Where I Am From

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I was invited to post something on their site by the Young Writers Project through their collaboration with the Networked Narratives open access learning project based at Kean University. I then realized I hadn’t posted this on my site. Now I have!

 

Artist talking about the collaborative project of painting a mural around a warehouse in West Oakland, California, titled "West Side is the Best\ Side."

 

Where I Am From by Mark Corbett Wilson

I am from fire,
from Pyro Engineering Inc. and Advanced Radiation Corporation
I am from glittering quartz, a desert washed by Pacific tides.
(Hot and dry, cool and moist,
it smelled of passion and petroleum.)
I am from cactus,
the thorns, flowers and fruit whose
visions and pain I remember
as if they were my own.

I am from Pictland and perseverance,
from Corbett and Duncan and Fraser.
I am from Hollywoodland lesbians
and disgraced Republican Nixonian Quakers,
from ‘early to rise’ and don’t call it Fascism.
I am from the middle way of Mr. Gotama’s Eight Tasks
before dialectic atheism emerged.
Soy un Californiano. Mis comidas
son chiles, frijoles y maíz.
The indentured Highland lad o’ pairts
and America’s First Peoples,
the prettiest girl at Schwabs’ soda counter;
the Slaughter cowboy’s homestead graveyard.

I am from kitchen jam sessions and garage workshops,
table saws and lapidary equipment,
art cars and personal computers
conceived during new moons.
I am from lifetimes disappeared –
the Jurupa Oak contemplating ancient valleys
obscured by smoke.