They told me to be calm and breathe
like losing my freedom of speech was a problem that time would wear away
until I was “OK”.
But I’m not.
There is blood in my mouth from biting down on my cheeks
and holding back my tongue.
I am a daughter of the Amazon
direct descendant of women who not only fought back when prodded,
The river’s current courses through my veins.
Attempting to silence it only makes for a stronger out pour.
I am the product of a Yankee state of mind.
With ‘live free or die’ engraved on my chest,
I proudly behold the freedom
to speak, to protest, to fight.
No matter my age. No matter my gender.
No matter the color of my skin.
History shows that attempting to silence it only makes
for a stronger revolt.
“You’re only nineteen,” they laughed,
and waved me away.
As if my age is directly correlated to how much
my opinion matters.
As if the number of times I’ve circled the sun
could calculate how much of life I am aware of.
“This is not the West,” they scolded.
As if my global coordinates determined
just how many rights I could claim as mine.
My mother taught me to never be walked on,
yet I’ve been trampled by the beliefs that
I do not count, I do not matter.
I am a product, a hot commodity,
in a world craving my accent.
I am coveted and defended and hoarded
and torn apart and sold.
I was cheap labor with a naive heart
that only wanted to love everyone and everything
without any political lacerations.
Now, I am cheap labor and a bloody mess.
But if you look a little closer,
you will see the fire burning in my eyes,
tired of swallowing blood.
You can hear the river,
violently crashing through my veins,
aiding my broken heart.
I am tired and I am worn
and I am angry.
This is more than a revolt…
This is a revolution.
You cannot silence silence me anymore.
[Some context -- I am, at the moment, a volunteer in Asia.]