So not only did you teach me about writing memoir, you also taught me about reading and thinking about how others write memoir. Thank you so much!

p.s. my mom now refers to me as the family "chronicler" - getting down all the family stories. How I love that title!! :)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Julie Buffaloe-Yoder, our guest blogger today

It is a pleasure to be at Glenda Beall’s site this week. She is an excellent poet and writer, and her work touches a chord deep in my soul. I can’t wait to read her chapbook. I have been excited to meet Glenda and other Carolina poets and writers since moving back to my state. It is a place that is rich with many different cultures and stories.
When I first took my broke-handle suitcase and headed off into the world, family and friends reminded me to always remember my home. “Don’t forget where you come from,” they said. No, that’s not a typo. They say come from, which is beautifully poetic to my ears. It’s also great advice.

I would never want to forget. In many ways, I don’t think I ever left. The people in this state are a big part of who I am. We were formed by its landscape. Every mountain, every ocean wave, every red clay rock. It all sings my name.

Don’t Forget Where You Come From
Julie Buffaloe-Yoder

You drop little bits of it
wherever you go.

It’s under your fingernails.
It curls through your veins.
It shines behind your eyes
like blue ridge mountains.

That place remains
in every sway
of salt marsh reeds

embedded deeply
between your teeth
in each piece of sand.

It leaves a permanent taste
of red clay on your tongue
scales on your arms
a fish house in your bones
a curving river in your spine.

It formed your voice, your beat,
the way you move your hands.

You have the rhythm of wind,
old men on benches, the rock
of a boat under hard tar heels.

Its summer thunder
flashes valleys
in your synapses

through blue-gray roots
thick twisted woods,
the swirl of currents
over mossy rocks.

It sets itself up
like an old car on blocks.
It’s in your cupboards
hanging like a mullet net.

You breathe it, eat it,
wash it in your hair.

It follows you
through city streets,
creates a wake
with each footstep

a heartbeat, a shimmering
pink light on the horizon.

It will be your last thought
before dying, your last breath

cornbread in a fat black pan
a guitar whispering
your name
on thick cricket nights

a light on a front porch
a full moon that wraps
a gold rope
around your soul.

Never forget
how you were
created in
its image.

Never try
to leave it
by the side
of the road.

It will be there,

patiently waiting
for you to get
where you are going.


the walking man said...

Even when not here and was there I always was here looking to there and trying to figure out why I wanted to be back here.

Joan Ellen Gage said...

What a gorgeous poem! I can breath it in!

Kathryn Magendie said...

Love this poem

I also love the "broke-handled suitcase' image.....

Brenda Kay Ledford said...

Thank you for sharing this poem by Julie. I loved it and the poem spoke to my heart about the importance of place, never forget where you came from because that's what we are. Great poem!

Michelle said...

I'm thrilled to see Julie's poem here. She is such a talented, passionate poet.

Glenda C. Beall said...

thank you, Julie for sharing this poem with us. I feel the passion in the poem and I like it.

Pat Workman said...

Oh how I enjoyed this poem, it really spoke to me. Clear and fresh. Julie's masterful brevity of word truly enhanced the impact. That is how I would like to write and can't.

JR's Thumbprints said...

I can't help thinking how I'd write a poem like this about Detroit; Of course, it wouldn't be as beautiful, it'd be more like a pebble in one's shoe.

joaquin carvel said...

this is alive with love - i can smell the cornbread, hear the "thick cricket nights" - everywhere and all at once. amazing.

Christine Swint said...

This poem gets me to thinking about my own roots, scattered though they are. Julie is an amazing poet, and knows how to make concrete those hidden longings we all feel. I'm glad to find this blog, too!

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