I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT I HAVE
PERSONAL AUTHENTICITY AS A POET BECAUSE OF MY IDENTITY
from Pearl and Other Poems
I am a victim of genocide and atom bombs.
I am a minority and also foreign.
I am a blue collar person of enormous sensitivity.
I was educated at Harvard and also dropped out of school
and also received a rural education on a farm
and also at an urban center in the ghetto.
I am a wealthy urbanite who comes from a lineage of American Harvard professors stretching back to Adam
and also I was born today, right now, in announcing myself in speech.
I committed suicide twice because of artistic vision and also because of pathos.
I am a war veteran and also a war protester.
I was killed by police in a demonstration against police and also by demonstrators in a police protest against demonstrations.
I invented myself out of thin air and was created by my environment.
I am a woman and also a child.
I am a man and also a mentally retarded man.
I am blind and deaf and mute and dumb.
I am a great hulking beast of a muscular man
and also a graybeard sage of skinny wisdom.
I am a young man with no money, a white recipient of unemployment benefits and Medicaid
a father of three, a husband, and no one you’re likely to know.
(c) 2014 lee sharks
from Pearl and Other Poems: