Thursday, April 30, 2015

Where I'm From, 2015 extended dance mix

     Another poetry month has come and gone. In spite of state testing on the horizon, we spent some time creating our "Where I'm From" poems in order to get a handle on free verse techniques. I asked that children go heavy on the sensory imagery and gather facts from at least one family member of a different generation. 
     There are at least two other posts on my blog about this activity, but this year students chose a "golden line" to include in our collective/collaborative poem.
   If a line is indented, that means it belongs to the same person who wrote the preceding line. The students are very proud of their work, and we hope you enjoy reading our family history.

“Where I’m From”

I am from a stranger time
          from a bad war and an old compass
A man who put his country before him
          And became my hero
I am from military moves all around the globe
I am from the tendrils of the Vietnam War
And my grandfather’s homecoming
I am from C-130’s in Vietnam
          To Apache helicopters in Afghanistan
And keeping vendettas
I am from a broken down town
          Gun shells everywhere
From stitches in people
to stitches in stuffed animals
I am from collections of Indian arrow heads
I am from open fields and massive mountains
From sleeping under the stars
I am from long rides to county fairs
From hooves pounding against the ground
          To get to the open
I’m from factory fresh Rolls Royces
          and dusty Chevy step sides
I am from rusty trucks and muddy boots
I am from the scratches on my knees
I am from the acne on my parents’ faces
I am from sweet tea on the front porch swing
From a cheagle running
I am from slurred words and fast talkin’
I am from corn hole and fireworks
          Until the neighbors complain
Where pranks were part of our daily routine
I am from the country mile to the city limits
from blaring Bruce Springsteen out of the old stereo in the Blazer
Pushin’ the speed limit on dirt roads without a care in the world
I am from the North and the South
I’m from the smell of horses and fresh cut grass
I’m from the quick whiff of cookies baking
I am from Florida, Ohio, Virginia,
          Each with friendships broken and repaired
I am from Puerto Rican neat freaks
I am from the Naval base in Japan
          Two baby boys brought home
          To the giddy faces of their new family
          Fighting over who gets to hold them first
I am from New Orleans
          Where the gumbo smells like vegetable soup
I am from the salty smell of the Gulf
I am from Portugal
          With soccer fanatics and day long beach trips
I am from gauchos and riding bulls
I am from a small town with big ideas
From long, loving hugs
          To sweet, short ones
I am from the grunge sound
          Of Nirvana and 4 Non Blondes
I am from Kurt Cobain concerts
          And from Onyx blaring through the Walkman
I am from Def Leppard
Days of listening to 45’s
using my hairbrush as a microphone
Old school music and fancy car shows
          Never dull or boring, a bunch of Chatty Cathys
Family of blue and green eyes
I am from weekends spent in tomato fields
          Hoping that a sweet pecan pie was hot on the stove when I got home
I am from jars of lightning bugs we’d collect at sunset
From the political disagreements in the dining room
          washed down with sweet tea
I am from big meals and bigger hearts
I am from the sound of music and joined hands
From sitting in lonely hospitals
From calls to get a cat out of a tree
          To taking a tree off of a house
I am from the feet running off the starting line
          To oars gliding against the calm, cool water
To Friday night soccer
          To Saturday morning cheers
Wrestling instead of pageants
I’m from the smell of nicotine from lit cigarettes
to Mom and Dad smoking with the windows up
I’m from the 60’s and 70’s peace movement
And pinning dead bugs on cardboard
I am from old school hip hop and sick beats
And watching Netflix in my bed
I’m from soccer every weekend
From hustling to first base
          And playing infield
Feeling muscles getting stronger with every throw
I am from summer vacations in the OBX
From barefoot summer nights on the beach
I’m from cold ocean breezes and city smog
Warm, cozy and away from the freezing winter
Jumping on the trampoline in the cool rain
Blue water and chlorine
I am from standing on the pier
From the scent of freshly baked bread out of the oven
And dunking Oreos,
          But making sure the milk doesn’t drip
I am from the smell of Lysol and bleach
I am from Sunday morning church
From fussy pajamas on Christmas Eve
From working hard and playing harder
Hand-me-downs were a necessity for some
From the smell of pasta made on Italian streets
From hot tea with too much sugar
I am from beautiful outcomes and tragic mistakes
I am from a caring grandmother
I am from the highs and lows of life
Motivated by my mother’s and father’s words
The dream is still alive
From parental love that will never fade
Sister to Jesus’s disciple, Buddha’s enlightened, and the lack thereof
And making my mark upon the world
          And touching the hearts of people
I’m from never forgetting
that family is everything
          and always sticking together
For they are
          My key