GEORGIA KOLIAS

Poetry

I am seeking publication for The Motherland, a three-generation family biography which uses poetic text and original photographs to explore the themes of diaspora, homeland, and the evolution of family as it changes over time, cultural context and geographic location. Some of the themes explored include home/homeland, retention of cultural identity and language over generations, cultural duality, and the struggle to reconcile traditional culture and empowered sexuality.

The title poem was featured here on Windy City Greek during National Poetry Month, April 2016.

The Motherland 

I left the motherland

On September 12, 1965 at 11:05 p.m.

It was a Friday night

 

And for all intents and purposes

I was in San Francisco, California

United States of America

 

But as I emerged

 

I crossed a threshold

From the motherland into exile

Never to return

 

To that fertile land lush

With pulsations of

My mother’s heart

 

The heart of Greece

 

For below the gurgling of her intestines

The sound of her blood filtering

Through our placenta

 

Her voice resonated

Her tongue forming my

Sense of sound

 

With each swallow, tastes of

Honey walnut feta oregano lemon

Hardwired my taste buds

 

Her fingers tapping my back

In rhythm with the bouzouki and κλαρίνο

Taught my feet to dance

 

And through her eyes

Gazing longingly into the pictures

Of family 6756 miles away

 

She instilled in me sadness

An undying experience of

Exile

 

Before I left her body

I was already schooled

In the language of loss

 

Her grief for the motherland palpable

 

In each gulp of amniotic fluid

In each labored breath and sigh

In each reluctant step on new soil

 

She left the land and

She left me

Wandering this strange territory

 

Of divided loyalties

Searching for all time and zones

Without a map for the

 

Road home

 

Daddy as child         Yiayia

Dancing at Wedding         

 

 

 

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