Students’ first poem assignment was to loosely or closely imitate Bob Hicok’s poem “A Primer”. Something to consider as you read… How do these poems echo “A Primer” and how do they echo each other? How does imitation enhance creativity?
I remember Mexico fondly as the place I go
to be in Mexico. The fresh, mountainous piece
of a soul cleaved in two. The piece claimed by Mexico,
that claims Mexico right back.
A fistful of rich earth, imprinted,
with Childish undertakings
and centuries of tradition. Land of the living,
breathing folklore. I lived with one foot always planted among wildflowers;
the bright, expectant faces
nurturing me as well as any mother could.
The country flower is Dahlia pinnata, the country bird the golden eagle.
Likewise do my dreams take flight in Mexico, spiraling
through the blue, cloud-brushed skies that stretch
above rolling hills and clusters of forest.
In Mexico, the land goes Mountain Mountain
Mountain Ranch, eagles screaming overhead
in search of mice to snatch up.
Trees breathe in and out, exhaling the sweet wind
that ruffles our hair. The scent of kindling,
a beacon to the familiar. You never forget
how to be from Mexico when you’re from Mexico.
It’s like swimming in sunlight
and breathing colors.
I live now in a U and an S, which is odd
because the last thing we are is an “us.”
My us is back in the red, white, and green;
The ribbon of culture that wraps around
my Latin-American heart. A raven perching on the edge
of an abyss would rather fly to safety.
And so, my thoughts flock to Winter’s cold stare,
when like a bird I will depart
to a land embraced by sun. It is December
when we become twinkling lights
and the sizzling stream of fireworks,
streets ringing with cathedral hymns.
It is now hands are found clasped in one another,
voices raised in the melodies that pulse through the Mountains
and alongside our heartbeats.
When your heart thumps
to the rhythm that cascades down the ancient peaks,
you know where you’re from.
In this way I have given you a primer.
Let us all be from somewhere.
Let us teach each other everything we can.
Where I Am From
I am from a beautiful smile
from See what happened was
from Girl come here
to Is that enough on yo plate?
I am from red nail polish
and a variety of colors
I am from Get it Chaz
Or Do the step again
I am from I love you deeply
and yep he right
from chicken and macaroni
from 5,6,7,8…1, 2, 3, and 4
I am from hugs and kisses
and I miss you
I am from a Christian home
to reading my scripture every mornin’
I am from Saint Louis!
Where I’m From
I’m from where my race is scared to go outside, but yet so
beautiful not to hide.
Killing each other’s family to protect their
Going to church with your grandmother,
the feeling isn’t mutual, unfortunately
having a taste for tacos while I see me a sister of
mine flipping the tortilla.
Makes me want to buy how much
will make her smile, but happiness doesn’t work that way.
I’m from where my men work hard to
But when I see them in America:
Not enough to get paid enough.
Hearing salsa music while I see others
dance with gentleness.
They enjoy every happy moment
Because in a
of an eye
it can go
Where I’m from is,
I’m from the 314
many abandoned properties
and frequent robberies
The Lou shows the rich and the poor
Not much to do here so we linger round the city.
but everyone else just shows true pity
We mob the same places,
We do the same things,
but eventually someone has to clip our fragile wings
Not too many opportunities here so in all honesty
I have to break this bondage
I have to be mentally free
I’m from a fabricated city
Quite far from liberty
Where tour attractions are far from TRUE attractions
and if you mention Michael Brown you probably won’t
even receive a reaction
It seems like a small fraction,
but it ultimately shows the occurance of a chain reaction
It shows the intent of police action
and a black dissatisfaction
Where I’m From
Where I’m from…
Homicides turn into Columbine
When niggas find out their
friend didn’t arrive alive.
Where I’m from…
There’s a corner store
on every street.
Same songs stay on repeat.
Policed ducked off somewhere
And you praying your s’s don’t
get snatched off your feet.
Where I’m from…
You gotta struggle just to get it
Living life in Saint Louis is like
“Survival of the fittest.”
But you wouldn’t really know
If you didn’t come up from the trenches.
And people get killed everyday
but somehow there’s never a witness.
Where I’m from…
You live by the gun you
die by it too
No questions asked you
Run when you see red, white, and blue
If you swing on one then
You gotta fight the whole crew
But this is like tradition so it’s nothing new
But I wish to take it back
When St. Louis was great
When nobody tripped off
the next person and what
they had on their plate
When we was riding on
dope fiends was pan-handling
When you could ride through
Fairground Park with your friends
and have cookouts every weekend
When the projects was popping
and Skate King was always packed
When you could leave home and you
didn’t have to pray that you
make it back
Man I swear STL now like the
A Fast Forward to My Present
I’m from Maffit
to Keokuk to an unknown
apartment door I can’t
seem to remember to
Washington and back again
And my now present
Belle Glade I’m from my
own personal iceberg that
I was sinking below
fighting to keep my head
above the water, but no one
ever seems to notice
I’m sinking I’m from
hidden secrets that are
hidden deep behind these
doors where the lies just
spilled over: over where
the truth is pouring to
come out bleeding down these
no one ever seems to know
where’s the key
From the least to the greatest
Maffit will be the least
Keokuk will always be
The greatest suppress your
own dark memories there’s no
escaping there’s no running
I’m from September
14 I will never forget
I’m from sinking
to rising again
from my past to my
present self today
I’m from turn right
turn left life has
many curve balls
Life has thrown me
In different directions
Through all the
traveling my eyes
are opened everything
happens for a reason
I remember love painfully as the concept in which I dabbled
to be in love. The backbone of self-doubt
weaving through all cultures
sloppily sketched in seventh grade. I spat at love
eighteen years. My reservations
a forced hand. My fears
the realization of being unrequited, which is a cold
We can push this as “love,”
As well as a frat boy understands “consent.”
In truth love is not false or enlightening.
When I trip back into love I hug my ego.
Chest goes constrict constrict constrict
Goodbye state of mind. You never forget
how to be selfish when in love.
It’s like driving a car with no windshield or brake.
Our hearts are spare states
In which our interest loses fast
I wish to flee to my womb again, which is grotesque
but so is how you wish to seed it,
suddenly there is a demand of flesh
that was never needed as children
“Aphrodite, we beseech thee, rise and give us mere physical pleasure”
is how we sound clutching at any sound of women’s heels clocking
when our long term is fled.