Either I’m nobody, or I’m a nation,
Like the stalactites that crawl into their crystal-helix
I crawled, American baby, from the Strait of Magellan where the fish
Gargle their lugubrious songs, to the dehydrated
Line where the Texans,
Those American wannabe’s flung their broken Spanish at me.
I crossed the Frontier, and for a while I stayed with
Developing into a character that cannot be defined
by American citizenship.
My hair crawled far away from my scalp, my feet forgot their Aztec dances,
memories became the packaged boxes in the attic
of a house too busy to care.
The melanin in my skin, disgusted, evaded me in
I wanted to dream, baby, so when they told me
about Visas, I listened,
And soon enough I began speaking from my Nose
just like the gringos.
And recited the stories of Bush and Cheney so
they’d give me my Green Card.
I forgot about my Mother, whose scarred back is the
spine of the Andes,
Who incubated me in the smoke of a patient
volcano for two centuries…
I didn’t remember myself until the age of 17,
When, burned out from singing Yankee Doodle, I
recalled the tune of my own people.
The heats and smells of Acapulco, the poverty and
the richness of the tongue,
And I had also forgotten the cacao that is in the
eyes of the sweet-faced strangers…
It all came back to me.
I am an American baby, but the U.S., my friend, is not America.
Thought-provocking and controversial; yet incredibly beautiful, courageous and strong.
These are some of the words that came to mind when I first read this poem by P.S. Goya, a staff writer at VOX Teen Newspaper; the only non-censored teen paper in metro Atlanta, distributed in 300 schools and non-profits, representing 49 schools in the city. 86 teens pour their hearts out and talk about what matters most (to them). On their summer edition, you can read about key societal issues such as: Integration, Diversity, Environmental Issues, Gun Safety, Gay Marriage, Gender & Sex Issues (including a review of the book “Middlesex”) Girls Self-Esteem, Art, Latino/Hispanic Voices & Perspectives, Estereotypes (Real-er Housewives of Atlanta), Community Service Opportunities and of course Why we Love Atlanta.
VOX Teen Newspaper speaks a truth that many of us share, yet sometimes are afraid to speak up. With the vigor, enthusiasm and honesty of teenagers, they are a valuable voice in our city. A voice that includes ALL OF US.