A Letter To The Divided Country Girl

by Blanca Isabella


You are always the only one in the room

Ok maybe two, three is a crowd

Three is “WOW there's so many of you!"

Three will get you confused with people that look nothing like you

In classrooms, you get called names that don't belong to you

You do your best not to ignore such casual erasure

You know that your silence will be taken as validation and you are always affirmative

You are an “Affirmative Action” action figure

You fantastic first diverse student enrollee

First-generation college, first one to make it out of your city

You marvel at the sounds of the TV

speaking to the “American People”

Funny how no one says you people anymore

It’s all code words like “gangster" or "diversity intuitive”

You diversity all by yourself

You contain multitudes and yet you are contained, confined in everything you do like someone is watching you and isn’t there?

Isn’t that the whole point of this tongue you inherited?

A control system set since colonialism

A language that will get you dirty looks at a restaurant

If only they knew it came from their ancestors forcing this tongue upon us

But suppose they do. The need to control runs in their veins causing my people’s blood to run loose, painting a path for what my community has always held as truth:

In order to get anywhere be

twice as good,

twice as smart,

work twice as hard

As If someone else’s worth is worth measuring yours against

You always remember to measure

Your looks, your volume...your tone over email

You're always sorry, you don't even know why

You apologize to no one in particular just for being in and around your body all at the same time

They will tell you:

You’re loud

"why are you angry"

"You're firey

"You talk too much"

"Talk better"

"Don't speak that I don't understand"

"You speak well for..”

"You’re not from here”

“You’re not from there"

You divided country girl

you are enough

You are brilliant

You are talented

You are a legacy

The first teacher who ever saw you says, and every once and a while you chose to believe it

So say it

An ode to the way we make survival an art

Say i am a young brown girl and my joy is stainless.

Say I exist in excess of my anguish

My existence is resistance

I may speak a language that does not belong to me

But it was reclaimed, used by these who raised me

Mujeres de marz.

Women of corn

Making tamales, tortillas, the things that helped me grow

Growing from the soil that supported my ancestors

The soil that knows the hands of my great grandfather too well

So the next time you feel like a divided country girl

Say, you are the ones who placed the divide, this land belongs to neither you nor I

Say I am from here and there and I will go places you have never been

Say my people are not target practice

Not a bullseye with rhythm

Not something that can be caged

say this breath is not an illegal substance to be locked away

When they try to turn your LA school into a prison

May your voice raddle the pipeline breaking the chains

say denying to teach me my history is irrelevant to me

It lives within me

In me are Rodriguez, Alfaro, Lopez, Valdez and Cisneros

The authors that offered a glimpse into what heaven is

Say we fly like butterflies that futter their wings dignified

Even when others try to make our beauty

a burden

Say no one will make our beauty a burden

Say no

Say the appropriation train stops here

Say, My people are not cheap labor, say my neighborhood is not

new" market for you to gentrify like a vulture

Say love me like you love my culture

Say this is the last time you call me out of my name

The last time you call me anything other than what I have claimed for myself

What I inherited

Yes, we honor our dead, praise what they left behind

Because of them, no one will make us sorry for being alive

My people stay more vibrant than life

They always have,

say always have

Say,

always will



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