Where I’m From

Image Source Flickr.com Photo by Naotake Murayama http://www.flickr.com/photos/naotakem/135259793/in/photostream/

Image Source Flickr.com
Photo by Naotake Murayama 


California Girl
Maryann Saylor

I am from
sunny San Diego days,
The Beach Boys crooning California Girls,
palm trees stretched 20 feet into the virtually cloudless sky, and
“June gloom” that burns off around noon, if you’re lucky.

I am from the beaches: Pacific, Blacks, La Jolla, Mission, Coronado, Solana–
the waters of Mission Bay sparkling like a liquid sequin dress,
pelicans and Navy helicopters float by overhead,
sandy havens, the landmarks of my life.
I’m from the sun setting succinctly over the quieting, gray ocean,
orange-red-purple orb of idealism.

I’m from little money and
nearly constant struggle,
from shuffling back and forth, one parent to another,
hoping that this time they’d be able to control their dysfunction and get the whole parenting thing right.
I’m from 6 schools from 6th to 12 grades,
living a nomadic youth, even though my parents stayed planted in the same places, their worlds never changing while mine was a mixture of the familiar and the unknown.

I’m from
January 26th, a daughter of the 60’s,
a child of immigrant grandparents who raised rabbits in their backyard
and drove an electric golf cart to the grocery store.
I’m from “Buon giorno” and “Arrivederci”, “Mangia! Mangia!”, “Buona notte” and “Molto grazie!”
I’m from “Pay yourself first” and “There are poor, starving children in India. Eat up.”
and “If you had a brain you’d be dangerous.”

I am from
guacamole and pico de gallo,
taquitios at El Indio,
apricots and figs, kiwi’s and pomegranates as red as blood.
I’m from a block of parmesan atop a metal grater resting in the middle of the table,
its permanent home and
dry Nestle Toll House cookies that only meant one thing to me: love

I am from towns within towns
and cities within cities.
I’m from
a place so embedded I couldn’t wash from my skin if I tried,
not that I’d ever want to.
I am from this place that’s in every part of me,
every thought
every exhalation,
every syllable of every word I speak.