In which I write a poem, and invite friends to write poetry too

Where I'm From
I am from JP Patches mornings and old radio show nights.

From Vicks Vapo-Rub winters and Coppertone summers.

I am from a neighborhood of kids, bicycles and muddy sneakers outside each garage door.

I am from blackberry vine, blackberry blossom, blackberry jam, blackberry pie,
blackberry-stained fingers, blackberry thorn-scratches.

I am from the Fourth Corner, from Galen Biery photos, from acres of clams,
from ghost stories that are really love stories,
from a town that was once four towns.

I’m from a rowboat, a sailboat, a ski boat,
endless kid-made
rafts that would sometimes even float.

I am from trombone and piano in the basement, and
tapping out rhythms on the steering wheel.
I am from singing in the car, and making up new words to the song.

I am from yardwork on Saturdays and church on Sundays.
I am from cats in the window waiting to be fed.
I am from rain in spring and rain in the fall, and cold rain winter and
warm rain in summer.

I'm from salmon on the barbeque and eating asparagus with my fingers.
From stealing apricots in the pouring rain and
making cider from roadside apple trees.

From counting the eagles nesting over the river, the dog who knew a thousand tricks
and the old cat who hated whistling.

I am from photos on the guest-room walls, bent-up school pictures
forever in a leather wallet.
I am from my father’s nose, my mother’s eyes, my grandmother’s posture.

I am from many colors, many places, many ways, many songs, many stories.
I am from home.

This poem is the result of a writing exercise I found here, written in response to an original poem located online here.

Several other blogs have played around with this exercise--some of my favorites are The Georgia Farm Woman blog and the Blind Pig and Acorn blog.

Wanna try it?

If you would like to try writing a "Where I'm From" poem, I've attached the basic directions below. Don't be afraid to change, expand, or delete things to personalize your poem. I hope you'll try it, and share your poems with me!

Here are the directions:

I am from _______(specific ordinary item), from _____ (product name) and ______.

I am from ___________ (home description...adjective, adjective, sensory detail).

I am from the ___________ (plant, flower, natural item), the ___________ (plant, flower, natural detail).

I am from _______ (family tradition) and _______ (family trait), from _______ (name of family member) and _______ (another family name) and _______ (family name).

I am from the _______ (description of family tendency) and _______ (another one).

From _______ (something you were told as a child) and _______ (another).

I am from (representation of religion, or lack of it). Further description.
I'm from _______ (place of birth and family ancestry), _______ (two food items representing your family).

From the _______ (specific family story about a specific person and detail), the _______ (another detail, and the _______ (another detail about another family member).

I am from _______ (location of family pictures, mementos, archives and several more lines indicating their worth).


  1. wow ...have you been to fremont lately???? the adobe firm and several others have sponsered a big jp patches is sooo cool. there is a geocache there but i had to explain to my man who jp patches was and now is, a permanent fixture.
    and his I C U 2 TV....if you have not seen it, go to fremont and look thru the TV.

    and find a rapunzel for laughing orcas lisa, a cache that wants the colors of rapunzel.........i took a pic for her.

    and this is almost beyond belief, but we were down in ballard looking for a cache on the burke gilman trail that right??? ....and there was this limo with JP Patches all over it. and gertrude. and i took several pics.


    this is a special thing for us seattle kids, it says it was the longest running local kids show.

    i was so young it is only a memory. but one that remains.

    i believe the museum of history and industry at the arboretum on lake washington has a cafe with special cultural items from seattle, including the rainier beer R and jp patches

    my how geocaching does bring me back!

    lytha in north america

  2. Lytha: funny, I *almost* didn't include JP Patches in the poem, because he's so specific to the Swamplands I figured that it would be a total mystery to everyone else.

    But then I thought, being enigmatic to outlanders is an intrinsic part of being FROM this part of the world, so I left it in.

    Maybe today I'll edit in some links, so friends who ain't from here can figure out some of the stuff....


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