key: each color is one person
bolded black is all 4 people
underline is 2 people
Do you eat curry?
Do you speak in tongue clicks?
Which parent is the dark one?
Do you ride camels to school?
Can you talk black to me?
Does your dad have an accent?
Do you like speak American?
Do you like spicy food?
Do you also speak um, like, Egyptian?
Why can't I say the n word?
Where do you come from?
My heritage holds me hostage
But because of this skin
I’m not indian enough to be accepted my family darker than I
not white enough for my mother’s side
I’ve been stripped of myself,
They call me black
Call me indian
Call me white
Call me mulatto
Call me off-white
Each remark is another mark on these balsa wood arms
Because toys can take a beating when they aren’t real people
I am just teeth and eyes in the dark right
Even in black skin I call home they only see the whitest parts of me
When i started looking for jobs, my mother told me to dye my hair.
“It will make you look more fair.”
Like I could paint my skin into a mosaic of privilege I’ve never fully owned
Was it my fault to think that there was fun to be had when all the little boys and girls pulled at my hair asked if it was “real”?
They were trying their hardest to follow the strands of curls my head was holding up
They were trying their hardest to find a connection between my hair and my face and my color but they got lost
They still touch it like unclaimed land
Call it a last ditch attempt at colonization
My belts made of lynch rope
Pulled tight around these black genes I call my body
Society strings my arms to make me shake and dance to the beat of its drum
to be a doll of its imagination
these strings ain't nothing new
This string hung me high before they decides to call a lynching a puppet show
We marionette ourselves into our own unmaking
Find a new gepetto in every space
Code switch to assuage the fear
Or say nothing at all
I was taught to keep my mouth shut
I was taught to keep it closed unless someone asked me to speak
The first time someone followed me through a building door I was no younger than ten
I was taught not to scream.
Learned I’d never make a headline so I shouldn’t make a sound
Learned to make my voice something I never owned
I hold my head up high
while my arms are being pulled
in both directions of a split identity
How can we even tell you all this?
Aren’t we just puppets
Slaves to the narratives that fill our mouths
Aren’t we just vessels all saying the same thing
Aren’t we just snapped strings
Aren’t we just….