Category Archives: Poetry

Whitewashed Veins (Assimilation is a Violent Process)

My skin is white
White like an eraser
An eraser that wiped the brown from my skin
The skin of my cousins
The skin of my grandmother
Like the eraser that wiped her name
From her husband’s life
Her name is Maria, his wife
She is not named Mary
But that’s all he’s ever called her

She dressed in white dresses as a little girl
White dresses that erased the accent from her mouth
Erased the Spanish from her lips
Erased her native tongue
From her mother and my mother and me
So, now, when people say spic
I forget they mean me

My blood has been whitewashed
But I am not clean
My love is not wrangled by gender, color, or creed
But I married a white man
So marriage is okay for me

I don’t know my mother’s mother’s tongue
Her parents swept it under the rug
To keep their babies fed
In hopes they’d be free to tred

They succeeded
I’m so scrubbed
They don’t know me
‘Cause it won’t show on me
I walk in camouflaged skin
It’s all I’ve ever lived in

I lie awake at night
Wondering who I might have been
Wondering how much danger
I would have been in
If my genes showed a bit more melanin

My skin is white
White like an eraser
An eraser that wipes away my history
Until it is a mystery

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Endless Memoriams

On this day
We claim
To remember

But
Who can have memories
except those on the field
and those still at home

On this day
We hail Freedom
But is it
freedom to . . .
or
freedom from . . .
or
simply Free

Can that be won?

Freedom is not given,
should not be hard-won
Freedom is not a gift
for a few
or
for everyone

Freedom is Free
so long as it is not taken

It only ceases to be
when stolen by slaves
who worship their chains

No matter how many fight
and how many fall
Closed fists hold tight
Open hands grasp nothing at all

Political Heartburn

Feeling the Bern

Flames leap with each beat

up my throat

 

How can so many

hate

   Progress

Defeat

Every step countered

 

They don’t wave me over in the lot

I’m not of their Lot

They smell the liberal sprinkling of salt

Imagine me burning

Imagine us flailing

What’s left when all that’s left is anger

and entertainment

My chest is one match from explosion

Apart

Together

Tired of the same

Begging for change

It shall come

From whom?

For whom?

The future is now

See the light

Feel the creeping cold

 

nuclear possibility

 

Who causes Armageddon?

Who brings Heaven?

 

You.

 

Me.

 

We.

“I want a brighter word than bright.” -John Keats

I am imperfect and so are all of you. There is beauty and frailty in that. I feel beautiful and frail tonight. I have for several days now. I want a brighter word than bright, but I can also relate to how Keats felt here:

“I am in that temper that if I were under water I would scarcely kick to come to the top.”
― John Keats

I feel wonderfully stable in my personal life, yet my blogging life is giving me quite a bit of woe. This is the first time that is the case. This is me kicking to the top as best I can.

I have made mistakes. I have witnessed mistakes. There has been a lot of talk (read: disagreement) about what those mistakes are. Everyone has a piece to say and everyone feels they are right. There is listening and hearing and ignoring and criticizing and dehumanizing and pontificating and thoughtfulness and respect and anger and frustration. There is all of that and more, often studded with orange stars.

I believe in peace, compassion, understanding, and empathy. I know that my fellow bloggers do as well. So how can it be that we are all so sideways? We are imperfect, but that is no excuse. There are only a couple of people whose heads have remained completely cool. Other than those few, are we all just giving lip service to these ideals? Do we abandon them when push comes to shove?

No, it isn’t that simple. Still, there is a small fact that has been burrowing through my brain like a cancerous tapeworm. I do my best to be compassionate and empathetic in my blogs. I don’t always do this well, but I try. As a result, I don’t get controversial often. The one time I post something knowing it would incite controversy (but still believing it the right thing to do), my stats exploded. It was one of my highest comment days ever and broke my page view record.

Compassion and empathy are what I believe will make the world better, but they are all but ignored when standing beside controversy. This makes me sadder than I can possibly state.

There is but one small seed of hope. The page view record set by controversy was surpassed by something better, communion. Alan Rickman died and my post with Dumbledore’s quote about death was suddenly in demand. This wasn’t about me or my post, it was about people grieving a life well-lived and remembering a time when they read something that touched their humanity.

I watched the page views soar hopefully. I wanted so much for communion to beat controversy, even in this smallest microcosm. It did and I felt better.

The disagreements have continued and my reservoir of compassion and understanding is nearing empty. I know I do not understand you all perfectly. I know that we do not agree on all things. I don’t want that. I want honesty. I want recognition of truth and I am willing to fight for it. Compassion and empathy are necessary, but so are grit and passion.

I spent too much of my life smiling and saying things I did not mean for the benefit of others. Those habits are still with me, but I am breaking them down a little more each day. This week has not changed me, but it has shown me where my line lies. I champion peace and understanding, but not at the expense of truth.

There can be no peace or understanding where truth is forfeit. My mind is open to the fact that what I think of as truth is not always so, but I will drown if I sacrifice honesty for peace. I want a brighter word than bright, but also a brighter world, so you can find me kicking towards the sun.

Compliments are Helium


One day a man tied a balloon to my ankle
As I floated away and into the sky
He told me that I should be thankful
that he took the time to stop me
so that he could lift me up

The balloon is red and shiny
It reflects
the sun
my fear
my upturned skirt

Look!
the man says from the ground
You’re so high above me!
You’re so lucky you were born to fly!

Other men gather
The women hurry past

The men ooo and ahhh at my swift rise
Covetousness in their eyes
I’m almost out of earshot
when they start to jeer
Hey! Hey you! Hey, girl!
Aren’t you going to thank him?
He helped you fly!
He gave you a balloon!
He deserves a thank you!
I can barely hear their irritation turn to anger
She didn’t deserve a balloon.
Hardly any girls do.
I bet she gets balloons all the time
and now she’s never grateful.
I ache to explain
I’m late and now I’ll be later
(But they’d just say I should have left sooner)

With a pop
I fall
and fall
and fall
Bumps and bruises
rise as I land
(But you got to fly! Don’t complain!)
But
don’t you see
I’m afraid of heights
(Then you shouldn’t accept balloons.)
I didn’t want to
I DIDN’T WANT TO
THERE WAS NO CHOICE

No use
I know their rules
I went to their schools

Will the bump blue
Will the bruise black
I hope as I cut back
Be visible
Be ugly
Maybe that will keep their bloody helium away
Maybe
But
they’ll come again
they always do
balloon in hand
acting like the gesture’s grand