Fireworks For Freedom: A Memoir in Verse (2)

Posted on September 30, 2020


Installment 2

Over a few days, I am publishing my verse memoir, “Fireworks For Freedom,” in 4 installments.

I started this piece in 2017, writing memoir with my high school students. I was very inspired by Out of the Dust, Karen Hesse’s historical fiction in verse, as well as verse memoirs, How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, and I wanted to try to write one, using some of the same techniques I saw at work in their writing.

In this memoir, I explore the meanings of freedom as a girl coming of age just after the federal Title IX law passes, insuring my rights to equality at school–and from the prison of an abusive dating disaster.

See Installment 1 Here


Friendly Reminder

Hey, where you been?

I never see you ‘round.

Do you even still live 

in this one-stoplight town?

Yes, I still do, but I’m never really home.

Greg picks me up from school,

and we go to his house–

Why? Is he afraid you’ll roam?

I know what you’re saying,

and I half-way agree…

what used to be fun

is smothering me.

Why should I be there

when he’s out milking cows?

A day to myself or with friends–

not allowed. 

I wish you good luck.

If you’re free, we can hang!

This love is a prison,

I see, with a pang. 

Grass Lake, MI, February 1981


Title IX

of the Education Amendments Act 

of 1972 

is a federal law that states: 

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, 

be excluded from participation in, 

be denied the benefits of, 

or be subjected to discrimination 

under any education program or activity 

receiving Federal financial assistance.

USA, 1972


A New Day

I remember 

walking to school

in kindergarten

and first grade–

in dresses.

Even in winter, 

in thigh-deep snow, 

Girls had to wear dresses.

‘Twas the law, don’t you know.

Then, when I was in second grade,

in 1972,

everything changed 

for me and for you.

With Title IX law

we could dress for the weather;

we could have equal rights;

we could play sports together.

I’m not second class

because I’m a girl; 

I know my rights;

I clutch ‘em like pearls.

I told off my teacher

when he harassed us last year;

why let a boy

control me through fear?

Whose life is it?

It’s mine, all mine.

I’ll break free from this prison

I’ll seek the sunshine.

Grass Lake, MI, March 1981


lisa eddy is a writer-for-hire, researcher, educator-for-hire, youth advocate,  musician, and gardener.

On Twitter: @lisa_eddy

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