I drive down the onramp to merge into L.A. traffic
A greying haired middle aged man does not want to let me in.
Forced onto the curb of the the freeway I turn and look at him.
He is staring at me
And a blanche, passionless, gaunt middle finger waves in my direction
I look back for another couple of minutes and smile as I drive on the edge of the freeway still.
An excitement runs through me
A fierce rushing of blood.
I am the Polynesian heroes of my youth.
I am the Anglo-Saxon legends of my ancestors.
I am an African-Brazilian of utter defiance and survival.
I feel their spirits deep, comfortable
I am from the pure earth of the south pacific
I am from the hardened rock of northern Europe.
I have water in me from the raging Amazon.
I am crafted from powerful dust
And none shall defy me.
I roll down my window
And lock eyes with the man slowly becoming a boy.
I am ready for war
I have been melded in battle
I bring blood and fire
I show him my Pūkana
My ancestors envelop him
He sharply turns and looks at his steering wheel
And never looks back up
I am all that I have been.
I never fit into this culture
And the beauty of that
Is that I learned
to be my own culture
It hurts to try and fly
and keep getting shot out of the sky
It hurts to try and swim
and keep getting tangled in a net
It hurts to try and float
while others paddle
past in a boat
this new place hurts
while I grow.
How tall are the poppies where you are?
Where I’m from when a poppy grows too tall
You cut it so the others don’t attempt to rise that high
Where I live now, the tallest poppies suck the life from the roots of the shortest
But somehow everyone still loves the tall poppies
I think I’ll be a wildflower
And never think about my height