These poems were written for our 10th grade English class (Ella this year, Matea last). It’s a bit of an odd assignment to ask a class of TCK’s to write a poem about where they’re from, but it was also good, because it asked us to name objects and phrases that shaped us, instead of places. Obviously we couldn’t include every memory, but I hope this gives you a bit of insight into our lives. Enjoy!
Where I’m From
I am from bare feet,
from rolling my toes over the uneven ground, staining them red with mud.
I’m from raindrops, rolling down banana leaves.
We tried to catch them on our tongues,
To get a taste of the dark clouds that threatened our hanging laundry.
I’m from blue sequins,
Glittering on my hat in the summer sun.
From a pair of Keens that were once purple,
Now stained brown and torn beyond repair.
I’m from music flowing out of open windows:
Many voices in one, proclaiming the Lord’s glory.
From my fingers flying over ivory keys,
And the dancing flames of a bonfire.
I’m from Honda XR dirt bikes,
From the smell of gas and the sound of the engine.
I’m from “Mzungu!” and “Yo mama we!”
From bottle caps and Silly Bandz
–“That’s not a fair trade!”
I’m from pizza every Sunday night,
(yes, with pineapple)
After our legendary Ultimate Frisbee games.
I’m from the crack in my ankle as I missed the ball.
From stiff hospital sheets and the rhythmic beeping of monitors,
And the kidney that I lost to cancer.
I’m from yelling “Blitz!” as I slap down my final card,
On the floor of an airport, on the beach, in a treehouse.
From the scream in my throat as I leap from a cliff into sapphire waves.
I’m from “Man overboard!” as I’m shoved off of a lime-green kayak.
And blowing out my candles as we count down to a new year.
As I watch the world shrink beneath me,
Boarding pass in hand,
I’m reminded of the moments that shaped me.
The thousands of goodbyes that have left my lips,
The memories I’m leaving,
And the ones yet to be made.
Where I’m From
I am from the outdoors, fresh, clean mountain air in my lungs.
From dirt and jiggers,
And always having mud on my face and hands, caked on my feet.
No matter how hard I try, the colour is stained on my soles.
Red, from the African soil.
I am from building new forts outside every week, creating villages and towns every month.
From playing imaginary games to playing Dutch Blitz non-stop, anywhere, anytime. Playing with imaginary friends, to traveling around the world with my best friend.
From doing absolutely everything together: seeing each other 13 hours a day for years on end, then not being able to see each other for months because of a wretched home-assignment.
I am from not wanting to go inside, prolonging my time outside till the last ray of sun is down, beneath my feet.
My mom calling me in at least 20 times.
I am from jumping straight out of bed by the first ray of light, soaking up every minute of it until dark, day after day.
From playing up in the trees, singing, swinging from branch to branch,
landing on platforms and swatting as mosquitoes as I go,
to playing down in a ditch, bumping kids on the head yelling “you’re it!”
I am from broken bones, stitches and hospitals,
playing with kids too weak to lift their arm or even open their eyes.
I am from rice and beans and manioc,
longing for some kind of American candy once in a while.
I am from hellos and many, many goodbyes.
I am from not knowing where I’m from,
feeling any airport is my 3rd home,
the floor somehow welcoming and comforting.
I am from many hours of facetime,
sometimes not even talking,
just the company of the person comforting.
I am from hiding from war.
From hearing tsk-tsk-tsk-boom of guns and tracer fire.
I am from events I wish more than anything, would never have happened.
I am a nomad, moving from place to place constantly, never being able to completely unpack, and fitting all of my possessions in 2 trunks and a carry-on.
From having more “homes” that I care to count.
My true home lies elsewhere, a place I long to see.