In gender studies
We learned about how America
Was colonized by Separatist Puritans
With some pretty weird
Off-beat beliefs, things that
The other churches were like
“Don’t do those things”
(lmfao this horrible summary)
I remember when I was in
Elementary school we did a project
About our grandparents, and our ancestors–
I got to interview my grandpa
About his childhood, and
What his parents were like, where
His grandparents came from.
He didn’t really have that many answers for me, see
My grandpa grew up
An only child, with his
Deadbeat alcoholic dad.
His mom died shortly after giving birth
To his sister, she was injured
During birth, developed gangrene–
Social services came
To take him away from his deadbeat alcoholic dad–
But he hid
From them, until they left.
His dad was all he had, he didn’t want
To have to start from scratch with some other whacko–
He didn’t want to be in an orphanage.
When he turned 16 he got a job, moved out and
When he turned 17 he married my grandma
They were dirt poor and worked on other people’s farms
Until he had enough to farm his own.
It was for this reason
That he doesn’t really know much
About his grandparents, or where they came from.
He didn’t have
Most of the answers
For the project I had to write about him.
It didn’t matter because he told me
So many other things, like–
All of that! I am one of the few people alive
Who know his story, who know his childhood, who know his life.
He is the toughest kind of motherfucker
Anybody can find.
How do you handle tenses
For a spirit that burns brightly within you?
Anyway, I have a lot of love and respect
For my grandparents. They are the only ones
I know about. The others
Were similarly buried by time’s dirt.
I am often curious
About my lineage.
I am left in suspense, so to speak–
I don’t want to do one of those
Genetic testing things, that’s how they got
The golden state guy– I don’t have any plans
To commit great crimes, but I still
Don’t like the idea
Of volunteering my DNA
To the big ol’ data pool.
I feel like my dad’s side
Might’ve been puritans, but
My mom’s side…?
All bets are off. No fucking clue
I am a bit convinced
I might be related to
Some sort of French carnie troupe–
I feel like half of my ancestry
Came from religious extremists
And the other half
Came from fat, happy
Loud-mouthed performer poet
Free-loading charmer asshats,
The sort of people who left Europe
And nobody checked in on them
Ever, they just fled
To go farm, fuck, and laugh
Somewhere in Ohio
Somewhere where helping others
Was all that mattered