elisa

United States

5teen. posts once in a blue moon
communist & survivor & latina & angry

american poet

March 29, 2020

FREE WRITING

33
she said i breathe rhythm like carbon monoxide in an old apartment on vine
drink verse like lead in flint michigan;
when the sky in your suburban fantasy gets dark i curl
the tendrils of my hair around flagpoles -
dress myself up on the sixth of july
        no the fifth -
                    no the fourth -
with red red red i can't remember the other colors because
i keep seeing blood under my nails, Under God Indivisible!
when i was ten years old my teacher started class telling us the names of the Dead Soldiers
john james brian alex brandon ryan paul  
and a boy turned and asked Mrs Taylor Aren't There Any Black Soldiers That Have Died
and mrs taylor put on a movie, Now Sweetie Settle Down We've Got Work To Do.

hell, ma'am i've tired of hearing white boy's names tell me about
tamir stephon alton terrence philando eric walton rumain laquan micheal the other eric 
or have you run out of breath already because there's more -
amandou, now that's an old one 1999 bruce springsteen wrote a song about it you ever heard the song american skin?
and patrick that was only a year later, plainclothes asked him where he could get weed and now he's six feet under -
i wonder what songs his mom raised him on, whether she looked at his body or crumpled before she reached the casket
if she bought her own funeral dress and if it was lacy or not 
when i die miss i want them to bury me in silk the color of roses.

i don't feel privileged i grew up real poor, you understand -
it's a post-race society now, fourth-wave feminism stings my ears
now what about saudi arabia? in north korea you wouldn't be able to say that,
be grateful, in the communist liberal fantasies down in south america 
there's no food on the shelves you hear that? supermarkets
open lights on and nothing in them, be grateful you've got fifty six brands of toilet paper exactly,
well i know they're sold out now but it's different we're in a crisis
thought we were already in a crisis
well there's no war in ba sing se, of course of course

i heard once i'm different than most of them i asked why they said
your parents have such good jobs you're so smart beautiful writing, lots of potential
okay so why am i different?
well you know
yeah i know i don't need you to tell me i'm your Smart Latina Your Pretty White-looking Latina With A Straight Nose,
knows when to be quiet don't talk wrong or ghetto or whatever slurs you can find in your woke mind
you know i watched fresh off the boat?
yes ma'am that's a good show
so polite, i bet your parents came over the right way no secret tunnels or running through the desert,
bet they came on a plane and worked up to where they are

yes ma'am yes ma'am

my Smart Latina Pretty White-looking Latina ass code-switches without blinking,
people think i'm bilingual but there's so many kinds of english i speak
ain't that the american dream? i'm just a melting pot myself and i'm bout a minute away from boiling over
last time i wore my hoops i left one on the floor of the party and i wonder
who's purebred dog ate it or white boy stepped on it while crip walking for a tiktok,
you know if you tried that in east la -
and i searched on the floor of that party while fifty white kids wrapped their lips around the n word
like it molded right into them, like it was part of their face

and i said i breathe rhythm like carbon monoxide in an old apartment on vine
drink verse like lead in flint michigan;
when the sky in your suburban fantasy gets dark i curl
the tendrils of my hair around flagpoles 
and pull.

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11 Comments
  • poetri

    i know i commented once, but i just have to say again: this is electric, one of the best poems on the site and i applaud you for the intensely thought provoking way you managed to convey the topic. thank you for this. thank you so much.
    all the best :)


    5 months ago
  • mira ♡

    amazing. thank you for sharing this it means a lot <3


    6 months ago
  • loveletterstosappho

    god god god. previous comments have called this beautiful but i don't think it is because though your diction and flow may be, your subject matter certainly isn't and i don't believe that the two can exist separately. the details are so sharp and alive and the allusions you make are everything--flagpoles and the pledge of alliance and flint and all these things that are characteristic of america, both negative and positive. also was that an avatar the last airbender reference at ba sing se? honestly i didn't expect avatar to be used in such a potent way but the parallels just work and I'm awed that you see them and can draw them. the way you connect all these various fragments is really really incredible.


    6 months ago
  • Wicked!

    So powerfully well-written.


    6 months ago
  • Anha

    you knew i just HAD to share this around. this is literally everything.
    https://bit.ly/34qYVbw


    6 months ago
  • And_The_Stars_Laughed

    Wow. This is so beautiful, each time I read through I'm left breathless. Thank you so much for writing this, there are not enough words to say how truly incredible this is!


    7 months ago
  • silvernight

    holy crap. holy /crap/. i am literally . speechless . for as many words as there are in the english language, i truly don't think i can accurately describe what this made me feel


    7 months ago
  • jun lei

    holy shit. this is fucking beautiful.


    7 months ago
  • poetri

    holy crap...i have no words. this is incredible. one of my favorite pieces i've read on here.


    7 months ago
  • ect.13

    This is incredible. That's honestly all I can say; this is amazing :)


    7 months ago
  • jaii

    jesus fucking christ this is so powerful. i'm honestly struggling with thinking of what to comment because it'll feel like a lame acknowledgement of this painful painful beauty so i'll just do this:
    *applauds*


    7 months ago