Friday, December 1, 2000



It was one thing to grow up Irish Catholic in the Mission
or in the Sunset where shamrocks were painted on the sidewalk
and priests, cops and firemen were potential relatives,
but after the Depression my family fled to the country
and I grew up out in west Marin with the cows,
where everyone else's relative was a member of the DAR.

My classmates were Rainbow Girts or Bluebirds
whose parents belonged to elite country clubs for WASPs only—
No matter that most of us were too poor to join.
The baker's dozen families came to school in hand-me-downs.
It might as well have been Appalachia.
What if one of them saw me in her her old dress?

We were labeled freaks when the nuns came for us.
There we were, branded in grade school, while they—
the Bluebirds and Brownies got cookies and milk after class.
We hammered nails into our martyred psyches
and stole candy from old man deLacy's Lagunitas Store
after catechism—just to keep things in balance.

Having left one revolution behind, my grandmother
complained of the Protestant ascendancy here in America.
She said: We're facing religious segregation again,
diminished like those gods of the stdhe who,
during the centuries of Christendom,
who were transmogrified into fairies and particle theories
 only to become invisible quarks and muons
in a parallel universe.

12/2000 & 5/2001
another version Oct. 2/2000
this hard copy was my only copy. I lost a lot of work that didn't make into hard copy ca 2000 due to a crashed hard drive. But this was an assignment, probably for Dan Milia, and for one of my SFSU teachers, Justin Chinn in October. See GROWING UP IRISH, take one, (final v. missing)

No comments: