Laura Nyro – Eli and the Thirteenth Confession

Travelling invokes a minority awareness, different psychogeographies are washing together, with one stronger by numbers. Self-awareness heightens and etiquette tightens its grip. Away disadvantage. Things are understood through double-take, where once innate. And like a thorn in the paw, we feel the burden on the beast. The extra labour, albeit with a polite face. Naturalise or don’t, one shall never know the inherent thoughts of the indigenous. Psychogeography is from birth. The interesting thing with flighty immigration is when the psycho does not resemble the geography. Then, visiting the indigenous geography. Does one feel transplanted? Feel they’re lacking something which they should have?


Hailing from an area where diversity is a given, finding myself in a residence of homogeneity has required some getting used to. I love the variety, and definitely miss it. Existing as a minority member of a society though, that needed more computation. As seen in the above paragraph, the situation’s created a question I am keen to refine to a conclusion of somesort. Or, further confusion.

The movement of people is a historical fact. And a topical fact today. In many ages, ethnicity has been tied to different geographies, and of course, this has and does change, however, when ancestors lay down their markers, present day peoples frequently feel they owe something to them. I suppose rightly so. What feels like home is a primordial instinct. Now, how we feel isn’t concrete, but our remembering self often clings tightly to it.

Travailing to a new geography antagonises our initial homeward bound instinct. Crystalline in memory, some can’t assimilate properly into their new surroundings, cherishing their image of their homeland. On the other hand, many put down their roots and thrive happily in their newfound soil, energised by the conveniences the land provides, the strength of the community around them.

In either circumstance, our ancestors haven’t left us, floating above our heads. Like a debt, I personally feel like I’m in the red to them. So, hypothetically, if a person or a family emigrate, what do they feel when they return to an ancestral homeland? Especially considering ethnicity. For example, if you look Japanese, but grew up as an American, knowing little to none of the language or culture say, and return to Japan, there’s a societal expectation upon that person to have been apart of their society, to know the body language, cultural cues, language, customs. It’s like the people there see your ancestors and not the person in front of them. Of course, it’s natural a society are going to act like that. They are that society. But to an individual, how must it feel, your outward identity not correlating to your inside identity?

I certainly wish I could grasp an understanding, because maybe it could open the door to further movement for everyone. Many feel indebted to ancestors, customs, but gaining an understanding of the fear of the move and return would be a step in the right direction.


This post is dedicated to a unique 1960s into 70s female singer songwriter, Laura Nyro. This above song is from her second record from 1968, Eli and the Thirteenth Confession. Perhaps a significant inspiration on nearly all female songwriters that followed in her wake, her music still surprises me on repeat listens. That voice is seraphic, golden, quenching, something. It has something.

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