Women of Color Need Poetry

Women of color need poetry

Because the pillaging,

colonizing,

and mining,

of our lands

is justified.

 

Women of color need poetry

Because through the myriad of haikus

peppered diction,

tangled syntax,

and island metaphors,

our ethnicity becomes a shield,

instead of a threat to those with lighter skin

 

Women of color need poetry

Because in English classes,

I had to cyclically analyze

White, stale lit.

 

When my mind hungered

To parse through the magical

Post-colonial realism

of Allende,

Hagedorn,

Llosa,

Fuentes,

Rosca,

And Marquez

 

And imbibe the works

Of Lord,

hooks,

and Rushdie.

 

Women of color need poetry

Because we still have to fight

for ethnic studies.

It is privilege for white people

to have their history as a graduation requirement,

while we have to carve out safe spaces

on spaceless indolence,

forced to depoliticize social movements

from weary administrations

who would rather save face,

than carve out safe space

for us fledgling voices

who are tired of being voiceless.

 

Because when do we speak,

we are threats to their privilege.

I mean, we already took their scholarships and ivy league prestige

who are we to ask more?

It is like a jarring reminder that we will never be equal to white people.

 

Women of color need poetry

Because we are seemingly

one dimension,

who have to code-switch,

Cover our accented verbiage,

assuage our tirades,

accept the neo-liberal pablum

about our Third world motherland.

“Promoting culture

And civilization”

In an island of 7,000 is what they said;

where we used to own in abundance indigenous lands,

an island where we used to celebrate our melanin,

but we can’t even post a selfie on snapchat without bleaching our skin,

tearing out the historicity of our heritage,

and assimilating to the standards of colonizers,

Like the bloodshed of our heroes meant nothing.

 

In a country where my own people prefer to the identify those that

Martyred ang mga bayani natin (tagalog word for hero),

Don’t call us your little brown brothers and sisters

when were nothing but fucking little island peoples,

Nothing but your burden,

Nothing but lands to exploit,

Nothing but brown, uncivilized savages,

Nothing but circus props,

Nothing but uncouth bird eaters,

Nothing but a shoddy underdeveloped third world,

 

or neoliberals from the “developed world” prefer to call our countries as “developing”

Continuing to eschew the fact that these colonies developed them,

 

THEY NEVER DEVELOPED US,

THEY NEVER SAVED US

THEY PUT A PRICE TAG ON US

20 MILLION DOLLARS IN PARIS

ONE COLONIZER DOWN

WE GAINED PERENNIAL IMPERIALIST

 

who have astute new tactics,

to set up banana republics,

and free trade that cost the lives of our local pedagogues and advocates,

who have met virulence under the hands of domestic paramilitary groups

that are only servile to red, white, and blue,

as opposed to their motherland that fought for their existence.

 

To these men who desire approval from Joe,

You are not Asian and Spanish, you are Filipino!

Not a confused amalgam of Malay, Chinese, and sangre Mexicano

Your brown skin is Ilocano, Kapampangan,Cebuano,Caviteños, Bisaya, o Bicolano.

 

No matter how much you erase away your brown skin with papaya soap,

No matter how much you derail your dialects with English Only policies and K-12 studies,

Pilipino ka

 

Women of color need poetry

because reality underneath the structural impediments is exhausting

 

Women of color need poetry

because it gives us some sort of manifestation and validation of kalayaan, liberacion, freedom,

where a blank page can be galvanized into a cacophony of indignation

 

Women of color need poetry

Because If we juxtapose their and our independence days,

4th of July for them means gaudy patriotism

12th of June for us means internal skepticism,

 

How can we be free when our own poetry,

Our own activism  

is assuaged as archaic,

by our own country people.

 

We’re anything but poetic,

anything but substantiative,

anything but truthful,

Only a banal, tiring voice

Of a know-nothing of her own blood because her passport is blue instead of red.

 

Because i am cossetted due to my home address,

my American accent,

and broken Tagalog,

How can I fight for freedom when I already have more than those that stayed?

I’m nothing but a trying hard quasi-intellectual with no qualifications because she has no experience or college degree.

But how can you say we are free and have our own socio-political-economic autonomy when they can’t even call our sea

The west philippine sea,

Women of color need poetry.

This poem is about: 
Me
My family
My community
My country
Our world

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