the struggles of being a warrior

“what are you?”

it is a question every person of color has been asked

a favorite by cruel school children who grow into cruel adults

especially when directed towards those who are of mixed race

you ask me what i am

as if i am a creature dragging myself from the depths of the black lagoon


 

what am i


 

you ask me why is it that when i speak i sound white yet when i get angry i sound black

as if the way my lips and tongue curl around vowels and consonants

has anything to do with what i am

you say i have the best of both worlds but no

instead i am raging a war inside myself against myself

your stereotypes and thoughts as to how i need to be fueling the flames of my anger

as if you can shove me into a box

lock me inside a cage

to poke and prod at to your discretion until i fit what i am supposeto be


 

you get angry and demand i tell you where i stand

you demand i pick a side


 

i stand on a crumbling bridge at one end a parent who has always been there

at the other a parent who never was

if i choose either side i am a “sell out” to the other


 

i stand on a crumbling bridge struggling with myself

tearing at my chest to peer into my heart

to find where i belong

a crumbling bridge where on either side a culture awaits

a language that has my tongue sticking to the roof of my mouth

because i do not know it

ancestors with a history of oppression, sacrifice, and triumphant

and i am choking

as if i have just taken a bite out of the fruit from the tree of knowledge

yet here i stand and i still know nothing


 

i do not stand with you

and neither do i stand with you


 

i stand here in the middle

i stand here for every mutt and mongrel

who is wading up to their ears in bone deep loneliness

i stand here for every mutt and mongrel who has lost their way

gasping for breath

for a chance to feel like they belong


 

i stand here for every mutt and mongrel

desperately trying to find the north star in this ink black darkness to guide them home

i stand here to allow my thoughts to become a steel foundation

for a newer, stronger bridge

letting my voice become support beams to guide others along

where society has failed us

and bring them home to a new promised land


 

you never asked me who i was

you told me


 

now let me tell you who i am


 

i am an amazon warrior

eyes lightening and voice booming like thunder

watching you cower beneath my strength

beneath the weight of the words that sit heavy on my tongue


 

i am a hunter

searching for a territory to call my own

where i have been banished from all others


 

i am an explorer

desperately searching for where the roots of my soul branch

out ripping my very trunk in half



 

i am a lioness

waiting to tear into you to bring you down so fast

the pillars of your ignorance and hatred

and greed

will collapse so you can feel what it is like

to be confined inside a cage


 

i stand

waiting with bated breath

hackles raised for the next time someone asks me

what i am


 

i will tell you who i am

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