Universal

Mr. V said to write a page

and to let it come out of me,

so I tried to speak so, naturally.

 

I wanted to write something profound,

something that could make me sound

 

universal and relatable,

well-read and respectable.

 

So I thought of themes and metaphors,

similes I’d heard before,

 

diction and imagery to expound,

alliteration to create the sound

 

of who I thought I was, or what I wanted to be,

so I wrote superficially,

 

and when I read it when it was done

it was flowery and rotund

 

with vanity and hypocrisy,

painting a picture of a falsity.

 

I grimaced in disgust and shame

at my initial failure to explain

 

to myself and Mr. V who I was;

for doing what a phony does.

 

So I emptied my mind of literary arrogance,

allowing words to flow and mind to dance

 

to Selena, and Lennon and Smokey Robinson,

to Vicente Fernandez and Roy Orbison.

 

It sounded like cows and smelled like chicken feed,

tasted like menudo and felt like pulling weeds,

 

It floated in loneliness and sexual ambiguity,

buried in depression and surrounded by anxiety.

 

I turned it in to Advanced English II,

unknowingly mimicking Langston Hughes

 

in the way that I can only write what I know,

what life as a Chicana woman has shown,

 

so when you ask me to write something relatable,

just know that total inclusivity is debatable,

 

because what white men have written, I’ve never felt naturally;

so here is my page, and this is me.

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