I am from Mom’s mouth-exploding
mac-n-cheese, fishing in salty water with grandpa.
I am from a pink-nosed dog
and a community of artists on Pine Island pond,
full-moon kayaking in Matlacha,
a life with music and new possibilities.
I am from la joya del Caribe,
where ocean, palm trees, and magical stories
are told through the beat of salsa y son.
I am from this place, that place, no place,
from everywhere that speaks, que susurra,
whispering of warmth and light.
I’m from being encouraged
to think outside the box
in Naples Senior Center, caring
for seniors suffering with dementia.
I am from canals and palm trees, yet memories
of Long Island thirty-seven years ago –
oaks, maples, and snow.
I am from tasty banyan trees
and cypress sap burning in the night,
from muddy waters and mouth-watering BBQ,
from snow-bird and hurricane seasons,
from “y’all,” and “where’s it going?”
I am from the world wars of the U.S. Army
and lasting friendships of my veteran’s life.
I am a Gulf Coast buccaneer washed up
on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River,
in Centennial Park, a gator with dreams
to find the sea and star stuff that I am.
Where else would I want to be?
It’s in paradise where you’ll find me.
I am from a diverse tapestry,
Boston, New York, Southern charm
and Midwest values, from the here
and there of Southwest, Florida,
going and coming back,
from the land of countless sunset wishes,
where the fabric of our community
continues to weave more collaboratively.
This Community Poem was written by those who joined in celebration on October 24, 2018 for the opening of Collaboratory, a space created by the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, in downtown Fort Myers.
This space is a gift to the community.
To learn more about Collaboratory please visit www.FloridaCollaboratory.com
Special thanks to poem sponsor and Foundation partner Entech Inc.
Traveling Stanzas community arts projects bring poetry to people’s everyday lives through innovative methods and digital platforms. Click here to project.