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"Twin Falls" "Twin Falls"
by Alexander Mikhaylov
2007-12-28 13:12:31
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Arrival
We flew over to Twin Falls, Idaho on the Flag Day -
An immigration worker who picked us up at the airport
Seemed genuinely surprised when

We mentioned the Flag Day to him
‘The Flag Day? Wow! Do you know about the Flag Day? I forgot all about it myself.’
It was our third day in the USA. We were political refugees
Fresh from Hungarian Red Cross camp
And we were tired
Upon our arrival
We received twenty bucks in cash at a local bank.
On top of it
Immigration authorities rented for us
A shoebox of a house. It looked like a dusty old toy but
It had everything: a living room, a bedroom,
A bathroom and a walk-though kitchen - all real tiny
But it was better than
Common rooms with bunk-beds at the Red Cross camp.
We unpacked our bags and waited for volunteers,
Like those we’d read about in a small brochure called ‘Immigration to the USA’
Back in the camp, but they’ve never come.
Perhaps the town’d run out of the volunteers, but we hardly minded.
I only wished we had a bit more than 20 bucks.
I was low on cigarettes and my wife needed tampons
But a fridge was stacked with canned food and
There was a plenty of soap and toilet paper in the bathroom,
A fruit bowl, filled with bananas and apples, stood on the kitchen table
And a jar of instant coffee was tucked onto a shelf, and a cute kitchen towel
With a needlework caption ‘A home is where your heart is’ was hung above the sink.
In short, we were OK.
We hadn’t seen anyone except an immigration worker, then
A couple weeks later. I spotted a group of men
Approaching the house. It was the first time
Strangers appeared at our doorsteps.
I felt a bit uneasy, for
These guys looked like hit men: dressed in black
Well pressed trousers, white shirts and black ties,
huge bellies hanging out like sacks of ammo --
Serious dudes.
They turned out to be a delegation from
the Mormon Church,
The pillars of the society who
Cared about salvation of our souls.
Since then they went on pestering us day after day
Talking about their beliefs. the evils of tobacco, caffeine, and booze; giving us
Brochures. Books of Mormon and Bibles with the slightest provocation.
Soon our tiny house got full of bibles
And small porcelain figurines of baby Jesus.
One day I collected them all, shoved them into a cardboard box
And carried the box down to the basement.
Two years later
We decided to move to San Francisco.
We packed our bags and drove off
Leaving behind old clothes, a broken lamp and
All those Bibles and figurines staked in the basement.
I hope our landlord, who belonged to that church,
Found them, so nothing was wasted.


   
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Emanuel Paparella2007-12-28 15:14:22
Indeed! Let anyone land any place in America
and it will not take very long
before he gets the urge to move on
from the garden of Eden and get ahead.
Inevitable progress, the newer and the bigger,
the brighter future and the bigger house,
the deconstruction of the present by the future,
beckon like alluring sirens of the sea.
And soon enough one is working hard
to get ahead while the present is seen only
from the point of view of the goals to be reached.
One ends up with precious little leisure by which
to be aware of the presence of the present’s manifestation
without any reference to any “in order to.”
There was one American who went against
the conventional wisdom. He was considered
slightly deranged and was eventually jailed.
His name was Henry David Thoreau.
Most of his books have been left behind.
You will not find them in the “self-help” section.


Sand2008-01-04 11:27:43
I wonder what kind of country America would be if all the inhabitants decided to abscond from society and sit in a primitive hut by a quiet lake and muse on a personal view of the nature of being. Thoreau had the advantage of absconding from his hermit life to grab a decent meal at a friend's house but without that opportunity life would be pretty dismal. Admittedly Thoreau did not lunge at other civilizations to butcher their menfolk and rape their women and steal their natural resources but it is not necessary to leap from one extreme to the other.


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