A wall of wind at my back,
I steer November streets,
cracked by Jack Daniels, no sleep.
Dive bar behind, I stride, fearless
as eighteen years ago, although
I know bad things come to those
who wait. I refuse to heed good
advice: my reckless streak –
an unfortunate trait. Raised in
eight cities, habitual moves
got in my blood. These circadian grooves
are flawed by the drive to go go go.
Don’t test me. I’ll just make you sad.
Home is not a word I know.

Gypsies are too tight knit.
I feel kin with cowboys:
the open road, the grit
of no noise but coyote cries
and wind. In my element
anonymous or alone,
near imaginary tumbleweeds I sit
or rest my head on bone.
The country’s wide and wild.
I don’t buy the homestead bit.
I trust the moon’s guise, its wily
gaze, its light, bent. I sin while
dust collects in my red-brown hair.
I’ve never been from anywhere.

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AMANDA J. BRADLEY grew up in a variety of suburbs around the United States, such as the suburbs of Cincinnati, of Pittsburgh, of Atlanta, of Dallas, of Omaha, and so on. Her first book of poems, Hints and Allegations, was released in 2009 from NYQ Books, and her second, Oz at Night, came out from NYQ Books in October 2011. She has published poetry or has poems forthcoming in many journals including Gargoyle, The Best American Poetry Blog, Paddlefish, Lips, Rattle, The New York Quarterly, Poetry Bay, and Barefoot Muse. Amanda is a graduate of the MFA program at The New School, and she holds a PhD in English and American Literature from Washington University in Saint Louis. Amanda is currently at work on a memoir and a collection of essays. Amanda teaches literature at Molloy College and lives in Brooklyn. As much as she loves New York City, she sees a small house and a big, black dog in her future.

Photograph courtesy Brian Adams.

3 responses to “My Red-Brown Hair”

  1. Lorna says:

    Being one who moved about much in the mid to late 80’s, I can relate. Wanderlust is a tough habit to break.

  2. julia says:

    I love the line,” I don’t trust the homestead bit” I relate as I have never settled conventionally. I have found peace in my unsettlement , my authentic.

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