“For the light skin Latino/a’s who forget we are not white”
Poem 13/30– On My Block
On My Block Cesar is just light enough latino for his
Santos to not be a threat.
Spooky was somebodies Nieto. They didn’t fear
the tear drops permanently assembled over cheek bone.They’d shout “Mira he’s all grown up now” when they passed Abuelita pushing shopping carts all the way home from the supermarket.
The Please do not take the carts off the premises don’t apply to the seniority of these gumshoed, pigeon marked pavement. Even gangsters lower their head when she passes.
The Monses could speak Spanish.
Wrestling the bounce of hair into submission.
A brush in a scrap with a wasps nest.
Hair spraying to keep her Latina in place cause the
smell of cocoa butter makes the wooden spoons stop stirring the arroz con gandules.
Makes her have that Morena growing from her scalp.
Makes her less island. More Hybrid.
Makes her question why the language in her tongue
isn’t sufficient to the Nile in her veins.
They act like blood parts like rivers.
Like our ancestry doesn’t call the same land MOTHER.
Like Africa isn’t in the hip thrusts to our Bomba.
Ruby isn’t masculine enough. His intelligence is a
lunch table rumor that has people asking?
le gustan las chicas, verdad?
it’s easier to think he
must be gay if the books appeal to him
more than the tight jeans.
On these blocks,
people will scream injustice while committing the
same backward ass assumptions.
Using the same stereotypes in prayers.
Pretending GOD won’t notice the fallacy cause
we have that brown skin too, just lighter.
Making sure not to forget to add the “just lighter”
before the AMEN.
Frankie A Soto