Monthly Archives: October 2009

Where I’m From

The class I T.A. in for my Social Justice Living Learning Community had a really cool assignment the 2nd week of class called the “Where I’m From” poem; all of us wrote poems that involved smells, memories, loved ones, descriptions, phrases, etc. from our childhoods that we felt described where we come from and what we’ve experienced. I’ve been sitting on mine for a while, waiting to put it on here, and I finally decided (at 1:30am) that I should put it on for everyone to enjoy.

I’m also planning on sending this out via email with “instructions” to everyone about the process of writing them, so if you want to get those directions so you can write one and send it back to me, I’d be happy to add you to my list! 🙂

Where I’m From

I’m from hose water.
I’m from family bike rides, an old-fashioned popcorn-popper, and hand-me-down Barbies,
from Christmas Eve sleepovers with my big sisters on bunk beds with bunny sheets.

See, I’m from the North side– no, no, NOT the West side– the land of minivans and postcards, where winning games of T.V. tag was so important that the tips of our tongues would poke from our mouths as we tried to graze anyone with our fingertips.

I’m from frozen grapes and cinnamon toast,
the anticipation of snow day announcements from that little black portable radio,
from the salty taste of homemade green Playdough and a sanctuary lined with stained glass and welcoming handshakes.

I hail from a decade-sized performance stage with fluffy, stuffed audience members always begging me for an encore.
(Jelly bracelets, anyone?)
I’m from buckets at a summer camp that forever altered the isolating, self-interested woman I could have become…

I’m from educators with high expectations who owe the respect I gave them to my parents– my first teachers.

“Please always remember and never forget…” [ILOVEYOU]

I’m from sisters…genetic or not. From two undiscussed divorces. From abandoned piano lessons and gymnastics.
Check the bottom right cupboard near the stove, right next to the raw spaghetti noodles that make great snacks.

I’m from a house– no, a home– full of staircase belly sliding or firefly catching and tears that come from laughing.
Or maybe from white Easter gloves and videotaped swim lessons (who rewatches those, anyway?!).

I come from red and yellow tulips, and fragrant grasshopper-green bars of soap in Grandma’s downstairs bathroom,
from a momma who still cries when I give her a Mother’s Day card, a daddy who sees his “peanut” as the building, wrestling tomboy-of-a-son he never had.

I’m from limitless encouragement splashed with a lack of understanding.
From an unquenchable thirst for something bigger than THIS– than just a complacent, quiet cul-de-sac, complete with annual block parties.

I come from a twin bed in which I said a prayer each and every night:
Make those who are sad feel happy,
Make those who are sick feel better,
Help those who are homeless find a home.

The prayer of where I’m from seems naive, yes, and dismisses the complexity of this world.
I eternally blame it for my unshakeable, unconditional, unfailing optimism that makes me feel like we CAN do that– all in time to get a good night’s sleep for our next battle.