• Archuleta A. Chisolm

Going Back To The Beginning


People often ask me how I started writing poetry. It started very simply with my Nana giving me a composition book and encouraging me to write whatever I wanted. She wrote poetry and I believe this was her way of sharing that piece of herself with me.


It started as kind of a game; seeing how many words I could make rhyme together. It was exciting, like someone had opened up a new world and just handed it to me. And then my poems progressed into something more intentional by the time I was 12-years-old. It became an outlet – a way to express myself without judgment. A girl who was quiet and shy found refuge in the pages of a notebook. That is where my story started.


Some things never change. I’m still an introverted, can be extroverted when I need to be, seeking refuge kind of girl. Composition books still get the job done, and new worlds continue to open up when I make time to let them.


Our current story can always be traced back to an origin. We can see how things began, including who helped us along the way. But don’t forget that your story keeps going. As long as you’re breathing, the rest of your story remains unwritten.


To close out National Poetry Month, I’d like to share a poem that not only reminds me of where I came from but also that home is my north star. It’s where it all began.


WHEN YOUR SOUL COMES BACK AROUND


Nana never wanted to sell the house.

31st and Garfield, the last house on the left.


White,

trimmed with flowery bushes.

The house with the uneven steps

and tree that gave shade to Grandpa’s brown Impala.


He and Nana moved into that house,

after living on Jarboe, when my mother was a baby.


When Nana passed,

Grandpa kept the house but gave away all her clothes,

and the china cabinet my mother wanted for her own house.


Nana had given me her poems the last time I saw her.

I promised I would write a book.


Nana always wanted to honor the space;

rooms where she raised her children, and loved Grandpa.


Room for her children and their children

when they needed to call a place home.


I was the one who needed to come home.

I realized that I had what I was promised, regardless if I stayed.