by Trina DeMattei
(Santa Rosa, CA )
Herein lies an ode to the place of my birth, a home at the end of the world, although no home of mine, my beginning- left here, discarded here, like trash here by the side of the road. Three days I lay, breathing, crying, restless (So, this is why?) and then gone from here, picked up by loving hands.
February 6 or was it the 7th? Born at 7:30 AM or was it PM? Never do you mind the details. Trash has no memory. A wasteland, a sad town at the bottom, sprouts up on the Rio Grande.
“Sad” is what Jack calls it, sad and full of people who don’t know which way to go. Was she born here? Did she die here? She’s dead to me. Mother oh mother, in your womb, in your care, she drank, she smoked, baby by the road side, maybe this is not her story.
Perhaps it is this: struggle, young, poor, alone, no English, no degree, no home, no man, no father, no future, no country, illegal, no papers, no Texan, no boyfriend, no mother, no hope. Perhaps I am not this. Perhaps I am more.
February 1976 and onward equals home, comfort, parents, brothers, food, shelter, love, love and more love. So much love could split the atom. So much anger, 18 years old and so angry, no worth, no past, no history.
Why so angry when I had so much? I took to the pen at six, an ode to a flower. I took to the stage the same year. Right handed, clumsy and a always a little sad, no history, no trail, no heritage, no ethnicity, no me.
No, not true, a LIE. 34 years old and if I only were to know one thing, you asked, you pulled a gun, you pointed it at my head or beat me, beat me like he did long ago, you cocked the trigger and pushed the barrel in my mouth, then the one thing I could say, the one phrase that would leave my shaking, scared and horrified lips would be: I KNOW WHO I AM. I know me.
Trina is: no fear, laughter, loud, expressive, cautious, funny, friendly, witty, clumsy, creative, outgoing and sad, sad, always a little sad. She must be like this too. She must be a little sad, I think.
Sad at leaving. Do you think? Sad at the baby left behind.
The baby: one day old and new to the world, little girl. Baby who breathed her, knew her smell and voice. Sad at the child born in a home, not even a hospital. Baby left in a room with all the other discarded babies. We cried together. My friends for life these others. My soul-friends. All we had was the sound of the next one over wailing.
I was one of the lucky ones.
Born on the road and still traveling to this day. Perhaps, herein lies the good: constant motion, on plane at 4 days old and in the sky ever since. Backpacking, Europe, Egypt, America, my sense of wonder and constant restlessness. Motion, motion, walking, forward, only home I know is the one out there. My home is always surrounding me, smothered like a wonderful blanket, warm from languages, distant spices, foreign smiles, dirty socks and missed trains, delayed in airports from London to Des Moines.
Herein lies an ode to my beginning. That is all it is really. The start of the journey. Restless now, again, must end this chat. I opened my soul to you dear reader. We’re “soul talkin’” as Jack would say.
Jack hated it here.