Sunday, April 6, 2008

where i'm from

[In honor of National Poetry Month, and because I can't stir up much else to write, I'm recycling an idea I spied over at Magnificent Octopus.]
Where I'm from

I am from album covers, RPM, and lyrics learned with skips
from a Hitachi AM/FM cassette tape recorder, and sound collecting expeditions.

I am from long journeys in the station wagon
(pitiless vinyl seats and late night destination disorientation)

I am from blackberry bush, white pine, lilac and live oak,
from shushing, swaying treetop domains.

I am from signature laughter, beer breath,
honey crosses on the forehead,
and sprinkled snippets of languages I'll never know
from Mary, Irene, Vernon, Henry, and Gene.

I am from short fuses, long lectures, and silent indignation
simple joys, splurges, vicarious living and charity
from keep a tight ship and hooka tooka my soda cracker.

I am from a non-denomination sampler, a Christian religious revue,
an abiding Catholic undercurrent, midnight mass, and tucking knees
to make way for the procession we couldn't join.

I am from semi truck, Cutlass Cruiser,
U-Haul, and the bus of many colors,
lefse and crumble-top apple pie,
pierogies, poppy, and garden cucumbers with salt.

From pen pal grandpa's squirrel watching tree
and lessons on igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary
to tales of grandfather unknown and unstable
and the aftermath of his self-removal
to the eh-eh-eh! of my last remaining
who took her hand but didn't assume, just was. True blue.

Most evidence that survived the shuffle
has been dutifully stored, sorted, and finally dispersed
by the oldest and, by order, most responsible.
Packaged with care and meted.
Smaller portions that leave space, after all,
for evidence of where she and he
and theirs
and we
and ours
are from.
There, I've paid up. Now it's your turn.
Here is how it's done, though I fudged a bit.
Here is the source.

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