Namesake and Volver

A poem about aging as an émigré and seeing the progeny move away

Slowly the skin gets depoliticized

mottled and flaky.

The throat parches over

Beleaguered, crotchety and shaky .

The shoulders cringe

Blue veins, snake rivers

Crawl, where muscles

Once showed off

Slowly, the voices,

of mothers and fathers get closer

To a whisper.

Behind curtains,

Conversations drift

and voices lift.

Slowly, the hope

That inclusion will happen, disappears.

Neglect will not be forever, fades.

Slowly she departs

Skips town,

Smiling brightly

Through the window.

Slowly he says “right”

Raising his head

In an indulgent tone,

The intelligence

Of coffee, spewing, brewing from

a fair trade zone.

Slowly the years amble, stroll and roam

Crissing and crossing

We sit like bored cats

Pawing homeless flies


To pounce on

Mice men

Who meander in

From an alley

That sold you

The next gen.

With no warranty.

Slowly, the poubelle cans of contention

Distraction, competition and dereliction

Roll, scatter,

In the alley

Where grown-ups

Once grew

with attrition,

Chewing the fish-bones

Of a millionaire

Who made his money

By imitation

leaving the alley

On a Wens’day morning like that was his innovation.

Slowly valour, surprise

Victory and elation rise.

And then collapse on a beachhead.

Breaking thru’

The first forty years

Of émigré madness,

Many trapeze acts

Many deaths,

Of circus acts with life,

Of crisis before the peace

Of peace without control

Of empire by benevolent madness

Of morons winning

And vermin turning slowly,

In a soil

That is pronouncedly hospitable,

Slowly, the majority vote like idiots

And let idiots rule the majority

Slowly they make films like Namesake

Of Mothers left behind

As Fathers reminisce

And quietly perish

in rented places.

The caress of loved ones

Are submarine gestures

Inert to malignant thoughts and secrets

The bend in the road

Is but a dystopic dream

In a church basement

Where the waters rise

As the dykes give up early.

Slowly they make films

like Volver

About coming back

Over and over

Of returning

With haunting eyes

Grace without tears

About slumped bodies

And dumped souls

Spinning darkly

In a cavernous


And slowly I want to volver


I want to Return


Slowly I want to change the names of the spaces

That I sought to change and volver/return the


to their names.

Rana Bose is a writer/poet and engineer who is also a member of the Montreal Serai Editorial Board.