Inlandia, I am from
I am from red dirt and golden illusions.
I am from that drawer of pretty worthless things.
I am from the salt of my tears.
I am from tea ceremonies and rain adopted by
orange blossoms on high winds.
I am from orange blossom scented groves.
I am from concrete garbage trucks and yelling.
I am from taking a chance on different places.
I am from a saltwater breezed ghetto.
I am from ocean breezes, fish and chips,
her Majesty the Queen.
I am from the burning sage and sweat lodge.
I am from stinging dust flung by Santa Anas.
I am from prairie swept by thunderstorms.
I am from cornfields and alfalfa.
I am from a place I never called home.
I am from a long line of stubborn women.
I am from handprints in the cement walkway
on the side of the house.
I am from the land of the Mayas, Aztecs, pyramids,
Spaniards and mariachis.
I’m from purple needlegrass, citrus trees, and trains
from the OG OLG Church in the Westside.
I am from a time when a blue-collar job meant you
could purchase a house
with a mulberry tree in the front yard.
I am from wretched migrant camps,
the sweaty summers of discontent.
I am from the same street where my
Revolutionary war ancestors were buried.
I am from a line of strong crazy women
who seem to enjoy drowning in glorious food.
I am “Gambling Granny” from the biggest little
city in the world. “Place your bets!”
I am from tortillas and butter, incense and candles,
books and blankets. Just a block
and a half from the railroad tracks.
I am from faraway, England, France, Iowa, Texas,
country and city but my soul is Mexican;
the Virgin of Guadalupe guides my way.
I am from the land of Hoosiers still hoping to hear
“gentlemen start your engines” at the Indy 500 Sunday.
I was born where the snow crusts hard on the ground
I’m from where the sun shines on vineyards and orange trees.
I hail from the land of Harry Truman, the Cardinals, the Gateway
Arch, the Clydesdale and the Missouri Mule.
I am from Inlandia and the City by the Bay.
I am from Mexico, Scotland, Ireland, Germany,
and Sweden, a hodgepodge…
Yo soy hija del Maíz y la Luna
Citrus groves green and orange
lemon yellow and plump verdolagas
Blue Mountain and Gage canals.
Original prompt: “I am from…” poem modeled after collaborative poem produced by Kwame Alexander and NPR.
Kamelyta Noor, Ai Miyamoto Kelley, Nan Friedley, Barbara Berg, Rick Champion, Debby Johnson, James Luna, David Stone, Shali Nicholas, Liz Gonzalez, Kris Lovekin, Jessica Lea, Thomas Vaden, Cindy Bousquet Harris, Steve Perry, Janet Alexander, Dar Stone, Juanita E. Mantz Pelaez, Gudelia Vaden, Frances T. Borella, Kim Watkins, Burcu Misirli Chatham, Stephanie Barbé Hammer, Julianna M. Cruz, Tameeca Griffin, Frances J. Vasquez, Larry Burns, Robin Longfield, Natalie Champion, Rose Y. Monge