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.