I Am Black/Filipino; Mixed Race Poem

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…

or other.

Mixed plate

Mulatto

Mud blood

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,

Mispronounced,

Misinterpreted,

It missed the point.

Other is the last box we place ourselves in

The mixture of tongues,

Traditions

Worlds,

Other is just a chain to a classification system,

A net catching wind.

Other is an identity

I am learning to live in.

 
This poem is about: 
Me
My family
My community
My country
Guide that inspired this poem: 

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