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so apparently my name comes from the bible as people
have been keen to point out to me since i was young      some

nomadic desert patriarch migrated somewhere & did some
stuff        married two sisters which was a thing that happened

a lot more often back then : had slaves & sheep & other animals :
they don’t mention chickens but you never know : he had a lot

of kids changed his name started a nation    then a few thousand
years later my dad had a cat named Jake in Seattle before moving

to an archipelago and getting         hitched so they named    me
after the damn cat to     i guess put less pressure on me? idk either

way he promptly      ran away    -the cat not my dad- from where
he’d been staying i’m not sure if it was because he heard about

me but i was much cuter back then if you can imagine so       word
may have spread : i’m sure he’s dead now and hope he had a good

run

the last part comes from my Dutch side of the family or as
Alec says “swamp Germans”    the River Meuse is known in some

parts as the Maas     but i’ve never been.

you wouldn’t guess
i was Filipino until you got to my middle name    Eduardo

rich guard​      an attempt from a family to   [redacted]     -i mean
keep        some part of a brother or son tethered here        the

tangibility   of absence:     to put a ruined keep    inside of someone
until it becomes skin

a few years ago an ex wrote a poem

bout me called     “shadow of a great name”      she was super
religious   but i could have treated her better so  i didn’t have

the heart to say    joke’s on you   lady    that cat wasn’t all that
great.          i mean     he did run away.

my uncle, though –

Jake Vermaas is a 1.5 or 0.5-generation immigrant or a natural-born citizen, depending on who you ask. A poet and engineer in Portland, OR, he co-founded the Whitenoise Project, a reading and discussion series aiming to center writers of color and underrepresented voices. He has won a couple contests and been published in the occasional literary journal, but none of those was more meaningful than getting asked to read with nine rockstar Filipinx poets at this spring's AWP conference.

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