if the terrorists were black
but the terrorists wore black
to cover white bodies
when they stormed the white
house guns in hand and armed
i stand at my kitchen counter
as goosebumps crawl up my skin
my bullet holes are my skin
the place white america inflicts
its terror through the television
and the news and the people who
shouted things at me when i campaigned
for clinton and this state with its
white flag-toting people shouting at me
from the overpass
not even in my car driving to meet
friends a client or my lover am i safe
but the terrorist they wore black
for skin like cops wear blue for skin
under my skin there is only black
black black black black…
The best surprises always come to us from the big city. It’s the kind of place where Manman holds my hand tighter than she does at the market near my school. Even though my fingers turn red every trip there, I like going because it means we get to see Papi. It’s called Port-au-Prince. When people from our village say the name, it sounds like pour-oh-prince.
I feel Sonson sink deeper against the back of the outhouse. Why is it taking so long? This time when he pulls my excited right hand, he places it on the surprise. It’s not a plastic toy or a bakery treat from Port-au-Prince. That’s what Papi’s gifts usually are. This surprise feels soft, like my baby dolls’ plastered smiles. But it hardens between my fingers like new plantain sprouting from a hand. …
Most people who meet me utter the same line: You’re such a happy person. I smile with them because the truth is, I am. While I’ve endured abuse and pain in my life, I tend to delight in moments, and I have the spirit of a young child encountering everything for the first time. As such, I exude joy.
While I don’t mind being typecast as happy, that label has caused me a great deal of stress this year, as I have become acquainted with my anger.
Growing up, I was not really allowed to be upset. It’s not that my parents had a list of house rules, with one clearly outlining that children must not show anger. However, exhibiting dissatisfaction, whether it be about a meal I detested or how my mother treated us, often led to more punishment. I didn’t have a pleasurable relationship with pain in those days, so I avoided any emotion that could harm me. …
I was born to a politician for a father and grew up in a country defined by revolution and resistance; I’ve had a lot of political discussions in my 28 years. Some have left me fuming with rage, and others have brought me to a place of profound sadness, but a recent conversation with my neighbor, from six feet apart, has left me with a unique feeling.
After spending an hour and a half touching all the hot-button political topics, he gifted me one squash, five Hungarian peppers, and seven lemon cucumbers.
This is encouraging. Not because I’ll start intense conversations about Black Lives Matter, the value of life (pro-life vs. pro-choice), guns, presidents, pedophilic rich white men, the infiltration of communism into well-meaning movements like Black Lives Matter, and capitalism with every 60+ Christian white man I meet with the hope that they’ll gift me food from their garden. …
Twelve hours in L.A. and tears follow me like wildfire.
With frustration trailing, I light my anxiety while my husband
is at the wheel. Dry shrubs left alone tend to catch, so I spill it all
down to the minor until I’m left aching for oxygen.
I find healthy air at a local Burbank laundromat. Unfolding
dirty clothes we’ve traveled with for over a week, I breathe.
The smell of the coin machine wraps its arms around me,
engulfing me in a confusing hug only my mother could give.
Years ago, old apartment to new apartment, we’d go, but we
always returned to our laundromat. …
In some activist circles, there’s a common belief that we’re killing the Earth, and no one seems to care. According to the Pew Research Center, 63% of Americans say climate change is currently affecting their local community. It’s safe to say, rising sea levels, melting ice caps, wildfires, drought, and microplastic-infused food are on the majority of people’s minds.
In “Climate Change Activists are Lying to You,” Kornelija Gruodyte addresses that question by calling out that 100 companies are responsible for 71% of the world’s emissions; big businesses are sitting on their hands, and no one is holding them accountable. …