I Am

I am the heat shimmering off the white sidewalk, a ball bouncing; thump, thump, thump

And the suburbs barely able to contain my fury.

I am my grandfather’s child, a legacy of the Silver Screen and Old Hollywood, Astaire and Rogers dancing,

Woody Woodpecker laughing, Laurel and Hardy poking fun at the world.

I am the product of two worlds, the Dustbowl refugees with their insane luck and hard-won wisdom,

And old railroad wealth, overseeing their Los Angeles with a sense of entitlement and wounded pride.

I am the laughter of a sushi chef, as he asks a father how old this very young boy is.

I am an argument to a priest, standing in class asking “why, why, why?”

I am the one told to sit down and shut up.

I am the one told to never stop asking questions.

I am the strength and stories of my grandmother, who talks of proper parties, elegant behavior,

The benefits of biting sarcasm, and the talent needed to read others.

I am the hushed breath of dreamers, as they wait for the story to unfold,

Dice and drinks in front of them, dreaming awake.

I am burning passion, which cannot be contained.

I am a raven necklace, placed on the crib of my firstborn child, lying, gasping in a NICU unit,

Waiting to see if she lives or dies.

I am a broken father, worrying over the words of a gorilla named Ishmael

Which have ripped the blinders of culture from my eyes.

I am hot stones, grandfather stones, releasing medicine into the lodge,

Run in a traditional way, open to all who would remember.

I am a family, laughing, fighting, loving, arguing,

Resilient in the face of everything thrown at us.

I am B.

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