(I wrote this poem a couple of years ago with my Elevate students. Using the framework of George Ella Lyon’s, Where I’m from, poem each student (including myself) dug deep in search of our roots . Students cried, become angry, laughed, mourned and celebrated both the pain and beauty that came out as we reached back into the past).
I didn’t realized until tonight what a gift our journey together in poetry would hold.
I’m missing my students. I’m missing home.
I’m missing the way NE Portland use to be.
I’m missing the people that use to be there.
I have the memories
I have their lessons
I have this poem.
I’m from records
Crying out love songs through Aretha’s melodies
From Afro-sheen to Listerine, golden medallions and collars that spread like butterfly wings
I ‘m from Soul Train lines and church pews rocking, big hats wearing and peacocks walking down aisles
From cousins dancing on Granddaddy’s porch to chinese jumpropes in Meek Elementary’s school yard
I’m from kitchens baking bubbling peach cobblers and buttered crusted poundcakes
From foggy windows from chicken frying to BBQ ribs so good they had you begging
For one more….please
From soft round lips pressed on my forehead and wide hips
That sit in cadillacs driving down Martin Luther King Boulevard
I’m from Frazier and Dixon branches
That whisper “Suck it up-Don’t you cry and shouted Hallelujah-Lord don’t pass us by”
Secrets tucked in folded letters, bills not paid and pass notes due
Old Spice, Jean Nate’ and Dippity-Do
Hot metal comb sizzling straight my thick kinky curls
I am the dream of Mommy’s high-heels, that mastered insurance claims floating on a GED
And Daddy’s broken-in black, Stacy Adams that stood to fed hungry souls from a pulpit
Families raised on the Jefferson’s moving on up to finally arriving at Cosby’s doorsteps
I am the child of community, soul and spirit housed in the corners of Prescott and Fremont street
Because I flew on top of wings that kept me lifted until now I create a breeze that will carry our
legacy of passing down
at a time