Where Are You Really From?
It always starts with a simple question
And ends with bruised egos and temples.
You see, this question is not really simple to answer.
So when they ask me, “Where you from?”
I reply, “I’m from Saint Paul, Midway, baby.”
Then the questioning usually turns for the worst
When they ask, “No, where you from?”
And I say, “From my mom’s belly yo!”
Then my nerves get tested when they utter, “No, where are you really from?”
Trying to point out that we are different.
So this is my reply.
I am from the depths of la pachamama that nurture my soul.
I am from el sueño Del pongo a story that never grows old.
I have found the exit out of the labyrinth of solitude
But I am still trying to find myself.
I am from the Puerto Rican obituary and the Spanglish National Anthem.
I descend from the blood of Tupac Amaru and the breeze from los Andes.
I’ve seen with these eyes the destruction that your question brings.
So, Aquí ya no mandas.
I am from the love poems de Neruda and the descriptive details of home
from Marco Martos.
I am from the last breath of Martí and the definition of self from Alurista.
And it’s because of them that I feel indebted to the ones who paved the way for me.
From the deaths in 1821 for the independence of Perú and El Salvador,
The Álamo in 1836, the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848,
The Spanish American War in 1898, the Mexican Revolution of 1910,
And the Zoot Suits Riots in 1943.
I am from the ink that wrote the letter declaring a state of war in Chiapas.
I am created from the fear that I will never belong
And the fact that even though I am here, this place was never my own.
From the breath taken away from indigenous people who never asked to die to feed the hunger of greed.
I am from every step taken from the people who came before me
And gave me this calling to write.
And from the children who were scarred because they could not speak English.
So this is who I am and this is where I come from.
So look into my eyes, because my words don’t lie
And tell me where are you really from?