South_End_Tavern_2[1]I was roasted a few weeks ago. It was a great night. Everyone that got up to the mic busted my chops like champs. I ended the night with some great material and a good time was had by all. I am so grateful to the poetry community for helping find one of my places in the world. I have many places in the world. This is about one of them.

Okay, so I am getting ready for the roast and I am on Facebook. I like to change my cover and profile pics every so often. A friend of mine from the old neighborhood took this outstanding photo of the signs from the South End Tavern (or Marty Burkes or depending on where you are from). I posted it as my cover photo. It was an homage to something that means something to me. They are my memories and my history. They belong to me and as much as I like what is going in Troy, I feel like a stranger sometimes. What I know is gone and all I have left are photos of signs. No matter where they put the signs they won’t be where they belong. I am just grateful they won’t be destroyed.

So, as I am answering some messages on Facebook I look in the “other” column and I see it is an ex of mine. Let me explain. He is a total asshole. If the assholes had an island, they would kill him. He is such an asshole. He must have been stalking my page because his message was, “I see we are still living in the past”. First of all I HATE when people do that fucking condescending “we” bullshit. Secondly, you suburban pasty faced sterile fuck, you are unworthy of my past. You should be glad you were ever in it let alone my giving you the best 23 seconds of your beige life. Then, the asshole asks me to go to lunch. I reply, ‘working, all the time.” I know you are asking why I didn’t just tell him I had a boyfriend and move on. Here is why: I want to him to know I don’t want to see him because of him. He persisted and finally told him I was never good enough for you anyway, have a nice life. Did I mention he is married to a distant cousin of mine? Did I mention that he didn’t want to get serious with me because I was, “…too much of a South Troy guinea…” and was “too attached to my family to make him a priority”. All true. Especially, the parts about me being from South Troy and being attached to my family.

Being from South Troy is more than an idle threat. What I learned growing up, as rotten and abusive as much of it was could never be taught. I learned to curse the right way. I learned girls have NO RULES in a street fight. I learned that I have a big mouth and that charm goes a long way in this life. I learned how to walk into a room. I learned to work hard, to have manners, to shake someone’s hand and to look people in the eye without shame. I learned that shame was a complete waste of time because no matter what it looks like on the outside, every family has problems, no exceptions. I learned about life. I learned who I was, and though it took me a while, to be unapologetic for it. All corners of it.

I know everyone has their childhood, coming of age stories. I love hearing about them. I love talking to my daughter about how I grew up. I tell her about the good and the bad. I tell her that someday I will fill in the details.  I tell her that I am trying to understand the way you do things now.  “Using your words” has a totally different meaning for me as I use my curse words to express my feelings. It is a different world, but I will always be a South Troy girl. I will always remember those signs. They remind me that I belong to a certain place in time, now and always.