Flamenco at the Thirsty Bear. Jim Gunshinan

About Jim Gunshinan

 • The Artificial Heart
 • Heroes
 • Geography Lessons
 • Blue Cornflowers
 • Living by Water
 • Upon This Rock
 • The Man Dad Brought
    Home from the War
 • Physics
 • Black and White
 • Not the Mom We Were
    Used To
 • Nothing Sacred
 • Spring
 • Transformation
 • Please Straighten That Up
 • Up from Depression
 • What the Body Wants
 • Compassion
 • Commute
 • Kiss Me
 • Starter Castles
 • Flamenco at the Thirsty
 • A Nature Poem
 • Portrait of a Woman from
   the Gardens of Egypt in the
   First Century



Geography Lessons

When Kosovo split from Serbia
I didn’t know if they both still belonged
to Yugoslavia. And why is Kosovo

filled with Albanians? I once saw Albania
from the Greek island of Korfu,
where my sister lived. When I asked her

Why don’t women on the beach in Greece
wear bathing-suit tops? she said
This is Europe.

And all those countries above Iraq
with “stan” at the end of their names?
I knew a Stan once

in college. He was the first guy I ever knew
who wore clogs. He was from New Jersey.
I don’t know the left side of Africa very well

besides Liberia, which was in the news
yesterday. I know a guy from Malawi
who left his family and country

because he was in trouble with the government.
We were in a dance class together
in Oakland. He had a positive relationship

with gravity, unlike Stan from New Jersey whose clogs
made an awful racket on the wooden floor
of our dorm room. I met a Peace Corps volunteer

home on leave from Moldova, a place I never even heard of.
When she came to the door looking for my housemate
she was eating jelly beans.

She opened her mouth and asked
What flavor am I eating?
She was tall, athletic, and had long brown hair.

Her name was Leslie. Crushed in her mouth
the red and yellow candy looked like
Argentina lying on its back, and I wanted

to go there, to cover that whole country
with my mouth, like a tsunami, and suck
her cherry and lemon jelly beans. But I couldn’t

because I was a priest, and she came to see
my housemate, the pastor. I learned, however
that Moldova is between Rumania and Ukraine.

Two other places I’d probably never go to.
The story of my life then:
So much geography to see and none to touch.

  © Jim Gunshinan, 2013


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