Wednesday, February 2, 2011

More of "Where I'm From"

Some of my family members don't have a blog but they did the "Where I'm From" poem on their Facebook, and I think maybe you might not be able to see them if you aren't friends with them...So I'm taking the liberties of posting them here. I guess if they mind they'll let me know.

My Mom's
I am from an 8 passenger station wagon, from Sears & Robuck and Montgomery Ward catalogues, from everyone always getting everything in his/her own color, mine is blue.

I am from the two story white house with red trimmed windows next to the empty lot where all the neighborhood kids play.

I am from tulips and climbing roses in the front and pruned, staked tomato plants scenting the air all summer in the back yard.

I am from Dad and the boys fixing hamburgers every Saturday, and inde-damn-pendence, from Mas before she was Ma Bell, and Dad before he was Poppo and "Bell" - a chosen name.

I am from always seeking knowledge, wisdom and answers and freely sharing heart, home and family.

I am from family is your foundation and "hunger is the best sauce" meant as a compliment.

I am from Baptis-tempered Catholicism, knowing God is real and really knows me and really loves me.

I am from Chicago and a long line of strong women, from two dozen scrambled eggs, two pounds of bacon and two dozen rolls for Sunday breakfast and tuna sandwiches or fish sticks on Friday.

From two people meeting at a drug store soda fountain late at night and each knowing "he/she's the ONE." From checking the fried chicken leg list to see if it's my turn. From dinner together at 5 o'clock on the dot - no excuses.

I am from Mas' yearly scrapbooks with pictures, cards, awards and newspaper articles in chronological order, and poring over them with laugher with others and then finding time alone to look, feel, remember and reflect the wonders of the love of my family.

My Brother Judah's
I am from stars long dead, from miracle whip and DNA.
I am from the third rock out, spinning, round and blue. Perfect for our life, you evolved too.
I am from sycamore trees with seeds burst on breeze, from jerusalem artichokes every year with new growth.
I am from writing and being right, from Martha and Leah and Friend.
I am from sitting six deep in a love seat, from laughing aloud at books we read.
I am from blue eyes from Jesus, from Santa is a lie(just like the eyes).
I am from archaic fairy tales and rituals, freed of bondage by lines of reason and exposure to verifiable truth.
I am from the Land of Lincoln, native blood, Abraham, and Anglo.
I am from kugel and brownies made with love by grandmother's hands.
I am from planting Pansies with Poppo, from roses planted in a row.
I am from pictures papering the wall up the stairs, from you can look later I don't like to share (these stacks of scrapbooks piled up in the air).

My Brother Tim's
"I Am From"
I am from hand-me-down overalls,
Second-hand tube socks,
And goody-two-shoes that I “can grow into.”
From the country-side Pentecostal Sunday School,
The Red Letter Edition King James Version,
And the pocket-sized New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs.
From the closed mind of self-righteousness,
The charisma of spontaneity,
And the unashamedness of exclusivity.

I am from climbing trees,
Swinging vines,
And walking sticks.
From Lamb’s Quarters green,
Queen Anne’s lace white,
And Native America’s clay red.
From the “Triple Delight” diversity of a rose bush,
The pungent memory of an iris blossom,
And the resilient tenacity of a lizard tail.

I am from putting others first (typically youngest to oldest),
Respecting my elders (while looking down on them),
And waving goodbye to Poppo (in a kid-riddled, rear-facing, station wagon seat).
From proper grammar,
Creative writing,
And Bells that communicate with words that do so much more than ring in your ears.
From impossible standards,
Insane imaginations,
And Friends that love regardless of distance or time away.

I am from the commitment to resourcefulness that border-lines obsessive compulsion in its necessity-driven thriftiness,
The devotion to sincerity that underscores integrity with more than obvious florescence,
And the stubbornness to the ideal that everyone is family whether they realize it yet or not.
From “Jesus is alive,”
“Santa is a lie,”
And a lifetime of evidence contrary to both.
From “Follow your heart,”
“Listen to the Spirit,”
And ignoring the “reason” to do neither.

I am from the right side of the fence,
The East side of eternity,
And the asinine intuition that always sides with the underdog.
From the greener side where hopping is forbidden,
Straddling is vomitus,
And both punishable by eternal damnation.
From 6,000 year old broken covenants,
2,000 year old empty promises,
And 1,000,000 year old history of humans making it up as we go along.

I am from the fundamentalist buckle of the Bible-Belt,
The unbridled spirit of the Ozarks,
And the roaring springs of Pennsylvania.
From hand-picked harvests of Ohio,
Blue-grass horse pastures of Kentucky,
And wind-swept plains of Oklahoma.
From the contagious freedom of California,
The generous hospitality of the South,
And the comforting knowledge that Home isn’t a location.

I am from Tulsa,
By way of Chicago,
By way of Connecticut.
From economic food less about nutrition and more about enrichment,
Meals hand-crafted in love as an excuse for togetherness,
And time invested in family is the fulfillment of life.
From hallways lined top to bottom,
Cabinets crammed in chronological order,
External hard-drives at capacity,
And too many tangles of websites –
All overflowing with frozen visual descriptions vividly painting the story of where I am from.

My Cousin Sue's
I am from the big wooden swing-set in the back yard, fifteen feet tall and made by Ruth's father, from ice skates and year-round outdoor rambles, from oatmeal and toast at seven a.m.

