Origins

An Ancestry.com DNA test tells me that these are my origins:

Ireland/Scotland/Wales, Europe East, Europe West,

Iberian Peninsula, Europe South, European Jewish,

Great Britain, Native American, Scandinavia, Finland/Northwest Russia

but the only thing that connects me to my ancestors

is corned beef and cabbage

is pierogis and golumpkis

is..

is…

well, and I’m a farmer now

and my Lithuanian great grandfather was a dairy farmer

and my French-Canadian great-great grandfather was a dairy farmer

but he went through the ice on the Saint Lawrence River with his cows

and drowned or maybe froze to death first

and after that my 3 year old great-grandmother was sent to a convent

and raised by mean old nuns and she never learned about love and kindness

and my grandma says that’s part of the reason my grandfather became an alcoholic

sometime between when his mother kicked him out of the house at 14 years old

and when him and my grandmother had their first child, my aunt, sixty years ago

and my Irish great-grandfather became a severe alcoholic after his wife died too young

and that’s basically everything I know about my roots

and my father is an alcoholic

and I stopped drinking 3 years ago because I didn’t want to be an alcoholic…

and that is my story

my roots are scattered

and I know nothing about them

aside from a couple stereotypical dishes

and tales from my grandmother.

Within a generation, my ancestors all lost their tongues

and they got amnesia about where they were from

they had to melt into the pot

and learn to call the kettle black…

 

My wife is Iranian, is Persian

and her roots run back thousands of years

and her story is found in the words of Rumi and Hafez

and her story predates Islam by thousands of years

and her story predates even Zorostor

and it is a beautiful story

and hers is a beautiful family

and Iran is a beautiful country

and half of Iran is secular

and even poor farmers there can recite poetry

can debate philosophy

know their history

including 1953…

and the only ‘culture’ I can genuinely claim as my own

is an American culture

is a culture of coups

is a culture of destroying other cultures

beautiful, ancient cultures

is a culture of war and violence

is a culture of racism and sexism

is a culture of bigotry and hatred

is a culture of genocide and slavery

is a culture of you are either with us

or with the terrorists

but who, really,

are the terrorists?

 

I can never return to the land of my ancestors

I wouldn’t know where to go

and they wouldn’t welcome me when I arrived

I am American by birth

and unfortunately, also culturally

but…

I refuse to be

so I am stateless

with asylum in the Hawaiian islands

trying to be a humble guest

trying to do my part

and to do my best

the rest?

I guess none of it matters…

About soitgoes1984

I was born and raised on land stolen from the Pocumtuc. I now live on a small island in the middle of the Pacific ocean, on land that was stolen more recently, from the Hawaiians. I am addict, struggling to kick the habit of fossil fuel. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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