Who Am I? – Poem from 2010

I found this poem while going through an old notebook from college. I wrote it when I was 20 years old as a junior at St. John’s University. I intended it to be a spoken word piece, but never performed it. It’s interesting to look back at it now, over 5 years later from 2010, a time when my identity was forming in many different ways.

Who Am I? – by Ruben Muniz

I am who I am, I am who I was, and I am who I will be.

I am my family, my friends, and all my associations.

I am who I am! Do you need a further explanation?

There’s more to me than the eye can see.

I am who I am, nothing more, nothing less,

and who I am is me.

 

I am my family.

My family comes from Puerto Rico, so I must be Puerto Rican,

But I’m from New York, so I guess I’m Nuyorican,

But when I’m outside the country I’m Ame-rican.

American, if you will, born and raised in the USA.

Puerto Rico is under the US’ flag, so I guess I’m American either way.

 

But what is “American?”

Does anyone even know?

Puerto Rican is a mix of Spanish, African and Taino,

Among a dozen other nationalities brought together

by war and political irrationality.

Question: does nationality make personality,

or is it merely a formality?

I prefer the latter to the former, others disagree not so discreetly.

No matter how I put it, if I say it harshly or sweetly:

I am who I am, I am who I was, and I am who I will be.

 

I am who I am, nothing more, nothing less,

and who I am is me.

 

I am my friends.

I am the kids who I grew up with;

Many of them have become the young adults that are my friends today.

I associate myself with good people, so when people ask about my friends

I have no bad things to say.

This doesn’t go without exception, and it all really depends on perception.

Is she doing well? Is he a bad person?

Which actions improve the reputation of someone?

Which actions cause it to worsen?

 

Nonetheless, I am the kids from my block.

I’m the kids from my high school, both the nerds and the jocks,

I’m the young adults from my college, in New York and Europe alike.

I enjoy time with new friends, even more so with old friends,

but my best friends are my life.

I am who I am, I am who I was, and I am who I will be.

 

I am who I am, nothing more, nothing less,

and who I am is me.

 

I am my associations.

I am a New Yorker, I am a Bronxite.

I am the apartment building I lived in my whole life.

I’m a high school graduate who goes to college at St. John’s

I’m a brother to my sister, nephew to my uncle,

cousin to my cousin, and a son to my mom.

 

I used to work at Key Food on my block,

and at Cold Stone in Times Square.

To a few girls, I am an ex-boyfriend…

but I’m not even gonna go there.

To some I’m good, to some I’m bad,

to some I’m happy, to some I’m sad.

Right now I’m my dad’s son,

One day I’ll be my son’s dad.

 

I am me by association.

Whether it’s a person, a thing,

my home, or ancestral nation,

I am who I am, I am who I was, and I am who I will be.

 

I am who I am, nothing more, nothing less,

and who I am is me. So who am I?

 

To you, that depends on who you are,

and how you see me.  – RSM circa 2010

 

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