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,
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
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.


Liz Garton Scanlon 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:

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.