Sunday, February 25, 2007

I am from

*Inspired by a poem of Mary's (Breath of Air) and Teri (Blueberry Pie)

I am from green rolling hills, studded with pines. A river and ravine weeping with willows. From a tiny house with a coal burning stove and rain barrel and then the big new house my father and mother built alone. I am from Forget-Me-Nots and Bleeding Hearts growing in a garden next to a rhubarb patch. From sensible brown lace up shoes bought by a mother obsessed with not ruining my feet, while subjecting those same feet to x-ray machines at the shoe store. From hated beige cotton stockings, garter belts and plaid skirts for school. From Peter Pan collars and sweater sets, one new outfit in September.

I am from Black Beauty read to me before I could make the words out for myself. I begged for a horse. My father would not need to mow, if we only had one. The logic was impeccable.

I am from budgeted meals and pennies pinched and parents going without so we could have more and from stories of prairie farms. Parents, aunts and uncles sleeping 4 and 5 to a bed, trudging miles to school, staying home during harvest. I am from poor but clean, poor but proud. I am from proper grammar and spelling in this house and sunday school classes where black is for sin and white is for good and red, for the blood of Jesus. Onward Christian Soldiers.

Where I am from, neighbors help and share and gossip meanly sometimes too. I am from a kitchen perfumed by homemade raspberry jam. I am from never-ask-wait-until-it's-offered and white gloves for church. From where no door is locked and no child unknown to the neighbors. I am from dog-eared catalogues before Christmas and real stockings hung on Christmas eve. I am from Evening in Paris for my mother, bought from my allowance.

I am from Ladies Don't. I am from Settle Down Now. From It Is Too Nice To Play Inside. I am from worried looks when I just want to draw by myself. I am from Boys Don't Like Girls to be too Smart. From Duck and Cover, Bomb shelters, and the first water cannoned blast of the civil rights movement pouring from a counter top radio. A lonely little girl in a starched dress, walking by a frothing mob.

I am from mother dying and father mourning and then there was nowhere to be from it seemed.

I am from do-wap, then rock and roll and motown gold, micro-mini skirts, Levies, Bob Dylan and Joan Biaz, Napalm, life-events marked by music. Free love would cost more than I knew.

I am from happiness, love, grief, angst, appetite, curiosity, lust, tenderness, anger, mystery and calm. I am from dark and light places, from guilt and complicity and bravery and determination. I am from compassion and also from envy and judgment.

I am from the journey but still do not know who travels.