Born and bred, y’all
the oil of Houston and the cattle of DFW,
San Antonio’s river and Austin’s old free spirit.
It’s the desert and the bayou, mountains and beaches.
It’s all the small towns in their true goodness,
the long stretches of highway through open land,
the twists and turns of the Hill Country.
It’s the music of Luckenbach and the stars of Ft Davis.
It’s peaches in Fredericksburg, pecan pies from Bastrop.
It’s boots and flipflops, tubes and fishing boats, beer and ‘ritas.
It’s freedom, and liberty,
with trust in God but not in Washington.
It’s come and take it, and a gun in your pocket
because it’s run ins with reptiles who rattle,
and feral tusks that can gore out your life.
It’s wildflowers and wildlife, gems along the highway,
armadillos and horny toads, mockingbirds and great blue herons.
It’s science and innovation, ranch houses and exploration.
It’s live oaks, mesquite, and prickly pear,
pines and cotton, planes and mesas, canyons and wind farms.
It’s real men and gorgeous women,
strong women and big hearted men.
It’s heat and ice, sunshine and storms,
barbeque and gulf shrimp,
tacos and t-bones, ice cream and salsa,
dinosaur bones and the final frontier.
It’s a longhorn standing in a field of bluebonnets
across the street from a Whataburger where
people are drinking Dr Peppers.
It’s seasons for football and for hunting,
Juneteenth, and Cinco de Mayo,
our own independence day, and July 4th too.
Not quite south, not quite west, still joined at the hip
to our border neighbors, for better or for worse.
It’s pride and quiet dignity, blood and sweat,
a big truck that will pull your car out of the ditch.
A firm handshake, a word that stands.
The will that makes a way
that will forge ahead
that doesn’t need your approval and
doesn’t care what you think,
A girl gets tired of hearing her home belittled all the time, although this girl also likes to remember that “it’s only at the tree loaded with fruit that men throw stones.”
I’ve been listening to those stones being hurled for most of my adult life. Texas may not be perfect, but it’s Texas that got my heart through the decade when I lived far away — a decade during which I took abuse for the place of my birth and yet still met amazing people from there thanks to the University of Texas’ extensive and generous group of alumni. Sad, unpleasant circumstances brought me back home, but nevertheless my whole soul sighed in relief. To paraphrase Davy Crockett “you may all go to hell, I’ll stay in Texas.”
I’m proud to be from the strong land that drives outsiders crazy. I hope we keep driving them nuts for many, many decades to come. This poem is hardly reinventing the wheel, but given the flack Texas has taken lately, I decided it was time I put some words toward celebrating the great big diverse wonderland of its 268,590ish square miles. I love every one of those miles, with every one of my 60 inches.
(ps it’s just a quote, I don’t really wish any of you eternal damnation!)