Michael Pruchnicki

Narrowback's Morning Song - Poem by Michael Pruchnicki

They had a name for us in the neighborhood
immigrants twenty years from the old country
looked down their collective noses
at those of us born and raised here
as second generation trash

We were narrowbacks
and that was that!

No matter that our mothers hailed
from Clare or Galway, Cork or Kerry -
our Italian and Polish surnames
put us outside the pale
as though we painted ourselves blue

Little better than barbarians,
our teachers said in a brogue
you could cut with a knife
mispronouncing with zeal
our names that ended in vowels

We kids ignored our elders
and soon even they yielded
to the bonds that formed
between first generation
Irish-Americans and us
Narrowbacks who fought
back like the Murphys
and the O'Briens!

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, March 30, 2008

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