dVerse Poetics

Today at dVerse Poetics, Mary has given us the wonderful prompt to write about “where we are from”. Not the geographical where, but the poetic, spiritual, life where. It is a wonderful prompt. I have written a poem longer than normal but the words just flowed. I dedicate this with love to my amazing family, so much a part of where I am from.

family pics2

I am from Denmark, Ireland, England Germany
I am from Celia and Luther, Josie and George, Celia and Robert
I am from family I’ll never know who landed
on the North Carolina coast three hundred years ago

Sleeping on a pallet on the sleeping porch on a hot southern night
scented by magnolia gardenia roses newly mown lawn
ceiling fans operated by long cords pulled down to the floor
going whump whump whump slow and lazy then faster as the cords
move closer to the ceiling.

I am from a family of eccentrics, strong women
tender hearted men, the builder of the house
who made damn sure the front room was the largest and
filled floor to ceiling with books bought or rescued
and all dusted and read with love and respect.

I am from a childhood of watching my grandmother
make biscuits with no recipe, watching my father
fry chicken, watching my mother make banana pud’n.
Of peach cobblers and homemade vanilla ice cream,
bowls of potato salad and devilled eggs on an ancient
fragile egg plate decorated with a drift of paprika.
Family reunions, picnics, fish fries, church dinners.

I am from Christmases with huge trees, colored lights
a mountain of packages a table loaded with food
people excited when that special gift they bought is
opened and exclaimed over or laughing in glee
when they are the one to open that gift.
I am from Christmases of erector sets and microscopes
and a beautiful yellow crinoline with pink ribbon rosebuds.

I am from summers with endless gardens of red sassy
tomatoes, sweet corn, silky butterbeans and crisp
snap beans- sitting on the backporch rocking
rocking and helping to snap snap beans and shell
butterbeans and shuck and silk corn.
And bowls and platters of those vegetables
planted and picked by us.

I am from playtimes with the family cats and dogs
and dressing them in doll clothes, loading them
into my red wagon and taking them around the neighborhood
to visit Miss Goldie, Mrs. Keranakis, Mr. Bujold
and Jamie Pollard who taught me how to write haiku
He thought being six years old was the perfect age
for me to learn.

I am from evenings of my family sitting around
and reading aloud poems from the Brownings, Yeats,
Keats, Wordsworth, Frost and Shakespeare’s sonnets.

I am from my own world of T.S. Eliot, Ginsberg, Snyder,
Kerouac, Simon and Garfunkel, Lennon and McCartney.
I am from my own world of secretly writing poetry
and feeling too odd – too odd even for my Southern
Style Addams Family family.
Keeping the fire inside secret. Hiding my notebooks
full of words written in Peacock Blue.
Sneaking out to poetry readings of Duke students
and then standing and reading mine
and feeling….not so very odd.
From bargaining with my mother:
I’ll do the cotillion if I get the next
two summers free.
Of being escorted by my sweet redhaired
cousin who committed suicide the next
summer because his father couldn’t abide
having a queer for a son.
Summers of love, moon landings, Woodstock.
I am from tears, forgiveness, pride, love,
Loss and gain, war and peace.
I am from being told to just be me.
And being loved when I was.

copyright kanzensakura

copyright kanzensakura

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