“I Am From…”

The following is another excerpt from my upcoming memoir, COWBOY FROM PRAGUE: AN IMMIGRANT’S PURSUIT OF THE AMERICAN DREAM. This one is a poem that constitutes the book’s Introduction:

I am from a far-off land,

Once called Czechoslovakia, now Czech Republic.

I am from a small village called Kojetice,

And I am from a glorious city called Prague.

I am from a home with crystal chandeliers and a grand piano,

And I am from a dark closet where deep fear prevailed.


I am from wealth, happiness, and family harmony,

And I am from poverty, hunger, and loneliness.

I am from the family Neumann

And from the family Heller.

All of them Czech patriots, most of them Jews;

All but three of us murdered.


I am from refugee camps and the meadowlands of New Jersey,

I am from Ota, who became Charlie.

I am from the Oklahoma prairie and California sunshine.

And I am from Maryland, the land of pleasant living.

I am a Catholic, but one with a Jewish soul.

I am American, but I am Czech, too.


I am from the bravery of my parents

And I am from fear of the unknown.

I am from academia and entrepreneurial terror,

And I am from venture capital to writing books.

I am from ”goddamn immigrant”

To Entrepreneur of the Year and two Halls of Fame.


I am from the rat-a-tat of basketballs

And the hush of the library.

I am from snowy slopes, racing sailboats, and green fairways

And from writing and learning.

I am from overachieving,

And sometimes under-believing.


I am from my wife and son,

And from our three grandchildren.

I am from American Dream realized, but dreaming of more.

Often, I wish for too much,

But blessed with family and health,

I am from happiness and a life fulfilled.


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