Where the hell did this thing called me originate?
I’m American born, seeded in the soils of Illinois.
I grew like corn, and turned brown in the last heat of summer–
A man harvested from plains soil, and yes, that plain dirt
Of a mother cutting shoe leather in a small town factory
And a father born of sweat, and dying of sweat,
A man of winter sorrows,
A heart-beat stopped on a cold concrete walk on a plains winter day.
I am the stuff of the coke mill,
And the bean field,
And the born again Pentecostal Ozark wilds
And the ‘ain’t got no time for Jesus’ street-smart bootlegger
I am the Catholic boy
Born of “Where to Hell is Jesus” parents
Glad to drop the boy off at Church,
‘Sunday is my day off’ parents.
I am the Robert Louis Stevenson childhood imagination.
I am the adolescent intoxicated with Voltaire.
I am the altar boy who said he would no longer kneel.
I am the back seat lover so driven by the passions of youth
I had only one goal, and that, in a Shakespearean twist, was to know the heart of the woman,
As I wanted whatever mystery was between her legs.
I am Southern.
I am the South.
Oh, ‘Land OF Lincoln’ they say,
But as Mr. Obama will tell you, that stopped south of Spingfield.
For I am South,
I am Southern,
And misjudged as Southerners are,
For Loving God, is not a sin,
And Civil Rights is not a geography,
But a matter of the heart, without boundaries.
I am lawyer.
I am writer.
I am American.
A man of the best of America’s Years
A step into her future
I span the 50s as a boy
I have survived the avalanche of disco balls
And the Cambodian Invasion
And Jane Fonda,
And I have lived though Clinton,
And tasted the bitter wine of Bush
And suffered the disillusion of mere men named gods known as Kennedy and Obama,
And God forgive that I should forget the poison of Nixon,
And names my daughter will never know except on Wikipedia.
Who Am I?
Xavier, Pray, Francis
A man with a pontifical name spanning centuries
Who has loved woman more, and less, than they deserved.
Who pierced the masked veil?
And incurred the wrath
That poets must endure.
Oh, and this country boy turned Lincoln lawyer
Born to a hill-billie mother and a beer guzzling St. Louis urchin turned bootlegger
Yes, this unexpected arrival named me to a mother of 40
Conceived of damaged semen at an eclipse of the chromosomes.
I should not be here,
But for a destiny I kept eluding
When a poem
Like a wide cast Jesus net on Galilee,
Brings a fish out upon Peter’s deck
And causes him to ask: Who are you?