I met this poem in the book “ALOUD” Voices From the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. I’ve been amazed how the poet describes his life with vivid honesty and grace in language.
The poem is written by Bobby Miller
My Life As I Remember It
At two years old I whistled at the mailman and set a pattern for years to come.
At four I danced in the sunshine of our front yard,
an interpretative dance to the gods.
The neighbors swore I was retarded.
At six I told my classmates that I was from another galaxy light years away.
Mrs. Jackson, our first grade teacher, thought it necessary to alert my parents.
By ten Mr. Grady the art teacher was alarmed by the colors I chose to paint with,
red, black and purple.
In junior high I was considered weird and neat at the same time because I dressed funny and my parents had tattoos and Harleys.
My ninth grade report card was all D’s and F’s except for art and music class.
All written reports from the faculty stated,
” talks too much and daydreams…”
Some things never change.
I watched the Beatles arrive in America,
and decided I wanted to go to England.
I saw hair grow over ears and down over
collars and onto shoulders and backs
all over the country.
I walked with the first protest march in Washington and every other for ten years. And we still have crooks running the country.
I sat in streets, cafes, corner bars and coffee houses and listened to the beat of a new generation being born.
I went through puberty with Janis and Jimmy and took LSD when it wasn’t cut with speed or poison.
I smoked pot in fifth grade and laughed all day at a fat substitute teacher named Mrs. Potty.
I dated black boys at fifteen in an all white Klan neighborhood.
I hitch-hiked to New York from Baltimore with three queens in hot pants, clogs and long bleached shags at sixteen
and blew truckers all up and down the turnpike.
I’ve been addicted to MDA, tequila, LSD, PCP, speed, dope, coke, pot, mescaline, Quaaludes, nicotine, sex and the mysteries of the night all my life until I hit twenty-eight.
Now it’s only night life and sex.
I’ve walked barefoot on twenty four hundred degree hot coals and not been burnt.
Greta Garbo grabbed me from behind in traffic and saved my life.
I’ve had green hair, blue hair, black hair, red hair, no hair, long hair and all before 1973.
I’m happy to still have hair.
I’ve walked Sunset Blvd., Polk Street,Forty Second, Hollywood and Vine, Christopher, Fire Island Blvd., P-town, Key West, Bombay, Miami Beach, London, Paris, Rome, Milan, Montreal, and every gay ghetto street listed in the book and I’m still looking for the perfect lover.
I’ve lived as a woman for a solid year and had tits, thank you.
I’ve dated black men, white men, brown men, red men, yellow men, and several delicious women.
I’ve been engaged, married, in love, separated, divorced and brokenhearted
I’ve had syphilis, gonorrhea, crabs, scabies, hemorrhoids, hepatitis, appendicitis, dermatitis and the flu at least fifty times.
And I feel better now at forty than I did at twenty five.
I’ve spent the last eleven years meditating, concentrating, contemplating, applicating, educating, investigating and instigating a higher ideal.
I’ve been a born again Christian,
a crystal-holding new age visualizationist,
a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Christian scientist,
a Universalist, a bullshit artist, a seeker of truth, a charlatan,a holy roller, a shamanistic dancer, a guru, a disciple and an enigma to my friends.
I’m a triple Gemini natural blonde who loves God and takes time out to smell the roses.
I’ve been around the block at least ten times and I’m ready to go again until these feet won’t carry me anymore.
I have always believed in the power of love and that the groove lies somewhere between the heart and the genitals.
I have never been deliberately cruel and I’ve never hit anyone with my fist –
I hope I never have to.
I’ve been a whore, a saint, a sinner, a healer, a heathen, an actor, a poet, a drag queen, a straight man, a teenage zombie,
a punk rocker, a greaser, a clone, a faggot,
a streetwalker, a skywriter, a vegetarian,
a teacher, a student, a wanderer, a caretaker,
a wild thing, a father, a son, a yogi, and
a fierce hairdresser.
I’ve been lost, found confused, absolved, punished and rewarded.
I’ve stared death in the face and wondered why not me – yet.
I’ve talked and listened and heard and seen and been shown the way.
I’ve played follow the leader, pin the tail on the donkey, five card stud, and Russian roulette with a silver handled .38.
I’ve lost eight thousand in cash gambling
and won five hundred on a bet in less than a minute.
I’ve seen the eye of God and been touched by her hand.
I’ve seen miracles happen and been
disappointed dozens of times.
I’ve been almost everywhere, met almost everyone, seen almost everything,
done almost all of it, and I’m still waiting to be discovered.
The night has a thousand eyes and I’m a gypsy dancer still hungry for more.