Tag 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.

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