DETROIT, BOSTON, AND BIRMINGHAM

People are not the same wherever you go

Travel can liberate you from routine—

Places you think are your whole world

Concerns and ties that are only local

Customs you are bred into

 

Boston and Birmingham—north and south

Have deep cultures, strong accents, characteristic manners of discourse

So different one from the other

Both beautiful, both terrible

I lived in both, loved both, and assimilated

Though still a visitor in both

 

One wants roots, a homeland, connections

I am grateful for the many successive generations

Who bred and stayed, and gave Boston and Birmingham

Their cultures, their deep roots

Detroit will always be with me

Like my childhood is always with me

 

But I’m far from childhood, from Detroit

From Boston and Birmingham, for all that matter

Frost grew up in San Francisco

Moved east and grew “Yankeer and Yankeer”

Distance from nascent bonds, strictures unaware

 

I am more what I’ve struggled with

What I’ve accomplished and failed at

Than I am Detroit, Boston, or Birmingham

But Boston and Birmingham and my struggles

Liberated me from Detroit and my childhood

Into which I was bred

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