I am from the burgundy-painted log cabin, from fresh cold rainwater heated on a woodstove, from ancient couches and overflowing bookshelves, from many short-lived tiny tortoises and one fluffy yellow cat.

I am from endless dusty gravel roads, open blue skies, evergreen trees marching rank on rank from a human outpost into the further wilderness.

I am from a white father singing black gospel songs to his babies, from teaching toddlers to walk and leaving the dishes in the sink another night to read a good book, from an artistic mother and a mystical father, from a music engraver and a school principal, and a pair of writers in Oklahoma sending Christmas presents a thousand miles away; from Grandma Kate and Grandma Val, and Maw-Maw Helen's ladybug necklace.

I am from Handel's Messiah played year-round, from self-education and trying never to speak Christianese when plain English would do; from red hair and myopia and apparently a great tendency towards queerness.

From "Next to God, your mother is the dearest and best part of my soul"; from always room for another plate at the table, always space for another person in the car.

I am from nearly every Psalm set to music, often to several different tunes. From a mandolin strumming children to sleep at night, from cassette-tape-recordings, from dinner for thirty eighteen meals a week. I am from Thanksgiving celebrated any time between September and December 24, from raspberries and new carrots and chasing cows back into their pasture.

I'm from the true north strong and free, a deeply Canadian child of American immigrants; from visas from several continents discussed at the dinner table; from fresh-baked bread and homemade okonomi-yaki.

From "My goodness, it's about time!" when he finally proposed, from tales of growing up in exotic Canton, OH; from Jesuit seminary and travelling the United States as a hippie and "meeting Jesus" at a rock concert in California. From Uncle Tim's oxen and Uncle Paul's knifemaking; from Aunt Barbara marrying in a blue dress and how many degrees by marriage between us and the Basalygas.

I am from renting a videocassette recorder to capture the children for far-away grandparents; from rediscovered pictures of the North Farm posted to Facebook; from mementos from Japan saved carefully in boxes for twenty-five years; from my mother's wedding quilt, first slept under in a one-room cabin in Ontario, now loved in a city of 300,000 far to the west.

You should be able to see these on their blogs.

My Cousin Liz's

My Cousin Tami's

My Friend Amy's
I am from creeks and springs bubbling up from the deep, diving down to feel the source of life. I'm from air thick and full of impending storms.

I am from hot red clay, the green wooded paths that lead to nowhere and cool dark caves, in which to hide.

I am from the land of honeysuckle and fireflies, from gardens rich and earth full of colors, from weeping cherry and dogwood trees, from ponds lined with watercress.

I am from the land of miracles and hallelujahs, dancing and incantations..and silent tears. I'm from a house built of broken wood.

I am from music pounded out to the creaking metronome, fields where stories bubble up to listening ears, journals of pain written on other people's prayers.

I am from Margaret and Maxine and railroad tracks..I'm from the reservation of broken lives and fires lit by dying hopes.

I am from a little red wagon pulled door-to-door, and being sold a bill of goods.

I am from Jesus loves the world we will hide you from.

I am from the plains of Oklahoma, the trail of tears to Arkansas, the Pennsylvania air chilling my bones..the spring of Kentucky..the healing winters of Minnesota..the deep open oceans of California. The painful memories that dropped away across the miles, boys in tow.

I'm from biscuits and gravy, cornbread and beans.

I'm from the deep blue of her eyes stilled forever, clawing my way up from the chasm of pain, to find my family waiting all along..I'm from gazing into deep brown eyes, strapping him to my chest, and flying across of oceans of hurt, and never letting go.

I'm from cupboards so full of memories, they will never close..wires of love and out..across space and time.

I'm from the bleachers, cups of coffee steaming in the cold air, plays made and cheering them on in the game of life.

I'm from the ocean's pathway..running it's edge..marking the forever.

My friend Jen's

My Cousin Rose's
I am from silverware that never matches, from paperback books that never collect dust and safety pins that never run out.

I am from a string of little houses, each one the one before, crowded but affectionate, spilling over with the taste of laughter and the sound of freshly-baked bread.

I am from freezing cold and blanketing snow, from raspberry brambles and dandelions and finding the first pussy-willow in the spring.

I am from Japanese prayer songs and the mismatched sock drawer, from glasses and grammar skills and everyone else's red hair, from a statistically disproportionate amount of homosexual tendencies, from the precious oddity of an unbroken family.

I am from second-hand Christmases and birthdays we can't afford, but have anyway.

I am from the knowledge that I can always go home.

I am from stacks of theology books on stacks of philosophy books on stacks of sacred texts from every faith, with a Bible on top. I am from spiritual cocaine, from alien tongues, from hysterical exorcisms, from abstinence-only sex education. I am from inviting the Mormons in for tea and talking points.

I am from standard whitebread European stock eating homemade sushi and singing Russian folk songs.

I am from handmade hand-me-downs frosted with cat hair and stitched together with unconditional love.

I am from three sparse photo albums spanning eight lives, because we were all too busy living them to take pictures.

I am from finding the ice cream behind the couch and the remote control in the freezer.

I am from Dr Seuss and Dr Demento, from John Stuart Mill and Jon Stewart, from e.e. cummings and A.A. Milne.

I am from creating first, learning second, and judging last.

I am from never turning away a hungry stranger.

I am lucky.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting these! They are great!


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