‘Where I’m From’ and other poems on identity by young SLO County poets

April is National Poetry Month. We’ve invited readers from across the Central Coast to share their best original poems dealing with self-identity and diversity.

Here is a sampling of the poems. We will be posting new poems at throughout the month.

[»» Start at the beginning]




“My Argentinian Family”

By Leila Tabuenca, 10, San Luis Obispo

Laying silently in my quiet peaceful Argentinian room,

Peering out the cold fogged-up window.

Staring at the bright sunshine behind the soft fluffy clouds.

I tip-toe down the creaky stairs and to my surprise I find

my whole family excited to see me,

hugging and kissing and saying “guapa.”

When the clock strikes one we all go to the “abuelos” house

and into the crowded backyard.

There we find tias and tios and primas and primos.

We smell the smell of mouth-watering chorizo spreading

through the whole backyard.

I love my Argentinian family

and I always will.

~ ~ ~

“My Best Cousin”​

By Fatima Martinez, 9, Los Osos

Having a cousin is an adventure

We run holding hands in nature

Having her by my side,

is my ride

Seeing her eyes in the moon,

makes her bloom.

Seeing her face,

is my place.

Her hair is the color of the night

But most important is that she's bright.

Her style is in the beauty aisle

Her curls make her a pearl

Her kindness makes her the finest

She makes me laugh like the level of a giraffe.

~ ~ ~


By Jack Ajjan, 14, Arroyo Grande

I am from fishing rod from Vans from Zumiez

I am from Arroyo Grande

It tastes like salt from the Pacific Ocean

I am from the sandy hot beach

I’m from fishing and hunting trips with my dad

And where I’m expected to be mature and responsible

From when I was a kid I was told to be good in school

And I was told to always do the right thing and make the right decisions

I’m from the Central Coast steak and burgers

My name is Jack Ajjan and I’m from Arroyo Grande California

~ ~ ~

“Where I’m From”

By Zach Phillips, Grover Beach

I’m from the beach

It tasted fresh

I am from the palm trees

I’m from an English class where the teacher trusts me to help a foreign student

And treat others the way you want to be treated

And never give up

I’m from SLO

Steak and mashed potatoes

From YouTube and friends where

I learned how to make people laugh

~ ~ ~

“Ode to a Chicken”

By Simone Gabriel, 11, San Luis Obispo

The chicken was angry

Like a jalepeño

Pacing back and forth

Its sharp beak pecking

At the ground,

Its hunger for bad bugs.

It does not care for its

Ruff orange feathers.

Walking on the hard

Ground, not caring

About splinters

Chasing and pecking

The enemies out of town.

Being naughty and having

A bad behavior.

Its eggs gone for breakfast,

Its self gone for dinner.

~ ~ ~


Gustavo Trejo, 13, Oceano

I am from Nike cleats from ribs from Siberian husky

I am from California

It smells like orange chicken

I’m from going to Six Flags Magic Mountain

And funny, smiling faces

From keep on trying

And don’t give up

My ancestry is from California and Mexico

Pozole, ribs

From playing soccer to eating ribs to living in California

~ ~ ~

“Where I’m From”

By Colin May-McCall, 14, Grover Beach

I am from running cleats from lightweight running shorts from Tony Hawk clothes

I am from sunny California

It tastes like a storm of salt came blasting in

I am from poppies, seashells and maple trees

I’m from a big family that has family gatherings all the time

Never give up was told to me all the time

I’m from ocean-loving Grover Beach

From hamburgers, french fries and hot dogs

From growing up on the beach soaking in the sunlight

I knew I fell in love with California

~ ~ ~

»» There’s more: Click here to read the next set of poems

~ ~ ~

»» More poems: In troubled times, SLO County poets seek to comfort and inspire