A Personal History of Globalization

— Jerry Dyer

I have changed so much.
Growing up as I did
behind the cotton curtain, on branch lines
of the chitlin’ circuit,
before dollar-a-holler was gone
from the afternoon a m radio dial,
I dreamt in black and white.

The world then felt nailed down.
Oshkosh might have been the door capital
of the globe, but porch swings came from Carolina,
and in Birmingham, Alabama they made steel.
All our mirrors were virginal,
and opened into depths.
My friend Ducky Paulson
had never been to Memphis,
let alone seen a Jew.  Memphis, we knew,
sits south of Cairo on the Mississippi,
and apparently the Egyptians know that too.

How little we note the history that winds its way
East and West, then burrows beneath the skin.
Manor homes and churches rear up,
columned and porticoed like Athens or old Rome.
In old Quebec, the Chateau Frontenac,
on its hillside in New France, was built
of orange Scottish bricks.  They came
as deadhead ballast across the eastern sea.

One thought on “A Personal History of Globalization

  1. Jerry, it’s amazing how your poems manage to be simple and sublime at the same time. It begins in such provincial tidiness, yet grows in its scope until the end when it somehow encompasses the whole of history–Egypt, Athens, Rome. It ends in such grandness and universal embrace.

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