Where I’m From

What is home? How does it shape who we are in the world? These are a few of the questions we pondered this week after reading Willie Perdomo’s  poem “Where I’m From”. Students at Simpson Academy for Young Women worked on pieces that describe the myriad of places they come from, and how it’s a part of their identity.


Where I’m From 

Makayla J.

11th Grade


Where I’m from 

Is called the Austin Area


I’m from art work, modern houses, large streets

potholes, trees, Coleman’s Ribs and gasoline


Where I’m from

you can taste Coleman’s Rib’s and Chicken, 

beef tacos with melted cheese, and Mickey’s Ice Cream

and banana pudding cake is always served. 


Where I’m from

You see pretty small dogs, nice looking trees 

and beautiful grass, you can hear loud trap 

music, and busy car horns. 


Where I’m from

There’s a corner store on every corner

and Mike-Mike, who wears a face mask to 

cover his whole face, wearing all black and 

saying he stays strapped


Where I’m From 

Aniya M. 

10th grade


I come from Lawndale Area where

you see a school and a corner store on

every other block. 


Where I’m from you see cats and dogs strolling

in alleys and trash cans

Where I’m from the whiff of cigarette blends

in with the smell of Mc Donald’s fries. 


Where I’m from a man with a hat and a 

black coat yells as you walk past

And smell the loud marijuana coming from him 


Where I’m from cars honk and run red

lights to beat the morning traffic that 

comes by. 


Where I’m from you touch items 

and doors that several other people touched



Where I’m from you get to choose between 

a Maxwell polish and a juketown polish. 


Where I’m from you see different women 

running boutiques on different streets. 


Where I’m from a man named Lo 

is asking for change and asking where I’m 

about to go. 


Where I’m From 

Svetlana P. 

12th grade


Where I’m from Von and Dirk could never believe

63rd and Kedzie where I couldn’t follow through 

with my dreams


Moved to the big flag area, Humboldt Park 

food trucks at the end of every block and

entrance. Where you hear cops and sirens

old men sitting in the park, greeting everyone

with a hey mami or papi. 


Jibaritos for lunch, don’t forget the rice y gandules

smell of fresh coffee, but don’t nobody make it

like my Wela. 


Humboldt Park, where the gas stations sell B’s 

to the underage

Humboldt Park, town of the C’s Yuk! 

Territory that could never be theirs only 

when you see blood. 


On to the next best

Gurnee, home of the silent home, 

home of the land,

open space creative creations.


Where I saved and met my first baby bird, 

gave my first caterpillar a home until he

bloomed, all white fur until I saw the rainbow. 

Six Flags a block down, I can hear the screams

from the kids on roller coasters. 

Far way from home, where I was a first grader

That big yellow bus dropped me off and picked 

me up. 

Mom’s van stuffed with all the things you can imagine. 

From the inside, 


first grade was my first hurt

a home I loved so much

done for. 


Chicago, back to the city

The West Side where I returned. 

Piccolo where I attended

second grade, hearing my teacher yell

She meant it. 

Bad kids

Learned how to fight and lie. 


Where I’m from is all over

Moved to different locations, 

I have Illinois in me

I learned to make a lot of noise for me. 



“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.