Shreveport Made Me
By Jessie McCarty
I have visited Shreveport exactly eight times since leaving.
Who am I? This is what I am asking.
I loved how sure I was at nineteen. I lost people, I gained more. I aimed for schooling, now I've earned it. My fifth visit to Shreveport, I was worried my father might die. Mom still lived with Cookie. I wrote about it, I published it. No one seemed to like it too much. I do, still. The seventh time I brought Dan along we sold my book inside minicine?. Dan is from Michigan, and he has eyes as big as balloons. I lived a whole life inside minicine?, and now he sees. I wear green for good luck, for symbolic seedlings. I ran into Sarah, who’s red hair is longer. I hug her and I feel thankful.
This time I brought my camera. I haven’t done that since the first time. All the video has oozed out of me. I was writing it all. Now I am out of words.
I film dad ordering ice cream, all the fucked up billboards, and all the streets streets streets. Dad takes me back to Carnation Street, back to Bossier! I say "Oh Jesus, turn around!"
I film paw-paw’s goats. Mom woes about who gets what when family dies. I think about who I’ll give this camera to. Colton? Dan? We never got the ice cream.
Realized I was gay ninth grade soccer practice. Parkway High School. The varsity captain was really bubbly; I can’t figure my sentences. Some boy walks up to me, I can't say the right words to him either. Wow, choices. I still can’t make them.
Right now I’m worried I have to discover myself all over again. At twenty-five you start to tangle it all back up. I was very sure of myself: I must get out to be happy. I am out now, but all I wanna do is think back, run out of myself. The South scares me, I was born with its ghost. I video all the blueness. All the greens. My brother makes me a daiquiri and we untangle sunsets, mistakes, lovers.
“Were you wanting to tell her something?” Colton asks after I see a friend.
“No, I’ll figure it all out.”
And I will.
Jessie McCarty (they/them) is a writer, bookseller and archivist from Shreveport in Chicago, IL. They write to explore the mystical, modern, nature and nuances. You can find more info about them at www.jessiemccarty.com.