Thursday, March 24, 2011

Autobiography of Deconstructed Me

Me, circa 1965


was is
was is born
was is born colored
was is born colored named white
was is born colored named white born adopted
was is born colored named white born adopted born girl
was is born colored named white born adopted born girl became am

was is born named became am
is born named became am
born named became am
named became am
became am

was I
is I
born I
colored I
named I
white I
adopted I
girl I
became I
am I

I am

© Ami Mattison

For Big Tent Poetry

*This poem was prompted by the Cut-Up Machine at Language is a Virus. The original sentence is "In 1965, I was born a colored girl, adopted by white parents."


  1. Ami, this is brilliant - what a great idea for an autobiography! I love it!

  2. Look at those chubby cheeks! So adorable! I'll bet they got lots of pinches!

    I like how you took the same words and rearranged them as I read down and down and made different thoughts come to mind. Nice!

  3. Would love to hear you read this poem aloud, Ami. It packs a lot of emotion.

  4. nice one am i, smiles. love the progression and all those things make you the special person we all know...smiles.

  5. Wow, Ami. This is so powerful. The abstract form really lends itself to the intensity. I might have to try that exercise!

  6. Untying and cutting all the associative knots that string identity into a whole, making each piece individual, looked at and examined for what it is or isn't--almost like writing out the string of a chemical formula. Fascinating job here, AM. Could read it a dozen times.

  7. I'm impressed with how you got all of that out of one sentence. I also like the flow from "was" to "am".

  8. I absolutely love this poem Ami! To remove one's skin colour is akin to removing one's name - one's true identity, and you sorted this out in such a brilliant and logical way through your poetry/prose. Again, love, love, love it!

  9. Super, Ami. An extra step to a higher level of creativity.

  10. Very cool... I like the slow move from the past tense and the passive to the present and the active ("I am", "became"). Well done!

  11. You start simple, which is something hard to learn. Really works.

  12. Excellent - this sings with creativity!

  13. For a first Bigtent post (good to meet you) this is a cracker. Terrific result from the process. I'm looking forward to your next.

  14. Excellent - a wonderful incantatory chant of a poem that demands to be read out loud.

  15. That's incredible and very modern too

  16. It invites one to look deeper at the hidden details. I love the ending. It is the perfect conclusion.