A poem about identity
I am from voices chanting in the street
Songs of revolution, cries of despair.
I am from political protest and peril
Footsteps in sync, signs thrusting in the air
I’m from an unlikely couple
Who discovered true love in a period of unrest
Fleeing a communist China, seeking refuge in the West
I am from they who started at the bottom, yet have climbed to the top
Through whose sweat, blood, and tears gave me all they never got
I’m from a three bedroom home in suburban LA
From a never-ending drought and cars zooming by all day
I’m from a school of two thousand
Most of whom look like me
Whose parents also ventured from afar
To the land of the free
I am joined with others in Him, through Sundays in the pews
My quadralingual story known only by few
I am from the Goddess of Democracy who instilled in me
An innermost passion for justice and liberty
I am from books whose fiction triggered creativity
Inspiring me to jot down my whimsical stories
I’m from notebook paper stamped with Hello Kitty detailing
Which morphed into Word documents saved on my desktop PC
I am from picture books and chapter books
From Aesop’s Fables to Fitzgerald
And later, scribbling away on my own
I am from preschool piano, bubbling with excitement at age four.
Feet dangling from the bench, barely reaching the pedal
I am from local studio recitals at my nearby church
To concerts in Prague’s castles, before an international crowd.
I am from years of sore fingers tapping both sorts of keyboards
Separate mediums for catharsis of all sorts.
I am from a salad bowl of culture
Of roots stemming back centuries.
I’m from historical tragedies larger than anything I’ve ever seen.
From an immigrant couple achieving the American Dream
Who waited until they prospered to then beget me.
But I’m also from choices I’ve made for myself.
From mistakes that I’ve made and the cards that I’ve dealt.
I’m from hobbies and interests unique to just me.
I’m from the place I was born, but also all the other places I’ve been.
From Europe and Asia, the sky and the sea
Where I go and what I see inspires whom I want to be.