The Pragmatic Hybrid

Where I’m from

I am from crinkly leaves in October left behind.
I am from growing watermelon near the back porch, my father skipping his leather chappal sideways along the grass at rabbits daring to raid.
I am from mesquite and cholla, bottlebrush and wolfberry, teddy bear, jumping, spiny, leaves folded against the sun in supplication.
I am from slithery scales and dry, smooth coils undulating tracks across washboard roads.
I am the turkey vulture landing heavily to check the scene,
the tarantula with the misfortune to blunder into the kitchen,
the scorpion fast enough to dart away.
I am from walking barefoot through sprinklers on the golf course and pausing under the weeping willow, alien and parched.
I am in the stunted grape vines, and the pear tree that refused to bear, and the heavy black fig that bore until the sparrows were sated.
I am from the sour apricot in the bare western patch of yard,
and the woodpile sheltering black widows gleamingly in its crevices.
I am from saguaro and joshua tree,
and shimmering water mirages on a blacktop playground.
I am from mulberry trees over rustling blue shade.
I am from monsoon-lashed windows and the skylight that leaked in every storm.
And sometimes, in a rare freeze, I am from icicles pointing from the red tile roof.

This is after a poem by George Ella Lyon. I wrote it in a folklore workshop, where we were given her poem as a prompt to start us thinking of and writing about where we’re from.

It’s a rich question – one that can pull a poem right out of your heart’s archives.

Where are you from? I want to hear.

Comment Fu

Your poems and prosems are welcome here in the writing room of my house.

This space is like a Quaker meeting that is happening in my living room. Honored guests, please speak as you are moved to. And let’s be awesome to each other, because graciousness among friends is why we hang out together.

  1. Lindsay

    Wow, what a beautiful place you’re from! And thank you for the invitation, hmmm… drops deep into bone marrow, heartbeat, cell-pulse …..

    I’m from the star that sparkled on the edge of my own awareness
    The one I left behind when I dropped
    Stone straight and un-erring
    To an assignation with my self
    Incarnate in a land of rock and mist and water drops on sparse grass
    Wind soughing over moor
    Bird call at dusk
    Sea lochs lapping deep into the mountains
    Long summer light with no black night
    and longer winters
    Rock grass and wind whipped sea
    hardy unfamiliar
    known sparseness, zen, soul song
    .-= Lindsay’s last blog Rainy days and the Lung gompa money moth … or how metaphor works in my life =-.

  2. Kelly Parkinson

    I’m from speechless.
    .-= Kelly Parkinson’s last blog But I really want to direct =-.

  3. Amna Ahmad

    @Lindsay — Love! Especially the picture of you dropping stone straight and un-erring. Like a meteor. :)

    @Kelly — Thank you! (If that was a postmodern interpretation of the writing prompt, a pithy distillation of the essence of everywhere you’re from, then, well, also thank you!)


  4. Pirate

    I am from Russia, from Germany, from Poland.
    I am from the tenements of the Lower East Side.
    I am from Queens.
    I am from Long Island.
    I am from the musty smell of old books and the musty sound of old voices raised together in prayer.
    I am from knishes and kishke, from schmaltz and smoked whitefish.
    I am from scholars, from immigrants, from entrepreneurs
    from huddled masses yearning to breathe free
    I am from a language I never learned to speak.
    .-= Pirate’s last blog In Which the Pirate Gets Ready for Vacation =-.

  5. Amna Ahmad

    @Pirate – Thank you! You are from the most storied places and the delicious foods. Next time, I’ll try to remember the delicious foods I’m from too.


  6. Natasha

    I am from Ranchi,
    I’m named after a Russian.
    I am from Pakistan, which was then India,
    I am from the border village which is now rubble.

    I am a Qawwali, sung in Punjabi,
    I am an Awadhi song, sung by a Punjabi.

    I am a dupatta,
    you can see through me,
    I am a breast that puts baby to sleep.

    I am from Him,
    I live with them.
    They are from Him,
    so He can get some rest.