I'm from hate and discontent,
from words so caustic that they burn after 35, 40, 45, 50 years.
I'm from nowhere and everywhere,
I'm from nine schools and fourteen houses.
I'm from "You'll make new friends,"
and "Quit crying, we didn't live there that long."
To the KFC Christmas and "They're too old for a tree anyway."
I'm from slammed doors, and curse words and silent treatments.
I'm from high expectations, icy glares, straight A's, and disappointment.
I'm from 800 miles of claustrophobic silence in the family car and 18 years with no vacations.
I'm from lazy days at the family farm
and hard-*** work a few years later.
I'm from rides on the tractor with Grandpa,
and watching the illegal sabong... with the sheriff.
I'm from Uncle Martin and Mary Lou,
and the tiny apartment with the swimming pool.
I'm from the mean man in number 9 screaming at us to be quiet
and Uncle Martin telling him to, "Shut the Hell Up!"
I'm from David and Richard, my cousins, my brothers
I'm from poison oak adventures at the creek
and countless days at the beach
I'm from Gentile and Jew,
From Asian and White,
From Catholic and ****.
I'm from St. Patrick's, the old church.
I'm from stained glass and wooden kneelers,
incense, and Latin Mass.
I'm from Ego te absolvo and Dominus Vobiscum
I'm from tradition and sanctity,
dignity and peace.
I'm from Hellfire and Brimstone
Screaming, Bible pounding preachermen who are slain in the Spirit,
babble in tongues, and exhort the congregation to be "Washed in the Blood of the Lamb".
I'm from love and loss,
and love again
I'm from Lisa, and Donna, and Carole,
the girls who were far too pretty to have been my friends (but were)
I'm from Jaki who wrote me letters letters every two days
and sometimes more,
I'm from Cardinal and Gold
from Conquest and Traveler,
from the dorm and the Row.
I'm from 90,000 screaming idiots,
I'm from Greek Week and road trips,
and long nights in the reference section.
I'm from typewriters, card catalogs, and white out.
I'm from gritty men and terrible places.
I'm from peace, and war, and peace, and war again.
And peace - with war thundering in the distance.
I'm from the cold wet ground on cold wet nights,
and I'm from blisters upon blisters; blood and water.
I'm from the Blacksheep, the Alphabots, and the Ranger Creed.
I'm from the M-249, the 203, and the A-2.
I'm from Colt, not Beretta; that's the M-1911,
and I'm proudly from jungle fatigues and black berets.
I'm from a fateful encounter on a random night
an order of pizza and beer that would change our lives
Days together and weeks apart
Time didn't matter
She'd captured my heart.
I'm from loyalty and faith,
Trust and honor.
I'm from a small ceremony,
nothing to big or too fancy,
and groomsmen carrying guns, pagers, and foreign passports.
I'm from odd jobs and uncertainty and graduate school
I'm from UPS and PKP, and Summa *** Laude,
MISD, WM, and the birth of Anthony.
I'm from safety patrol and tug-of-war,
Accelerated math, now Maria's born.
I'm from the Blonde Mafia, the Bumblebees,
the Shopping Girls, and the Ubermensch.
From 14, and F, and back to 14, and 15.
Principals Emerson, Anthony, Blix, and Mellish.
I'm from the Middle School
and teaching only math until
I'm teaching math and tech until
I'm teaching math and tech and study skills until
I'm teaching tech and study skills and more tech until
I'm teaching tech and study skills and media and Spanish until
I'm teaching tech, tech, tech, media, and Spanish with
Principals Miller and Budzius and Lucas and Stone
I'm from the animé girls and the theater crew
From the gamers and poets and dreamers
From the introverts and hackers, autistic kids and slackers
I'm from the kids who don't fit anywhere....
(To be continued)
Slices of my life