poem: where i’m from

I put together this “Where I’m From” poem, based on a poem of the same name by George Ella Lyon. There’s a bunch of versions of this template, but I made this one specifically for the youth justice work I do. It’s a simple project– designed to be something you can phone in, or something you can dig deeply into. I thought I’d share it along with one version of poem I created based on this template.

I am from a door I keep wide open,
from postage stamps and a prison stinger.
I am from forgiveness and smarts.
I am from aloe vera,
(I tended the plant outside the house that turned out firefighters,
paid them in pennies, and sent them back with burns.
I broke its leaves for them.)

I am from the United States,
from jailhouse kool-aid packets, and ramen cake.
I am from cold, tight handcuffs.
I am from “You’ll be back”,
and clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do.

Even now,
I am from peacocks that fled the coop,
escaping with bellies full of broken aloe,
fearfully and wonderfully made.

17 thoughts on “poem: where i’m from

  1. I am from work screens far too close to my face amidst the swirling chaos of the kingdom,
    From earned and unearned scout badges and the plunking of piano keys.
    I am from fading blue eyes and restless legs.
    I am from rain.
    (I used to dance in the real and in my mind to make the rain come.
    I never miss a chance to soothe my mind with a the power of a regenerative stormy walk.)

    I am from my beloved mountains,
    From trout wrapped in foil and cooked over glowing coals and cold instant breakfast chugged on a freezing morning.
    I am from sleepless nights under the infinite stars, watching the Perseids blaze across the sky.
    I’m from “one foot in front of the other,” and Sam’s Town.

    Even here,
    I am from a longing to shed these controlled electrical grids for wild thunderstorms,
    The wide open spaces, the high places, that call to me always,
    In a dream of this hard land.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I am from this sunken couch
    from dial-up internet and antenna TVs.
    I am from kindness and empathy.
    I am from the river.
    (The water between two lands. It divides safety and the unknown.)

    I am from Unity.
    from french toast and ice cream.
    I am from bare feet running in the yard.

    I am from I love you, forever,
    and sunrise, sunset.
    Even now,
    I am from the nostalgic memories
    of finding my way,
    you can blame me when there’s no one left to blame, I don’t mind.

    Liked by 1 person

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