Where I’m From

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.

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