A Place to Share for Writers and Teachers
I’m from the gravel roads of St. Rose and the suburban lanes of Kenner.
From the urban streets of New Orleans. All in all, I’m Louisiana grown.
I’m from the formality of Mardi Gras and the rebellion of Zulu’s carnival.
From the legacy and history of the Mardi Gras Indians.
I’m from old folks axing, “Who dat at the doh?”
From “Who dat say they gonna beat them Saints?”
I’m from “How ya mama and them?”
From “Fa sho!” and “Huh bruh!”
I’m from rural horseback riding and actual chicken runs.
I’m from go get eggs from the chicken coop and fill the hogs’ troughs.
I’m from city rules of don’t go pass the porch where I can’t see you.
I’m from you better make it in before the street lights come on
Or don’t bother coming home.
I’m from pralines, smothered chicken, corn bread dressing, succotash.
From gumbo – seafood and okra – made by mamas and aunties
On the kitchen stove.
I’m from feed the children first and make them sit at the kids’ table.
From don’t think about drinking anything ‘til you’ve eaten your meal.
I’m from save the big piece of chicken for daddy and let him rest.
I’m from Dr. Seuss books and Highlight magazine subscriptions.
I’m from Mrs. Pac Man, Donkey Kong, and Tetris played on Atari.
I’m from girls play make-believe and dress up with their dolls.
From don’t play football in streets with boys. Get in here, gal!
I’m from “Yes, ma’am,” and “No, sir.”
I’m from the lingering offensiveness of “Nigger” as well as
From the ambiguity of “Nigga.”
I’m from asking, “What the fuck?” not texting WTF.
I’m from Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, and The Real Roxanne.
I’m from KRS-One, L. L. Cool J, and Public Enemy.
From Flava Flav, MC Hammer, and Salt and Pepa
Before reality television disgrace.
I’m from “Danger” and “Back Tha Ass Up” but I’m also
From “Who you calling a bitch?” U-N-I-T-Y, fools!
I’m from R & B without the rapper’s hook.
From swoon me, not smash me.
I’m from Spike Lee’s “Do The Right Thing” and
From John Singleton’s “Boyz N The Hood.”
I’m from name 100 famous black people and their contributions.
I’m from know your history or be deemed to repeat it.
I’m from Chapter One reading programs and faulty syntax.
I’m from linguistic mastery and crafty usage.
I’m from the hope of the slave, the dream of the freedman,
From the diligence of the segregated citizen.
I’m from education that frees and ruptures the glass ceiling.
I’m from my mother’s quick temper and my father’s incessant kindness.
I’m from the Baptist Church and the Hole-in-the-wall night club.
I’m from all origins that lead me where I’m supposed to be. Best of all,
I’m from God’s divine invention.
George Ella Lyon's "Where I'm From":
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Copyright 2010 by Michelle D. Hudson. All rights reserved.