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.

20 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

  3. I am from kerosene heaters
    From mountain dew and pb&j
    I am from the chaos
    Family size tv dinners and cigarettes
    I am from the wild flowers next to the highway
    That I was picking the day my father drove off without me
    The century old cherry tree
    Whose limbs I used to climb to escape life
    But now long gone but I remember
    As if they were my own

    I’m from comedy and camp fires
    From John and Teri
    The only daughter in a single father household
    I’m from toxicity and loyalty
    And from blame the victim instead of the abuser

    I’m from you’re just like your mother
    And it’s not meant as a compliment
    And 80’s rock music
    I’m from baking cookies on christmas eve
    I’m from Philadelphia and France and the unknown
    Hot dogs and cereal
    From the time We ran away from home
    There was no tolerance for a woman who wanted
    To act as our mother
    8 hours later, tired of waiting for the train that never came
    Returned to people who didn’t know we were even gone
    But ready with the iron fist
    The photographs ignored in drawers and The bronze horse sculpture
    made by my great grandfather Louis Ragot
    Kept high on the mantle not to be touched

    Liked by 1 person

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