Memoirs of a TCK, Part One.

I’ve recently, in the past year, been trying to find a way to write down my memories from growing up as a third culture kid. An autobiography seemed too complicated for me, and memories from earlier years are more choppy, not in a flow of time. I’ve decided to write a collection of short prose poems, in order to record my earliest memories. This is the first collection. They are not in chronological order, but do all take place around the same time. I will add ten, every time I post, and hopefully, make it to the present day of my memory. These are from the perspective of my life. Most of them are full of joy, but there are a few morose ones, because that’s life. This helps me sort through my memories, and I hope that it will help people understand me, and what it is like growing up in different cultures. I hope that these help people revisit their memories from childhood, and smile, laugh, or cry.

1. The Bridge Over Peaceful Water.

It was made of stones that hung in the air.

small, cold. Yet, it spoke in whispers

Of ancient stories over my naked feet.

I would follow the stream to and from the bridge.

Yet, it stayed there,

Watching over me.

The ground was sacred, the place was safe,

And I murmured with my sister about worlds in our heads.

2. The Forest World.

When the lights went off, I crawled out of bed,

My pink nightgown keeping me safe.

Abbi joined me, turned on the avocado lamp,

And our adventure began.

Two sisters in my large bedroom,

The forest,

In a fairy dance to celebrate our world.

We collected umbrellas, and circled them

To make a tent,

Keeping us safe from the wolves.


3. Anatevka.

A line of shoe boxes strung to the laces of shoes.

In each was established a family of refugees,

Consisting of stuffed rabbits and dolls.

It took hours to decide each family and name.

We gave them belongings, and rationed the food.

They left in a line,

As we pulled them one by one, singing

“Anatevka, Anatevka.”

The destination was far, and the cold was deadly,

But the game was done when we got there.

The adjustment was too hard.

Now I play it too.

4. Line of Dinosaurs.

The box of plastic dinosaurs sat

In different colors and shapes.

They never ate or played for me.

I set them on a journey from the piano,

To the far reaches of the apartment.

A hundred in a line,

Moved one by one.

Meticulously observed,

My back ached in the end.

Dinner time.

5. Christmas Barbie.

We always knew.

The cardboard stopped on the edges of the wrapped present.

Plastic and paper stood between me and my doll.

Morning came, with bliss and love.

Open with crinkled sounds and cries of joy.

The Nutcracker girl, in all her pink majesty.

The movie turned on,

And I kept her.

All I have now is the outer skirt.

It is still beautiful,

Like the sounds of crinkled paper and cries of joy.

6. Soft Clementines.

December’s eve.

My parents were out.

Abbi and I played with the wooden ornaments.

Joan of Ark and the walking fish.

On the tv was the cook that shouted “Bam,”

And I replied.

Abbi asked me if I wanted to learn how to eat a clementine.

The smell of Christmas to me.

We went in the kitchen so I could learn.

“Throw it on the ground, so that it will be soft.”

Next was a flurry of small orange shapes flying to the ground.

We sat, satisfied, as we ate our gooey presents from nature.

Value it more than the shapes under the fur tree.

7.Sky Disaster.

“Don’t touch debris from the sky.”

The tv kept saying this every few minutes.

I didn’t understand what it meant.

A space shuttle had fallen from the sky.

People had died.

We we’re glued to the screen,

With the rest of the world, we watched.

The picture of the woman with my hair

Who died, etched in my brain.

She looked happy.

I drew hobbits on paper.

Every time I looked at them on my wall,

I thought of the warning.

“Don’t touch debris from the sky.”

I had felt the same fear when the plane hit the two buildings in America.

Pictures of women and men smiling.

They looked happy.

8. Conduct My Symphony.

During breaks from math and reading,

I listened to tapes of stories with classical music.

I memorized Mozart, Bach, Vivaldi, and Beethoven.

I sung The Magic Flute.

Alone, the classical music played.

I sat with my eyes closed.

My hands rose into the air, as the instruments tuned.

I knew every sound, even if I had never heard the song.

Immersed, I went into a frenzy of movement,

As I conducted the orchestra before me.

When it was done, I felt educated.

They all clapped.

9. Point Shoes and Pain

I still have every pair.

The first was very small.

I refused to take them off.

From dawn to dusk, I walked on my toes.

I was training, like a princess with books on her head.

When they came off, my feet were bruised and numb.

The pain didn’t matter.

I was determined to be a professional.

Until, I found another burst of passion.

The freedom.

10. Andrea Bocelli.

The sound of childhood.

Dinner was never cooked without his glorious voice

Pervading the air.

I couldn’t speak Italian,

But I felt the emotions in the words.

Home was full of life in these moments,

As I became dramatic and moved around the kitchen,

Mouthing the words, and being of no help.

Now, I still listen.

Dinner can’t be made without such passion.


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