Day 21-Throwback Thursday-Where I’m From

Where I'm From

(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


one story

one memory

one word

one moment

at a time



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