The Expatriate


Paul Fried (1893 - 1976)


by Frank Thomas Smith


A problem with most foreign lands

is that they're so far away,

like the bleachers in Ebbett's used to be

before the advent of technology.

Also, either they're somewhat bland,

foggy, windy and damp, or,

if southerly, downright dangerous,

where bullets fly and sunscreen 21

is needed to assuage the assassin sun.


Why, then, does he dwell,

ducking and frying, but feeling well,

far from the patria he tearfully invokes

over juice of the grape

at a sidewalk table

of the corner café?

Call it if you will, with a shrug, escape.

He'll smile and wave away a bug

or give his drooping mustache a tug.  


He'll bid goodbye to you and,

sandal-clad as once Ulysses was,

his uncashed pension check

snug against his bony chest,

homebound walk through the land

to his dark-stocking'd waiting mistress

who greets him with a kiss and a caress.


Foreign lands tend to be far away,

tis true, but so is the expatriate.



A window flew open clattering wood,

A girl leaned out as far as she could.

The gentle breasts that filled her dress

Palpitated with distress.

A moment later on the bottom floor

A man flung open the rotting door.

She cried: "¿Cuándo volverás?"

"That", he spat, "I know not".

He limped across the puddled street,

Cursing the slowness of his feet.

I've often wondered but never learned

If that man ever returned.