Sunday, April 12, 2009

NaPoWriMo #12

I Come from a Long Line of Pimps, Hoes, Hustlers and Factory Workers

Where I come from everyone originally
came from down south.

I'm from Detroit- born and raised,
a place with neighborhoods called
Paradise Valley, Black Bottom, Palmer
Woods, Sherwood Forest and University
of Detroit District.

We lived nine blocks
from U of D, on the other side-
the working class side.

I come from a line of firstborns.
My grandmother mopped floors
at Bi-County General. My daddy swept
floors at Mound Rd Engine and I
cleaned houses from twelve until
my freshman year at Sienna.

I come from pimps, hoes, hustlers and
factory workers who dreamed
their children would leave overalls
and shiny suits behind and sit at
desks with pressed shirts and
skirts and ties.

And we hope maybe next time-
our children's dreams won't be
deferred; they'll earn degrees
before bringing babies into this world.

I am the child of blue collars
middle class income earned mopping
concrete floors and running numbers.
We hope still for name plates, classrooms
and nurses' stations.

I come from a long line of pimps, hoes, hustlers and factory workers.


Elizabeth said...

I love your title and the images you work with to bring it to life. I hope you keep working on this. The contrast between working class realities and aspirations of upward mobility are really powerful.

susan said...

Hi Elizabeth, you are kind. This is so rough, it likely scratches the eyeballs while reading. Once again, I have an idea, a concept. Very few salvageable lines. Still, I am encouraged by your comments. Thanks.

blythe said...

It might be a little rough, but it is still powerful and evocative as well. I think the prompt is so great because for most of us, where we come from has a lot to do with our work as poets -- our history, what started us on our journey, what we're striving for, what we're trying to redeem -- it's all wrapped up in where we came from, and thus makes great fodder for poetry. I really like yours, especially the great details about your family.

Wayne Pitchko said...

briggs stadium and the olympia...go motown

deepteshpoetry said...

I am with u on what u say on the comment form.Nice post n nice visiting u.1 request.....pls chk out my scary poem on my blog n tell me what u feel.

floreta said...

loved the repetition in this. it works well.

Lenore said...

Yes - you have a great concept here! Definitely polish this one.

anthonynorth said...

This seems to me to be full of aspiration for the future.

Zetta Elliott said...

I have to share this with my friend from DT--you all are a PROUD people! (with reason)

...deb said...

This is worth working on, worth the read right now. Powerful story and longing. My very most favorite is the 2nd to last stanza. I also find the repetition a powerful way to get the message across. I hope you keep that as you go to revision.

missalister said...

I agree, you’re big onto something, into something, drilling into the human plight, down past all of us starting from where we are, ever-striving for better, down past some folks, into some peoples with farther to go than others. Leave fortunateness and go gritty down and down over lifetimes, generations, ‘til we’re the pimps, hoes, hustlers, and factory workers, ‘til we’re buried under the years and collective pain of what it’s like and just gotta get out, and hope is all it seems we’ve got... This is going to be a beauty!

Becca said...

Susan, this speaks to me a lot, and not just because I'm familiar with the places (being Detroit born and raised myself!) I come from farmers who came from the south to be factory workers, people whose idea of education was getting through eighth grade in the one room schoolhouse. Their dreams for me were different...I've been lucky enough to have the means and ability to fulfill some of them.

There is a grittiness to your words which speak to the experience. I like this poem a lot :)

Nadege said...

susan - strong poem, meaningful and true - middle class families
work hard for their money.

Serena said...

great work on this poem...I really enjoyed the images and vivacity in these lines.

Anonymous said...

the comments have all said it :)
and i really enjoyed the post as well as the comments!