Where I’m From – Revised from 4-12-20

I’m from the buckeyes
dark and round with shiny hard exterior
From afro-sheen and pressing combs
The smell of perceived beauty filling the air.

I’m from Sunday dinners
Smothered, covered, 
From fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy
It tasted like dreams and comfort to the soul.

I’m from the evergreen and pine cone trees
Standing tall and never losing their colors
I’m from Fourth of July picnics
From red, white and blue rompers
New for the occasion.

I am from Donna Denise, Mary Ellen, and Big Mama, too
I’m from the avoidance and silence
That covers whatever no one ever dares to speak
From the “Keep your pants up and your dress down” and
The “You gotta be better”.

I’m from the Baptist pew 
From hymnal singing and Holy Ghost shouting
But only on Easter Sunday – new Easter outfits and our Sunday best

I’m from the Ogle-tree, barbecues in Triangle Park and german-chocolate cake
From Big Mama’s command that kept me
Stashed away are large photo albums with pages and pages of time
Collectible bells and decorated ceramic eggs and family reunions

I’m from hard-times filled with all-the-good,
Nan-Nan’s love
Generations of happy memories

Ode To TeachWrite

Donnetta Norris July 2020

You welcome all the writers
who show up to the page.
You inspire growth and confidence
in writers at every stage.

You keep us all united;
a strong community.
You challenge us to reach set goals;
composing’s the priority.

You carved out an open forum
for those who want to scribe.
You publish what we have to say
and fill our hearts with pride.

You empower teacher-writers
to build upon their craft.
Transforming writing teachers
into masters in their class.

Writing Is

Writing is a gathering.
A gathering of thoughts that breathe life;
That live, that live on notebook pages and the pages of our hearts.

Writing is the overflow.
The overflow of everything that we are;
That exists, that exists in our present, past and future.

Writing is intentional.
An intentional act of being present in the moment;
That being, that being aware and alive – seeing, hearing, feeling, living.

Writing is growing.
Growing beyond oneself and into one’s thoughts;
That pondering, that pondering of our thoughts that are gathered.

Donnetta Norris June 23, 2020 #OpenWrite

A Happy Memory

Think of happiness and what comes to mind is time,
not long ago, when getting up at 4am was the normal routine,
because getting a heart-pumping, muscle-shredding workout in
before work was a non-negotiable.

Making the 40-minute commute gave you time to yourself;
to think; to sing praises to God along with the contemporary Christian artists
being played on your favorite radio station.

Being one of the first cars in the parking lot,
one of the first teachers in the building,
greeting the cafeteria staff as they prepare a nutritious breakfast for 500 Scholars.

Walking in your classroom, Room 106, and preparing for the day…
cuing an educational video, selecting the read-aloud text,
updating the morning message that helps your Scholars get settled to learn.

Greeting each Scholar at the door,
“Good Morning! I am so glad you are here today!”, with a handshake, and eye-contact
which was usually followed by a waist hug from most.

Being in the classroom with my Scholars made me so happy.


The warm water hits your face
Everything rises to the top, spilling over to be set free.
The steady stream of water
Mixes with the care of life carried for far too long.
Behind the shower curtain
A safe haven to release all your worries.
A flood of emotions crest
Rising to the surface; unable to recede.
Letting it go feels good.
Necessary. Required. Therapeutic.
Then, the curtain is drawn open to reality.
After the warm water washes what ails you down the drain.

Donnetta Norris – June 20, 2020

Feng Shui

Writing Toward Home by Georgia Heard “…a place steeped in creative energy and harmony.” “Feng Shui is intertwined with the Chinese idea of ch’i or ‘life force’.”

There are primarily 3 places, spaces in and around my home that I find have the balance and harmony required for my getting words on the page.

1. My home office with its grayish-green walls, towering bookcases, and random (not-so-random) clutter.

2. The right side, the right cushion of “my” oversized couch. My pillow, borrowed from the downstairs guest room, and my silk blanket lay in that space when I am not there. They are a constant reminder of the coziness and comfiness I experience when I plant my butt in that space to write. (Naps may or may not happen on occasion on “my” couch, also.)

3. There are times, when Texas is not located directly next to the sun, in which I will spend some time on my back patio, enjoying the sights and sounds of nature while I write.

Maybe, once Coronavirus is no longer a thing (if ever), I can add more places and spaces of balance and harmony to this list.


It may seem all of a sudden
That we have awakened and turned
Against what is believed to be true.
But there is reason for this unrest,
Because of denial of the trend...
For we are a people unrated.
We have cried silent tears,
Our own wounds we have nursed,
Unable to escape the Slave era.
Now we're kicking up dust,
Calling for mistreatment to end,
Deserving an ear as we rant.
Too many are stunned.
Can't believe that we dared.
Change is needed for sure.
Exposing hardships undue.
Creating a new true.
It's time that we all UNDERSTAND.
#InOneWordPoem Donnetta Norris 05-05-2020

The Right Words

Nan-nan used to say,
“Keep your pants up and your dress down.”

Granddaddy used to say,
“If you can read, you can do anything.”

Mama used to say,
“Nothing beats a fail but a try.”

Nan-nan’s words were used to encourage me
to keep my virtue.
I can’t say I always did, but I’m married now. So…

Granddaddy’s words were used to remind me
I have no excuses as long as I can read.
I use this philosophy on my Scholars, too.

Mama’s words were used to teach me to
overcome fear…
(fear of rejection, fear of failing, fear of being told NO!)
I remind myself of these words often.
I’m a little bolder, a bit braver when
I remember what Mama used to say.

Donnetta Norris 05-20-2020 #OpenWrite

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