Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Where I'm From

George Ella Lyon wrote an awesome poem:

Where I'm From

I am from clothespins,
from Clorox and carbon-tetrachloride.
I am from the dirt under the back porch.
(Black, glistening,
it tasted like beets.)
I am from the forsythia bush
the Dutch elm
whose long-gone limbs I remember
as if they were my own.
I'm from fudge and eyeglasses,
          from Imogene and Alafair.
I'm from the know-it-alls
          and the pass-it-ons,
from Perk up! and Pipe down!
I'm from He restoreth my soul
          with a cottonball lamb
          and ten verses I can say myself.
I'm from Artemus and Billie's Branch,
fried corn and strong coffee.
From the finger my grandfather lost
          to the auger,
the eye my father shut to keep his sight.
Under my bed was a dress box
spilling old pictures,
a sift of lost faces
to drift beneath my dreams.
I am from those moments--
snapped before I budded --
leaf-fall from the family tree.

At NYSRA I sat in on a memoir writing workshop. The presenter presented this poem, presented the one she had wrote in her format, and then asked us to do the same. This is my first draft.

Where I'm From,

I'm from cow poop smells and sounds of a prison, 
I'm from a forest of tress, a rickety, old cabin built in the 40's 
with a fresh water spring 
from a mountain side.
I'm from homes with swings, kickball games, tree forts
and ghost in the grass
I'm from a neighborhood of all boys who rebuilt engines, snowmobiled, and hunted, 
played hard; embraced me and beat up anyone who came to near. 
I'm from a father who still call me princess, 
a mother who I resemble more and more, 
and a brother who still tells me to look both ways when I cross the road. 
I'm from a place where I sprained ankles, pirouetted, leaped, spent my Saturday mornings
and preformed for faced blacked out by stage lights.
I'm from a place so far away it only exists in pages
and in the minds of Clare, Miller, Houck, and Lindsay. 
I'm from a past with a mistake, 
who was a liar, 
and broke my heart but taught me I deserve better. 
I'm from a man who wasn't my childhood prince,
but turned out to be a white Knight 
with a sense of humor, a kind heart, and desire to see the world. 
I'm from a long list of four-legged friends who greeted me every day.
I'm from clothes spilling out from closets and drawers on to the floor,
where papers are shuffled and piled one upon the other, 
where house can wait , because I have better things to do. 
I'm from two o'clock dance parties, Sunday Fundays, policies of friendships, and inside jokes. 
I'm from a dream of opening a Bead and Breakfast, 
being a published author, 
of being a mother, 
of being fulfilled.

It's a great writing activity.  If you write one, I would love the link or an email of it! You find out so much about a character (person) this way.

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