Sunday, July 26, 2015

Poetry: Seen and Unseen

Seen + Unseen by Zion
Zion with Dani preparing to hit the pinata at Azeb's unbirthday party

You see a canvas and you see a mirror

With one thing you'll be able to see what you've created with your ability, and the other, you'll see a reflection of the outside

Yes you can change things, but you can only change so much

You can't hide what you really want, what you need, what you crave

Welcome to Veracruz, México where you'll find an amazing aquarium, gorgeous beaches and nice locals

You won't expect to see graffiti, Sewer leaks, and mosquitos

You'll find the people to look slightly different but the true colors and cultures go deeper than the skin

Tales of Sun gods, warriors, indigenous and afro-descendent Mexicans are slowly disintegrating

Veracruz wants to be set free. That's what's unseen.

Statue of El Negro Yanga in Yanga, Veracruz
Yanga's sonnet by Jordan Chaney
There are no black people in paradise.
The sun shines on everything all the same.
Papayas, all people, palm trees, beans and rice. 
Curls are welcomed here as heavenly mane.
The history books are void of slave meat.
The town's mouths are ripe fields of sugar cane.
Street vendor has a story to tell me;
All chains were broken free in Yanga's name.
TVs, heavy books have erased my line
It is nice, no good or bad references
My home paints me with big lips and no spine
This bold land 'least lends a lil reverence
Machete tongues have chopped me all to shreds.
...the thick of me can't be conquered by death.

Las Raices Invisibles (The Invisible Roots) by Reagan Jackson
Statue of a woman at the Museum of Anthropology in Xalapa
Here I am
seen and unseen
take my picture, but not my name
brown skin, white teeth but disembodied
not a shadow
   but an icon
      an idea
         a postcard
smile and wave,
but do you see me
beyond la negra
you think describes me...
morena, chaparra
am I so simply defined
by the shape of my hips,
the rythm you assume resides there.
Am I a line from a song
a half eaten melody
que te tiene tumbado
Africana, Cubana, Dominicana, Colombiana...
Would it matter if I too were Americana
If I too were Mexicana, prieta pero paisana?
Why am I foreign to your eyes
when family lies between us
in blood ties
more than skin
the shape of your nose and eyes
your pyramids and mine
our ancestors intertwined
etched into the faces of rock
carved before the time when we forgot 
that there is so much more than 
skin deep.
So sure, take my picture
its yours to keep,
un recuerdo
of what is left 
unsaid and unseen
and yet is so very
visible, tangible, indelible, undeniably 
your DNA in mine. 

The Fifth Sense by Eyerusalem
I am on foreign land.
My senses are out of control.
Touch: my phone, held in my hands, or easy access in case I need to snap a picture
and the thick blanket of humid muffling me over my layer of sweat
Taste: the burst of flavor in my tacos dorados,
dipped in red sauce
Green if I am feeling a bit brave.
Hear: the beautiful language of Espanol.
The honks and beeps of the drivers on the street,
the words Buenos dias trails behind me
 as I walk past a group of Mexicans
every new word I hear, becomes a new word I've learned
and an opportunity for it to roll of my own tongue
The intoxicating scent of sewage overcomes my nose
Fortunately, I have crossed the street and am now
inhaling the drool-worthy aroma of fresh enchiladas con pollo.
These four senses are working hard.
But there was something about the fifth sense,
Sight is helping me put two and two together
It helps me embrace and appreciate
the beauty of Veracruz.
I see a random man
helping an old woman bag her fruits.
I see color.
My eyes are moving around. Trying to take everything in. All the faces,
all the colors,
all the statues,
buildings, architectures
Where is everything else?
Where is everyone else?
Where is El Chapo and all the drug cartels
that CNN warns us about?
Where are the dangerous people?
Where are the burritos?
Where are all the Afro-Mexicans
 that my world history textbook told me about?
Are they not here?
Has El Chapo and the cartels been replaced by
love and care?
Are the dangerous people hiding away due to inferiority?
Have the Afro-Mexicans disintegrated due to hostility?
Maybe they don't exist
here in

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