Where I Come From Class of 2023


Railroad, Brooklyn Edwards, ’23

By Christina Franklin

I’m a black girl that plays with  voodoo dolls, instead of barbies 

they say my skins is a sin but my skin holds the wonders of the earth and wind 

they say my hair looks like snakes and nappy but my hair is the Spiritual  growth of things that makes me happy the things that connect me with mother earth 

and my food is like a potion that I mix together till the seasonings melt into your mouth and I’m not just talking about just salt and pepper jamming on their next dis track 

you’re a black girl never let them feel the fear you see under all the pain and numbing cream break the Cycle of the old ways and grow like the beautiful queen you  Inspire to be and just repeat after me I’m a black girl in America and itś  a shame like ¨nightmare on elms street¨ that replays in my head I’m a black girl i n America having to fight for my rights and just to be free I am a black girl screaming the names of her fallen and weak I am a black girl showing her black magic can you see


Tall Ceilings

By Gina Ricci

I am from a pink floral blanket with a soft, worn out corner.

From pink dresses and dollhouses as tall as me.

I am from a house with a very tall ceiling.

And a big backyard with a pool and trampoline.

I am from the park that resides down a few blocks, across the church.

Whose swings threw me high into the sky, like I’m flying.

I am from my brother’s Nintendo 64 and a playset with a sand pit.

From Ricci and Pizza.

And from the tears that fell from my eyes everyday, like a broken faucet.

From the Ricci wheeze laugh that was contagious. 

I am from being taught that no matter who you are, you are loved.

From various soups and Italian food.

From a dad with 12 siblings.

And from a mom with only 2.

And losing my blanket at Blueberry hill for my dad to dig it out the trash.

I am Gina Marie Ricci.

I am myself in every way I want to be.

By Ashna Thomas


I come from a place with cool breezes and swaying palm trees

Smelling tropical flowers while getting stung by bees

I come from a place where spices are in every kitchen

The smoldering heat with no necessity for coats or mittens


I come from a place where I was known as the Indian kid with an accent

Like Ravi from Jesse, we had the same life except for the penthouse

I come from a place where racism against Indians was normal

I would get bullied and schools kept it hidden, trying to be formal

Their words felt like a dagger in my heart

I only found validation from being smart


I come from a place where I got no allowance  

Working hard so I have a good bank balance

Wanted a phone, new shoes, and clothes

Got a job, and I knew God had opened new doors


I come from a place where oppression is everywhere

When I speak up, all they do is laugh and stare

I am a moth in a room full of butterflies

I’m self-aware, I know I don’t fit in

But I’m an unfinished book, that’s not finished being written 


By Kayla Fleming

I come from a family with different types of hair.

Starting from type 1 and ending with type 4.

Some are kinky, some are silky.

Others have no hair.

Feeling the knot from detangling your hair.

The warm vanilla and lavender smell of the products.

Some take a long time to put up their hair.

Others it’s a breeze.

Some might not like their hair.

Others adore their hair.

I come from a family that embraces their hair no matter what form or color.

By Robert Spearman

I come from a place where the drug dealers are the neighborhood heroes.

Where the “gangsters” bring old ladies flowers, money for the teens,  and candy for the kids.

Where rocks on windows and sneakers on phone lines are commonplace.

I come from no money, let alone old money

I come from hustle & heart

I come from figuring out how to fend for myself

I come from a family of immigrants– from every corner of the globe.

I come from link cards and food stamps

I come from unofficial candy houses

I’m from candy houses being closed by the feds

I’m from someone else on the block picking up the mantle

I’m from staying out past the street lights and getting in trouble when I get home.

I come from loneliness and depression.

I come from pain and struggle.

Most importantly, though?

I come from making sure no one around me has to feel how I feel.


By Moises Contreras

I come from a religious and cultural family

Church then Menudo, always oozing so clammily

And now it’s practice time for kid #4

Old staples and creaking on the wooden floor


I come from strict mexican parents

Where some would call them karens

From poor and white

Still from the heights

Was then, and still now a has-been


I come from other mother figures

My sister, so often with her

Now I can read

Learned self-love and greed

No other could ever replace her


Now I come from a loving and endearing background

The house is loud, always a damn playground

But calm in a way that I soon found peace 

Where Writing has become my new caprice

“Where I come From”, may just be a masterpiece


By A.J. Stansbury

Whea I’m from you have to keep your head on a swivel

Always check your surroundings 

Whea I’m from you had to be home before the streetlights came on

Or your OG giving you the belt

Whea I’m from there were block parties every summer

With lil kids getting snow cones

And eating hot flamins with cheese and meat

Whea I’m from super donuts is a go to snack

Whea I’m from ginger ale fixes every sickness

Whea I’m from waking up to Keyshia Cole music on Saturday mornings

Meant you was going to be cleaning all day

Whea I’m from a 6 piece mild with lemon pepper is a daily meal

Whea I’m  from Faneto or Juke song is the national anthem

And bopping is our go to dance move

Whea I’m from being friends with crackheads is normal

Whea I’m from the culture is just different 


Duane Thompson, Jr., ’23

I come from the third floor where all the noise was made

Big kids acting like they were all from the 2nd grade

 I come from a place where there was screaming and yelling

Brothers and sisters pleading how revenge was just so compelling 

Where I come from, that park was nowhere for kids to play

But only where police would drive by and find out where the victim lay


Where I come from, wait  no i’m still here 

Trapped in darkness

Voices in my head, whispering

The only thing I hear

Don’t like to admit but my mind is what I fear

But she makes way easier

The one I call my dear


Where I’m from, nothing is ever really yours

I’m scared to believe it no matter how many times she reassures

But I listen, and life has granted me you

Where I come from was very hard

But with you I can make anew


Now I don’t wanna sit here and end on a bad note

There were a few upsides and I kept my head afloat

Where I come from love was all you had 

I have the privilege of getting that love from my dad