Lit Magazine

“Where I’m From” Poems

George Ella Lyon is the author of several books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. She wrote the original poem, “Where I’m From” in 1993 in order to find out just where she did come from.  By remembering and naming all of the things and people that stood out to her in her childhood, she was able to come to a deeper understanding of the person she was.  Students used this poem as an example to create their own “Where I’m From” poems in order to recognize pieces of their own identity and the factors that shape it. 

where i’m from By: Shannon Silverthorne

I’m from some 

sickly weft of a spider’s web

on the bushes every Halloween,

from the goldfish and the 

cobblestones of an old

church. 

I’m from a little wooden sign 

at a friend’s house—not mine—

proclaiming brightly ”everytime a bell rings, 

an angel gets its wings”.

I’m from the stained 

glass windows of a children’s 

library, from some leathery armchair 

with blood-spotted cushions and the sticky 

sweet taste of ice cream in the summer. 

I’m from the full-knuckled fury of a closet door, 

the pearly white impression of a bathroom floor,

from the taste you couldn’t get out of your mouth fast enough.

I’m from the burning concrete and the tire swing, 

the fire and the ash, 

the swirling cosmos of pond silt and mud. 

Somewhere, a bell is ringing and

ringing and 

ringing and 

ringing.

Where I’m From By: Jenna Collucci

I am from colorful hair

from colors ranging all over the rainbow.

I am from a household of fear

(Caused by me and my giant mouth)

I am from motorcycles and broken tires,

on the winding path

twisting and turning under my feet

the road never ending.

I am from leather jackets and jeans,

from the neck down.

I am from purple clothing,

bright as a new plum,

from Lavender to Indigo, all shades

I am from bats flying in the night

one more mysterious than the next

wishing I had one.

I am from Elvira and Donovan’s love,

a love I wish I had. 

From the shouting of my sister 

for something I did.

The fear I instilled on my family

and their regret of having me

The pain I have shared with people

more painful than ever

The love of someone,

long gone,

never to return.

I am from these moments-

Though they are a hex-

The name lives on with me

Dex.

Where I’m From By: Braelan Drollas

I am from the yellow house on Candlewood Lane

Whose black shutters and candy-cane shaped driveway remind me of home,

Where I spent the first seventeen years of my life. 

I am from a pink pocketbook and dangly earrings obsession, hence, ‘The Bag Lady.’ 

I am from Sunday morning TV binges of The Big Comfy Couch and Martha Speaks

Whose theme songs I sang to while eating Mickey Mouse shaped pancakes on my foldable Spongebob sofa.

I am from cupboards lined with a rainbow selection of sippy straw cups,

Which held beloved orange juice and nightly warm milk with vanilla.

I am from warm crackers and melted cheddar cheese snacks during family movie night.

From enjoying Halloween treats and Thanksgiving feasts ‘round a fancied dining room table.

A kitchen whose walls changed color in accordance with the seasons,

And contained warm, inviting smells of Mom’s famous cobbler and chocolate frosted cupcakes.

I am from Sunday Night Football with Dad, 

A crackling fire and breeze blowing through a screened patio door.

PGA Tours and Phil Mickelson, whom I looked up to as inspiration in my world of golf.

I am from bike rides after school on a chalk-dotted sidewalk, 

To learning handstands in my front lawn, 

And catching lightning bugs and fuzzy caterpillars before sunset.

I am from the yellow house on Candlewood Lane, 

Which I left behind. 

A departure which resolved endings.

Yet as I grow older,

I’ll have these memories to look back on.

Ones that shaped me, and were full of both smiles and tears. 

But this is not the end. 

Moving signified a new beginning, one full of new adventures. 

I now have a new place to call home – the adorable white cape cod in Caldwell.

“Where Montag Is From” By: Ava Galal

(* Guy Montag is the protagonist in Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel  Fahrenheit 451)

I am from the potent smells of kerosene and gasoline,

And the countless books that are now fine charcoal ashes, 

Because to us firemen, they were a pleasure to burn. 

I’m from the vibrant shades of orange and red that filled up the sky from bombs and fire and destruction and war, 

And how the 451 on my fireman hat made me responsible for such a spectacle in the sky. 

I´m from wondering if I was happy,

And …well, do you remember when we met? And where? I can’t remember. 

I’m from the incessant and unpleasant sounds that came from the seashells, and the senseless content of the parlor walls, and how my poor Millie adored it all. 

Denham’s Dentifrice, consider the lilies, the lilies, Denham’s Dentifrice, and so on, so mindless.

