Tuesday, April 28, 2015

I Am

I am from an island enchanted, baked in sugar
bursts of colors whose fumes rise towards the sky.
A rich port caressed by magic of the ocean, 
by rainfall's power to force creation of forests,
of fruits/vegetables emerging from the clean dirt,
nirvana for the palate.
I come from where animals and bugs are loud, competing
with the salsa rhythm in my bones that streams incessant.
I am the drum that plays it.

I was exported from my Caribbean pearl, a girl
in grey, concrete city pounded by the steps of insomniacs
pursuing meaning in the freedom proclaimed 
by the french lady statue.  Yes, I'm from there too.
From pizza, pastrami on rye, rice and beans,
from Chinese and soul food, from Broadway musicals, fancy restaurants, Macy's Department Stores, I never knew. I'm more from tenements in the hood, from factories for poor people's work,
I am the rose from Spanish Harlem.

Now I'm from the soil dried by the sun.  I'm from hot chile burning tongues that sing a native song in languages prickly like the cactus blooming.  I am mountains towering proud in stillness,
I am the hawk that flies above its prey, I am also the prey.
I am a blend, one composite.  And it matters where I'm from.

(For Dverse Poets.)


  1. Myrna, there is too much here to believe it is all from one life! The "pearl" is, I guess, Puerto Rico, and I remember the tree frogs and other wildlife being lively as anything... the salsa, yes. This all read so smooth and rich. Loved the beans and rice along with Chinese and soul food. "The Rose from Spanish Harlem" is really a lovely usage of that title, and completely in keeping with the whole piece. Great take on the prompt, Myrna! Amy

  2. How lush and powerful this is! And after looking at "About Me", this just puts the icing and the candles on the cake. And yes, it truly does matter where a person is from because of how it shapes them. Excellent write!

  3. Myrna, I adore this poem! Especially being the hawk and the prey. I get that..........I love "I am mountains towering proud in stillness." Such wonderful responses to Mary's prompt! Wowzers! Sorry it took me a while to get here - am waaaaay behind......

  4. Ah.. to blend and be with nature is the most beautiful from where now is always from and from is now..:)

  5. There is some serious magic happening here. Exquisite descriptions! I fell in love with your words here - transported in a wonderful time capsule.

  6. The flower from the colourful, musical island transplanted into concrete and asphalt jungle... a powerful image which you've created afresh here, with some haunting imagery, lots of vivid descriptions.

  7. The blend from the pearl to concrete.. that particular passage is what jumped out from me.. the images around really added the beauty round that single transition that to me is the beating heart of the poem.

  8. This poem expresses beautifully who you are! So much to see, taste, smell, and otherwise savor in this poem. I love 'the salsa rhythm in my bones,' the 'rose from Spanish Harlem,' 'mountains towering proud in stillness,' and so many more! I really enjoyed this poem, Myrna!

  9. What a rich and wonderful journey your poem takes us on, Myrna! In your poem, as in quite a few others, I smile at the mention of food - especially in your New York city stanza. I also like the powerful imagery of the third stanza.

  10. This poem is a tower surrounded by jungle, where skyscrapers are juxtaposed to volcanos, where parrots jostle with pigeons, where mangos end up on oatmeal, where blue collars decorate island pleats & floral prints; so very rich for the palate & the soul--one of your best efforts I think; my favorite for now. I like the line /I am the drum that plays it/.

  11. What a wonderful piece. We are from all we have known, good and bad.

    Thanks for visiting and for your wonderful comment.

  12. "the salsa rhythm in my bones that streams incessant." love this spirit and joy that makes who you are...

  13. the hawk - a native song - love how you paint a colorful picture here of where you're from myrna... the bit with the louds animals and salsa rhyhthm got me especially... reminded me of the loud birds that i heard in australia - honestly - ours are very quiet compared to these

  14. we grow, change and adapt don't we - the beauty of living

  15. Chinese food and Broadway musicals. Yup that's a New Yorker. At first, I thought Island enchantment might be like South Pacific, but I get it...that's really poetic, cuz that's a Broadway play. i like the twist there.

    My Brain is a Cheap Gadget That Spins

  16. chinese and soul food, rice and beans - I'm from those as well. high 5! You painted such a vivid picture; from the pearl to the concrete and now of sun dried soil... such beauty

  17. the hawk above the prey, but also the prey...I really like that part...we are both in control of who we are, and subservient to the forces that shape us. And I agree: it does matter where we come!