Women Writing for (a) Change Workshop with Dawn Koch

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Here are some of the pieces written during the OCOP workshop led by Dawn Koch at Women Writing for (a) Change in Cincinnati, OH on March 21, 2015, using the prompt, “Where I’m From.”

Origins
By Marisa Head

I am of the Rhine and alpine air
chocolate, watches and cheese

I am a New Millennium Woman
#Occupy, blogs and unease

I am of starstuff and constellations
elements, fire and ice

I am the product of three cultures
AngloAmericanSchweiz

I am a chemical reaction
molecules, atoms and space

I am of Homo sapiens’ bloodline
violence, ego and grace

I am a narrative story
beginning, middle and end

I am a web of connections
Protégé, daughter, and friend

I am of fragments of memory
victory, dumb luck and woe

I am from everywhere I have been
and where I’ve yet to go.

Where I’m From
By Annoymous

I am from fine white beaches
Saltwater waves and wet air
Window down coastal car rides
Fresh seafood and Shepard’s Pie
I am from hot summer nights in the middle of winter
Ceramic lizards on walls
Real snakes in the lawn
Palmetto bugs in my shorts

I am from a place of dreams and vacation homes
Pastel condos and hotels
Snowbirds and Q-tips mingled with locals
I am from manatee-shaped mailboxes
Traffic jams and long waits

I am from the modest gray house
Near the corner, near the river
Shady oaks with mossy arms
Where hurricanes run through palms
Power outages and rubber-soled shoes

I am from a happy home
Roly polys in armored balls
Lewis Park and tadpoles in the creek
Roller-skating in graveyards

I am from 2 parents 2 sisters
Outnumbered men
Short walks meet best friend
Track meets and school books
Studying, am goody two shoes

I am from innocent night car rides
With car loads of friends
Homemade movies and dance parties
Chinese fire drills with no curfews
Slurpees and Chevy Chase

I am from summer trips to the river house
Fresh crab meat on fishhooks
Gutted fish on dock’s end
Street parades of golf carts
Red, white and blue

I am from endless cards games
Sleeves of Ritz and coca-cola make fuel
Dusk lit up with bugs
Extended family and old friends

I am from Ireland and Miami
South Georgia, one light town
Magical gem toned overgrown backyard
Lard biscuits and bacon wakeup calls

I am from old record player stories
Tales of NYC shenanigans over fruit cake
Secondhand designer duds

I am from the people, the places
The memories, remembered and forgotten
I am from all of them

Where I am From
By Sara Pranikoff

I’m from carding the greasy wool,
The miracle of drop-spun yarn
From knitting my first poncho
And learning how to darn

I’m from ikats woven
With the indigo stains
I’m from lichens and roots
And their botanical names

I’m from mohair and two-ply
And crewel embroidery too
from trapunto and candlewicking
And ‘I made this just for you’

I’m from threads of my mother
Who wove from many skeins
And from my father’s mother
Woven deep into my veins

Where I Am From
By Malinda McReynolds

I am from “dis” and “dem,” from the sizzling hot pressing comb used to straighten my hair the day before
Easter Sunday, and from the Buster Brown white patent leather shoes with white laced Bobby socks
From the knish oozing with warm mushy potatoes and a crunchy fried coating,
From the red edible dirt along the country unpaved road in Staley,
I am from the towering tree planted in Brooklyn in front of my Grandma Mae and Grandpa Stokes’ house of fifty years or more
If it could talk, it would tell all of the family secrets passed down from one generation to the next just as we shared our history

I’m from beaches along the East coast, Italian NYC pizza folded in half dripping with grease, frog legs at the World Renown Coney Island amusement park, and the Vietnam War
I’m from, “We shall overcome,” and “Get your education because no one can ever take it away from you!,” and, “Don’t leave dishes in my sink overnight.”
From singers, readers, writers, educators, chemists, and dentists.
From “Hee Haw,” Jacques Cousteau, the Wonderful World of Disney, and music, music, music…the B.T. Express, Phoebe Snow, Sam Cooke, and the Beatles.
I’m from, “The Lord is My Shepherd,” to my very first alabaster covered Bible with the pages gingerly falling out over time.
From branches that extend beyond the family tree encompassing all races, creeds, colors, and animals,
From Sorority sisters bonded together forever for God, for Central, for State
I’m from “this” and “them” and those whose voices have been silenced by the creator.

Like the notes in the melody of a song, I carry those tunes, smells, and moments of the incredibly talented people who have helped mold and shape me into the woman that I’ve become today – I’m from Maya Angelou’s words with the utmost humility, “Phenomenal Woman,” that’s me!

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