Amnesia

I am,

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.

 

I am,

Broken, alien,

Memory wiped,

Soul forgotten,

Existence erased.

 

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:

I Exist.

 

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.

 

I am,

The sunburnt slaves of the Porfiriato farms,

Who heard to long the overplayed,

overbeaten,

overshot,

overstarved tune,

That the sweat in their brow and crack in their spine

Belonged to the pocketbooks of colonial investors.

 

I am,

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.

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