My Father's Geography by Afaa M. Weaver

My Father’s Geography

by Afaa M. Weaver

I was parading the Côte d’Azur,
hopping the short trains from Nice to Cannes,
following the maze of streets in Monte Carlo
to the hill that overlooks the ville.
A woman fed me pâté in the afternoon,
calling from her stall to offer me more.
At breakfast I talked in French with an old man
about what he loved about America–the Kennedys.

On the beaches I walked and watched
topless women sunbathe and swim,
loving both home and being so far from it.

At a phone looking to Africa over the Mediterranean,
I called my father, and, missing me, he said,
“You almost home boy. Go on cross that sea!”

_______

Afaa Michael Weaver (born 1951 Baltimore, Maryland) formerly known as Michael S. Weaver, is an American poet, short story writer and editor. He is author of numerous poetry collections and his honors include a Fulbright Scholarship and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and Pew Foundation. His poems have appeared in literary journals and magazines including Callaloo.

Born in Maryland, he studied two years at the University of Maryland. Then he entered the world of factory life alongside his father and uncles and remained a factory worker for fifteen years. He started 7th Son Press and Blind Alleys, a literary journal. He graduated from Brown University on a fellowship, with an M.A, and Excelsior College with a B.A. He taught at National Taiwan University and Taipei National University of the Arts as a Fulbright Scholar, and was a faculty member at the Cave Canem Foundation’s annual retreat. In addition, he was the first to be named an elder of the Cave Canem Foundation. He also studied Chinese language at the Taipei Language Institute in Taiwan.

He teaches at Simmons College, and is director of the Zora Neale Hurston Literary Center. He is Chairman of the Simmons International Chinese Poetry Conference. Tess Onwueme, the Nigerian playwright, gave him the Ibo name “Afaa,” meaning “oracle,” while Dr. Perng Ching-hsi has given him the Chinese name “Wei Yafeng.”