Mixing It Up

Observations and ideas about race, ethnicity and mixing.

If She was the Sun

After reading the article “Third World Quarterly row: Why some western intellectuals are trying to debrutalise colonialism,” and the piece “I am a Coolie” I began to think about the more subtle, intimate consequences of colonialism. Be it the exploited people reclaiming derogatory terms like ‘n****r’ and ‘coolie’ to rather reflect all they’ve endured and overcome. It is a constant navigation for pride in one’s natural self through abstractions like language, love, and beauty that have been perverted by colonialism. I wrote a poem that I feel embodies the hurt and confusion when you can’t find that pride because it has been systematically stolen from you.

In English class, she learned
that Juliet is the sun and she has spent years
trying to feel her light. Years of sitting beneath
scorching heat scalding the tips of her girlhood
ears while generational echoes tell her to
unkink the Dominican in her hair. The stench
of burning curls becomes the scent of
apprehensive conformity and the blood lining
the insides of her cheeks taste the way longing might.
She looked to Juliet, to the sun, to see
remains of herself but she never found them.
Instead she cried the secrets of colonialism,
because she is Julietta, never Juliet.
The moon tried to whisper to her “Va con paz,”
on a bright morning before she realized the
sun had risen and she was to be lost, once more
and always, in its light.

2 Comments

  1. I think this poem is beautiful and captures the inner struggles of people who are struggling to find who they are in a society that tells them to conform to a Eurocentric society and values, rather than embracing their past and being proud of their origins.

  2. Kayla, this is really a beautiful articulation of the inner conflict resulting from anglo-european beauty ideals that are perpetuated in our society. I really liked how you wrote about the language differences as well. Your poem really shows how colonialism can seep into every crack of identity.

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