Photography by Lisa Hepfer.
To usher in the new school year, Post Defiance and Write@253 are pleased to present the second round of “I Am From” poems written by students at First Creek Middle School.
The background information below comes from the first series of poems shared last spring: I Am From Taking the Long Way for the Better View.
Write@253 is a nonprofit that seeks to “inspire the writer that lives in everyone.” They hold classes and mentoring activities in cooperation with Tacoma Public Schools, working extensively in Tacoma’s south side middle schools. Write@253 also operate out of their writing center on Martin Luther King Jr. Way through the Spaceworks program.
Community volunteers from various agencies including Write@253 were brought together by Noah Prince of Tacoma 360 and Rachel Smith-Mosel, Instructional Coach of First Creek Middle School for a student summit. Over 100 students joined with community leaders to share and compose their I Am From poems as a celebration of the rich diversity that is the Eastside.
The students’ poetry follows a structure derived from the poem “Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyon, and the poems powerfully reveal the diverse backgrounds that make each of these Tacoma students unique.
I Am From the Sound of Laughter by Angela Lam
I am from the sound of laughter and the smell of food, from lit candles and bowls of leftover food.
I am from the red and white home down the block, from smells of pancakes in the morning.
I am from the dew on the grass in the fall.
I’m from big, loud parties on new years and parties at the end of the year, from Say Chhum and Thu Lam.
I’m from comedy movies on family night and rooms filled with laughter, and from watching Spongebob on my flat screen.
I’m from good grades equaling success and neatness equaling organization and songs like the itsy bitsy spider and bingo.
I’m from loud Khmer talk at family gatherings.
I’m from sunny California and Tacoma, WA, from pho and fried rice.
From a mother who had to drop out of school to take care of the family after losing a mother, and pictures of past celebrations in my night stand.
The Flag of Mexico and Texas by Sabrina Maria-Ceja
I am from a flag of Texas and Mexico.
I am from my baby brother who died and my sister being nice.
I am from San Antonio, Texas and now live in Tacoma.
I am from my Auntie’s house in Texas.
I am from a gray house. I am from a tree that grows apples and cherries and blooms with nature.
I am from my family that lives in different places, from Maria-Ceja and Corona.
I am from Mexican and Native, from my parents’ different religions.
I am from Catholic and Christian.
I am from my great grandma and grandpa.
I am from tacos and pasole.
I am from those moments I would have had with my brother, but didn’t.
Bo’s Asian Life by Corlina Bovoir
I am from a warm cozy fireplace, from a family photo and studio.
I am from a big house near a dead end.
I am from 3 floors, the smell of smoke, and a guardian always watching over me.
I am from the weeds and red apples
I’m from egg rolls and new years, from Lundy and Uncle Boo.
I’m from waking up at 5 A.M. and eating Pho, and from eating dinner on the floor.
I’m from finishing school and eating rice and happy birthday.
I’m from going to a temple.
I’m from Tacoma and being Asian, from Asian curry and fried rice.
I’m from Las Vegas where I left my dad to do his job.
I am from the Buddha on our gold necklace.
I Am from a House in Mexico by Juan Palomera
I am from a house in Mexico.
From tacos and churros, tamales, donates.
I am from birthdays and together.
From bull riding experience.
I am from gardeners who plant food.
I am from family and celebration.
I am from my mom and my dad.