Lit Magazine

Where I’m From Poems

By Olivia Macaluso, Emily Schablik, Addy Stafford and Ava Vanderclock

The original “Where I’m From” poem was written by George Ella Lyon in 1993.

“Where I’m From” is a free verse poem, 29 lines long contained within 4 stanzas. There is no set rhyme scheme and the meter is varied, which brings change in the rhythm.

The narrator or speaker has a clear voice right from the start…

Where I’m From

 By Olivia Macaluso 

I am from a hidden world under the Japanese Maple. 

I am from the ecosystem of the backyard brimming with hummingbirds and baby bunnies. 

I am from the evergreens a self proclaimed “arborist” neighbor chopped down. 

And the inconsolable tears that followed. 

I am from the leafy vegetables foraged in Prospect Park by my grandfather

Eaten battered and fried, sauteed, served raw. 

From games of Sicilian and American cards played on opposite ends of the same table. 

I am from Brooklyn and Bethel.

Broom Street and Chester Ave. 

Brookwood Drive and Beechtree Road. 

I am from games of intricate make believe.

I am from Build-a-Bear fashion shows and Calico Critter city set-up and take apart. 

From Sam’s protection over me, and mine over her. 

I am from beaded bracelets, string bracelets, sewing machines and “just like my mother, always keeping your hands busy.” 

I am from the growing pile of books on my bedside table.

Molded by made-up lands and fictional warriors. 

I am from pirated DVDs and piles of VHS tapes. 

I am from storytellers and story lovers. 

I am from attempts to coexist and console.

From candy-box apologies and Aunt Lena’s bone-crushing hugs. 

I am from Florida trips to visit Mom’s side.

And summer vacations with Dad’s. 

I am from Canons and Nikons

From empty film rolls

Desperately capturing moments lost

A photobook of my life, growing, everyday 

Stored in the scars on my knees, hidden behind my eyes

Tucked safely in the deepest corners of my heart. 

Dad’s Bass Guitar

By: Emily Schablik 

I am from dad’s bass guitar

And the little firefly imprinted on the frets

I am from The Beatles

Abbey Road

From yelling “Daddy turn the music down it’s too loud!”

In dad’s Gray 2000 Honda Accord

I am from church on Sunday

Peeking under the pews

And counting the shoes while kneeling for salvation

I am from Panera with Grandma and Grandpa

Broccoli cheddar soup

I am from Nonna and Poppy’s big, blue, rug

And their basket of Hershey Chocolates

“Take one more! Mangia!”

I am from Nonna’s tree in the backyard

Watching it grow older as I do

I am from Grandpa’s computer games

And from Grandma’s Christmas Eve Dinner

I am from the vibrant yellow dandelions

“Stop picking flowers Emily, this is soccer not recess! Focus!”

I am from Beethoven’s Symphony at naptime

And Mourning Doves

I am from Richard’s Park

The scars on my knees serve as proof 

I am from Kids Cuisine on busy weeknights 

I am from tutu’s and bobby pins 

“Emily, pay attention to the choreography!”

Dancing to my own rhythm 

I am from Miss. Natasha’s

“She will be a star!”

I am from Lovey

Little pink blanket 

That mom used to wipe my tears with when I fell 

That was there to wipe my tears during my first heartbreak

I am from dad’s bass guitar 

Always following the rhythm and beat 

To what makes my life complete

Where I’m From

By Addy Stafford

I am from stuffed animals filling my bed, pretending like they were living creatures and making up lives for them to live and adventures to go on,

from building pillow forts in my living room with my brothers,

from my parents reading to me in bed from story books.

I am from the movies I watched in my grandparents basement when I would visit, the drawer filled with VHS tapes: The Parent Trap, Peter Pan, The Little Mermaid, The Jungle Book, and Scooby Doo.

From eating pancakes in the morning with their Spiderman silverware.

I’m from playing in the snow, being dragged around on a sled pulled by my father, and drinking hot chocolate in front of the fireplace when we got tired, 

listening to Christmas music and decorating the house with ornaments, stockings, stuffed snowmen and little glass figure skaters.

I am from Christmas eve with my Aunt and Christmas morning at my grandparents’ house, leaving cookies for Santa, running down the stairs at 8 in the morning and opening presents with my family.

I am from the house I used to stay with my family in Cape Cod, playing hide and seek in that house that seemed so big to me back then, with all it’s various rooms and nooks to crawl into,

from swimming and fishing in the lake outside, even with the baby snapping turtles living under the dock. 

From having to say goodbye to that big house after it was sold, to finding a new one that I will spend future years in.

From the places I can’t picture, but can remember the feeling they gave me, the wonder of being somewhere I’ve never seen before,

the knowledge that there is still so much out there for me to see

I’m from fights with my brother, my cousins, and my friends,

from “I know you are but what am I” and “Stop copying me”.

from slamming my door in anger, over things that seem insignificant to me now.

I am from the days I spent with my friends at their homes and in mine, sleeping over, playing video games, just talking and laughing.

From having to say goodbye to many of those friends, some from moving away, and some just from growing apart.

From getting to say hello to new friends that I may know for the rest of my life, or I may grow apart from as well.

I am from the places I’ve been

and the people I’ve known.

Even if I don’t remember them all perfectly, even if I had some bad memories with them, even if I will never see them again,

Each one had an impact on the person I am now and who I will be in the future.

Where I’m From

By Ava Vanderclock 

I am from Bitty Babies

And Barbies always in my arms 

I am from only eating from animal plates 

And wanting the lion due to my love for Lion King 

I am from playing house

And insisting on being the mom 

I am from the endless supplies of Disney princess dresses 

With my  dream of becoming Rapunzel 

I am from having a different princess movie on everyday 

Picturing my happily ever after 

I am from playing catch in the backyard with my puppy Nash 

Coming from Nashville 

I am from going to the red and yellow park with Julia and Jason

Just behind our grandparents’ house

I am from running through the sprinklers 

Imagining dancing in the rain 

Feeling like a beautiful ballerina 

I am from going on countless adventures with the Wilks 

While dying of laughter 

I am from tasting too sweet ice tea  at Olivia’s 

I am from having lemonade stands 

And thinking we’ll make millions

I am from hearing “ Don’t forget to brush your teeth” and 

“ Did you finish your homework?” 

                        To 

“ There’s something important we need to talk about”

                        and

 “ Change can be good”

While hearing this hurt but it was nothing but true 

I am from saying  “I love you” to texting 

I am from the nickname Moo Moo

That I can’t figure out why 

I am from Friendly’s black raspberry ice cream 

And long walks in the mall joined at the hip with Olivia 

I am from late night swims 

To the LBI beach house 

I am from all these memories swimming in my head 

But most of all I am from

Endless amounts of laughter and love

Categories: Lit Magazine