I’m from the woman whose books she refused to let go, and Beatty’s merciless count to ten.

Quick with the kerosene. One. Two. Three. Master Ridley was killed for heresy. 

I’m from the moments I became repulsed by kerosene and gasoline, 

And the only time I wanted to see the sky filled with orange and red was during a sunset, not from bombs nor fire nor destruction nor war.

And finally, I am from the tree of life,

Whose leaves I will use for the healing of the nations, 

When I reach the city.

Where I’m From By: Jake Maayan

I am from a world of sounds and symphonies

From thunder erupting from the basement and angels voices carrying through the halls

Marisa and Ethan were destined to find each other

And I was destined to follow their steps

I am from Broadway,  performing for the public

Alongside my “go to” wingman

Years of listening and years of hard work learning how to master the kit

To bang and slam in a coordinated manner

And reincarnate my father’s past. 

I am from the crunching of cracker jacks and the cracks of bats

From white pants being flooded with dirt, and gloves being beaten in.

Pitch after pitch after pitch

And endless cycle of determination and the requirement to be perfect

I am from the obnoxious chewing of wads of gum and sunflower seeds

Bubbles popping throughout the day

Waiting for the days to lengthen and the snow to dissipate

To arrive in Spring and master the game.

I am from carpools with friends and family alike

To and from school, or a late snack at Wendy’s

Running around in the park, or playing football at the oval

Everyday is a new adventure waiting for it’s time to shine

I am from a residential house that contains the center of my world

Everything important to me is with me when I need it the most

Gia, Mom, Dad, all right there

Baseballs, drums, invading my house every day

I am from happiness and joy filling my life

Where I’m From By: Mary Sateary

I am from lemonade stands

From lemon-lime ice pops and backyard pools 

I am from the wild flowers 

growing in the garden,

and grass stains coloring old clothes.

From the dark green house at the bottom of the hill 

Welcoming, happy, warm

I am from the tall sycamore trees lining my narrow street

From canoeing in the lake, the wooden paddles dipping into the clear surface,

and juicy burgers on the shore.

I am from fresh Maine air full of pine trees.

I’m from Christmas brunch and hazel eyes inherited from Nana

From birthday candles and dirty sandboxes

I’m from the backyard playset and sprawling, messy garden

Teeming with porch swings and slip ‘n slides

I am from the maple tree,

the leaves softly brushing the clouds.

From the beach where my grandmother toppled off a horse, 

And the plane that brought her to this country

From the black and white pictures lining the bookshelves,

telling the story of our past. 

Where I am From By Mia Savanello

I am from music, 

From musicals in the living room and monsters under my bed.

I am from the costumes in the closet under my basement stairs

(Glittery, filled with memories.) 

I am from the Wildwood Boardwalk, the family vacations that never felt long enough.

I am from Guns n’ Roses and long drives,

From Mulan and Dumbo.

I’m from the make-believe and the hand me downs,

From live n’ learn and yolo.

I’m from “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie”

And another verse grandpa would sing

I’m from Rainbow and Italian flags, 

French fries and pizza pies

From the sight my grandma lost sixteen years ago

To the wheelchair my grandpa let me take for a spin

In my closet I have a boring container filled with extravagant memories

A glimpse of my beautiful and pure past

I am from those moments— the so longs— final bow

Curtain, fall.

Who I Am Poem By: Ninah Malleo 

Who am I? They often tell me

I would walk onto the field 

Eagerly, anxiously, devotedly

Like a lion catching its prey.

Who am I? They often tell me

I would prattle to my teammates 

Calmly, honestly, cheerfully

Like an innocent girl at a carnival.

Who am I? They also tell me 

I would long for the days of scoring goals

Wholeheartedly, excitingly, firmly 

Like one prevailing to win.

Am I then really all that which other men tell me of?

Or am I only what I know of myself,

Longing for days of hourly practices

Struggling to get better, as others perfected their craft

Eager to be like Mia Hamm, for that glimmer of hope,

Absorbing feedback for being greater,

Disappointed with failure, and mistakes,

Trembling with regret of playing such a sport

Feeling such a thought was a mistake,

Thinking that going pro was a long shot,

Is it finally time to say goodbye?

Who am I? This or the other?

Am I a superior player, or just a good one?

Am I neither? Is it my parents that are hard on me,

Or am I the one being too hard on myself?

Am I actually improving, or am I the player I was when I first started?

Coaches saying that there is always room for improvement, 

What does that even mean? No matter how hard I try,

I seem to see no change, while others soar beyond the limits.

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