Spanglish

Me dices

“You can’t be Latino. You’re black.”

Y también

“You speak Spanish like you’re Mexican but your hair is course like you’re African.”

Somehow you thought that was okay

And even though I know ignorance is an American luxury

your insults are perverting my history.

My complexion cannot dictate what my veins know as tradition.

 

I am Boleros, Rancheros, and reggae

From salsa and punta and rice and beans

Mothers dancing, always cooking, kitchen somehow always kept clean

yelling  confusion, wishing so hard

even our dreams leak out the words onto our pillows

Worlds apart from the cities we’ve seen

Still trying to speak the language, still trying to hold onto our heritage

Back to a place where magical realism is more than just a genre

Because magic is a part of our religion y en mi sangre

 

I am from fights off into the distant night

Breakdowns into the sharp sunrise over words like “beaner” and wetback”

Haunted delusions of dehydration and desperation

There’s gotta be something better than this,

There’s gotta be something better than this

Just struggling to stay alive, struggling to not die

In a desert where no one knows your name, absolutely no one cares

 

I am from loud music and bass in the streets

Just to chase away the ghostly memories of everything we sacrificed

everyone we lost

I come from hiding under the bed and running off into my mind

Just to escape the manic depressive seduction of the time

From soccer balls racing through rain drops

And completely bare feet

to the anthem on constant repeat: A lo hecho, pecho.

 

So yes, I am mixed but don’t think because you only see half of me

that that must be all of me

that my skin color and facial structure can hold within them our legacy

because the other half of me is all that I know

and precisely what I’m made of.

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