The child of cultural amnesia
Speaking in alien tongues
Forced into my parent’s throats by a hand called assimilation.
I know the bullets it takes to rewrite history books
And the charters to sign to erase a people.
My mind germinated
On the banks of scarlet-streamed history
That washes invasions into contracts
Exterminations into settlements
Believing that progress is a word for the actions of rich, straight, white, males
On my classroom walls and textbooks,
And living by a language that turns my grandparents to strangers.
By this, it was almost easy to swallow their story,
Digest their fiction,
And ignore this pounding resistance within my chest
That whispered two, simple, foreign words:
That I am,
The mestizo, the slave of españa nueva,
Who felt a breeze in their hair and earth in their toes with no flag to tell them that it wasn’t theirs,
And turned this whisper of the air and the soil into un grito
More powerful than the bullets of the soldiers of the armies of the crown.
The sunburnt slaves of the Porfiriato farms,
Who heard to long the overplayed,
That the sweat in their brow and crack in their spine
Belonged to the pocketbooks of colonial investors.
The striking farmers of California,
The emptied stomach of Chavez,
The marching Zapatistas in Chiapas,
The 47 martyred clots in the Acteál soil.
I cannot be erased by the monotone of a history class.
I cannot be silenced by the culture of Power.
I am mestizo,
I am Chicano,
I am here,
And I will not be moved.