Friday, October 30, 2009

Poetry Friday

Months and months (or was it years? After 2,000 posts, one forgets ....) ago, a little writing exercise called "I Am From" circulated through certain circles of the blogosphere.

It was a fill-in-the-blank affair ("Name a place here ...") and though I no longer have the original form on which this was based, I have here my version of "I Am From." I should admit that I remember taking liberties with the form -- my apologies to the form police if they should happen by. 

And, does anyone know whence "I Am From" came? If you do, please leave a comment and I'll add a link crediting the originator.  I'd like to do something similar with the girls in our writing group, and I want to find the "fill in the blank" form that was originally used. 

 I Am From

I am from knee socks,
Hostess cupcakes
and black patent leather shoes
worn home from the store.

I am from coast to coast,
from everywhere
and nowhere,
the child of a pilot and his bride.
I am from base housing,
plain vanilla walls
and Barbie clothes sewn from Thailand’s silk.

I am from hollyhock dolls and walking to school,
from dandelion bouquets,
from Alaskan glaciers
and from the sun rising on a Florida coast.

I am from summer car trips
to Grandma and Grandpa's,
with stops at Lookout Mountain
and the Truman Museum.
I am from staid New England stock,
from Indiana folks,
from John and Norma,
Madeline and Jim.
I am from lightning bugs in the backyard
and the sleepy scent of Noxzema.

I am from “Be polite” and
“Do your best,”
and “Goodnight, John-boy”
at bedtime,
from “I’m rubber, you’re glue,”
and from “Nuh-uh is not a word.”

I am from a squishy pillow at the drive-in,
and a six-year-old’s delight in the
dark, safe cocoon of the car.

I am from Santa Claus
and Easter eggs,
dinnertime grace,
and prayers
that faded away.

I am from Germany,
Scotland,
from home cooked meals,
doll-cakes on my birthday,
and home-sewn clothes
that made me proud of my mother’s skill.

From Grandma, who thought I loved peas
because I gobbled them up
(to get rid of them),
and from Grandpa, who convinced me
that a signal tower
was his own private Christmas tree.
I am from my grandmother’s way
of smearing butter on a scraped knee,
and taking me to “the groc'ry”
no matter what store it was.

I am from Mom, who decorated
the house for every holiday,
and took us blueberry hunting by the creek;
from Dad, who told me that thunder
was giants bowling in the sky,
and whose hand holding mine
was all I saw of him at the airport
when he came home from a year in Korea.

I am from Air Force brats
bonding
through a shared, strange life,
from a 1960s family who taught me
without words
that “skin color” meant nothing
and “human being” meant everything.

I am from nomads,
from possibilities, and from imagination.

I am from a longing for roots, found finally, and only, in God.

*****

Jennie at Biblio File has the round up today.

5 comments:

Liz in Ink said...

This is just lovely and so visceral... thanks...

Jennie said...

Oh wow. There is so much shared here in such a great way. Thank you so much for giving this to us.

jama said...

Beautiful, Karen. LOVE it. Thank you for this gift!

Lindsay said...

Karen - This is too strange. Someone posted this on our hs loop today. So here is the link to the template:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/5563771/Where-Im-From-poems

laurasalas said...

Karen, this is just lovely. One of my favorite parts is:

I am from base housing,
plain vanilla walls
and Barbie clothes sewn from Thailand’s silk.

Love the dichotomy of that!

I see Lindsay left a link to a template. I'll share also that I first saw I Am From poems (and much more like yours, not like a template) in the wonderful book poemcrazy, by Susan Wooldridge.