Yo Soy De

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Where I am from is a typical poem template that creative writer instructors have their students complete when taking creative writing 101. I remember my professor at the time was named Kelsey. She was a graduate student and she had the class introduce ourselves via an “I am from” poem. Everyone wrote free verse poems about themselves and where they were from. This was my rendition and although slightly edited from its original form it is still true to my person. I hope you enjoy.

Yo Soy De

I am from the old pastoral land of aging farmers,

Who once grew green chile through the cracked dry clay soils,

That feed the addiction of people seeking culinary excellence and endorphin rush,

I am from the land of Stahman Farms which sits on the edge of town,

All along an old highway that drunks and unilingual families frequent,

When they aren’t bathing in the sun or sitting in small dark rooms,

With tinfoil covering their windows,

Sabado Gigante playing on the antiquated television set,

I am from the land that considers drunk driving a sanctioned sport of the old west, Pioneers of the land drunk and mobile,

The land of teen pregnancies because the youth’s recreational activities are limited,

Or simply not interesting if one is not interested in sports,

A wild land of stark contrast,

Where the sun cooks skin and the dust of the desert blow with tornado force,

The granules of sand get caught in mouths and teeth,

Gritty and irritating,

I am from the land where desert hills and mountains are decorated by Maria De Jesus and Jesu Christo himself,

Decor that is littered across the landscape,

Desert poppies,

Orange blossoms that dance and sway and take siestas in the desert wind,

I am from the land of my ancestors,

The land of my family,

The land that was stolen from Mexico,

The land that was fought for valiantly,

The land that accidentally incorporated a group of Mexicans as citizens of the Estados Unidos,

The land of bootleggers and stubborn drive,

The land of Miguel and Socorro,

The land of Barrio,

I am from the land that can break one’s spirit,

The land of ambition and strength,

The land of artisans of every craft,

Artisans that craft with clay,

With paint, With words, With food, With life,

The brush strokes, The poem recitation, The lump of earth, The land of cocina casera,

I am from the land of my parents and their parents,

I am from the land of our lineage,

Generations deep into this American life,

I am from the land of respeto,

This a cornerstone in our lives,

I am from the land of my mother,

Who carried in her being, In her heart, In her mind, In her speech,

The compassion for all living creatures,

The Poor, The Weak, The lost, The damaged, The desperate, The needy, The living, Us all,

I am from the land of dichotomy and confusion,

I am from the land of mi familia,

Who were once indigenous but converted to the imperialistic creeds of Christianity, Hoping that a white Jesus would save the souls of our brown skin,

The land that even Yeshua refuses to visit for the land has been marked by violencia and La Llorona for too long,

I am from the land of my family who even struggle with the meaning of their faith and if they are being faithful still,

I am from the Provincial town of Las Cruces,

The Crossing, The Crosses,

The path marked with shallow graves,

The land of El Camino Real,

Where poverty and development clash like angry Gods,

And where the darker the skin the more likely you will be to work low wage jobs and have multiple children born into the same landscape of social and educational desolation,

The land of mi familia,

Who make salsa in molcajete’s and red chile from scratch,

The red chile pods hanging out to dry in the backyard,

The children playing with ristras while abuelita yells to keep our hands away from out eyes,

Lest we cry tears that burn,

I am from the land of my family,

The land of my grandfather who was born of a bootlegger during the prohibition,

Who made spirits and cerveza for those who needed relief from the turbulent depression era politics and fledgling ideas of trickle down economics,

From the family of bootleggers who sought to clothe,

Feed and benefit from the illicit activities that would only become legal years down the road,

A family who believed by any means necessary,

A family who witnessed my great-grandfather spend time behind cold steel bars and concrete walls,

Surrounded by barbed wire fence and shoddy food because he broke laws just like the rich white men before him,

The oil barons and the monopolizing tycoons of past and future,

A family who had the drive to do what it took to see their seed grow with proper care and resource,

I am from the land of my family,

The land of us all,

The land that knows no owners or rights holders but rather the land that we are with and are part of,

Our family,

Our seed burst from the broken clay and is fed by it still,

The land of my family whose photographs and family heirlooms are stored away in garages,

Closets and storage rooms,

The mementos that rarely get pulled from their dust laden residences and sit aging as we eat,

Cook and drink,

While our history,

Our memory,

Our lives are carefully hidden away,

Out of sight,

Out of mind,

While we become more american and less of ourselves.

A visual format is available on Youtube with images from the great State of New Mexico.

Follow the link below.

Find more poetry, art, beauty, love and life on Facebook on the link below.

https://Facebook.com/BarrioPoetry

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