DionRabouin.com (sort of)

Where I’m from

Where I’m from you can always see the mountains to the West. They’re always there. As a kid I learned directions from the mountains: Never Eat Soggy Wheat or more fittingly Wheat Never Eats Soggy. When I left, everything was amiss, up was down; black was east. Without my mountains I was helpless to tell directions. Not that it mattered; everything was flat and every road led to nothing in particular.

Where I’m from you always lock your doors, your house, your locker and anytime your car stereo is missing it was probably your own fault. I’m from alleys of dirt where lavish lawns should be. Where I’m from you’re not scared of the crackheads as long as you don’t look at them funny. Where I’m from you only wear blue when you’re wearing another color and you never wear red. You take the garbage out to the dumpsters out back and you better wake up on trash day to get the last of it out.

Where I’m from everybody’s got a pit bull, even though they’re illegal and everybody knows which ones bite and which ones you can pet. I’m down the street from Hiawatha Davis and Ned’s, even though everybody still calls em Skyland and Junior’s. My father always told me to stay away from Junior’s when we were young, but I never listened. To this day, I still don’t know what all the fuss was about. There were probably much more insidious dealings going on than my youthfully naïve mind could wrap itself around, but no matter how many times we snuck off to go, it was always good.

Where I’m from is right off MLK. You can catch the 43 right there and walk a couple blocks. Where I’m from the air is thin and sweet. As soon as your flight touches down you can just feel that Rocky Mountain wind. It’s right off I-70 and Colorado, although even that doesn’t register with a lot of people.

Where I’m from isn’t anywhere near the suburbs and 10 minutes from downtown.

Where I’m from I don’t often see my people doin too much positive. There’s a lot of crime and even though the police drive through a lot, they don’t really seem to do much about it.

Where I’m from you can walk down the street going door-to-door asking people if you can mow their lawns for a nominal fee and make a decent wage over the summer. Where I’m from my dad’s friends look out for me and even people that don’t actually know me are “gonna tell Rene what [I] been doin” if I mess up.

Where I’m from there are about 10 check-cashing places for every bank. “You know if you just open a checking account you can cash as many checks as you want for free.”

Where I’m from no one has barbecues at Cherry Park anymore because of the shooting. Where I’m from you can hear guns going off just about every night if you really want to and not too many people bat an eyelash.

Where I’m from is a litany of places.

I’m from 28th and Adams where I’ll never be able to shake the memory of an alcoholic trying to kick the door in because he thought it was his house. And I’ll never forget how the police showed up – an hour after my mother’s frantic call for help.

I’m from East 31st Terrace, where we didn’t have a backyard, instead Mason lived in the house behind me and Blake lived right across the street. Where I could walk down the hill to get to school and I’ve never been more unhappy.

I’m from 33rd and Grape where my brother broke into our house and stole my Gamecube, my father’s guns and his quarter collection. He left the TV though, which was nice of him.

I’m from East 45th Ave, which no one can ever find when I give them directions. It’s full of lush hills, manicured lawns and covenant control, but the police still get called when niggas refuse to accept that their father’s six-figure salary inherently prevents them from being a thug.

I’m from Kendall Avenue where the kitchen’s a mess and nobody ever remembers to lock the door. Where there are five bedrooms, but half the time only half of them are occupied.

I’m from all over this great nation, I have loves and hates, I’ve seen beauty and some of the ugliest cities you could ever think of. But where I’m from in my heart is where the gold on the capitol buildings reflects the gorgeous purple mountains capped with white.

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