Saturday, March 07, 2009

Where I'm from

I am from the shiny wood floor, from Mr. Bubble and tuna noodle casserole.

I am from the house that was painted too yellow, and then repainted a softer yellow, surrounded by a big yard full of multitudes of wonderful bugs.

I am from the desert, the little hardy plant that sprouted up from the cracks of a giant rock.

I am from holiday dinners featuring 3 different kinds of meat, and maybe one vegetable, and heart disease, from Grandpa Nat and Grandpa Harry, the Golubs and the Bernsteins.

I am from creativity too often squashed by the necessities of everyday life and from under-used brilliance.

From "Children should be seen and not heard," and "Don’t run through the living room!"

I am from a singular experience with the Easter Bunny and a few more with a “Hanukkah bush”. I was told that being a Jew is a biological trait, like eye-color, but beyond that, I was given no religious education.

I'm from Hollywood, California and Russia and Romania, meat loaf and mashed potatoes, and hot cereal made by Daddy on weekends.

From a blended family that nobody would bat an eye about in this day and age, but back then it was a secret too scandalous to tell, involving a failed marriage and a gay husband. Two strangers who became sisters. And from a plain but sturdy girl who dropped out of school at age 12 to go to work and help support her family.

I am from the top of the piano, draped with a shawl and covered with photos. From the ancient portfolio filled with slowly disintegrating drawings by a talented young artist who immigrated to this country almost a hundred years ago. Images of people long dead and places we will never be able to identify. And from the cardboard box that says Huntsinger Turkey 12 lbs, 8 oz. that is full of slide trays with hundreds (thousands?) of slides from several decades. That box and those slides have passed to me, and slowly they are being scanned into the digital age. Slowly.

I got this unusual meme from four little birds. It's kind of like Mad Libs, only you have to think a little more, and the results are less hilarious and more poetic.

The template for it is here.


  1. I love your poem--and the illustrations!

    I wrote the first "Where I'm From" poem. You can hear it on my website. Now it's gone around the world. Amazing. There's so much "underused brilliance," as you say, and I'm thankful this form invites folks to let a little of that shine.

    Greetings and best wishes from a writer in Kentucky--

    George Ella Lyon

  2. Wow! You got the originator to comment on yours. Very cool.

    I dropped by from Linda's blog. Very nice.

  3. Wow, that is cool! Thanks George Ella and Frank!

  4. Brilliant!
    Very nice to know ya!


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