I Am From…

A poem by Juan Antonio

…And he sent you here for a reason, and even if it takes the rest of your life, you owe it to yourself to find out what that reason is. — Jonathan Kent, Man of Steel (2013)

I am from a different breed

Born to bleed hard work and sacrifice

As stubborn as they come

And outworked by none

I am from a long lineage of warriors and caretakers

Born to set the truth free

I am from an outcast’s perspective — secluded

But daringly afraid and never alone

I am from nowhere and everywhere

The best of me and the best of you

I am from a different breed


I had Jessica Semaan’s poem “To the men who broke my heart” on the mind yesterday. In the evening, I found myself brainstorming with a room full of passionate community leaders about an ambitious branding project for the community of East Palo Alto.

I was asked to join the writers group. Our team leader had us watch Missy Elliot’s WTF (Where They From) and then gave us 10 minutes and 13 seconds to come up with 10 lines to the prompt, “I am from…”

I freaked out.

Is it my about my experience? In response to Missy Elliot’s video ? — which put me on Michael Bay movie overload mode — Or about the people East Palo Alto?

I just sat there like an idiot staring at the blank sheet of paper. Before I knew it , my watch was at 3:13 and counting!

I had to pull it get it the fuck together.

Then in a moment of pure brilliance, the song “Closer To The Edge” by 30 Seconds to Mars popped into my head.

BOOM.

Out of nowhere, all these images came to my mind from all directions. I was writing like a man on a mission. I’m pretty happy with the end result. And this is just some of the magic happening as part of my active participation with Street Code Academy.

I’m looking forward to writing more poems — if I got to 50 once before, I’m sure I can get to 50 again.

The original. ;-) I’m going to give it a friend.

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About the author: Saul Juan Antonio Cuautle is a writer, entrepreneur and coach living in Menlo Park, CA. He’s the Founder & CEO of Minds of Steel — a tech company building fitness coaching software that helps you “Discover Your Inner Superhero.”