my face-wash is a whitening cream
but what if i don't want to be white?
what if i just want my skin to be clean
since when did white and clean begin to come in the same package?
are white people the poster-children of cleanliness
because they've washed their hands
with the blood of my ancestors?
am i dirty
because i have not?
it bothers me when my grandmother tells me
that i am lucky
because i was born the fairer one of the two sisters
she says she fears for what i would have looked like
had my colored mother not fallen in love with a white man
mixing her dirty genes with his pure ones
to create a mix-bred child, who, in any case
was better than being born brown.
it would have been a sin
for me to have colored skin
i am still dealing with the remnants of my colonial past
because i am still afraid of telling my mother
that i am in love with a colored man
she will accept him because he is loving and kind
but in the back of her mind
there will be a little voice that whispers
wouldn't it have been better if he was white instead?
and i've heard a lot of people tell me
"thank God your hair is the right kind of curly
not the frizzy, afro-like hair
wild and free
thank God your hair is tame
thank God your hair falls in neat little curls
(you got your dad’s genes!)
we can hold it
and mold it
into what we like
thank God your hair is the right
kind of curly."
you see my mom escaped by marrying a man with white skin
but with me the cycle begins again
because he's two shades darker
and my children will be too
the white genes of their grandfather
among the dark genes of their father-
with chocolate eyes and hazel skin
i am still struggling to see at my father
as one of "us" and not one of "them"
and it took me some time
to realize that i was dating
not a man
that i wasn't looking
for a boyfriend
i was looking for a dad
hold on a second
its not what it seems
theres no oedipus complex
this isn't incest-y
this is a girl
who can never love a man
this is a girl
who never had a dad
this is a girl
that wants love-
the pure kind-
the lets go for icecream at 3am
lets go to the park
lets name all the animals at the zoo
this is the girl looking for protection
by sticking her head in the cage
her safety net
is a beard and colored eyes
and it took her time to realize
that every boy that smiles at you
doesn't mean well
and when they say they love you
don't think they will hesitate before they leave you
because they won't
be fooled by their smiling eyes
girl you need to realize
your father loved you
and he meant well
he left and these boys no they don't love you the way he did
they won't save you from the demons in your head
lie still and know
that "boy" isn't a safe word
and "man" doesn't mean love
and that the bridge between those who stay
and those who leave
is jammed with those
who said they'd be
stop looking for a man.
stop looking for a dad.
Do you ever think of me on rainy days?
about how I used to tell you
that you reminded me of the latter?
about how the pitter patter of the raindrops,
sounded just like the tears you wiped away?
Sometimes I sit in a coffeeshop and inhale the aroma,
and I swear I see your shadow in the rain.
b r e a t h e
the lies that I've been fed are clouding up my lungs
rotting them from the inside
the pain feels as though
every breath is a
d e c a y
the gaping holes start to
f e s t e r & f r a y
from all the secondhand
d e l i r i u m