Monday, January 23, 2012

Where I'm From

I am from kinu fields and orange groves

From green bangles and crayola crayons

I am from Saved By The Bell and Garfield on childhood Saturday mornings.

I am from schoolyard bullies and sleepover slumber parties

From pizza and taco night and buttery potato parathas.

I am from Amelia Badelia, and Pele's Coat. From Sweet Valley High and Babysitters Club. From Judy Blume and Irene Hunt.

I am from library cards and backyard swing sets, from carvel ice cream, and constant make believe.

I am from notebooks filled with stories written not from want but insatiable need.

I am from chai cups, and dinner parties, from mixed tapes, and BFF heart chains.

From sandy beaches and long pants, from warm sunny skies and skin lighteners.

I am from Harpers Ferry and Days Inn. From Disney World and road trips.

And brothers, rotating in the same orbit of my universe.

I am from Hurricane Andrew that leveled my life and from the laughter at nail polish that remained unscathed as the world lay in fits of debris at our feet.

I am from farmers, and land owners, from Hindus and Turks. From converts and reverts. From a man who took a plane ride from the only place he knew to a place he never saw, and from a woman who also chose to do the same.

From the streets of Cordova, Costa Rican volcanoes, Blue Mosques and the crashing waves of Oahu, 

 From Midwestern snow days, Little Panda and sushi. I am from hookah, and Friday dinners,
and from my safe space to land.

I am from those that never were.

I am from the one that is. 

Thankful to Tracy for sharing this meme with me, one that was harder to write than I could have imagined but well worth the effort. As a Pakistani-American who is asked this question on a regular basis, it's therepeutic to consider where one is truly from, the experiences that make our life. I'm sure I will be revising and adding to this poem as time goes on. If you wish to do one to share on your own blog or to write privately, here is one of the links as to how to do it. Most don't follow the template, but no matter how you choose to write it, you'll be glad you did.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

...awesome, aisha - could relate so much!...it's like i wrote it...only better :)...

ash

Leigh Ann Ahmad said...

Very good!

sprogblogger said...

This is absolutely beautiful. As all your writing is, but this is special. Thank you for sharing it!

Tracy said...

I knew it would be this beautiful in your hands! Granted, this style poem is almost always stirring but with your writing skill and diverse history to draw from, I knew I especially wanted to see yours :)

Amazing imagery and so poignant. The line referencing your brothers and the one about the nail polish are standouts but the entire thing is a treasure to pass on to future generations. I love it.

Aisha said...

Thank you Ash, I'm glad you can relate!

Leigh Anne, thanks :)

Susan, I hope you do one too! Thanks :)

Tracy, thanks for telling me about this to begin with. It was a cgreat creative exercise and even omre it was fun to read other people's takes on it too.

Kamille Elahi said...

This is so beautiful!

I could definitely find it hard to write soemthing like this since I don't really feel like I come from somewhere.

Aisha said...

Kamille, we all come from somewhere, whether its from things we like, or things we don't, whether its from ever static changes instead of stability, we are from all of the things that made us who we are. I really hope you try out this poem too :)

Fruitful Fusion said...

I loved this poem! I'm tempted to try one but don't know if I can pull it off. I can relate to it even though there are so many differences! I too, get asked the question a lot.

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