now i’m bologna
my parents were born from a car. they climbed out & kissed the car on its cheek. my grandmother. to be a first generation person. 23 and Me reports i am descendant of pistons & drive trains. 33% irrigation tools. you are what you do. my first job was in a lunch meat factory. now i’m bologna. it’s not so bad being a person. the front seat of a car is more comfortable than the trunk. when they were babies my parents dreamt of being Lamborghinis. not people. you are what your children grow up to do. if i put my parents' names on papers, what happens? the answer is no comment. the answer is quién sabe. the answer is yo no sé, pero no es abogado. people are overrated. give me avocados.
Copyright © 2018 by José Olivarez. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 28, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.
“I wrote this poem as part of a collaborative series with the visual artist Victoria Martinez. Victoria’s Celestial House series plays with visual elements of nostalgia. She takes pieces of old dresses she loves and gives them a new life via collage. I tried to write a poem that worked like a collage does. I wanted to make nostalgia nauseating.”