What You Will Put in Your Homebound, Check-in Travel Bag

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Foreign alcohol—to bring something new and novel back to old friends—so they can taste the transitory experiences your words fail to repaint.

Clothes—each hole a bit of wear-and-tear that proves it was not a distant dream. It was real. You were a part of it. The smell of highland smoke, the ocean, guacamole, the perfume of a fleeting romance—still lingering in the fibers.

Crafts from the market—great ideas at the time, when you bargained for them with foreign currency. You’ll hang some on your wall and wonder at some, “Why the hell did I buy this?” Imagine one day showing them to your growing kids, hopeful to inspire them to see the world as you saw it—attainable, your own, open and available.

Postcards—the ones you forgot to send, now lost to the trip’s end.

Machete—the one you’ll treasure, but never wield like a local.

Things made of glass—the ones that will arrive in worthless pieces.

Insect eggs—that will hatch, pioneers in a new world—travelers like you, colonizers, foreign invaders who will conquer and upset nature’s careful balance.

Train tickets, receipts, bus stubs—garbage—but not to you, who used them to float from this to that, here to there.

Cuban cigars—valuable for political reasons.

Hammocks—where will you hang it in your urban apartment?

Indigenous garbs—realistically, you’ll never wear them in public.

Not just a polo—the polo you wore to Angkor Wat.

Not just jeans—jeans that hiked Pacaya.

Not just shoes—shoes that stood atop Machu Pichu.

Not just a guitar—a guitar still filled with grains of sand—still smelling of the palm fueled fire—where the intoxicated circle sang Wonderwall elatedly out of tune as the setting sun burned the horizon.

Your bag—just a detail, a means to the rest of the world, that carries everything.

By Luke Armstrong


About the Author

LukeArmstrongLuke Maguire Armstrong lives in Guatemala directing the humanitarian aid organization, Nuestros Ahijados. His book of poetry, iPoems for the Dolphins to Click Home About (available for sale on Amazon.com) is especially enjoyed by people who “don’t read poetry.” (@lukespartacus)

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