This is another culture poem, about arroz con leche, piñatas, tacos, and wetbacks, about how my bronze brown skin is not the right skin, about how my tongue is not the right tongue.
About bleaching, the tongue, the hair, like the white of my eyes. Like goodness, like proper, like permitted, like unquestioned, like rights, like power, like privilege. Like the solution to police brutality found inside a can of Pepsi.
About how words don’t translate out for my Ma to understand, the joke is not funny in Español. This is another culture poem about accents, and fiestas, and how my Pa’s botas were once embarrassing in public. About how I still cry when I remember how I used to be embarrassed when kids called me a beaner, and now I wear that title como una luchadora and her first champion belt.
This is another culture poem, about how fitting in with the white kids, is nothing close to fitting in. About how going to la escuela does not mean turning your back on your raíces, about how nobody seems to understand that.
A poem about how bettering yourself, doesn’t make you any less brown. About how you don’t want to not be brown.
This is a culture poem about being tired, of things like nopales, sombreros, and Frida Kahlo being commercialized by big corporations.
This is a culture poem about my heritage adorning frat parties, about it being used as an excuse for drink specials on a holiday we don’t even celebrate.
This is another culture poem about borders, about familias separadas. About meeting my grandfather only once. About forgetting my grandfather.
This is another culture poem about the American dream turned nightmare, when I learned to rip myself apart to feel whole. About the word deportation tasting sour in the mouths of those who are only trying to survive.
This is another culture poem, and it is not my last.