My black culture is lost.
I watch television shows of people that look like me
Picking up their characteristics, values, and loves
That's So Raven envisioned my future,
Dr. Huxtable birthed my perspective
But the black culture doesn't run on my tongue;
Don't roll my tongue cause my native language isn't on the TelePrompTer.
My gospels prerecorded
My history's censored
My life's filmed in black and white
My DNA is built out of script writes, light cues and close ups
In a wide angle I look Black but
My mother comes from Manila,
Scarred arms climbed up mountains
Jumped off into blue blankets of salt water.
The Philippines is a land that gave birth to half of my identity
The Philippines is the mother land
The Philippines is my mother.
Her sweat is a waterfall cascading through Leyte
Determined and elegant.
She is art
Carrying buckets of water on her head
Up and down a valley
That she has now forgotten.
My mother has lived in America for 25 years,
When I ask her to tell me about my filipino culture
How to say simple sentences,
What was her nanay like when she was young?
What was my late grandfather like?
She says she's forgotten.
She, like so many other Filipinos I know
Doesn't take pride in the heritage that she has molded into my being;
She fell in love with the American Dream
Watered down her past to standardize my future for American chains.
This family tree once extended with no limits.
Now, what a dead tree.
So many branches yet no leaves.
Communication with my mother’s family
is as empty and silent as winter.
A language barrier like cement
pulls out my roots to pour American sidewalks.
I am a dead branch, rooted to nothing
The culture drained to my toes
might as well be made of dirt…
In my home. In my house.
The mixed plates are cracked.
My parents don't speak to each other
No wonder my blood never merges
My mother argues in Visayan
My dad only yells in road blocks
When all i ask is
"Why do i stand out?
Like a black too white
An asian too dark
A skin too smothering
Yet not enough of anything,
Nothing comes out.
I need a new color, a new culture
Put a check next to “other”
Other is just a title spoken in another language,
It missed the point.
Other is the last box we place ourselves in
The mixture of tongues,
Other is just a chain to a classification system,
A net catching wind.
Other is an identity
I am learning to live in.