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So Far

 A couple of summers ago I attended a two week Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) professional development class and we had to write a "poem" (I put it into quotes because I STILL don't know what constitutes a poem) about who we are, within a certain structure.  And I came up with this:

So Far

I'm from the earth, hard tilled by Serbian peasants
From the anxious chattering crowds on Ellis Island
the alchemy of fear and hope permeating all

I'm from the American fifties and sixties
Adorned with Bobbie Brooks sweaters in cranberry and plum
and every Barbie accessory imaginable -
All slowly replaced by faded jeans and peace signs, ardor and attitude

I'm from the world of freshly ground designer coffee and Windsong cologne -
Jockeying for "aroma rule" with new leather seats and steaming concrete
In the tense and anticipatory race upwards

I'm from the biology that creates new life,
Where midnight blue Crayolas and Gerber peaches give way
to Roller Ball Papermates and microwaved pizza
As babies slowly morph into men

I'm from - to my continued surprise -
The lush tropical aina, rich with volcanic ash
Infused with a sweet falsetto a'ai, cradled by a ukulele breeze

I'm from the sum total of my life.

Ask me tomorrow and I'll be from more.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 6th, 2011 06:49 pm (UTC)
So Far
First, thank you for sharing your poetry.

Fiction and poetry are so intertwined that we often don't think of a poem as non fiction. But maybe that's part of the clue to what poetry is about -- feelings. I've often wondered if a story (fiction or non fiction) can turn into a poem just by breaking the lines differently, into something more, um, poetry-like. Conversely, can a poem turn into a story by running the lines together and making paragraphs? Of course, now that I've been studying poetry and learning how to write it, I can say this authoritatively: I have no flaming clue how to define it. There are as many definitions as there are poets, probably. And none of them is wrong. So maybe that's another clue -- that poetry is personal. For me, it is everything about writing, stripped down and raw, with no boundaries.

What I get here are many different images that flow gracefully one to the next and touch on many senses. And it is both very American, in the experience, and very human, in the mixed feelings of knowing what/who you are and wondering (wonderment?) about where you are going/what you will be. Some people might write about who they are just right now, in a present tense sort of way. You share an unfinished journey. "Ask me tomorrow and I'll be from more." You will also have another perspective. And if you tackled the poem again, it would be different. "So far" itself says this is where you've been so far, but also that you have so far to go.

Apr. 6th, 2011 09:59 pm (UTC)
Re: So Far
These are some great insights, Brenda. Mahalo.
Apr. 12th, 2011 09:34 pm (UTC)
This article was vey helpful to me. It helped me to be informed and more aware. The details were such a blessing, thanks.

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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