Poem:: Not My Mother’s Daughter

Syncopated rhythms over conga beats,
I saunter in the footprints of
men and women of generations passed.
Dissecting myself a cadaver,
open and free.
From the bomba y la plena,
from the sugar cane factories
to the bench of the Supreme Court, we…
have come a long way.
Having studied many times
The marble which was chiseled out for me—
By the calloused hands of the slaves that came before me
taken against their will from the mother land–
to toil the earth of Boriquen..

In truth, it pictures not my destiny
but my responsibility.
Because four centuries of Spanish rule
has brainwashed some, of the African
blood running through our veins.
Forgetting that
the pigment of our skin is—
as deep and dark,
as the holds of the ships
that transported them.
Yes! For we too are black.
Ashamed of our past
we reject ourselves
Trying to conform to
A non-conscious–
ideology.

Wanting to be white,
Trying to do what’s right
We are our mother’s daughters
So we learn to do as we’re told
Studying like an exam
What it means to be a Latina
Niña don’t speak up
This is not your right
Taught to be passive
Supportive nurturers of the home
Beautiful doll
With a painted smile
You are a woman
Learn to play your role

But with MY voice
I will break the cycle
I will speak up
I will be heard
I will not be shy
I will not be timid
I will be strong
I will educate
Because in this
I am not—
my mother’s daughter.

Originally published 04/01/11 in honor of National Poetry Month
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One thought on “Poem:: Not My Mother’s Daughter

  1. I will speak up
    I will be heard
    I will not be shy
    I will not be timid
    I will be strong
    I will educate
    Because in this
    I am not—
    my mother’s daughter.

    (even without realizing, our Mothers were/are our greatest teachers) beautiful

    Like

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