Culture Told in Halves

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when I discovered I was Mexican

Of course, I always knew

But snippets of realization

Sprinkled into my lifetime of 16 years

Brought me to understand what it means

To possess such ancient lineage


Blood of Aztec warriors simmers in my veins

My skin blends opposing pigments

White hues of Spaniards and cinnamon kissed shades of Native peoples

Language as graceful and powerful as prima ballerinas

Dances from the tongues of my people

Fast-paced and precise like a professional ping pong match

Hips that sway to melodic rhythms of cumbia

Voices that come together as one to intertwine with trumpets, violins, and maracas


But with the discovery of my Mexican culture,

I must remember that is only half my story

I’m also American

Fifth generation American to be exact

My great grandmas and great grandpas began new lives here

Created a foundation for their future families in the land of immigrants

Their sacrifices anointed me ineffable blessings

But they also bestowed me with a curse


No one understands how it feels

“Homeland” in my backyard

But it hasn’t been my home for generations

Spittle of despise runs down lips

Of ignorant people

Who envy those that possess nothing

“Go back to where you came from, beaner!”

As if the color of my skin makes me less American

Little do they know that I came from Phoenix, Arizona,

And my family came from Las Cruces, New Mexico, before that


My great grandparents could never have predicted that after so many years

The land where they bound their souls  

Still does not want their descendants

Who keep giving more

To the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave


An orange man with tiny hands

Wants to build a wall

To keep out people like my great grandparents

He wants to send back children like me

Who never called Mexico their home

Who most certainly aren’t ready to call it home now


America and I struggle with a complicated relationship

Destructive, unhealthy, but vital

We can’t always reciprocate our love

But that shouldn’t stop us from trying


I’m Mexican-American, Chicano, Hispanic, Mestizo, Mexica

Double agent with an agenda of tolerance

We’ll never resign to the ways of oppression

We march, and we rally, and we chant, and we howl

We project our pride through every pore of our skin

Whether the world likes it or not


This poem is about: 
My family
My community
My country
Our world
Guide that inspired this poem: 
Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 


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