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Where I'm From

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Because my skins is the same as their gardeners and my last name is nothing but a cliché to them, the white man asks me where I’m from.

If I said I was from Loomis and Cullerton, in the middle of Pilsen and explained how I lived in a tiny apartment with my mom and dad, would they then understand where I’m from?

Where I’m from Sunday afternoons are spent outside watching the cars go by and waiting for the truck with the faded neon lights to park itself a few apartments down.
Where grandma’s apartment smells vaguely of Mexican cheese and the plastic sofa covers stick to the back of your legs in the hot summer.

Where I’m front basement parties were the finest aside from the uncomfortable left over smell of spilled goat’s blood that lingered in the scary underbelly of the apartment complex.
Where rats silently lived amongst the trash and old radiators still hiss and burn at those
who dared to touch them. Would they then understand where I’m from?

Where I’m from houses burn so hot they warm your face through the peephole of the front door. Where no building is up to code and bullets flutter by rather than butterflies.

Where I’m from gourmet tacos are made by sun-crisped immigrants who bare to stand on the street corners during the harsh Chicago weather, clothes stiff from cheap Laundromat detergent.

Where I’m from death is on every intersection and life goes on as He silently watches you play on the glass-ridden sidewalk. Where I’m from God is more powerful than any
drug lord, doctor, or policemen.

Where I’m from only the Lord can protect you.



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