's
man of the year
(1956)
an artist's rendering
- a composite
fiery- eyed
beret'd in top coat
with rifle in hand
the brave defender
respected and welcomed
so very different
from today's world
with it's intolerance
and xenophobia
- it's shameful shunning.

This poem is about: 
My family

Comments

Annette M Velasquez

This poem is close to my heart and has received high praise from workshops. I have never read it at an open mic or slam... What do you think? Please give me some feedback. Is the punctuation bizarre? I think it works better read aloud.

Jan Wienen

Amazing! I also arrived on the "Waterman".

I also departed from Rotterdam and landed in New York.

 

Jan

 

 

 

Annette M Velasquez

What a small world! My father, Gyozo ( Victor) Gabriel arrived in New York in 1959. He lived in Rotterdam for three years.

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