My Tierra

What is this place I call home?

What is Mi Tierra?

What does the earth beneath my feet mean to me?

Not only is it the tops of silver peaks, the dirt on my hands nor the high country wind that takes my breath away

Not only is it the thin air I miss so much while traveling

Not only is it the cold waters of the Boulder creek

Not only is it the yellow aspens, the red mesas, the fruitful wine orchards like eden of my youth

Not only is it the history of my family, this land, the WEST

– or the WEST before it was called that

Not only is it the symbiotic relationship between the gentle satin sun and my dark skin

But rather

It is also my train passing by ferrying long contemplative faces

It is the jazz players on Wynkoop

It is Washington park with a book

It is the moon in my backyard

It is a rainy 17th street at night with my camera

It is latenight tobacco smoke illuminated by neon dive bars

It is the freight train horn haunting the city streets

It is live piano and coffee

It is driving fast along highway 93

It is running into friends at train stations

It is jazz in the park

It is changing

It is the tourists, the traffic, the transplants

It is the gentrification, the politicization

It is the street begging and the sports cheering

It is the rising rents pushing my grandparents out of their home city

It is the state capitol peering across the park at a 420 rally

It is the newly established hipster cafes chasing out the ‘riff raff’

It is the old standby haunts

The poor, broken down LoDo I used to ride into on an old diesel school bus I now ride out of on a greyhound–

– looking back at the tall glass and metal fortress

It is Denver. This is my earth.

And as I stare across the steel buildings, the pot smokers, the stock brokers, the train tracks and the transplants,

I feel all at once alone and at home.

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