This is not a poem (this is a birthday)

I don’t even know how I got here.
But here we are.
I think I remember you most from graphic memoir.
Which is strange because I was hate then.
I had no love for anyone.
I mean I certainly doodled it.
But I was wack.
I thought in tones of technicolour.
(I kept the U in there on purpose, btw)
I thought the world was Diane or Rebecca.
(Those are characters from Cheers. You’re too young to get it… maybe?)
The point being I was still hazy on women being anything but caricatures.

I got trapped in that male strip. (kept that joke in, intentionally)
I lived it over and over.
I got jealous.
Made up excuses.
She’s got it easy.
Because she’s pretty.

I knew I had met my match with that year.

I met a black radicalist, who taught me, finally, about my privilege,
male and white.
She echoed the power of my adult high school teacher,
who had taught arc welding, poetry, and even the children of schizophrenia.
She told me for every one frown you had to give 10 smiles.
My new friend was harsh on me when I needed it, just like her on my essays.

Neither of them saw me as anything but a chance to change,
however insignificantly in the larger ocean,
a single rivulet of a stream.

When I think back to it, Mom was the first rebel who taught me that power.
Before John Lennon and Morrison and De La Rocha.
(capitalize it on purpose, again…)

It makes little sense; this quest to understand real beauty.
To actually be a genuine soul.

Thanks for helping along that way; in no matter how insignificant a turn, blessed are any of us who learn anything that naturally.

And happy fucking birthday, kid.