“Where I’m From”

Last summer my future boss had asked me if I wanted to be a facilitator for a Creative Writing Workshop on “Where I’m From” which is a poem by George Ella Lyon. Lyon wrote “Where I’m From” as a response to one of her friends poem. It was a fun exercise for her that she shared it with other writers, which later became a global writing prompt. I was nervous and excited because I would be facilitating my first creative writing workshop with Freshman Summer Program students. Every time I facilitated I would write a new poem because I like to free-write. This experience was really rewarding because we learned a lot about one another in about an hour. The following poem is written from a recollection of the previous poems I had written for the workshop. I’d like to challenge you to write your own “Where I’m From” poem.


“Where I’m From”

I am from trash on the streets,
yard sales outside of houses, or on sidewalks,
food deserts on every corner- KFC/ Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Jack in the Box…
On a windy day or cloudy day I say to the elotero man, “Buena suerte”, “Good luck”
Because I know that despite the weather we do not have any other option but to keep moving forward.

I am from cabbage on Sundays,
Handmade tortillas, seven am shifts,
the burn mark that is visible on my hand from the consome that came out of the hot oven,
family arguments, and sweat dripping for money
Jarritos and Mexican cokes on the table with Morena chiles dressing our barbacoa meat.

On the walls there are frames showing the good times which hide the bad ones,
A two bedroom apartment, where my parents have seen us come and go,
La Virgen de Guadalupe images and lit candles,
Mexican music flowing all around the house on Saturday nights,
Weekends spent together eating Pollo Loco or Pizza Loca and watching The Walking Dead.

I’m from “con ganas”,
First-generation graduates,
South Central commotion day and night,
This is where I am from and I am not me without any of this.


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