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Where I’m From: A Special Youth Poetry Series

A series of powerful poems, by members of the North Shore Dirt Crew. The poems featured here were collected after a cultural sharing activity in which Dirt Crew youth were asked to respond to the prompt "Where I'm From." 


I am

Ryan C.

I am Haitian; black
I got nappy hair and dark skin.
I am the product of history
it is trapped inside of me.
The first to make history, and
set an example for others to follow.
I am different, like no other
proud, strong, confused.
I am able to choose
to do as I please.


Rianne E.

Where I'm from people are treated differently.
If you aren't a specific shade of black
you aren't equal.
Judged by the tribe you're from
you close slowly
ideas not theirs, you're down completely.

Then there are perks of this “homeland”
The beauty of the Nile River
smell of the salty water
I loved it as a kid.
The smell of my aunt's cooking
taste buds tingling.
Uncle's killing of the goat
nose itching.
That's home.

Negativity at its finest
Positivity at its weakest, I guess.


Tatiana F.

I am Dominican. Where I eat yucca platanos arroz y habichuela.
Where the sun is always shining and everyone has fun.
I live with cows and chickens and horses around.
Dominican Republic is where you play dominos and dance tipico until 8:30 am.
It's where my father was born.
It's where my mother was born.
It's where I lost my grandfather and where he was buried.
It's happiness and tears.
It's the good and the bad and the world.


Phoebe H.

I am from Volvos and NPR.
I am from fragile
and feelings-oriented education.
I am from freedom,
and the ocean.

I am from science and facts.
I am from dark roast coffee
and hardwood floors.
from trust,
heartbreaks and hatred.

I am from a flawed plan.

What I Am

Madeline M.

What she is, what she has come to be.
She came from rural upstate New York.
She moved near the ocean when she lost a hero.
This hero is a man that she called father, daddy, or papa.
He was stolen from her by demons,
cells called cancer.
He had it in his head, she was four when this happened.
She didn't know he was dead.
She later moved away from those memories,
the good ones and the bad.
Came from that little rural town to the place she now stays.
This place is called Marblehead.
It is where she has grown up
The little girl that didn't know, what she was to do.
That little girl has now grown up
into what she wanted to do.
She has become a young woman
that knows what she is.
That little girl that stands before you
is what you all are,
She is what she was shaped to be by culture,
hardship, happiness, love, and lust.


Tatiana A.

I am from too many mistakes
and never learning from them.
I am from messy rooms and
clothes strewn on floors.
I am from hugs and kisses.
My mother is very affectionate.
I am from food and museums
and long nights of studying.
I am from being alone a lot
and loneliness.
I am from barking dogs
and music played too

I am from days filled
with cleaning and
last minute projects and
never getting enough sleep.
From books and stories
and the wonders of the
I am from the mountains
and the sea.
I am from the hills and valleys
of the world.


Eric R.

I love Jamaica.
It's just always hot,
warm beach, nice people,
loud music and a lot of parties.
I am from Kingston,
where my dad and all
six of his brothers and sisters
grew up.
I got my name from his father,
Eric Samuel Ramsay II.
It means the ruler of all.

Where I'm From

Esmeralda D.

When people ask me, "Where are you from?"
I tell them I'm from D.R.

I'm from the D.R., the place I call home.
I'm from the D.R., the place I was born.
I'm from the D.R., the place I've grown.

I'm from the D.R., where you can walk barefoot
and feel freedom.
I'm from the D.R., where you dream big
and live small.
I'm from the D.R., where you eat rice day
and night.

I'm from a place where people are than
anyone else.
Where they take chances forgetting about
everything else.
I'm from a place where hating on another
race is okay, and being gay not it.

I'm from a place where the people aren't
scared to love,
aren't scared to judge,
aren't scared to move on
and lose what they got.

I'm from a place where every Dominican is loved.

Where I'm From

Elizabeth D.

I'm from my mother's womb: born into
a place rich with culture and religion.
A place with people privileged from oppression
with hot weather and deep family values.
Where religion is everything.
Where respect is expected even if not given back.
A place with so many flaws and all.
Where family is important, where the sun never stops shining.
Where people make they most of what they got.
Where music gets you through the day.
Where people express themselves through dance.
Where men are expected to be the head of the house
and women are expected to cook and clean.
Where women take care of their husband and children.
I'm from a place full of life and love.


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