On a wall, tucked in a corner, there is a poem entitled, A Man. It is primarily born from the sadness and mixed emotions of a daughter losing her father. However, it is also a tale of the immigrant experience. My hope is that it will act as food for thought for all those who come upon it.
Transferring my words onto the wall has left me feeling quite vulnerable. Not so much for the poem itself, (although it factors in as well), but for the reaction to its physical presence there, in association to me, even before it is read or considered.
Anyone producing something for public consumption, I am pretty sure, struggles with remaining true to their idea and purpose. The goal is to achieve a connection with the end consumer, without selling out or trying to solely impress.
I wonder if the earliest petroglyphs were produced under similar levels of angst?
A Man is a personal history, describing the courage of youthful inexperience and the thirst for adventure. It talks about the humiliations and hardships suffered in an unfamiliar land amongst strangers. Also, the accomplishments and successes earned through sheer will power. It is about frustration, resentment, inferiority and superiority, uncertainty and fear, learning and growing. It belies a seemingly intact integration while the universal immigrant’s torment IS, and in my opinion always will BE, the divided heart.
It is written in Friulian because it is a tale of these people (to whom my father belongs), with their attributes and defects, cultural positives and negatives. Still, I believe that all cultures could potentially locate a relatable sentiment or situation therein.
These Friulians are my past, my history. Their ordeals and triumphs have filtered down to me and my sister and cousins, nieces and nephews through genetics and storytelling. And in so doing, have anchored us to the bigger story.
It is, in my opinion, fundamental and necessary to not dwell in the past, but to rekindle it for the purpose of understanding and growth. After all, every act we perform today will become a piece of history tomorrow. Building upon, learning from and, bettering it, can only occur through its preservation.
May my words do just that.